By Prachi Shrestha,
Hira Haq, and Khizra Haq
The Youth Community Action Network, or YCAN for short, is a student-led project supported by the YMCA that is used to address a need in the community. Cohorts collaborate in meetings as well as work individually to plan, propose, and eventually create their project.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma students from Bedford Road Collegiate started this project with the YMCA during the 2019-20 school year as part of the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) component of our IB Diploma program.
Our cohort began with in-person meetings where we spent time researching issues in our community. Each of us then pitched our ideas through a series of presentations. After, our cohort voted on which needs we wanted to address and we settled with food insecurity and poverty within Saskatoon. We then started to envision a project.
With the sudden changes that COVID-19 brought, it required us to quickly adapt and change our previous plans to match the current needs of our society. After multiple meetings over Zoom, our cohort decided that care packages for people in need would be the most beneficial way to help our society during these trying times. We hoped to include items that would be useful alongside items that would provide moral support. Thus, we decided to equip the care packages with handmade sanitizers, handmade face masks, chocolate, socks, paper cranes, and cards.
We contacted E-GADZ, White Buffalo Youth Lodge, and Bedford Road to aid in the distribution of the care packages. The assembly process spanned a week, and afterwards we were ready to distribute! In total, we made 150 care packages. This experience taught us many practical skills like writing a formal email (which took us a couple tries), budgeting, and sticking to deadlines.
YCAN has not only given us an outlet to be creative, but it also brought together like-minded youth to create an impact. Even during this unprecedented crisis, YCAN really provided a space to be level headed and put our efforts towards something constructive.