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Take the Hope Pact, N.W.T. man tells struggling Indigenous youth

Kelvin Redvers, from Hay River, N.W.T., is encouraging Indigenous youth across Canada to take a hope pact to counter suicide pacts.

'You're agreeing to believe that no matter how hard life gets, there's always a way forward'

Kelvin Redvers is one of the founders of the We Matter campaign and now the #HopePact campaign, which aims to help Indigenous youth find support for struggles like bullying, addiction and depression. (Submitted by Kelvin Redvers)

A man from Hay River, N.W.T., is encouraging Indigenous youth across Canada to take a hope pact.

"There has been issues of suicide pacts across the country where young people decide together to take their own lives," said Kelvin Redvers, one of the founders of the national movement.

"So what if instead we had even more people deciding to have hope together?"

Redvers says the campaign — dubbed #HopePact — is an agreement youth make, pledging to keep looking forward.

A Hope Pact bracelet is a reminder of the pledge members made. (Submitted by Kelvin Redvers)

"You're agreeing to believe that no matter how hard life gets, there's always a way forward. You're agreeing to ask for help when you need it, to honour the strength within you, and to show support and kindness to those around you."

"It indicates that there's a group of people out there who are believing in me, who are believing in us," said Redvers.

Young people can take the #HopePact in person, or online.

Tunchai Redvers, sister of Kelvin Redvers, at Senator Myles Venne School in La Ronge, Sask., talking about the #HopePact campaign. (Submitted by Kelvin Redvers)

Encouragement for Fort Simpson

Redvers and his sister began the We Matter campaign last fall — a call for people from across the country to encourage youth by uploading personal video messages on how they overcame struggles.

The campaign was "quite successful," says Redvers, who noted that celebrities like Nunavut NHL player Jordin Tootoo and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau submitted a video.

"When I have a bad day, I will literally go watch some of these videos because they cheer me up," said Redvers.

Youth at Senator Myles Venne School in La Ronge, Sask., became a part of the #HopePact in March 2017. This was the first community where the #HopePact was launched. (Submitted by Kelvin Redvers)

But with a recent suicide crisis happening in places like Stanley Mission and La Ronge, Sask., Redvers says he hopes to show youth that "they matter, that they're strong, that they're worth it, that they have value to the rest of us."

With the recent four suicides in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., Redvers says he hopes this new #HopePact campaign can make a difference there.

"The healing that will need to take place is gonna be an ongoing process and it's not gonna be an easy process," said Redvers.

"We'd be really happy if there were those in Fort Simpson who wanted to be a part of the #HopePact, or use it as a tool, if they choose to."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide in the N.W.T., call the confidential NWT Help Line at 1-800-661-0844. You can also call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 to speak to a counsellor. There is also the First Nations and Inuit Watch help line at 1-855-242-3310. 

With files from Loren McGinnis

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