Youth For Inclusion. Alberta's Young Generation Advocate for change. April 17, 2021. A part of the 2021 Virtual Inclusion Alberta Family Conference. Space is limited so please register early at inclusionalberta.org

Youth for Inclusion: Alberta’s Young Generation Advocates for Change

April 12, 2021

Youth for Inclusion is an initiative by Inclusion Alberta to bring together youth aged 16-22 years old, with and without disabilities, who are interested in the inclusion movement, social justice, action and advocacy. The group meets monthly (virtually, of course!), and comes together each fall for the annual Youth Conference and in the spring for a workshop at the Family Conference. Connect with them here on Facebook!

The virtual Youth for Inclusion Family Conference session takes place Saturday, April 17th, 2021 from 10am-3pm, and is a good place for those interested get a sense of what Youth for Inclusion is all about. Cost for the session is $20, and lunch will be provided. Learn more and purchase tickets here.

The Youth Leaders of Youth for Inclusion have come together to describe what the group means to them, and why they feel it is important for Alberta’s younger generations to come together to advocate for change.

Krista Ly – Youth Facilitator, Youth for Inclusion

Krista poses in front of a railing, with a mountain peak backdrop at sunsetKrista Ly is a Youth Facilitator for the Youth for Inclusion Initiative and an Educational Facilitator for Inclusive-Post Secondary Education. Krista has worked as an Educational Assistant supporting students with disabilities at an elementary school in Southwestern, Ontario. She is deeply passionate about assisting children and youth with developmental disabilities to live meaningful inclusive lives and is proud to be a part of a movement that advocates for social change for more inclusive communities.

The Youth for Inclusion initiative is a safe space for youth with and without disabilities to come together and work towards making the world a more inclusive place for people with developmental disabilities. Having youth participate in the inclusion movement is important because they have a unique perspective on social issues and often are not given the opportunity to speak out against the injustices they witness. Youth are invaluable, powerful, and deserve a voice.

At Youth for Inclusion, we encourage and empower youth to make change through conversations, workshops, and action planning. Empowering youth to participate and take an active part in advocacy can play a crucial role when pushing for inclusion in their communities and around the province. This movement provides opportunities for youth leaders to create and implement community projects which advocate for inclusion in their local communities. Activism presents youth with an opportunity to connect and collaborate with other like-minded youth from diverse backgrounds who share a passion for inclusion and social change.

Madalyn Mandziuk – Youth Leader, Youth for Inclusion 

Madalyn poses in front of a forest with a dog. She is crouched down with her arms around the dog.

I am a 3rd year student at the University of Alberta working on a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in History and Anthropology. I am also working on a certificate in community service learning. I am a passionate advocate working in the social services field and aspire to work in law in the future to advocate for individuals with disabilities and children and youth.

In order for full inclusion to be achieved, everyone must be involved and incorporate inclusion into their lives. Collaboration in itself is a practice in inclusion. Some of my most impactful experiences have been working with other like-minded youth and brainstorming ideas for inclusion within our communities.

Youth are the future. Youth must spearhead the responsibility to create an inclusive future where everyone is included and has equal opportunity. Everyone has something important to offer, and by including individuals with disabilities we create a world in which equality is achievable and we appreciate and accept our differences.

Tanaka Nemutambwe – Youth Leader, Youth for Inclusion

Takana poses agains a white wall, wearing black pants and a green shirt that says 'vans'. She is smiling.Hi, my name is Tanaka. I’m 16 and I currently go to McNally High School in Edmonton. I love occupying my time with reading books, dancing, cooking and helping my community. One of my biggest passions is to give back to society in any way by showing kindness and helping people, young and old, in any way I can.  

I think it’s extremely important for all youth to participate in the inclusion movement not only to help each other but also to educate ourselves on different perspectives and ways of life, allowing ourselves to step out of our comfort zone and socialize with others. I feel like the pandemic has taken away that sort of innocence of just talking to people and we have begun to lose that social touch. At every monthly Youth for Inclusion meeting we have, the brainstorming and sharing of ideas have really struck me. I feel very appreciative that I get to collaborate and share creativity with such amazing people. I love how we encourage ourselves to think bigger, dream bigger and to not only think of ourselves but for others. The sense of selflessness is really inspiring.

It is important for youth to be a part of activism for the better of our world. Our voices can create such an impact, whether it’s marching alongside one and another or spreading awareness on social media or throughout the school. We are constantly told the future generation has so much power to make things better, and it’s true. If we choose to speak up and actively support things we believe in, the world will truly see a change. Working together and creating a strong community of like-minded people who believe in change really encourages others. It’s important for those with developmental disabilities to feel included and not treated any differently from anyone at all, and it is my job as an ally to advocate for change and equal opportunity.

Learn more about the Youth for Inclusion Workshop happening at the 2021 Virtual Inclusion Alberta Family Conference April 17th.