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United Way NWT rolled out a slate of new funding support for almost two dozen NWT organizations in a Monday announcement.

Several organizations will be receiving up to $7,500, while two will be receiving double that amount for three years.

The organizations getting $15,000 per year for three years is Mackenzie Recreation Association, in its first year of funding and Yellowknife Women’s Society, which is receiving funding for its second year under the program.

Participants in the 2019 Summer Teen Program, one of the beneficiaries of the United Way funding, compete in a tug-of-war during a traditional games workshop.
Photo Courtesy of Daron Letts

Youth programming looks to be one of the key beneficiaries under the new funding.

Daron Letts, spokesperson for Inclusion NWT (formerly Yellowknife Association for Community Living),  said the new $7,500 funding will go into teen program Yay Fusion! Teen program, particularly its summer activities

The program’s activities are open to youth aged 13 to 18, living with or without a disability, and emphasizes new experiences. That can include visiting horses at the stable, scaling the city’s climbing wall, or touring airport hangers and playing various sports.

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The money will help cover costs like hiring special trainers to guide youth through yoga and dance classes, in addition to some light refreshments.

“It basically means we run the programs seamlessly for the teens and provide them with lots of challenging activities,” he said. “And we don’t have to worry about some of the fundraising behind the scenes that takes up energy.”

Letts advised residents to keep their eyes peeled for new events from the program in April, after it returns from spring hiatus this month.

“People should check it out,” he said. “There might be a young person in their life that might enjoy helping out once a month or twice a month.

Patricia Davidson, executive director of Children’s First Society in Inuvik, said the money would support outreach and recreation work, like a gym drop-in program.

That includes offering up gym space to any child accompanied by an adult. Under the program children are able to play in the gym from 10 a.m. until noon.

“It’s important for young children in the community to be active,” she said. “When it’s cold, when there’s so many bugs outside, that can be really difficult. Houses don’t tend to be large and have lots space for running around and climbing.”

The program will be open throughout the year, she said.

Marie Auger, office manager at Ecology North, was excited to role out the new funding to support the organization’s youth-oriented funding.

Ecology North’s portion of the new funds will go toward gardening in schools. Under the program, which tracks with the Grade 3 gardening curriculum, students learn to tend soil and build rice beds.

“It helps with teaching healthy habits and local food production,” she said. “Experienced-based learning, in my opinion, is really valuable and may not be very prevalent in schools.”

The organizations receiving up to $7,500 are:

  • CDENTO
  • Children’s First Society
  • Dene Nahjo
  • Ecology North
  • Food First
  • Food Rescue
  • Fort Smith Cooperative Nursery School
  • Foster Family Coalition
  • Hay River Family Support Centre
  • Hay River Soup Kitchen
  • Inclusion NWT
  • Inuvik Food Bank
  • Inuvik Homeless Shelter,
  • Inuvik Youth Centre
  • NWT Literacy Council Rainbow Coalition of Yellokwnife
  • Side Door Ministries
  • Yellowknife Farmers Market
  • Yellowknife Young Parents Program
  • YK Seniors Society
  • YWCA NWT
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