Empowering Newcomer Youth: The Inspiring Success of RODS Young Leaders Academy


Are you ready to be inspired? The RODS Young Leaders Academy is a unique leadership program that is making a profound impact on newcomer youth, empowering them to become proactive and responsible citizens who are ready to make a difference in their communities. This program, with its focus on personal development, social awareness, and community engagement, has been equipping youth with essential skills and knowledge to be leaders in their community.

The RODS Young Leaders Academy is a multi-phased program covering various leadership development aspects. In Phase I, participants engage in workshops and activities focusing on character and leadership, financial literacy, community integration, mental and physical health, and more. This phase lays the foundation for the youth to develop a deep understanding of themselves and their potential as leaders while equipping them with practical skills essential for their personal and professional growth. The program recognizes the importance of holistic development and prepares youth for leadership roles in all aspects of their lives.

In Phase II, the program emphasizes social awareness and integration. Participants learn about social and cultural issues through volunteering, communication styles, and career path exploration such as resume building, job search, interviews, and work ethics. This phase also provides opportunities for youth to connect with their communities, understand various issues, and identify ways to make a positive impact. The program encourages youth to become active members of their communities and contribute to the betterment of society.

One of the unique features of the RODS Young Leaders Academy is the project proposal pitch, where participants are given the opportunity to create and present their project ideas. With a budget of $300, the youth were tasked with developing a proposal to create a welcoming community. The creativity and passion that the participants bring to this stage of the program are truly inspiring. The program encourages youth to think critically, develop innovative solutions, and take ownership of their projects.

There were four teams in the project proposal pitch: The Emeralds, The Giving Tree, The Deep Roots, and The Goodies. The project proposals presented by the youth were nothing short of remarkable. The Emeralds team created a beautiful project that involved working with indigenous artists to teach workshops to newcomer youth on how to make dreamcatchers, which would then be given to cancer patients to lift their spirits. The Giving Tree team planned to write welcoming letters to refugees and provide them with welcome kits containing essential household items. The Deep Roots team aimed to create survival kits for homeless or vulnerable youth who find themselves with no place to stay. And the Goodies team had a similar project in mind, focusing on building survival kits for homeless and needy people.

The judges for the project proposal pitch were esteemed professionals who generously volunteered their time and expertise: Brandon Wu, Co-Founder of Strategy Lab Marketing; Zeinab Movahedzadeh, P.Eng, Project Manager at Petroleum Technology Research Centre; and Bukky Okubanjo, Manager of DEI at Farm Credit Canada. The judges were impressed with all the projects and the thoughtful solutions that the youth came up with to address community issues. In the end, the Deep Roots team’s project proposal to build survival kits for homeless youth in need won the pitch, and the judges were also very impressed with the Emeralds team, so they decided to invest in their project and provide the $300 needed to bring it to life. This exemplifies the impact and potential of the program, as well as the support and encouragement provided by the judges.

As we celebrate the success of the RODS Young Leaders Academy, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated staff, who have tirelessly worked to create an empowering and inclusive environment for newcomer youth. Their passion, commitment, and unwavering support have made a difference in the lives of these young leaders, and we are immensely grateful for your hard work. We’d also like to acknowledge our volunteer Bill Brown for his time and effort in preparing and facilitate the project implementation and proposal writing courses. He provided generous guidance to each group when they developed their proposals. Finally, a huge thank you to the team at PATH co-work, who provided the beautiful space to host the project presentations and graduation ceremony.

To all the youth who have participated in the RODS Young Leaders Academy, congratulations on your achievements! Your determination, creativity, and resilience inspire us. You are the future leaders who will make a positive impact in your communities and beyond.

If you are a newcomer youth looking for an opportunity to develop leadership skills, gain valuable experiences, and make a difference, we encourage you to sign up for upcoming leadership programs like the RODS Young Leaders Academy or public speaking workshops.

Connect with our youth team at youthprogram@rods.sk.ca for more details and to register!