Amplifying voices

From left, Morgan Van Dine, Payton Goodman, Laura Twance, Kiefer

Sabourin, Allyson Lesperance, Aungelle Wabigwan, Haiden Paavola,

Aliyah Fisher, Roxanne Lewis, Daanis Pelletier, Kaleb Calder and

Avery Van Dine are participating in this year’s Step Up campaign.

This year’s Step Up campaign is seeking to amplify the voices of

Indigenous youth.

The 12th annual campaign from Dilico Anishinabek Family Care raises

awareness about the ways community members can help keep children

safe and strengthen families this month, which is National Child

Abuse Prevention Month.

Step Up 2021 is about coming together to build a future where

everyone can feel safe and amplify the voices of Indigenous youth,

said John Dixon, director of integrated services at Dilico.

“By doing so we are helping children grow into strong individuals who

will be capable of standing up for themselves, identifying child

abuse, and will support the health, happiness and safety of children

and youth,” said Dixon in a news release.

Indigenous youth will be expressing their views, as individuals can

show that every child matters as part of the campaign.

“The community can make youth feel safe, connected and hopeful for

the future, by being inclusive, including youth opinions, and taking

into consideration how things can effect them,” said Daanis

Pelletier, a youth participating in the campaign. “Also encouraging

youth, making them feel like they do matter and how they feel

matters, rather than shutting them down because they are younger or

not an adult.”

Laura Twance said, as an Indigenous youth, she feels people can make

youth feel more safe by ensuring an individual has a safe place to

talk, and knowing their voice will always be heard, regardless of

whether their idea is little or too big.

“People can step up to show that every child matters by spreading

more awareness about mental health, or other problems kids face

today,” said Kiefer Sabourin. “Also by talking, and having one on one

conversations to let them know that they matter.”

Dilico executive director Darcia Borg said she’s filled with belief

and hope because when she hears the voices of the youth and children,

she knows that the responsibilities that their ancestors carried are

still being carried.

“We can still hear the voices of the land and the care and love for

the children,” she said.

Community members can participate in this year’s campaign by wearing

a purple ribbon or participating in the Go Purple for Prevention Day

on Oct. 27 by sharing photos or videos of themselves wearing purple

on social media with the hashtag #StepUpTBay and tagging

@stepupThunderBay.

Photos can also be emailed to stepup@firedogpr.com.

Step Up 2021 also features a scavenger hunt and Dilico is hosting a

Come Together Youth gathering virtually on Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 9

p.m. A zoom link will be posted on Dilico’s website the day of the

event.

To recognize the signs of child abuse, whether it’s physical,

emotional, neglect or sexual abuse, visit dilico.com.

For more information on the Step Up campaign, visit the Step Up

Thunder Bay Facebook page or dilico.com/stepup.