LISTOWEL – A new grassroots youth group is finding its footing in the rich soil of North Perth. Advised by two local teachers and community leaders, Kinsman Tyler Schaefer and Kinette Jill Fowler are excited to be bringing a new facet to the Kin organization.

“There is [the] Kinsmen and Kinettes, and now there is Kin Youth,” states Schaefer.

The Kin Cares Youth Group is to be a youth-driven group with its essence being youth supporting youth locally, nationally and internationally.

The purpose of the group is essentially a group that aids youth within the community and engages them in caring, by fundraising for youth charities, hosting youth-centred events, and ultimately prioritizing this model of “youth engaging youth.” Schaefer also wants to ensure the group thinks beyond the boundaries of Listowel and the municipality and eventually hopes to make waves in other communities provincially, nationally and internationally.

Too often, youth are given a reputation for not caring, and are not given many opportunities to be leaders in the community, outside the bounds of school.

“I think youth get a really bad rap for not caring [and] I don’t think that’s the truth across most youth. There really are a lot of kids that do care,” says Schaefer, “and [this group] is trying to give an opportunity to those kids who do [care].”

Starting this group under the Kin family was an easy decision for the two advisors. Both being Kinsmen and Kinettes themselves, Schaefer and Fowler understood that the Kin family has a plethora of advantages. There are already willing and vetted volunteers found within the organization and it allows parents and guardians to feel safe knowing their wards are in good hands. Further, by partnering with Kin the group can make a larger impact on the community as a whole.

“I’m grateful for [the kin organization] and… I think Kin Youth will also be a neat way of tying the groups together,” Schaefer states.

The main purpose of this group is not only to contribute to the local community, but to teach a valuable lesson to youth that volunteering has its rewards – both tangible and intangible. Schaefer hopes the group will instill lifelong values within the youth.

“[We want to teach the youth that] it’s cool to care [and] that volunteering is fun and that volunteering can be part of your social life and that [it] is enjoyable to do. And then from there, you hope longer term that those people grow up to be adults who volunteer and contribute to their communities as well,” explained Schaefer. “I really believe the ultimate goal is actually in investing in the people who show up and instilling these values of teamwork and community within these impressionable youth.”

There is a distinct vision for the group, however Schaefer ensures that it is the youth that will be the leaders and decision makers.

“We have a vision but we want the youth to have their voice on what [the group] actually looks like.”

“I want it to always be about youth because we know the more youth are engaged … the more successful they’ll be,” Schaefer added.

Schaefer and Fowler are grateful for the support they have received from the community, from the willingness of the Kin organization to the 2022-23 sponsor, Don Hamilton Real Estate Brokerage.

The group is intended for grades 6-9 students, with grade nines having the ability to receive volunteer hours for their contribution. The meetings will be taking place the first and second Thursday of each month, beginning Thursday, Oct. 6 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Listowel Kin Station.

Supper will be provided at the meetings.

For more information or any questions, contact kinyouth@listowelkinsmen.org.

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