A trio of high school students are organizing a Youth 4 Justice Walk in Fergus on April 24.
The initiative encourages the community to come together and raise awareness on mental health, climate change and other issues.
Abby Graham is one of the organizers and a Grade 12 student at Centre Wellington District High School.
She said these issues will have an impact ahead of the municipal and provincial elections later this year.
“I think it’s one thing for adults to advocate for change for youth, but it’s another thing when it’s coming directly from youth, and not just from one youth but from tons of youth demanding that more attention be spread on these issues,” she said.
The walk is being organized by Graham, along with fellow Grade 12 student Kyla Perry and Grade 10 student Avaline Booth.
It’s being organized by local youth who are frustrated at the lack of understanding around the pressures and barriers they face, and who say they have been taken advantage of by previous generations.
“We are organizing this event to show youth they have a voice, that their opinions are valued,” Booth said.
Graham said the event will also be used to encourage youth to register to vote for the upcoming provincial and municipal elections.
Perry said youth voices need to be heard and one of the best ways to show how committed they are to change is by voting.
Graham added there are other ways to make an impact even if you can’t vote.
“One of the simplest ways is simply reaching out. Reach out to local politicians and say, ‘Hey, I’m worried about this. What are your policies going to be around this?'” she said.
Graham said another way to get involved is to join various organizations in the community.
She said the overall message they want participants to take away from this event is that youth voices are important and able to create change.
“Yes they’re passionate about these issues but how can they get involved and how can they create change in their community?” she said.
“So the whole point of the march is to inspire youth to continue to create change and know that their voice is powerful and they deserve to have a voice in this community.”
The initiative is at 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Melville United Church. People will first hear from a variety of speakers before they walk through downtown Fergus.