#YouthBreakingBarriers goes global

United Way’s agency partner Youth Agencies Alliance (YAA) art show begins a global social media campaign to spread youth vision for a better world.

Youth gathered at Graffiti Gallery for the #YouthBreakingBarriers opening on Tuesday.

Youth gathered at Graffiti Gallery for the #YouthBreakingBarriers opening on Tuesday.

Malissa’s vision for a brighter future includes better mental health support for youth, and a ‘#StopSuicide’ hashtag is her way of sharing that hope.

“Because depression and stuff comes when you’re my age,” the 11-year-old said, adding that school bullying is an ongoing problem in her life.

Malissa was one of dozens of youth taking part in YAA’s #YouthBreakingBarriers art show – a youth-led initiative with a social media goal of engaging youth across the planet to share their wisdom and insight. The free show opened at Graffiti Gallery on Tuesday and runs until Friday, August 26.

Malissa, 11, added #StopSuicide to a #YouthBreakingBarriers hashtag sculpture, saying that depression can start in youth as young as her.

Malissa, 11, added #StopSuicide to a #YouthBreakingBarriers hashtag sculpture, saying that depression can start in youth as young as her.

Young people from YAA’s membership of 18 after-school and community youth agencies helped create about 150 hashtag cut-outs adorning the gallery’s walls. The art represents their vision for breaking barriers that contribute to negative outcomes in the world and for potential solutions.

Hashtags include #Listen2Youth, #SafeDrinkingWater, #CyberBullying, #StopRacism, #GetEducated, #DontRuinNature, and #StopInfluencingKidsToBecomeGangMembers.

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Over the next few days many of the artworks, which coin their own hashtags representing the issues they focus on, will be shared on Twitter at @y_b_barriers and Instagram at youthbreakingbarriers using the #YouthBreakingBarriers hashtag.

The young artist assigned #Bullying #PhysicalAppearance and #StandUpForYourFriends hashtags to this piece.

A young artist assigned #Bullying #PhysicalAppearance and #StandUpForYourFriends hashtags to this piece.

YAA hopes the #YouthBreakingBarriers hashtag goes viral so policy-makers are exposed to the vision and solutions offered by youth.

“We want youth to join the conversation with one another,” said Jen Coverini, program coordinator at YAA.

#MoreAffordableHousing

#MoreAffordableHousing

“But we also want a wider audience to see youth have valuable insight, and worthwhile input to give us to solve social issues.”

At the show opening Tuesday Jen told dozens of youth “we believe in you guys.”

Artists from Art City, Graffiti Art Programming, and the North End Arts Centre helped guide the youth to represent their barriers and solutions.

Two giant hashtag sculptures have also been covered with hashtag messages by youth. After the art show ends on Friday they will hit the road, Jen said, showing up at public spaces throughout Winnipeg over the next couple of months.

Two hashtag sculptures with hashtag messages by youth will be displayed around Winnipeg for the next couple of months.

Two hashtag sculptures with hashtag messages by youth will be displayed around Winnipeg for the next couple of months.

Jen said the campaign will be “ongoing and indefinite,” and has the potential to be much more than a social media hashtag.

“I believe if you address youth issues many adult issues will be taken care of.”

YAA has information on their website – www.youthagenciesalliance.com – for other agencies and groups that want to get involved or start their own #YouthBreakingBarriers initiative. They have also reached out to organizations in other cities inviting them to join in.

The show is open Wednesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Friday 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

#Homelessness #YouCanBeTheChange

#Homelessness #YouCanBeTheChange

#CulturalAppropriation #CultureNotCostume

#CulturalAppropriation #CultureNotCostume

#EqualLove

#EqualLove

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Youth Agencies Alliance uses art to get 140 young Winnipeggers thinking about their futures.

The question youth hear from adults all the time is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Why don’t we ever ask, “Who do you want to be?”

This year’s Youth Agencies Alliance Annual Art Show, called “When I Grow Up,” posed exactly that question. Through an innovative series of art workshops, Winnipeg youth discovered who they want to become; the types of characteristics they want to embody and how they will demonstrate those characteristics.

They thought about who they look up to, and what kind of city we would have if everyone tried to be their best.

YAA hosted a high-energy gallery opening at Graffiti Gallery to open the show, made possible in part by donations to United Way.

Kids from all over the city came to see their artwork up on the walls of a respected gallery, filling them with a sense of accomplishment and possibility.

Youth Agency Alliance art show.

A young person who attends the West Central Community Program plans to be the kind of person who gives blood when he grows up.

A young person who attends the West Central Community Program plans to be the kind of person who gives blood when he grows up.

Melanie Wight, Minister of Children & Youth Opportunities, was excited by the positive vision the artists had for Winnipeg’s future.

“I saw many pieces that said ‘respectful, generous, kind…’. I can’t tell you how important kindness is in this world.

It just makes me happy to see so many dreams, on the wall & living in people’s hearts.

I look forward to a future with people like you in it, working to make the world a better place.”

Youth Agency Alliance art show.

Select works from “When I Grow Up” will be shown in the Manitoba Legislature’s Keystone Gallery this fall.

The excited voices and smiles of the artists show how much it matters to encourage young talent, introspection, and a bigger view of our place in our communities.

This young person plans to help his fellow Winnipeggers when he grows up.

This young person plans to help his fellow Winnipeggers when he grows up.

YAA's annual art show.

This young person who attends Spence Neighbourhood Association programs says “I want to be a teacher because teachers have a big effect on the kids, and the kids have an effect on our future.”