Greetings to our vibrant community,
I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt hello from the Youth Project’s Interim-Board of Directors and provide some insight into the work we’ve been doing since our election.
Since our induction in February, it has been the board’s top focus to understand and address the particular challenges that the Youth Project has been facing and find opportunities for the organization to grow. In late February we came together with staff to create a comprehensive plan for building a better, more sustainable future for the Youth Project – just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic to change absolutely everything. The interim board of directors is committed to helping the Youth Project navigate this transitional time and supporting the needs of staff, community, and most importantly, our amazing youth.
We are so grateful to our staff; their hard work and adaptability to these challenges have been essential to the Youth Project’s ability to continue to support 2SLGBTQIA+ youth across Atlantic Canada. Our staff’s creativity and dedication throughout the pandemic has allowed us to shift the majority of our services, programming, and educational work to online which has proved essential in continuing to carry out our mission. We are so proud of how gracefully staff have navigated this transitional period, including hosting our first ever online summer camps. We are especially proud for the resilient youth in our community who have shown so much strength and adaptability during these rapid changes, and who continue to support and care for each other while navigating these difficult times. The youth are the heart of this organization and we are so grateful for them for staying in touch, and are so excited to see everyone again when it is safe for us all to be together.
The invaluable changes that we have seen over the past few months would not have been possible without ongoing support and guidance from our new Executive Director. As many of you know, the Youth Project has been in the difficult process of finding a new Executive Director for over a year now. We know how important this role is, and want to honour the incredible work and legacies of our past Executive Directors. Our process for hiring our new Executive Director has not been easy and has come with its own unique set of challenges. In September 2019, The Youth Project participated in a community-centric hiring process that unfortunately did not result in a permanent hire. Our new Executive Director was hired after also going through the same community-centric hiring process, and comes with resounding, unanimous recommendations from all staff and the Youth Board. We are incredibly honoured to finally announce our new Executive Director, Carmel Farahbakhsh.
Carmel has been working tirelessly as our new Executive Director since April. We are deeply impressed with the ways that they have supported youth, the Youth Board, and staff while innovatively meeting programming, support services, and resource development goals. In collaboration with staff, Carmel has strengthened the Youth Project’s social media platform, fundraised successfully, furthered pre-existing partnerships, started beautiful new relationships with organizations that we admire, and has energetically worked to engage a multitude of communities with intentionality, care, and warmth.
We are incredibly grateful for everyone who has helped us and supported us through this long journey. After months of upheaval, and while learning to navigate the new realities of a global pandemic, we are excited to begin the next chapter of our work together. We also want to acknowledge the importance of having a dedicated Board of Directors, especially in these uncertain times. That is why we are making the decision to postpone our Annual General Meeting until the fall, to ensure that we are able to elect the right people for the job, and give us enough time to plan for a smooth transition. More information about the AGM will be coming to you soon, but if you have interest in serving on our Board please reach out and let us know a bit about yourself. You can learn more about serving on the board at www.youthproject.ns.ca or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you all so much for continuing to be a strong, supportive community. We hope that our plans for the future will see the Youth Project become stronger, happier, and more welcoming for every 2SLGBTQIA+ young person who needs security, support, or just a safe place to be.
Adam Sigrist (He/Him) & the Interim-Board of Directors of the Youth Project