Racialized Youth Wanted for Focus Groups

Sarnia-Lambton Rebound is looking to form focus groups before launching a drop-in Intersectionality to Inclusivity (i2i) program this fall.

The new program is scheduled to begin in October for young people aged 8 to 24 who are members of a racialized group or allied in the fight against racism.

Myckayla Mentus, member of the customer service team and coordinator of the i2i program, said that there are many programs to support various groups in the community, but there are not many programs dedicated to those who are of various races.

“So this program was kind of my idea to allow for this space where young people can really feel that sense of belonging and come and connect with people and feel like they’re part of their community,” she said. .

Mentus said instances of racism may not be something that all residents of Sarnia-Lambton are aware of, as it does not affect them directly, but it is something that is present within the community.

“There were definitely some pretty negative experiences that focused on my race and my racial identity. Being yelled at in the street or being stared at when I entered public spaces and not really feeling represented. You don’t notice these things until it happens to you,” she said. “Because Sarnia-Lambton is a predominantly Caucasian society, it’s very difficult for people to open their eyes to see what’s going on around them.

Rather than Mentus using its experiences to develop a program for young people, the nonprofit wants to hear directly from younger age groups.

“We really want to focus on the three distinct age groups, ie eight to 12, 13 to 17 and 18 to 24. The point of the focus groups throughout the summer is to really see what’s important to our youth in our community,” Mentus said.

The focus groups will ask young people what topics they would like to discuss and how they want to learn more about racial diversity.

“I really want their feedback to make this program as useful for them [as possible],” she says.

Mentus said she would also like to have allies associated with the group to make the area a safer and more welcoming community.

Rebound hopes to hold focus groups twice in July and twice in August.

Those interested in participating in focus groups can email Mentus at [email protected] or call Sarnia-Lambton Rebound at 519-344-2841.

The program was funded by donations from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 62 and the Catherine Wilson Foundation. The Legion contributed $10,000 and the foundation donated $15,000.

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