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Feathers of Hope

Feathers of Hope – Forum Structures

Feathers of Hope’s approach is youth driven and culturally anchored throughout the whole process. The First Nations youth forums that are hosted by the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth can be broken down into five main pillars: Inspire, Safety, Community, and Teach. The fifth pillar is Play, which is incorporated in all areas of our movement.

Inspire

Feathers of Hope aims to inspire First Nations young people to have hope, as well as to raise their voices in creating change for improvement in their lives and their communities.

Safety

Feathers of Hope aims to create a safe space for First Nations young people to connect to their experiences, each other, and community supports. It also aims to create a safe space for young people to advocate for change and to dream.

At the forums we provide wellness workers (professional mental health supports), elders (traditional supports), sacred medicines, opportunities to be active and play sports, etc. We want to offer as many ways as possible to surround young people with the things they need to be well.

Community

Feathers of Hope aims to build a community of young people who support one another to make change and improve lives. We aim to create a network of allies who are able to support young people as part of this community.

Learn

Feathers of Hope aims to create an environment where young people teach and learn from one another, they also teach all of the adults who are around them. In addition to the young people present, there are champions (experts in their own fields) that are brought in to teach and provide knowledge that youth are seeking.

Play

The fifth pillar, play, is seen as much more than just playing to Feathers of Hope. It is a big part of how we can deliver our process, with the key being able to blur the lines of play and work. Play is used to inspire, create safety, teach, and build community, as it’s interesting, engaging, and is an opportunity for young people to connect. We really wanted to break the cycle of forums, where young people may leave the first day because they did not connect to the topic, work, or the event. Throughout the forum, you witness a transformation of the young people. It is powerful and it is moving, but it would be nothing without the youth.

When young people are inspired, feel safe, belong to a trusting community, and have developed skill and knowledge, they become confident to advocate for themselves and others, as well as make changes to their environments.

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Samantha Crowe has been with the Ontario Child Advocate since 2012. Her role in the first five years at the office was a Youth Amplifier on the Feathers of Hope project. In 2017, Samantha became a Community Development Advisor. She is a proud Anishinaabe Kwe from Lake Helen First Nation, but resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Samantha has recently graduated from Lakehead University with an Honours Bachelor of Social Work Degree, with a Concentration of Indigenous Learning. When Samantha is not busy with school or work, she loves to be on the land, play hockey or baseball, spend time with friends and family, travel, and be creative in whatever way she can. She is passionate about young people in her work and everyday life because she believes that everyone should have equal opportunity to play, learn, and grow into the person they want to be.

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