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RBC youth committee looking for input around diversity issues


Emily Gubjartson and Natasha Nepinak are the face of RBC’s youth initiative in Dauphin.
Part of the Dauphin and District Community Foundation, the RBC Youth Committee recently received a $15,000 grant for the area and are looking for input from the community.
“We’re hoping to have a series of catalyst events, so we’re kind of thinking about maybe an art event and a music event, around the topic of diversity,” Gubjartson said, explaining a catalyst event is to make an impact and not be a one-off event.
The group has planned a community event for Jan. 11, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Watson Art Centre.
“We’re hoping to get a whole bunch of youth and community members, it doesn’t have to be just youth,” Gubjartson said, adding there will be a facilitator to help with the discussion on issues of diversity.
“And we’re hoping to use that day to help us come up with our projects for what the community feels it needs.”
There are over 50 different cultural backgrounds in Dauphin, she said, and in early planning, the RBC Youth Committee felt Dauphin lacked a connection between cultures.
“We realized there’s lots of separation around that subject. So we thought we should incorporate that into the project,” Gubjartson said, adding the project is called Building Belonging.
Everyone is welcome, Nepinak said, noting there will be an open mic session, where people who live in Dauphin can talk about their own experiences with diversity and what made them stay in the community.
“We want youth to participate in the project. We need to gain their attention and ideas first, using social media,” Nepinak said, adding a survey will be created, to target students from Assiniboine Community College, Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School (DRCSS) and community youth from the ages of 20 to 29.
The RBC Youth Committee is also considering hosting an art project, Nepinak said, to explore diversity and include indigenous people, possibly people of different religions and newcomers.
“We want to encourage ongoing dialog and discussion, to encourage and embrace cultural diversity,” she said.
“We will allow the attendees to define diversity, but we’re hoping that they will focus on culture.”
At the end of the event, the RBC Youth Committee hopes attendees will have identified a direction and people will be willing to take on some of the tasks identified.
To save time, Nepinak added, the RBC Youth Committee will develop a list of activities currently in Dauphin, such as the Tapestry event, West Region 2 and 4 events, the annual square dance jamboree, plus the activities of international students in DRCSS.
“The hope is that we get people in the community talking,” Nepinak added.
For more information, contact Gubjartson at emarja14@hotmail.com, or Nepinak at tneeps@hotmail.com.