Youth United@Winnipeg comes to life

The first cohort of YouthUnited@Winnipeg poses with special guests and UWinnipeg instructors at the launch event for the program. ©UWinnipeg

Breaking barriers, building bridges in the spirit of reconciliation

WINNIPEG, MB – “It is up to every Canadian to be an ally in the journey to achieving both truth and reconciliation.” UWinnipeg student participant, Kailey Bradco

Kailey Bradco is one of twenty University of Winnipeg students taking part in a ground-breaking summer learning program that begins May 1st, in partnership with the City of Winnipeg and numerous community-based organizations. YouthUnited@UWinnipeg was initiated by Winnipeg Councillor Brian Mayes and designed at UWinnipeg, based on the principles in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Calls to Action. Focusing on reconciliation and the idea of “breaking barriers and building bridges,” the curriculum will expose students to a variety of community settings and cultural experiences. Students will spend one day a week in the classroom and four days a week working at North End community-based organizations.

The students themselves come from a diversity of backgrounds, both suburban and inner-city, with the intent of fostering new relationships and the exchange of ideas and perspectives. The pilot program is funded by the City of Winnipeg.

“Last year, as a Year of Reconciliation for Winnipeg, was an important year for us as a city and a community,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “It marked moments of significant self-realization, the beginning of new conversations about the future, and a resolution to work together to make our community more inclusive as it was always meant to be. I am pleased Council was able to support this innovative program which will help reduce barriers and build inclusivity while also actively engaging youth in education and dialogue.”

“I have been working on establishing an urban youth corps for the past 26 years, and I want to thank The University of Winnipeg and Mayor Bowman for making this a reality today,” said City Councillor Brian Mayes, St. Vital Ward. “Many cities in the US have an “urban peace corps”, but YouthUnited, with its focus on reconciliation, is truly a made-in-Canada program bringing together suburban and inner-city youth.”

UWinnipeg’s Urban and Inner-City Studies department on Selkirk Avenue, in the heart of the North End, is home base for the program.

“This course provides students with invaluable hands-on experiences while encouraging them to explore new ways of seeing our city, other people, and ultimately, themselves,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “Education is key to reconciliation, and we are honoured to be piloting this important new program.”

An innovative aspect of the program is the “roving-classroom” model. For example, students will spend a day with Indigenous teachers and Elders at Thunderbird House, participating in Indigenous cultural practices such as sharing circles, sweat lodges and other ceremonies. Students will also spend time learning from Muslim leaders at the Central Winnipeg Mosque. The roving classroom will also take students to the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre and the nearby Michaëlle Jean Park, where they will learn about the role that food and art play in local development, capacity building and citizen engagement.

The program was designed and will be facilitated by Dr. Shauna MacKinnon, associate professor, Urban and Inner-City Studies, UWinnipeg. Dr. MacKinnon has an intimate knowledge of Winnipeg’s inner-city, and has published widely on various aspects of Winnipeg’s inner-city.

“YouthUnited@Winnipeg builds on Urban and Inner City Studies experiential learning model.  In the spirit of reconciliation, we bring students from different backgrounds and experiences together to ‘learn by doing’. YouthUnited@Winnipeg provides us an opportunity to put reconciliation into action,” said Dr. MacKinnon.

YouthUnited@Winnipeg runs for 15 weeks beginning on May 3rd. Students will earn six university credits and the program will conclude with an all-day student conference to be held in mid-September at the newly developed educational hub, Merchants Corner, on Selkirk Avenue.

“Reconciliation must be community-based. Trust and reconciliation go hand in hand, and building relationships is vital.” Student participant, Marie Bergen

“I know reconciliation is not solely a government responsibility, but the responsibility of all of us. I hope to learn more about what an individual can do to contribute to reconciliation in our city and in this country.” Student participant, Nikki Weselake,

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*NOTE: Dr. Shauna MacKinnon (204-988-7197); and Councillor Brian Mayes (204-986-5088) are available for media interviews.

Youth United Course Backgrounder

Youth United Participant Profiles-2



Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E:



















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