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Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government is proud to follow through on its commitment to engage community experts and youth from across the province to provide their perspectives, insights and advice by naming members to the new Youth Leadership Council, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced today.

“It is important to hear from youth on their collective thoughts and visions for a brighter future and how we can plan to work together to make a positive impact for children and youth across Manitoba,” said Squires. “We will continue to work collaboratively with community partners to encourage an environment that supports all youth to live meaningful lives that enrich us all.”

The Youth Leadership Council was announced this summer and applications were accepted until the end of November. The council will engage community experts and youth from across the province to provide their perspectives, insights and advice on current and emerging issues for youth who access services offered by the Department of Families including those who:

  • are in the care of child and family services agencies,
  • live with disabilities,
  • live with families that receive Employment and Income Assistance,
  • live in Manitoba Housing, or
  • have experienced homelessness

The council’s work will include providing recommendations for government and community agencies on how to modernize and adapt the Department of Families programs and services. The council is co-chaired by Kerri Irvin-Ross, CEO of the Link.

“It is my honour to serve as co-chair on the Youth Leadership Council alongside Manitoba youth,” said Irvin-Ross. “To learn directly from youth about how to improve community supports while enhancing access and outcomes will contribute to building healthy communities where all people succeed in our province.”

The inaugural council members are:

  • Elder Billie Schibler, special adviser to the minister on issues related to Indigenous Peoples;
  • six youth members with lived experience;
  • community representative: Kelly Holmes, RAY;
  • community representative: Kimber Corthey, Momentum;
  • community representative: Levi Labelle, Canadian Mental Health Association;
  • community representative: Kalyn Falk, parent receiving disability services; and
  • community representative: Shanlee Scott, Ndinawe.

“The creation of communication pathways to high level government decision makers and making intentional space for the youth voice to be heard is key to optimal planning for them,” said Kelly Holmes, executive director, RAY. “I appreciate the invitation from Minister Squires to participate at this table.”

The Youth Leadership Council is part of ongoing efforts to invite young Manitobans to share their ideas directly with ministers and senior government leadership. Youth summits were held in Thompson earlier this fall, and in Winnipeg Dec. 13 and 14 to discuss important issues related to building healthy, modern, youth-friendly communities in the province. Participants included youth aged 15 to 29, and representatives from youth serving organizations.

Recommendations from the Youth Leadership Council and information from each youth summit will become part of a ‘What We Heard’ report and will help to inform department leadership on how to adapt programs and services for future generations to create healthy communities.

For more information on the Youth Leadership Council, visit www.gov.mb.ca/fs/youthcouncil.