Every year, several high school students — either individually or in teams of two — have the opportunity to tackle a problem they’re passionate about in their community. They do this by engaging with the Peace Innovators Scholarship and Mentoring Program, which equips young leaders with skills to create change in their community.
The Peace Innovators Scholarship and Mentoring Program is offered through a partnership between Kindred Credit Union, the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, and The Ripple Effect Education.
Kindred’s history is deeply rooted in mutual aid and peacebuilding. Kindred builds relationships with community organizations such as the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement because we believe that our communities benefit from this support and that our actions inspire our staff and members to live out their values in visible ways. Our partnerships and people, our giving and programs, combine to create a unique approach that inspires peaceful, just, and prosperous communities. Our Community Inspiration Framework (CIF) aims to identify problems or ongoing issues, bring awareness to these topics, and advocate for change from individuals and businesses alike, ranging from safe and affordable housing, equity, diversity, and inclusion, mental health, restorative justice, or Indigenous justice and reconciliation, and more.
The students involved in Peace Innovators Scholarship and Mentoring Program also tackle and feel passionate about the wide variety of issues and problems that exist. The program looks for those who have a heart for justice, have the desire to see change happen in their community, can identify a problem within their community, and choose to commit to work towards innovative solutions to the problem.
Previous participants have looked at current or historical exclusions of equity-deserving communities, inclusion in church communities and addressing food insecurity, to name a few. Recently, many participants have focused on mental health — and after the past few years of living with COVID, it’s not surprising that it has become such a strong focus for Peace Innovators to seek ways for improving lives.
By dedicating time and energy toward their chosen project over the course of a school year, Peace Innovators are given the opportunity to work with community experts to better understand the problem and develop the capacity to look at it from a variety of perspectives. Some of the participants even turn their Peace Innovators projects into not-for-profit organizations, continuing to help others beyond their scholarship program. Beecuz, conceived in 2017-2018 by Peace Innovator, Leighton Schreyer, was established as a not for profit organization in 2019 to address gaps in mental health. Kindred looks forward to continuing to support and champion current and past Peace Innovators for their dedication and hard work, as they exhibit the values that embody our purpose.