Through the Passion to Purpose $750 dollars grant, I was able to create “My Empowerment (ME) Packs” for youth facing homelessness in my community. Each “ME Pack contains” a backpack consisting of a blanket, granola bars, reusable water bottle, socks, hygiene kits (ex. Deodorant, shampoo, body wash etc.), band-aids, combs, and a “My Empowerment (ME) Resource Booklet” (A comprehensive resource booklet created by myself and a team of youth, and consists of a variety of resources homeless youth in the Ottawa region have access to). A copy of the resource booklet has been sent along with this report. Each “My Empowerment (ME) Pack” cost $50 to create, and in total fifteen “My Empowerment (ME) Packs” were created. The fifteen “My Empowerment Packs” were donated to the Youth Services Bureau, the largest and most comprehensive non-profit organization serving homeless youth in the Ottawa community.
To involve youth in the service project, high school students in the community were recruited and asked to provide their opinions of what should be included in the “Me Empowerment Resource Booklet”. Two high school students also accompanied me to deliver the “My Empowerment Packs” at the youth shelter.
In total, 30 individuals were engaged in the project including the staff at the Youth Shelter, the recipients of the “Me Empowerment Packs”, and the youths who helped create the “Me Empowerment Packs” and “My Empowerment Resource Booklets”.
The target audience for the project was vulnerable, at-risk youth who were facing homelessness. The “My Empowerment Packs”, filled with needed supplies, were distributed to young people at the Youth Services Bureau downtown Drop-In Centre. The YSB Drop-In Centre provides critical programming and services to homeless, street-involved and high-risk youth in Ottawa.
I have experienced numerous accomplishment highlights through the creation of “My Empowerment (ME) Packs.” Firstly, this was the first project that I not only envisioned, but constructed a grant proposal, and received significant funding for. Moreover, personally distributing the wellness kits and witnessing first-hand the joy it brought its new owners was a remarkable and touching experience. Furthermore, having non-profit organizations, schools, and community centres ask for the youth-specific local resource booklet allowed me to envision the large-scale impact this project can have on youth across the city. Founding and creating the “My Empowerment Packs” has led me to receive the 2019 Diana Award, the most prestigious accolade a young person can receive for their social action or humanitarian work. The success of the “My Empowerment Packs” has led me to begin creating a similar initiative which will provide wellness kits to individuals residing in domestic violence shelters.