Nfld. & Labrador

'I'm very proud': New youth centre opening in Sheshatshiu

It's an extra special National Aboriginal Day in Sheshatshiu, where a brand new youth centre opened Tuesday afternoon.
A brand new youth centre was opened in Sheshatshiu on Tuesday. (Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation/Facebook)

It's an extra special National Aboriginal Day in Sheshatshiu, where a brand new youth centre opened Tuesday afternoon.

The new Sheshatshiu Ussinun Youth Centre was officially opened at 3 p.m.

Manager Amanda Rich says opening day is a big event for her.

"I get really emotional when it comes to the youth," she said. "I've gained a lot of relationships. I had to build a lot of trust with the youth in Sheshatshiu and now today I'm very proud of that work — to give the youth in Sheshatshiu their voice."

I think it's a really great place to look forward to every day.- Mishkushish   Pinette

Rich has been working with young people in her community to come up with the kinds of programs the centre can offer them.

What she heard from today's youth hasn't changed much from when she herself grew up there.

"Hearing the struggles and the issues, it's the exact same thing that I went through as a young person myself," she said.

"I was in the exact same space as them today. I'm very happy and I take pride in being Innu today and being able to help youth in my community."

The centre will offer various cultural and social activities, as well as music classes, and Rich said that's all thanks to feedback from young people.

"I wouldn't have made it this far without their help. I thank all of them for putting their effort into voicing their concerns and their recommendations."

Giving youth something to do

Mishkushish Pinette, on the far right, pictured travelling during his graduation trip to Orlando, Fla. (John Gaudi/CBC)

Mishkushish Pinette, 17, sits on the community's youth advisory committee and helped come up with input for the centre.

He said most people his age play sports to keep busy, but there isn't much for them to do in Sheshatshiu.

"I sort of felt obligated to do it because I just want to give youth something to do," he said.

"Not everyone wants to play sports, not everyone wants to be home all the time, so give them a place to at least hang out and not just be out."

Pinette said the centre's opening should create a lot more opportunities for young people.

"Most youths usually spend their time playing sports and ones that don't really play sports, they just walk around. Really nothing to do," he said.

"I think it's a really great place to look forward to every day."

The centre, located across from the Mary May Healing Centre, opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a local band playing in the evening.

With files from Labrador Morning

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