Child and Youth in Care Week
- Andréa Ledding | August 18, 2020
Child and Youth in Care Week began seven years ago in Saskatchewan through the efforts of youth and alumni of the Saskatchewan Youth in Care and Custody Network (SYCCN) writing letters to the Minister of Social Service to create this week and have it proclaimed every year, explains Richard Rothenburger, Provincial Outreach Coordinator for SYCCN.
“We, as an organization takes pride in the fact that this week is about celebrating and recognizing the unique experiences, accomplishments, and resilience of youth in and from care,” Rothenburger added.
Kealy Blundell, 23 years old, is one such example. She has been with the SYCCN board for just over three years.
“One of my biggest achievements is I’m able to represent as President of the SYCCN board and sit on Youth In Care in Canada as the Saskatchewan Director,” said Blundell, adding Child Youth in Care week is celebrated for youth in care across Canada. “The week is also celebrating youth voice and the acknowledgement of youth in care and custody and recognition of a lot of their achievements.”
Rothenburger pointed out Blundell was being modest about her own achievements, saying she has done really incredible things.
“She was a representative for Saskatchewan for her riding for “Equal Voice - Daughters of the Vote” - and went to Ottawa. She was also last year’s keynote speaker for a national child day event in Ottawa and the list goes on,” said Rothenburger. “Kealy is an amazing young woman and we are lucky to have her. She inspires us as staff, the other young people, and what we aspire to in youth voice in the province.”
Blundell feels her biggest achievement is representing at the national and provincial level, which all started when she got connected with SYCCN.
“I came from a broken background and didn’t have a voice, and as I got networking with the local board I began to be connected with other youth and share my experiences and hear theirs which made me more comfortable with opening up,” said Blundell, which is something she’s proud of. “I’m thankful to the network for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of other youth in care and custody.”
The week ended with a socially distant car parade on Friday to celebrate youth in care and custody across Saskatchewan. Normally banquets are held but the vehicle parade is the COVID solution “to show them that regardless of what’s going on or this pandemic or the world-changing, that their voice is still important, that it matters and that their voice can and will continue to create change within policy and practice to create change in their lives and the lives of youth to come,” said Rothenburger.