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Green leader supports his community with a food drive

June 18, 2021

Photo of Gage in a hard hat and vest

Gage Young wanted to help his community in any way he could during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was inspired to create a food drive,” he said. “My strategy was to use my passion and put it to work!”

To raise awareness of his food drive, Young created flyers, used social media, and advertised on the radio. For every food donation made, Young matched it to double the impact.

The member of the Chemawawin Cree Nation organized the food drive as part of Project Learning Tree Canada’s (PLT Canada) Green Leaders Program. He also partnered with Nelson McIntyre Collegiate and Manitoba Harvest to support his project.

Young was successful in his food drive, receiving donations totalling around $300 in value, which he matched with his PLT Canada funds.

Building skills

Through his PLT Canada Green Leaders project, Young said he improved his soft skills.

“I built my ability to recognize what I’m capable of doing if I put my mind to it,” he said. “I have a strong work ethic, enjoy learning new things, and meeting new people. I’m very grateful I got to be a part of this wonderful program!”

PLT Canada’s Green Leaders Program involved mentorship, skill development, and community action. The green leaders, Indigenous youth aged 15–25, planned and implemented a green community-based project which could be an event, campaign, or another initiative of their choice. Participants received up to $1,500 from PLT Canada to deliver their project along with training and development workshops to help support their success. The green leaders were also matched with mentors from the forest and conservation sector to help them complete their project and plan their green career pathway.

PLT Canada’s Green Mentor program is currently recruiting mentees and mentors for the next national mentorship cohort (September 2021). Mentorship can help remove barriers to employment by growing young people’s professional networks. Apply today!

Green Jobs

In the summer, Young attends the Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP), a national network of land-based education, training, and work opportunities for Indigenous youth.

OYEP is a PLT Canada Green Jobs employer—PLT Canada offers wage matching to employers who hire youth aged 15–30 into jobs that support a more sustainable planet. Indigenous communities, Indigenous businesses, and non-profits are also eligible for funding.

During his time at OYEP, Young learned how to operate a brush cutter and spent most of his time cutting brush and planting trees.

Young said OYEP also taught him how to be more open and accepting of others, and he learned that positive attitudes towards work are beneficial. While he didn’t go into his first year at camp with friends, Young overcame that challenge and made a ton of connections. Young said this gave him the courage to get out into the world and search for jobs.

“If it weren’t for OYEP, I wouldn’t have known what I was capable of,” he said. “I’m deeply grateful for being able to be a part of this amazing organization.”

Young is also featured on PLT Canada’s Voices of Indigenous Youth web map with other young Indigenous people who have worked in Green Jobs.

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