To celebrate the high school graduation of Aboriginal youth in our program, USAY has raised funds to take them on an international trip to Mexico for a marine conservation volunteer experience.
The Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY) is a charitable organization that works with urban Aboriginal youth in the City of Calgary to overcome their barriers and to be successful in school and graduate. Since 2010, USAY has operated several in-school programs, which have resulted in a 92% high school completion rate among those we serve.
The youth that will be going on this trip are those that have been engaged for over four years and have experienced hugely successful outcomes including their graduation from high school, enrolment in post-secondary and entry into the workforce. USAY would like to honour their successes by allowing them to have a meaningful and educational trip to Mexico.
The mission of this international trip is to increase our youth’s cultural understanding and awareness of global issues as well as to equip them with the knowledge and ability to further contribute towards key local issues in other Indigenous, areas while obtaining critical Canadian Aboriginal identity. USAY will join forces with an international team of volunteers through Global Vision International (GVI) located in the Yucatan. We will learn to monitor the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, contribute to the long-term record of coral and fish species abundance, as well as the long-term survival of the reef.
We will also bring along a local Calgary Elder, who will provide critical Canadian Aboriginal identity for the youth. In the evenings, youth will participate in traditional storytelling and a variety of activities that link this experience to their identities here in the city, and then the whole experience will culminate in a Naming Ceremony. This is critical piece for Aboriginal Peoples as we carry this name with us as part of our identity and spiritual selves throughout the rest of our lives.
USAY has confidence that by taking our youth out of their comfort zone, by challenging them and allowing them to explore, meet people, work as a team and experience a different culture we can enhance their education and understanding while providing a reward for their successes.
WHAT WE YOUR HELP WITH: USAY has raised the funds for this international learning experience, including meals, accommodations and staff time. However, many of the youth live in low income or poverty situations in which additional supports are needed to make this a memorable experience.
USAY is asking for support for the following:
- Flights from Calgary to Mexico
- Luggage (they are first time travellers)
- Snorkelling Equipment
- Shorts, swimwear, sun protection, etc.
- Passport and identification costs
Our fear is that by not providing these items youth will feel stigmatized and not attend the trip for fear they will seem like outsiders. We hope you can help us raise the funds we need to provide the best possible experience for these youth that have worked so hard in overcoming their barriers.