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YMCA lands $10K grant to support Uplift Black Youth Project

'I am committed to keep the support and conversation moving,' says community activist Shelly Skinner
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From left, Shelly Skinner (Making Change/Uplift Black Youth), Brian Shelley (YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka), Courtney Peters (Uplift Black Youth), Stephanie Gourlie (Making Change). Photo provided by the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka. Image supplied

NEWS RELEASE
YMCA OF SIMCOE MUSKOKA
MAKING CHANGE
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The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka and Making Change have come together to support the Uplift Black Youth Project, a grassroots community initiative that is connecting local Black youth across Simcoe County with care packages over the summer.

“One of the biggest calls to action during the Black Lives Matter movement is allyship," said community activist Shelly Skinner in a prepared statement. "While our Black youth isolated at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, headlines across the globe highlighted that anti-Black racism was systematically oppressing Canada’s Black community with a focus on the question do Black Lives even matter?

"As a mother of Black children, this resonated with me and as a community advocate, I wanted to remind the youth at home, that yes, their lives do matter and the community and their neighbours agrees.” said Skinner. 

“Our community allies have stepped up to support this movement and have created a better together approach to change. I’m humbled by the support Uplift Black - Youth Project has received from community partners Making Change and YMCA and by the community as a whole. I am committed to keep the support and conversation moving.”

Speaking on behalf of Making Change, Stephanie Gourlie added, “With no community outreach programs serving the emergency needs of our Black youth, we knew we needed to find ways to support the Uplift Black Youth project. Thanks to both our ongoing relationship with the YMCA and the Barrie Community Foundation Emergency Grant, together we will be able to provide Black youth with care packages from their neighbours and community allies through this project.”

The Barrie Community Foundation announced this week that it will grant $10,000 to the YMCA to work with Making Change to administrate the project.

“Our strategic plan prioritizes strengthening families and inspiring youth to reach their full potential – given the current climate for change and the events of the past few months, we believe that this partnership is an impactful way that we can put the words of our strategic plan and our core values into action.” said Brian Shelley, speaking on behalf of the YMCA. “We appreciate that Barrie Community Foundation for their financial support of this important community initiative.”

Families with school-aged (JK-12) Black youth may register on the Making Change website confidential form. Along with basic personal information, the form asks for the school grade and interests of each Black youth, to better tailor the care packages.

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