Last week I was invited back to St John’s High School for an anti-bullying event called DO THE RIGHT THING featuring Sierra Noble, Gord Mackintosh and of course many SJHS Students, including their dance troupe. The event was organized by the awesome folks at the St John’s Residents’ Association, who meet monthly and support folks living in and around the St John’s neighbourhood! It was a fun night that featured Pizza, speakers and of course the Tiger Mascot.
I shared the story of how AYO! used to call itself an ANTI-GANG when we first began our opportunity creating missions in 2010. A short 2 years later, we realized that we were not the opposite of a gang, as the “anti” would imply. We took a step back and discovered we may have been alienating the members of gangs who may have made the choice to volunteer instead of do crime if we were a little more welcoming. Its the young people in gangs who are our relatives and neighbours…we didn’t want to alienate them anymore. And that’s why and when AYO! decided that we would change into a YOUTH MOVEMENT because that represented what we were, instead of what we didn’t want to be. A good lesson, and a bit of a challenge at the end to the anti-bullying conference was lots of fun – and of course the North End Megaphone, high fives and stickers finished the talk in a fun way!
One of my favourite moments was the one you see below, when one of the youth who I have worked with and taken to some of my public speeches, Joyce, participated in this awesome dance, sung live by Sierra. Shout outs to the Bannock Lady Althea for coming and hanging out with me at the event!