THUNDER BAY – People were lining up out the door for Indian tacos and bannock burgers, which were on the menu for a fundraiser in a Thunder Bay neighbourhood.
On Saturday, the Vale/Limbrick Community Action Group hosted a barbeque to raise money for an upcoming talent show next week, as well programming for the newly formed Youth Council, and an upcoming powwow in memory of Otis Perkins, who was killed in the area last year.
Amy Manning, president of the steering committee for the Vale/Limbrick Community Action Group, said a stage needs to be built for the upcoming talent show and some materials have already been donated by several local businesses.
“We were asking other lumber stores for donations of lumber, but we haven’t got any confirmation yet, so we figured we raise the money and buy the lumber,” Manning said.
The stage will be constructed by community members and youth, providing them with valuable skills to add to their resumes. The talent show will feature four judges including hip-hop artists J-Mackie and Ronald Li, comedian Todd Genno, and filmmaker Jack Belhumeur. Those who enter will have a chance to win $200 for first place.
While the top prize will be enticing for those entering, according to Manning, the money the talent show raises will provide a lot of opportunities for the neighbourhood.
“The proceeds from that fundraiser will go toward all our programming, like the youth council and everything we are doing here,” Manning said. “And a percentage of the proceeds will be going toward the Otis Perkins Memorial Powwow.”
The Vale/Community Action Group formed late last year as a way of providing programming for youth in the neighbourhood and create a greater sense of community. The idea was started from a conversation Manning had with Perkins before he died and how they could make the neighbourhood a better place for everyone.
A recent addition to the community action group is the Youth Council, which plans their own fundraisers and runs a youth empowerment program.
“The whole objective with that is to teach them how to fundraise and be able to do something on their own, to set it up totally and feel accomplishment when they reach their goal,” Manning said. “And it will teach them money skills because they will be managing all aspects of it.”
The Youth Council and youth empowerment program are working on various community programs, including an anti-littering campaign in the neighbourhood, as well as fundraising for a trip to Toronto.
Destiny Linklater joined the Youth Council because she wanted to make a difference in her neighbourhood.
“I really like bringing the community together,” she said. “I’ve lived here for the past six years and a lot has changed in the last six months. Before it was pretty bad, but everyone is starting to come together and be more of a community.”
“It makes me happy seeing everyone else happy,” Linklater added.
Manning said she has seen change in the neighbourhood, but admits progress is a little slow. But more youth are getting involved, which for Manning, is a huge success.
“The youth are our future,” Manning said. “To develop properly, they need their community, they need to be part of a community. They need to be influenced by many positive adults and not just hanging around with their own age group. I think that’s why it’s important for people my age to work with the teenagers and even older people to connect with them as well.”
The Vale/Limbrick Talent Show will be held Saturday, Mar. 25 at the Vale Community Centre from 5 to 8 p.m. Registration for contestants costs $10. For more information on registration or how to donate, visit the Vale/Limbrick Community Action Group Facebook page or call 577-3887.