November 20, 2020
By Jordan Cryderman
In honor of National Child Day, Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) is proud to announce the opening of its state-of-the-art new facility to support our most cherished resource, the children.
National Child Day recognizes Canada’s commitment to upholding the rights of children everywhere. At CSFS, we continue to stand up for the rights of Indigenous children and as part of that we are proud to commemorate the day with the grand opening of our new Prince George “Sk’ai Zeh Yah” (Children of Chief’s House) Youth Centre.
First established in Canada in 1993, National Child Day marks the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. This special day is to commemorate and honor the protection of children’s rights as part of this United Nations Convention.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines the definitive rights that each child is entitled to, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, ability, and so forth. Such rights include the right to survive, develop, and live, and the protection of the law. These are rights not afforded to many Indigenous children living in Canada.
"We want to use this prestigious day to raise awareness about Indigenous Children and the rights they have,” says Mary Teegee, CSFS Executive Director of Child and Family Services. “Not only through the UN Convention on the rights of the child – but also through the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Really, there should be a National Day of the Indigenous Child.”
The Sk’ai Zeh Yah Centre is open to children and youth in need from all walks of life while also providing wrap-around supports for our most at-risk youth and young adults. The staff and leaders who have made this center possible are thrilled about the potential it has for helping youth.
Kayla Brownscombe, Youth Services Manager, says that a center like Sk’ai Zeh Yah has been a long time coming.
“It’s really such an incredible service for Carrier Sekani to be able to offer. It’s something that as a youth services team have been dreaming of, and it’s been a goal that we’ve been working towards for many years.”
Centrally located, this new center will be a low-barrier resource for those who need it most.
“Our number one goal has always been supporting those who are most at risk and those most vulnerable and under serviced,” says Amy Merritt, Director of Youth Services. “So that is youth who have aged out of care, who are primarily on the streets, unemployed, and really seeking supports that they no longer have as adults.”
Flint Keil, High Risk Youth Services Manager, recognizes that the Sk’ai Zeh Yah Centre will be a critical support for youth and young adults who just need a break.
“It is a place where you can be, you can come get a hot meal, you can get a shower, you can hang out with staff, you can hang out with other people in the centre, you can do some rec activities, you can engage in culture. It’s just for them.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Youth Centre grand opening was not be a large-scale event, but instead, invited community members to tour the center while adhering to social distancing. As part of the tour, each member were able to learn about the programming, and everything else the center has to offer.
To learn more about how the Sk’ai Zeh Yah centre came to be, check out this video!
Last modified: Friday 12-Jun-20 15:43:45 PDT