THUNDER BAY -- Victoria Erickson and Tim Holinger say trying to decide which organizations to split a $10,000 bequest with is not an easy decision.
The duo, co-chairs of the United Way of Thunder Bay’s Youth Granting Committee, said they thought long and hard about the applicants to the Youth 4 Community grants before settling on the Community Arts and Heritage Project’s emPOWERed Media Arts project and Magnus Theatre’s Stop Cyber Bullying project.
“Obviously all of these organizations, they’re here for youth, they’re here to help and it’s a difficult decision to make. But at the end of the day we narrowed it down to what we thought was the best choice.”
Erickson said Magnus Theatre’s anti-bullying project is timely. Add in youth suicide rates and anything that can be done to prevent the problem in schools and on playgrounds can only be a good thing.
Involving children in arts projects is another great venture, Hollinger offered.
“Basically they just really wanted to expand and reach out to youth in our community. We thought their success in the past was remarkable, so we thought it was a good decision to add on to it,” said Hollinger, the 17-year-old student council president at Hammarskjold High School.
Alana Forslud, CAHEP’s executive director said the money will be put to great use, encouraging youth work in video, photography, animation and digital music making, all through the use of portable equipment.
That makes it accessible to youngsters in all four corners of Thunder Bay.
“We bring things right to them in their neighbourhoods and it’s all provided free of cost.”
The group has partnered with community organizations such as the Evergreen and United Neighbourhood and the Simpson-Ogden Neighbourhood, among others, to provide the program.
“We’re absolutely thrilled, and we’re even more thrilled that the idea came from a lot of the youth that we work with,” Forslund said.
In the past decade, the United Way High School Challenge has raised more than $60,000 for the Youth 4 Community Program.