SUBMITTED PHOTO Diana Charlie-Iraheta of Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nation, who is also part of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres’ Provincial Aboriginal Youth Council, the Unified Aboriginal Youth Collective, and the chair of her nation’s youth council, will attend the training in Winnipeg for the duration of this week.

Local Indigenous woman to represent region in week-long Hope Forum in Winnipeg

“This is an exciting opportunity to be trained as an Ambassador of Hope”

A local Indigenous youth was selected for the national Hope Forum in Winnipeg, Manitoba from May 27-31.

The forum is part of We Matter’s National Ambassadors of Hope program, which will be co-hosted by Facebook Canada. Diana Charlie-Iraheta of Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nation, who is also part of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres’ Provincial Aboriginal Youth Council, the Unified Aboriginal Youth Collective, and the chair of her nation’s youth council, will attend the training in Winnipeg for the duration of this week.

“This is an exciting opportunity to be trained as an Ambassador of Hope, alongside dozens of other Indigenous youth from across Canada – so we can all return home and spread hope, culture, and strength with other youth,” Charlie-Iraheta said. She left on May 26 to attend the program at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House in Winnipeg.

“Being apart of these councils and collective it gave me a purpose to live, and have hope for a better future,” Charlie-Iraheta, 19, also said. “Having this amazing opportunity to attend this year’s National Ambassadors of Hope forum is such an honour. I’m excited to make new connections with my fellow Indigenous youth across Canada, learning new skills and gaining new tools to help me grow as a leader in our community.”

The program is aimed to equip Indigenous youth leaders to promote hope, culture and strength across Indigenous communities in Canada, according to a press release. There are at least 10 other youth across Canada who will attend the program.

Charlie-Iraheta mentioned she looks forward to attending the forum and bringing back knowledge to her community. “There’s two youth from each province and territory that will be attending this,” she continued, “one thing I am expecting is to meet new people, new connections and building that network that I will need to go further in my youth leadership.”

“I just really hope that I can bring the hope back to our youth at home,” she mentioned of those who may be struggling with issues relating to alcohol and drugs. “It hurts my heart to see them, but I’m very grateful for my support. I do feel for them and I want a better future for all of us and the generations to come.”

We Matter is a national Indigenous youth-led organization dedicated to Indigenous youth support, hope and life promotion. Their mission is to communicate to Indigenous youth that they matter, and create spaces of support for those going through a hard time while fostering unity and resiliency.

“We believe Indigenous youth are healers and changemakers,” said Tunchai Redvers, co-founder of We Matter. Tunchai and her brother, Kelvin Redvers, launched We Matter in 2016 to give Indigenous youth a platform and community to encourage hope and overcome feelings of isolation, according to a press release. “National Ambassadors of Hope program is the next step in creating a national support system for youth by building their capacity to develop hope and resilience in their communities.”

– Thomas Kervin article

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