Our Young Leader of the Month of February is Tricia

Shalome and Kalista met up with Tricia out in Mini Thni (also known as Morley) at the Subway. Tricia is an active leader in her community and has been connected to Canada Bridges for a few years now, including participation in our mentorship program since Fall 2017. Read more about Tricia and her experiences below.

 Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

 Hello, my name is Tricia Young. I am part of the Stoney Nakoda Nation. I am also part of the Nakoda Youth Council – one of the founders of the council – and I have voluntarily worked in my community since I was sixteen.

How did you get involved with Canada Bridges?

 Alyssa and Sarah – I met them at one of the hangouts we used to have out here in Morley a few years ago and Cathy introduced us and from there that’s where I met Canada Bridges and then I met Jenn and Kristin. That is how I got involved.

How did you end up joining the mentorship program?

 With the mentorship program Sarah just invited me to one of the meetings they had at her house and then from there Jenn assigned me to my mentor, Michelle, because I had recently just moved into Calgary and so that’s why Sarah invited me.

What has it been like getting to know your mentor, Michelle?

 I thought it was going to be kind of complicated because you’re meeting a new person – oh, what is this person like – but then we just clicked right away. It’s kind of what Jenn said, our personalities matched, and now I understand why she matched us because we talk about anything and we’re not too shy to say stuff to each other. We talk about so many things and she helps me with a lot. She was really pushing me to go to school so she was really great at that.

What’s your favourite part of the mentorship program?

 Some of the trainings and one of them was an employment session we had out in Calgary and also the fun outings.

Is it what you were hoping would happen when you started with the program?

 It was kind of what I expected because you guys ask us questions like about what we need help on, what should we do, and what should we work on. And one of them, the one I was really hoping for, and we got, was the employment workshop, because I noticed everyone was trying to get jobs and they didn’t know where to start. The other is the trainings that you guys have coming up, one about self-care – I want to go to that because I have to learn that all again.

So you said that you’re voluntarily working in your community. What are you working on?

 So, what I usually do is check in on the hangouts that happen here, see if they need any help, voluntarily see if some of the kids are misbehaving or stuff like that, I pop by see what’s going on. And the other one is at the school – they have that school council going on. They meet monthly or biweekly and they talk about holidays, fundraising for grad, stuff like that but the last time I checked in on them was before I had my baby so I’m not too sure where they’re now. The other one is I just check in with the kids around that I see. That’s what I do right now.

That’s so awesome!

 It’s kind of hard, but I have to check on them because I notice some of them are kind of going off on the wrong road and need someone to talk to so I just message them saying, “How are you?” and go from there.

Now I’m curious, because a lot of people wouldn’t work for free. What motivates you to do all this?

 It started from my late grandfather. He worked in the community for the youth. He did anything for the youth – the main thing was hockey. Clayton Lefthand was his name – he was known big for helping out the kids out here and from there that’s how that passion started coming and that carried on to my dad and then I started seeing him become a youth worker, doing all these programs. And I’m like oh, it looks so fun. And from there I didn’t mind working voluntarily. My mom would push me. She’d be like, “Go, you can’t keep staying home all the time.” I wanted to cry sometimes but I was like “No, you’re right.” And now I know so many people – the majority of these people here.

What’s one thing you’ve learned from becoming involved in your community?

 Patience and understanding because everyone have different perspectives on things and it takes time for them to be comfortable.

What are some of your goals for the future. Obviously, there’s lots of things that you’re working on now, what are some of the things you’re looking forward to?

 One of my goals is still to go back to school and do the Child and Youth Care Counselor because I don’t think there’s one going on here in Morley. That’s kind of my main goal because even if it’s voluntarily, I’ll still do it out in the community because things don’t come for free sometimes – some of the money comes out of our own pockets sometimes. What I’m really focusing on is older youth because the majority of them are high risk. That’s one of my goals. Right now I also want to go to school for social media web marketing – only to expand the youth council’s reach. So far we have connections – one of them are Navajo and they reached out to us.

Really? That’s cool!

 Yeah they said they heard about the Youth Council and I was like, “What?! No way!”

What words of wisdom would you want to impart to other youth?

 To just go for it because life isn’t going to wait for you. You’re just going to have to go out in the world and shine, basically. That’s what my mom always said, she was like, “Okay, go shine!”

We want to acknowledge Tricia for being so dedicated and supportive to the youth in her community. She is always a wonderful person to have at any of our programming – we are thankful that she was introduced to our staff and that we have gotten to build a friendship with her! We know she will continue to do great things.