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Yarmouth Area Community Fund part of effort to support youth-led projects

From left: Emma Cruddas, program co-ordinator with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, Stephanie Clark, the foundation’s interim CEO, Trish McCourt, active living co-ordinator with Yarmouth Recreation, and Mary Eldridge, co-chair of the Yarmouth Area Community Fund, during a June 4 visit to Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School to discuss the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge.
From left: Emma Cruddas, program co-ordinator with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, Stephanie Clark, the foundation’s interim CEO, Trish McCourt, active living co-ordinator with Yarmouth Recreation, and Mary Eldridge, co-chair of the Yarmouth Area Community Fund, during a June 4 visit to Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School to discuss the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge. - Eric Bourque

Young people in the Yarmouth area with ideas on how to address diverse and urgent priorities in their community may be able to get financial help putting those ideas to work through the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge, with $15,000 worth of grants available locally.

The funds will be distributed by the Yarmouth Area Community Fund, representatives of which visited Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School recently, along with reps from the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia.

The RBC Future Launch Community Challenge is billed as a chance for youth to lead, learn new skills, gain experience and build relationships in their communities, all things that can help prepare them for their work future.

Basically, the question to young people is: “What is your boldest idea for tackling a pressing local issue?” said Emma Cruddas, program co-ordinator with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia.

“We’re reaching out to youth so that they can create relationships with local organizations (and) come up with ideas to tackle some of those problems in the community or challenges that they would like to address.”

To be eligible, applicants must be local residents between 15 and 29 years of age.

Yarmouth is one of three areas in Nova Scotia each receiving $15,000 for this initiative, along with Lunenburg and Glace Bay.

Stephanie Clark, interim CEO of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, cited a reality facing many areas – the outmigration of youth – saying the Future Launch initiative might help encourage youth to stay, or maybe to come back, if they realize their efforts can have a positive impact.

“By empowering youth to get involved in shaping how the community looks and seeing challenges and starting to learn that they can have an effect in changing the outcomes of those challenges, (it) creates a really deep relationship for them with the community,” Clark said.

Even if young people leave home for a while, for education reasons perhaps, she says the hope is that the experience of having contributed to their community – and recognizing what small communities like theirs have to offer – will make them want to return.

She emphasized that the focus of this effort is on the communities where it is being offered.

“This is not a Halifax initiative by any way, shape or means,” Clark said. “Nor is it a Canadian initiative in the sense that this is coming from some other, bigger place. This was intended to be something that was focused on the smaller communities, in this case Yarmouth. That’s the resounding message here, because that’s what will create the passion from the youth to want to participate.”

The grant application period began May 22 and runs until Sept. 18. For more information on how to apply, contact info@cfns-fcne.ca Or contact Mary Eldridge (902-742-5585).

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