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Young people to walk alongside new community group in Point Douglas

A new community group in Winnipeg’s Point Douglas neighbourhood is trying to bring more youth along for the walk.

Sabu’s Cubs will launch in September as a youth-focused community walk that will, like other neighbourhood walks, check up on neighbours who may be struggling, hand out food, and clean up needles and garbage on the street.

But this group will also prioritize the young people who walk side-by-side with them.

Some youth will stay behind at a neighbourhood school to prepare a meal and, once everyone else returns from the walk, they’ll eat together and enjoy a recreational activity.

“We want youth to feel useful,” said Siobhan Faulkner, a board member with Sabu’s Cubs.

“And for those of us as organizers, we know how much it fills our bucket and we want youth to have that same feeling when they walk away on Wednesday — that I have value in the world, that I’ve made a difference.”

The group hosted a community meal at Michaëlle Jean Park on Wednesday evening to celebrate its launch. They will start weekly walks on Sept. 13.

Giving youth a better path

The group is based in a Winnipeg neighbourhood in distress over high rates of poverty and crime. It’s a fact not lost on Faulkner, whose group earlier put on walks with around 25 people that wasn’t as focused on young people.

“We know the statistics on youth violence,” she said.

They want to “walk forward in a good way and to provide that connection, that place, that anchor that we know some youth are missing,” she added.

Their walks will include stops at two memorial sites in honour of youth who have died tragically, and visits into some homes with people they’ve connected with. 

A man and a woman pose for a photo.
Jacob Bercier, left, and Keirston Harvey have enjoyed the community walks in Point Douglas as a way to volunteer and give back to those who are less fortunate. (Ian Froese/CBC)

Keirston Harvey, a member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation, started walking because she wanted to make a difference, especially in an area of Winnipeg where many Indigenous people reside.

She doesn’t live in Point Douglas, but the 18-year-old has felt driven to help. 

“Before I was kind of fearful of going toward Main Street because I was scared of people talking to me or whatever, but once I started doing these walks, I realized these are just people who are battling with their own struggles and they just need help,” she said.

Jacob Bercier, 19, was inspired to participate by Harvey.

He lives nearby and has experienced homelessness and has seen other family members who’ve battled addictions.

“It’s just so much more common than people want to believe, but everybody knows somebody,” he said. “Why not help a stranger out, because they’re probably just like that person that you love.”

The name “Sabu’s Cubs” is inspired by a board member’s grandfather, who battled apartheid and strived to empower youth. He looked like Sabu Dastagir, a movie star in the 1930s and 1940s.

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