Kelowna youth making a difference with help of neighbourhood-enhancement grant

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WATCH ABOVE: The City of Kelowna’s Youth Development and Engagement Grant has been sparking several community initiatives led by local youth, such as the “free little pantry” project at a local women’s shelter. Community reporter Shay Galor reports – Dec 5, 2018

From garden box installations at a local retirement home to an evening of the arts showcasing student talent, youth across Kelowna are getting creative in bettering their community.

The projects are in collaboration with the City of Kelowna’s Youth Development and Engagement Grant, which provides up to $1,000 in a matching grant to support neighbourhood enhancement initiatives led by youth.

Anyone between the ages of 13 and 19 that is a resident of the City of Kelowna qualifies for the grant, and there is up to $5,000 to give away.

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Tanya Sletten is the community development coordinator at the City of Kelowna and says the program has been inspiring young men and women to think outside the box and make a difference.

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“We’ve had six projects since 2016 and each one has been unique,” Sletten said. “It’s a great opportunity for the student to get out in their neighbourhood and connect with people. It helps create that neighbourhood pride feeling.”

Another benefit for youth who participate is highlighting community work on college and university applications.

“It looks so good on a post-secondary application or resume to say you made these connections and networked with different community organizations,” said Sletten. “As well as really cool skills that you got to use and implement to develop some of these really innovative projects.”

Alyssa MacFarlane is a recent grant recipient who put the funds to good use with her “free little pantry” project at a local women’s shelter.

“My dad and I built it all by ourselves and it’s just to help the people who need it the most,” MacFarlane said about the wooden pantry that’s used to stock up on food and necessities for women at the shelter, which gets replenished every month or so. “I will take a bin and I’ll fill it with what they need and bring it down to them.”

MacFarlane says her creativity has been ignited and she would like to continue helping the community.

“It feels awesome. I love it,” MacFarlane said. “The amount of people who have said ‘good job’, it’s nice to hear and be a part of.”

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To apply for the Youth Development and Engagement Grant please visit the City of Kelowna’s website. The deadline for applications is January 20, 2019.

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