The Youth of Today Society (YOTS) is a non-profit society devoted to strengthening the lives of Yukon youth. We provide support, advocacy, information and training opportunities to the Yukon’s most disenfranchised young people, with an emphasis on Indigenous-millennial youth. The Youth of Today Society has been working to support youth since 1999, by providing them with a safe space where they can grow physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We achieve this goal with a range of programming including drop-in space, healthy meals, training and development programs. We continue to strive to expand our programs and offerings for high risk kids in our community. The Society focuses heavily on the use of artistic expression, media skills building and Murals as a means of personal and spiritual growth and uses a hand-on learning model to train and empower youth, creating a strong connection to culture, discovery of self and skill building.
For the most part, there are few opportunities or publications for Millennials and Indigenous youth to express themselves and share their stories and ideas in a consistent and comprehensive way. Shākāt Media intends to close this gap by providing Millennials with the tools, training, equipment, mentoring and other support to gather, produce and showcase their collective voices on issues and topics important to them.
A critical success factor will be the ability of the YOTS and Shākāt Media to partner with existing media ventures in the North and across Canada (for example, CBC North, Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, among many others) to extend the collective voice of Yukon Millennials across the North.
To further support the vision of the Shākāt Journal in empowering Yukon’s Millennial Voices, Youth Of Today Society and ShakatMedia is taking steps to placing Shākāt Clubs in all Yukon Schools, providing the means for our young people to develop skills, express their views, be heard and feel included in today’s discussion.
The Shākāt team is in talks with the Department of Education to incorporate the voices of youth throughout the Yukon. Schools that partner with our program can teach students how to write articles, create works of art, take film or photographs, embrace social media and digital technology (supplemented by workshops provided by YOTS employees) and use it to increase awareness about their community and way of life. These “Shākāt Clubs” would then submit these products to us to be published in the Shākāt Journal.
The Shākāt Journal emphasizes mental wellness, acts of play, education, team building, self-awareness, and high quality of life. We engage youth with technology, software, expressions, artistic realizations, and all of which, build a better person inside and out. Youth will have opportunity to be part of their own community and be more aware of their peers throughout the Yukon, to be a part of the topics that mean something to them. It is part of the Shākāt mandate to mentor youth in their chosen means of expression, by providing workshops and ongoing support the Shākāt Clubs will fulfill this mandate.
The ultimate goal of this project is to provide the means for our young people to thrive. We believe that through art and media education we can help the high-risk Northern youth by giving them the tools to express themselves in healthy and productive ways. This will be done through the ongoing production of the Shākāt Journal. The young people working on the project receive relevant training that they will carry out into the rest of their lives.
By sharing the stories written by young people from around the territory, the Journal will communicate the unique experiences they face. It will share aspects of Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures, which can ultimately result in understanding and respect. By breaking the cycle of hopelessness, unemployment and racism many youth face, Shākāt Journal will stand as the youth support Yukon needs.
Charitable Funding Request
Youth Of Today Society is offering charitable tax receipts or sponsorship for young story writers, photographers, videographers and song writers. The funds used for this initiative will be directed to youth in all our northern communities to write stories about their local heroes, their Elders, their teachers, any trauma they’re dealing with, their thoughts on their community, the good, the bad and the ugly. The beauty, the love and unique! It’s about their voice, their healing, its about lifting them up in their community. It’s about what we believe people want to read about, see pictures or watch videos about. All youth have a story and its as good of a story as the kid standing next to them or who is in the lime light for their achievements. Help us to help youth stand up, reach out, and to be part of their community.
History and Alumni
Originally the Shākāt Journal was the summer edition of the Dännzhà Magazine, a First Nations editorial containing stories and articles aimed primarily at tourists. The goal was to share First Nations culture and traditions with visitors and encourage interest and understanding. Though in its 12-year run it reached an impressive distribution of 30,000 copies, it was shut down in 1992 due to government budget cuts.
Now, the revitalized version of the magazine presents a Millennial centred view and acts as a megaphone for all Yukon youth. It incorporates Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives and talents. The magazine will not only be printed in a biannual hard copy, but includes an online component with consistent roll over.
Yukon Government • Kwanlin Dun First Nation • Selkirk First Nations • Council Of Yukon First Nations • Yukon Status Of Women's Council • Boys & Girls Club Yukon • Bringing Youth Towards Equality • Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council • Walker Home Construction • ShakatMedia • New Age Drilling • Yukon Apparel/Station 141 • Yukon Aboriginal Sports Circle • City Of Whitehorse • Yukon First Nation Education Directorate