The Rainbow Coalition in Yellowknife is looking for the input of young people in creating a new program for LGBTQ2S+ youth in the NWT.
The program in question is a new mentorship initiative to connect local LGBTQ2S+ youth with older members of the community, who will act as mentors and offer advice, comfort, and friendship.
Megan Bateman is currently working with the coalition to coordinate the program. She told Cabin Radio the program aims to foster meaningful connections and take away feelings of isolation.
“We’re hoping mainly to have [a] great intergenerational dialogue between people across the North, where two youth can learn leadership skills, emotional development skills, cultural development, those types of things,” Bateman said.
Chelsea Thacker, the executive director of the coalition, said mentors can act as local role models, helping young people envision a future for themselves in the NWT.
“We lose a lot of youth to the south because they don’t feel [the North is] safe for them,” Thacker said. “And they don’t have [physical] representations of adult LGBTQ2S+ people in their communities.
“And so it’s hard to picture yourself as an adult there, in that space and being out, and being part of the community, and also being a contributing member to your community.”
To help develop the program, the coalition is creating a youth advisory board for people aged 12-29, who will act as a steering committee for the entire project. In consultation with coalition staff, the youth will work to develop the program’s priorities and goals as well as select the mentors and mentees.
There are 10 spots available on the board, and young people of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
While no previous board or committee experience is required, Bateman said the organization is looking for people with leadership skills and a commitment to the project.
“We’re hoping that those people are youth who will inspire other youth and adults in the community to be involved, communicate clearly and respectfully, and be able to get along with other people on the board,” she said.
Those who are interested are encouraged to go to the Rainbow Coalition’s Facebook page to fill out the application. The deadline to apply is August 15.