I feel that the SWOVA youth team has impacted my life in such a dramatic way that it would be an injustice to fail to recognize it.
As a graduating member of the Respectful Relationships Youth Team, I can say with confidence that the future is in good hands. Working with such phenomenal individuals has been tremendously influential, and at times inspired awe. I came into the program as a newcomer to the school, and a newcomer to the province of British Columbia; immediately I was welcomed in with warm, open arms. I had come to the program full of a fear of the unknown – meeting new people was hard for me, and it didn’t help that everyone at the school was a complete stranger. But within a few weeks, I found that I was opening up to this incredible group in ways that I had never before done with even my closest friends in my home town.
My time in the Youth Team has been extremely influential in shaping the young man I am today. Without taking the first step through the doors, and sitting down in the circle amongst my peers, I’m unsure if I would have followed the same path which I’ve taken today. I owe so much to this program and its members, and I will be forever in their debt. In February, I attended the Loran Scholarship National Interviews, a journey that was made possible by my experiences in the youth team. I have no doubt in my mind that my future will continue to be influenced by my experiences in the youth team.
The topics taught in the R+R program are extremely pertinent and important to today’s youth. As I head off to University, I know I will strive to learn more about human rights, equality, and peace, and will share these values with everyone in my life, regardless of where life takes me.
I hope the youth team continues to inspire young men and women as it has for me.
Cole Smith – R+R Youth Team Member