WINKS Centre hosts second-annual SLYWN barbecue
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
The Sioux Lookout Youth Workers Network (SLYWN) hosted their second-annual barbecue at the WINKS Centre on July 20.
The acronym, WINKS, was formed by using the first letter of each member agency’s names.
Agencies who are members in the centre include Windigo First Nations Council, Independent First Nations Alliance, Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, Keewaytinook Okimakanak Secondary Student Services and Shibogama First Nations Council.
“Last year we had about 20 people, and it went great. This year it looks like we already have over 30 people here. I think it’s a great success when youth workers come together and talk about what they do,” explained SLYWN founder Marc-Nicholas Martin-Paulichenko.
SLYWN is a community based organization that exists to connect with youth and youth workers by resourcing, sharing, and collaborating on programs and ideas to support the community.
The SLYWN goals are to build a network of support, serve as youth experts, provide mental support, share knowledge, experience, and awareness, create partnerships, and connect young people to different resources and programs in the community.
“Two years ago I founded this network as a means to bring youth workers together because I saw there was a need in the community to work with each other and connect with one another,” said Martin-Paulichenko.
“One of the projects we’re working on is planning a frosh event for grade nine students and new students who are coming to town in September,” he continued.
SLYWN partners with many different organizations in the community, including the Ontario Provincial Police, Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre, Multi-Cultural Youth Centre, Queen Elizabeth District High School staff, Pelican Falls First Nations High School staff, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, local probation officers, Ontario Native Women’s Association, Northwestern Health Unit, Creighton Youth Services, local churches, and Tribal Councils.
Moving forward, the SLYWN will be looking for a new Chair after Martin-Paulichenko decided it was a good time to step down.
“I am stepping down from my role as Chair because I feel like two years is a good time to pass the torch and bring in some new blood and fresh ideas. I’m proud of the work that we’ve done as a network over the past two years. We have over 50 people in our email list, and we’re always looking to add more people. Hopefully, moving forward, the network will continue to grow and people will continue to work together all in the name of empowering youth in the community,” Martin-Paulichenko concluded.