Major Community Sponsorships
Mémiyelhtel – Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program
Photo Credit: Sharalee Prang
Baker Newby is proud to announce the launch of a donation matching campaign, up to $50,000, in support of Mémiyelhtel.
The Mémiyelhtel program provides holistic, long-term and intensive support to vulnerable Indigenous youth between the ages of 12-19 years living within the traditional, unceded territory of Stό:lō Nation (specifically Chilliwack). The Mémiyelhtel program has been supporting Indigenous youth in Chilliwack for almost a decade, and to date has supported over 100 youth, representing over 30 different First Nation communities. Through the support of the program, there have been over 40 secondary graduates, with an average graduation rate of 79%.
An integral component of the Mémiyelhtel program is the formation and collaboration of strong community partners. At Baker Newby, we challenge our community and business leaders to consider strong financial support of this well-deserving local program.
As captured by the traditional Halq’emeylem name, the goal of the program is to help youth be well. The Mémiyelhtel program delivers culturally relevant, dynamic, and uniquely individualized supports that create engagement and foster life promotion. The ultimate goal is to support youth to have a strong sense of identity, self-love and acceptance, while celebrating their ongoing resilience and perseverance.
The Mémiyelhtel program implements a holistic, 10-aspect model. The wrap-around services are long-term, intensive, and individualized. The program is guided by their cultural teachings. The Mémiyelhtel program is Indigenous led, not just Indigenous inspired. Engagement, positive relationships and connection are pivotal to the Mémiyelhtel program. We strive to make each of our interactions with youth meaningful and use this to serve as foundation for their future trajectories.
Chilliwack (September 20, 2022)
PRESS RELEASE – Mémiyelhtel – Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program in Chilliwack
As Canadians across the country continue to confront and examine the Nation’s past, a new brand and website has launched for the Stó:lō youth program, Mémiyelhtel, in Chilliwack. Mémiyelhtel’s website is using storytelling to share the unique aspects of their work, raise awareness and encourage community collaboration.
Supported by the brand engagement agency, Partners & Hawes, the brand and website – www.memiyelhtel.ca – was developed by an Indigenous youth mentorship program at Stó:lō Service Agency, known as Mémiyelhtel. Mémiyelhtel, the traditional Halq’eméylem name for the program which means “helping others be well”, has a decade long history of working with Indigenous youth who are facing significant challenges. The program has offered specialized services to more than 100 young people from 30 different Indigenous communities, supporting them through their teenage years to graduation and beyond. With a renewed focus on Indigenous learners in the Chilliwack School District and the inclusion of more community partners like Mémiyelhtel, the Indigenous graduation rates in Chilliwack have risen from 55 percent to 79 percent, since 2012.
The Mémiyelhtel program has witnessed many successes, which have assisted in additional partnerships with local agencies, community members and businesses. Motivation to create the website came from the ongoing interest and inquiries about the program, the desire to share about the work and the need to highlight the demands and gaps in service.
“We’re often asked about the needs of the program and how people can support the work we are doing”, explained Youth Services Manager, Breanna Miller. “The answer is, there are many ways to support. We need additional funds to meet the demand for our program. We have reoccurring waitlists and can only service about half of the youth who are referred to us. Many people are still largely unaware of the challenges and needs of Indigenous youth in our particular community. While we do our best to provide service to as many youth as possible, the reality is that many do not receive the supports they need.”
Chief David Jimmie has been a strong advocate for the program recognizing the challenges Mémiyelhtel has faced over the years. “The commitment and dedication from staff and elders working in the program is incredible especially the drive and vision from our Youth Services Manager Breanna Miller. Indigenous youth face unique struggles given the historical trauma that still exists today, and this program is an opportunity for those youth to learn more about who they are through cultural teachings while receiving proper supports to gain confidence in working through life challenges. The program welcomes supporters like Baker Newby so they can serve additional youth and work towards the goal of turning no individual away.”
The program has Intensive Support and Resource Workers (ISRWs) and respected Elders who are trusted adults that support each youth as they navigate through the challenges of adolescence and the impacts of childhood and intergenerational trauma. Many of the youth are first and second generation descendants of residential school survivors. Their stories are a compelling reminder there is still much work to be done. However, when youth are connected to their culture and outside resources, the concept of “Every Child Matters” becomes more of a reality.
The new website tells the story of the program and raises awareness of initiatives and needs. It also contains opportunities to invest in the unique needs of Indigenous youth. The website highlights a new community partnership with Baker Newby in a one-for-one campaign, that will match donations up to $50,000.
For more information, please visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org