I want to introduce you to a young lady by the name of Morgan Dunn. I met Morgan at an information session about Inspiring Communities – Turning the Tide. I want to tell you how she became part of Turning the Tide and how she started the recently opened Digby & Area Youth Space (D.A.Y.S.). It officially opened on March 8, 2021. (Due to the province-wide lockdown, D.A.Y.S. events have shifted online as of May 10, 2021.)
Morgan, how and when did you become affiliated with Inspiring Communities?
“I initially started with Inspiring Communities as a university placement while taking my bachelor’s degree in Community Development from Acadia University in 2019. As part of my degree, I was required to complete a six-week work placement. “
What is your role with Inspiring Communities?
“I am the coordinator of our youth initiative called Communities Building Youth Futures (C.B.Y.F.). My official job title is Communities Building Youth Futures Coordinator.”
Morgan became invested in working on youth projects due to something that she noticed while on her placement with Inspiring Communities. She also decided to do something quite extraordinary. The following is how things unfolded, in Morgan’s words.
“While I was doing my placement, I noticed that there was not a huge focus on youth and that youth were facing many barriers which caused a high level of out-migration and disconnectedness.”
At the end of my placement, I felt that there could be more done to support youth and that there should be a role dedicated to this. I created a job proposal and pitch for a Youth Engagement Coordinator position to work with youth and address these needs and brought it to the Senior Director (at the time) at Inspiring Communities and asked if they would consider hiring me.
“From there, my job was created and I started working full time with Turning the Tide, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
So, Morgan the Digby & Area Youth Space (D.A.Y.S.): whose brain child was it?
“The idea for the Digby and Area Youth Space came from our Youth Connections Team. We had received an Innovation Fund for a Rural Youth Connections Project in June 2020 from Tamarack Institute. And I thought this would be a great opportunity for youth to come up with and design a new idea for our innovation.”
And who else is involved in the space? When did it officially open?
“We had high school co-op students (Kelli and Abbie) that did a lot of the work in the beginning around research and came up with ideas of items to purchase.”
“In January, we were able to hire two youth to run the space. Jesselyn was hired as the Rural Youth Connections Coordinator and Abbie as a Youth Intern (since she graduated early).”
Did you find a demand and need for a safe space for the youth in the area?
“One of the things I have heard the most from youth over the last two years was around having a space or hang-out spot for youth. “
How have the youth and the community received the space?
“We have had very positive comments and reactions to the opening of DAYS, from both community and youth. “
What has the opening of the space meant to you? And what positive changes have you seen from having a place for youth?
“It has been so awesome! I am so happy we are able to provide a safe and inviting space for youth. There are many youth that don’t have a safe space to go or that don’t have positive/supportive people in their life, so I am happy we can be this place for them.”
“A positive change I have seen is youth grow in their leadership through planning and implementing DAYS and watching their ideas come to life, as well as their pride in what they have been able to accomplish. It has been great to be able to give youth a voice in what they want to see and learn about at DAYS. Youth have also been able to build new connections and relationships with both each other and community partners.”
There you have it. A young lady who knows her path in life: to be a changemaker. She has undoubtedly risen to the task. I want to thank Morgan for her hard work and perseverance in getting the Digby Area & Youth Space (D.A.Y.S.) up and running. It was a pleasure to interview such a bright, compassionate and intelligent young woman.
Breaking news for D.A.Y.S.: Local youth Graham Cromwell is doing a Youth Internship for the summer with the youth space and the Digby youth initiative called Communities Building Youth Futures (CBYF).
Shawnalynn Cromwell is a community ambassador with Inspiring Communities’ nested initiative Turning the Tide in Digby. Shawnalynn is a writer, changemaker and active community member in Weymouth Falls.