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Yellowknife youth project aims to connect people and services

Narlie Dapilos and Steph Woodworth shake hands after a game of cornhole at a CBYF open house
Narlie Dapilos and Steph Woodworth shake hands after a game of cornhole at a CBYF open house. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

Hazhǫ Ełexè Łets’eèzhe – “we are all connected” in Wıı̀lıı̀deh Yatıı̀ – is a new project that aims to connect Yellowknife’s young people with community services and resources.

The project comes from Communities Building Youth Futures or CBYF, a five-year national initiative run by the Tamarack Institute and launched in 2019, in part to increase high school graduation rates and help young people toward their future careers.

Yellowknife’s branch of CBYF held an open house last week for Hazhǫ Ełexè Łets’eèzhe, which focuses on youth who aren’t currently in education, employment or training.

CBYF says Hazhǫ Ełexè Łets’eèzhe will make a difference through the creation of a youth culture committee, the hosting of campfire chats immersed in arts and culture, and a “multiple intelligences human library and art event” – a gathering based on multiple intelligences theory where people can share stories or art. The library is in effect the people, and each story they share is a book.

Events and activities will run throughout the summer.



Earlier this year, CBYF ran a contest open to local youth under 30 to create a logo for the project. Thursday’s open house revealed the chosen logo and also involved canoe tours through Yellowknife Bay alongside collaborative art activities.

Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty and Christina Moore, an Indigenous youth worker at the Tree of Peace, present Hazhǫ Ełexè Łets’eèzhe’s new logo, created by Devin Vogel. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio
Narlie Dapilos sings a song created by attendees at the CBYF open house. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

CBYF project coordinator Narlie Dapilos says Hazhǫ Ełexè Łets’eèzhe will essentially act as a network for youth and organizations.

“Everything is all about collaboration, working together and really focusing art-space methods to really bring everyone together,” Dapilos told Cabin Radio.

“We had about 19 submissions that youth and adults voted for,” he said of the logo contest, “and the winner created an amazing logo that really represents what we want this initiative to be about.”



Charlotte Upton participates in an art activity at the CBYF open house. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio
CBYF open house attendees prepare to paddle around Yellowknife Bay. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

Charlotte Upton, an NWT Literacy Council youth coordinator, says the open house helped Yellowknife youth organizations to learn about one another and the supports offered in the community.

She hopes CBYF’s new project will foster more collaboration.

“Sometimes, things can be really siloed,” Upton said.

“There are groups in town doing really great work, maybe similar work, that can really benefit from partnering together.”

Evan Sullivan from Jackpine Paddle partakes in open house activities. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio
Home Base’s Vincent Ret plays a game of cornhole with one of the open house’s younger attendees. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio
A canoe trip around Great Slave Lake as part of a CBYF open house
A canoe trip around Great Slave Lake as part of the CBYF open house. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

Having just moved to the city from Ontario, Steph Woodworth – a youth and project director at Northern Youth Leadership – said the day left them feeling hopeful about the community in Yellowknife.

“It’s so nice to connect with other youth who are focused on youth programming, and to be out on the water and eating great food,” they said.

“Events like this are really important to connect us together, to create a space where we feel safe, seen and heard, and to help create spaces for us to exist as ourselves.”