That desire to pull together is the spirit the YAA, formerly the Coalition of Youth-Based Serving Agencies. The YAA is made up of 19 non-profit after school and community services agencies, all with a common goal: improving the lives of marginalized youth in Winnipeg. Eighteen of those agencies are also supported by United Way.
Each has their own unique way of helping kids be all they can be. Art City encourages youth to express themselves through art. Kildonan Youth Activity Centre builds teamwork through sports. “There’s a real variety,” says Goluch. “And it allows a lot of the smaller agencies to have access to information and resources they might not otherwise. As a large group, our voice is stronger.”
And those conversations have also led to some amazing joint projects, like their annual Art Show.
Every year, youth from all YAA members get to attend a series of art-based workshops and get creative. One year, they learned to tell stories with digital cameras. Another year they made full-body casts of community leaders that were papier-mached with images from around the city and displayed at Central Park. The artists took visitors on a tour of the art themselves, and took great pride in seeing their creation on display for the city to share in.
“From each of our collective experiences, we’re learning from each other” says Goluch. “Everyone is so supportive of each other, it’s amazing to see.”