Youth United examines how Winnipeg youth are affected by the global pandemic

Youth United has been hard at work despite the pandemic

BYLINE: AMY FERNANDO

In January, as the pandemic continued to transform our city, Youth United members asked the question: “How is COVID-19 affecting Winnipeg’s youth?”

Over the last eight months, in collaboration with Health in Common, a Winnipeg planning and evaluation service, Youth United has created a report detailing the effects of the pandemic on our city’s young people. The report focuses on impacts to mental health and coping strategies, relationships, and social and community connections for young people aged 17 to 25.

Read the Report

To create the report, Youth United members conducted and transcribed interviews with service providers who worked with young people throughout the pandemic.

To help build young volunteer’s skills, interview training was conducted by Tammy Marlowe Johnson, United Way Winnipeg’s former Marketing and Communications Specialist.

“I really enjoyed my time with the Youth United group,” said Tammy about her experience.  “I’m passionate about effective communication and the power of curiosity, and so I was thrilled when the Youth United group expressed interest in learning the skill of interviewing.”

For Youth United members, like Khushee Patel, gaining interview skills helped her better understand the experiences of others.

She described interviewing as a means to gain “a valuable insight into how people have coped with this unprecedented situation.”

“I realized how resilient youth are in the city.”

To complement the report, Youth United members also created a video focused on what post-pandemic Winnipeg should look like for young people. The video, which was filmed over the last two months, includes interviews with service providers and Youth United volunteers.

Through the creation of the video, Youth United volunteer Tamika Reid got a better understanding of how young Winnipeggers have reacted to the pandemic.

“Working on the video I realized how resilient youth are in the city,” said Tamika. She recounted how youth have been able to connect with each other virtually and through “drive-by” celebrations.

In fact, despite being youth themselves, several Youth United members learned new things about how COVID-19 had affected their peers.

Youth United volunteer Eric Bao noted that youth experiences throughout the pandemic varied highly, especially when in relation to education and employment.

“If you listen to how youth in Winnipeg have been affected by COVID-19, you will never get the same answer twice,” said Eric. “Some students thrived in an online learning environment, while others fell behind – every student has a different story to tell.”

These findings, along with many others, are echoed in the Youth United COVID-19 Special Initiative Report.

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