What does it look like when 400 community minded, local youth get together to talk about community development with 40 community leaders? It looks a little like the Youth in Philanthropy Fall Conference.
Started in 1999 the Youth in Philanthropy (YiP) Program works towards getting local youth involved in community development. The program consists of 29 committees, comprised of 27 high schools and 2 community organizations. Each committee receives $5,000 from The Winnipeg Foundation to grant into the community.
Throughout the YiP year, these youth-led committees are responsible for identifying which organizations will receive grants, how much each organization will receive, and how those dollars are to be used.
The Fall Conference is the kick-off to the year. It is the first time when all the committees will be together in the same room and their first exposure to some of the local issues that the city is facing. In other words, the Conference is the prime opportunity to find out what (and who) YiP is all about. These 400 students from across the city come together to talk community, and to listen to what the experts have to say about pressing city issues; what YiP and Summer Internship Program (SIP) alumni have to say about how philanthropy helped them to form their paths; and how new initiatives like the Young Philanthropists’ Network (YPN) continue to pave the way for young people interested in community development.
Each of the over 35 speakers from over 28 different community organizations and businesses will come to discuss the areas of interest identified by the different youth voices on each committee. The topics span the spectrum from social justice to environment, to citizen journalism and artistic expression. Each committee member is able to choose their sessions as they fit with their interests. This means that there are over 400 young minds learning about anything from the impact we have on the environment, to what they could do with YiP and their education after high school. There is even a special session for the staff advisors of each committee to sit and discuss best practices for keeping young people interested and involved in community development.
The best part of the YiP Conference is that it’s all local, youth-oriented, and accessible to anyone in the YiP program. It is an honest look into our community brought to you by the people who know it best. In a city like Winnipeg where there is a lot going on, the YiP Fall Conference gives local youth the opportunity to learn about things they never thought possible. YiPee!
Written by Tolu Ilelaboye, The Winnipeg Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy Convener