Hello, my name is Ike. I am a Program Manager with Canada Bridges. I have been in my role now for six years and have the privilege of seeing the Bridges’ story emerge and develop. As we come out of the pandemic and back to societal normalcy, we have also hit a pivotal point in our direction as an organization. Our story has shifted as we attempt to process the social changes that we all witnessed while being confined to our homes. During this time, we realized that we needed to take a deeper look at our approach to ensure that the changes we saw in society were being reflected and implemented in a mindful way.
We were very comfortable with the suite of facilitation tools we call Unveiling Youth Potential (UYP), which we have been using since I started with Bridges. UYP is based on three core pillars: wisdom stories, change leadership, and social entrepreneurship. It is a set of tools that each team member facilitates in their own way, with their own style and creative flair. The trouble was that we had not taken a deeper look at the material to see if it was still relevant to our work or to see if there were elements embedded in the materials that were unintentionally harmful. As a team, we determined that it was time for a re-development. We had three objectives; first, we wanted to do an audit of the materials and theories that UYP is based on to ensure that they are still relevant and not triggering. Second, we wanted to test to see if UYP was universal enough to be used in new communities. Lastly, we determined that it would be useful to make the material more accessible by creating an online platform.
I am happy to announce that we have made significant progress with our last goal. The wisdom stories portion of the UYP has an online training course that we are now piloting. It is exciting to think that wisdom stories will soon be accessible to young leaders worldwide. Looking back on the process we went through to get to this point, I can remember the ups and downs and the frustration that we felt as a team. It sometimes felt like things were not moving along as quickly as they needed to be. I am proud of how we kept going and with each step we completed we gained confidence. We took UYP to a new community and saw that the youth responded well to it. We took a deep look at the material and felt good about how we had updated the language around it. Now that the wisdom stories portion of the UYP materials is online, we have clarity on where we are going and how to build online material for the other portions of UYP, change leadership and social entrepreneurship.
We are now in an exciting position of piloting wisdom stories to a group of young leaders, and it feels like we are positioned to have more community-facing initiatives. We have the sense that our horizons have broadened, and we are eager to keep writing our story as an organization.