• Michele Newton

YMCA & Making Change partner to support Uplift Black Youth Project

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

“Our community allies have stepped up to support this movement and have created a better together approach to change.”

Three Black women and one man holding donated supplies for Uplift Black Youth Project
Uplift Black Youth Project (Shelly Skinner , Brian Shelley, Courtney Peters and Stephanie Gourlie)

Media Release - July 3, 2020

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka and Making Change have come together to support the Uplift Black Youth Project, a grassroots community initiative that is connecting local Black youth across Simcoe County with care packages over the summer.

“One of the biggest calls to action during the Black Lives Matter movement is allyship. While our black youth isolated at home during the Covid-19 Pandemic, headlines across the globe highlighted that anti-black racism was systematically oppressing Canada’s Black community with a focus on the question do Black Lives even matter? As a mother of black children, this resonated with me and as a community advocate, I wanted to remind the youth at home, that yes, their lives do matter and the community and their neighbours agrees.” said community activist Shelly Skinner in a prepared statement. “Our community allies have stepped up to support this movement and have created a better together approach to change. I’m humbled by the support Uplift Black - Youth Project has received from community partners Making Change and YMCA and by the community as a whole. I am committed to keep the support and conversation moving.”

Speaking on behalf of Making Change, Stephanie Gourlie added “With no community outreach programs serving the emergency needs of our Black youth, we knew we needed to find ways to support the Uplift Black Youth project. Thanks to both our ongoing relationship with the YMCA and the Barrie Community Foundation Emergency Grant, together we will be able to provide Black youth with care packages from their neighbours and community allies through this project.”

The Barrie Community Foundation and Canada's Emergency Community Relief Fund announced this week that it will grant $10,000 to the YMCA to work with Making Change to administrate the project.

“Our strategic plan prioritizes strengthening families and inspiring youth to reach their full potential – given the current climate for change and the events of the past few months, we believe that this partnership is an impactful way that we can put the words of our strategic plan and our core values into action.” said Brian Shelley speaking on behalf of the YMCA. “We appreciate that Barrie Community Foundation for their financial support of this important community initiative.”

Families with school-aged (JK-12) Black youth may register on the Making Change website confidential form. Along with basic personal information, the form asks for the school grade and interests of each Black youth, to better tailor the care packages

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About Making Change

Making Change is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of sparking broad community interest and fostering conversations around inclusion and diversity. They have a specific focus on raising awareness and educating and exposing people to the Black community, Black culture, issues around anti-Black racism. Making Change is building community inclusion and togetherness through activities, allyship, participation and discussion. Through their initiatives centred around Black History Month, Making Change embraces the community values that connect us as people, bring us closer together, and encourage us to support each other. They also provide support – financial and administrative - to local organizations aligned with supporting the Black community, and those doing diversity and inclusion work.

Contact: Michèle Newton Telephone: 705-220-2469 Email:

About the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is dedicated to the growth of all persons in spirit, mind and body with a sense of responsibility to each other and the global community. As a charity, the YMCA is committed to inspiring people to reach their full potential. The YMCA’s core values are:

· Caring

· Honesty

· Inclusion

· Respect

· Responsibility

For more information, go to

Contact: Brian Shelley, YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka Telephone: 705 627-2304 Email:

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