We Matter is an Indigenous youth-led and nationally registered non-profit organization committed to Indigenous youth support, hope and life promotion. Our founding project is the We Matter Campaign – a national multi-media campaign in which Indigenous role models and allies from across Canada submit short video, written and artistic messages sharing their own experiences of overcoming hardships, and communicating with Indigenous youth that no matter how hopeless life can feel, there is always a way forward.
Suicide rates for Indigenous youth are several times higher than that of other Canadians, as well as rates for things like addiction, abuse, and school drop outs.
We believe this doesn’t have to be the case.
Our mission is to communicate to Indigenous youth that they matter, and create spaces of support for those going through a hard time while fostering unity and resiliency. We provide a forum for people across the country to share messages of hope and positivity. By sharing our stories, our words of encouragement, and our authentic messages of hope and resilience, we help to make a community and nation stronger. We remind youth that I Matter. You Matter. We Matter.
We prove that we are all #StrongerTogether.
IS COMMITTTED TO:
Connecting Indigenous youth with positive messages of hope, culture, wellness, healing, mental health and life promotion
Gathering, connecting, and amplifying Indigenous and Indigenous youth voices and stories
Creating space and opportunity for Canadians to celebrate and honour the voices and experiences of Indigenous youth
Creating and distributing materials and resources designed to encourage and support Indigenous youth and those who work with Indigenous youth
Building Indigenous youth capacity in schools and communities by implementing Indigenous youth-led initiatives and enabling peer-to-peer support
The We Matter Campaign is a national multi-media campaign in which Indigenous role models and allies submit art, written and video messages sharing their own experiences of overcoming hardships, and communicating with Indigenous youth that no matter how hopeless life can feel, there is always a way forward. Since launching in October 2016, the We Matter Campaign has reached millions of people on social media and continues to be an ever-growing library of positivity and hope.
The Hope Council is an advisory group of amazing Indigenous youth leaders behind the ideas, content, and vision of We Matter! The council was created in Spring 2018 after We Matter & Facebook’s 2018 #HopeForum: A National Gathering of Indigenous Youth Leaders on Healing & Life Promotion.
The We Matter #HopePact is a pact that Indigenous youth across Canada can choose to take, uniting them in a national movement. It is a reminder that you are never alone in what you are feeling or experiencing. We mail #HopePact packages including the #HopePact bracelets at no cost to Indigenous youth groups, gatherings, schools, and communities – just send us an email! Service organizations can order bracelets on our SWAG page.
#HopeForums are regional and national gatherings co-hosted with Facebook Canada, which bring Indigenous youth together to participate in sharing circles, trainings, workshops, and activities focused on supporting oneself, supporting friends & family, and supporting communities with hope, culture and strength. The very first National #HopeForum in 2018 was a groundbreaking event which led to the creation of a set of Calls to Action for Indigenous Youth Life Promotion.
We believe Indigenous youth are healers and changemakers, and with the right support and resources, can be the ones to inspire and uplift other Indigenous youth and their communities. National Ambassadors of Hope are Indigenous youth ages 16-26 who share messages of hope, culture and strength within their own community and surrounding region. Using We Matter Toolkits, and with support from the We Matter team, they deliver presentations on hardship, hope, and healing across schools and communities. They live by example in order to inspire and connect with other Indigenous youth, break mental health and suicide stigma, and promote healthy communities.
The Ontario Support Network (OSN) is an exciting new project that builds deeper partnerships between We Matter and a select number of Northern Ontario communities, and deeper relationships between youth and their supports across communities. The OSN mentors Youth Ambassadors and Community Guides to bring conversations of hardship, hope and healing into schools and communities by creating Indigenous-youth led mental health and life promotion initiatives focused on culture, community/on-the-land engagement, and peer-to-peer support.
As an Indigenous youth-led organization, We Matter advocates for the life and wellness of Indigenous youth nationally. We believe in the importance of fostering positive identity and the implementation of Indigenous youth-led and cultural-specific mental health and life promotion programs and policy.
Through our platform and social media feeds, we try to showcase and amplify all of the amazing Indigenous youth and culture-based initiatives and successes we come across. If you know of an awesome initiative, program, or event in your area, reach out to us so we can showcase it through our platform!
We Matter Toolkits are interactive and accessible multi-media Toolkits designed to introduce topics of hardship, hope and healing to Indigenous youth. Created for support workers, teachers, and Indigenous youth, these Toolkits are meant to foster positive mental health, wellness, coping, and cultural pride in homes, schools, and communities. They help youth identify the strength, resilience, and healing power they and their peers already have inside of them, to overcome many of the issues that exist in their communities – and encourage them to take action.
We have also created a set of 12 Lesson Plans: Indigenous Curriculum on Indigenous Hope & Strength, designed for classroom instruction grades 7-12. These are youth-accessible teachings on wellbeing from a First Nations perspective, and use the We Matter videos as a starting place for discussion.
We realize that many remote communities do not have reliable Internet access, so We Matter is committed to getting our video messages of hope to places where they are difficult to access. We Matter USB Sticks contain all of the current video messages and can be requested by communities in addition to the Toolkits and Lesson Plans.
We Matter hosts quarterly Toolkit webinars, where Educators and Support People who support Indigenous youth can join a video webinar in order to learn about the We Matter Toolkits, be walked through how to use them, and network with others who are working to show Indigenous youth they matter.
We Matter is a place for Indigenous youth to turn when they need an uplift, positive support, or a reminder that they matter. We offer a number of resources, tools, and support to help bring We Matter into your community, and are always happy to share or discuss. If youth are in need of additional support, please check out our GET HELP page.
WE WANT YOUTH TO KNOW
THEY CARRY THEIR OWN STRENGTHS
THERE ARE COPING SKILLS THEY CAN USE DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
BEING INDIGENOUS IS AWESOME AND SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF
TAKING ACTION CAN IMPROVE THEIR COMMUNITIES AND SELVES
THEY HAVE SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE THAT CAN HELP OTHERS
THEY HAVE THE CAPACITY TO MAKE CHANGE
OUR FAMILY & PARTNERS
We Matter was started in 2016 by brother and sister Kelvin and Tunchai Redvers. Overwhelmed by the number of suicides and other issues Indigenous youth face, they wanted to create a space that connects Indigenous youth across the country and provides support and love through culture and sharing.
WE MATTER TEAM
Kelvin Redvers, Co-Founder / National Partnerships Director
is a First Nations filmmaker originally from NWT. At age 15, he started a video production company in his hometown of Hay River. His short films made during high school went on to win awards at festivals in Canada and around the world. He attended Simon Fraser University for film production, with continued success at film festivals and garnered his first national TV broadcast credit at age 21. At age 23, Redvers was hired by CTV First Story, an Aboriginal current affairs show, where the first episode he produced/directed won a prestigious Jack Webster Award (the “Oscar” of BC journalism). His narrative short The Dancing Cop premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and screened several other festivals. He worked for a year at the production company Great Pacific Media, developing several television show concepts. He’s currently working towards directing his first feature film, as well, is in talks to host a new television show on APTN. He is very connected to the Indigenous media world, and his work often touches on Aboriginal issues in a variety of forms.
Tunchai Redvers, Co-Founder / National Programs Director
is a Dene and Metis two-spirit social justice warrior, facilitator/public speaker, poet and wanderer belonging to Deninu K’ue First Nation. Born and raised in Treaty 8 Northwest Territories, she left home at 18 to pursue studies, graduating from the University of Guelph with a degree in International Development Studies and Certificate in Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship – and is currently working towards a Master of Social Work. She has spent a significant amount of time working in and with Indigenous communities across Canada and studying and volunteering abroad. By the age of 23, she been named one of MTV and WE Day’s Top 10 Drivers of Change in Canada, has been published in a number of works for her writing, is a recipient of the Lawson Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Award, and is the co-founder of We Matter. Her work and writing focuses on intergenerational trauma, LGBTQ+ and two-spirit rights, youth and women’s empowerment, creating positive narratives, and the decolonization and indigenization of identity, mental health and healing.
Linnea Dick, Social Media & Outreach Coordinator
is a writer, orator and activist from the Kwakwaka’wakw, Nisga’a and Tsimshian nations. She became involved in indigenous activism in 2013 with a conviction to create social change and help heal the injustices faced by indigenous people. Through this work, she began to heal and recognize her purpose in life – to advocate for indigenous youth, culture and sexual assault victims through public speaking. During the last two years, she worked closely with UBC, where her late father, Beau Dick, was an artist in residence. He continues to be one of the biggest inspirations in life; a strong sense of identity, integrity and dignity instilled within her. In 2015, she had a written piece published in the book Lalakenis/All Directions: A Journey of Truth and Unity, sharing her journey through activist movement “Awalaskenis” and the importance of connection to culture. Linnea continues to share her story through different avenues, and in her spare time enjoys writing, hiking, meditation and yoga. She chooses to live as her ancestors did: on the path of sobriety and with love for her community.
Chelsea Mulvale, Community & Youth Engagement Coordinator
Chelsea Mulvale is a mixed-heritage gender-bending queer person, who identifies as First Nations, Irish, and Norwegian. Chelsea is a graduate from the University of Guelph with a degree in International Development, and Certificate in Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship – and is currently working on a Leadership and Management Certificate through the Wilfred Laurier Social Work Department. As an experienced facilitator and one-on-one mentor in topics of higher education, sexual and gender diversity, and mental health, Chelsea has worked personally with youth and adults. They have presented on mental health, inclusion, allyship, and anti-oppression at both local and national scales, and received the University of Guelph’s Diversity an Inclusion Award in 2017. After witnessing the direct impacts of colonization on their family Chelsea has spent significant time learning of Indigenous Ceremony in attempts to reconnect with their ancestry, and they see importance in prioritizing holistic approaches of self-care in their personal work, and work with others. As a person with many intersecting identities that fall on the margins, Chelsea is dedicated to utilizing transformative justice and holistic healing lens’ to help break down barriers that make people feel alone, and separated from community. In their spare time Chelsea enjoys hiking, long walks while listening to podcasts, yoga, figure skating, reading, and exploring creative modes of reflection.
Frances Moore, Operations & National Outreach Manager
Frances Moore is an Anishinaabe Kwe from Timiskaming First Nations who is passionate about Indigenous rights, issues, politics, and general social justice. Drawing on her legal background from Georgian College, Frances Elizabeth has over 6 years of experience in the non-profit sector advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion in employment through relationship building, and program management. Frances Elizabeth is a dedicated community volunteer and has served as the President and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for LIFE*SPIN which is a Community Economic Development organization in London that serves low-income citizens in Ontario providing information and support for individuals surviving on low-incomes, and to support the empowerment and self-development of these individuals in their efforts to attain self-sufficiency for the past several years. In addition to this, she has served as Community/London Police Service Collaboration and Partnership Working Group Committee Member which dealt with race relations and carding in the City of London; a Community Council Volunteer with the Aboriginal Justice Program at N’Amerind Friendship Centre; and currently sits as an Advisory Committee Member for both the London Safe Cities Initiative a partnership between the City of London and ANOVA and +Positive Voice Project out of NokeeKwe; a member of the Pillar Community Innovation Awards Selection Committee; and is a Mentor for Women in Civic Leadership at Kings College University. Frances Elizabeth has facilitated several workshops and has been a guest lecturer with the Police Foundations program about urban Indigenous identity and intergenerational trauma at Fanshawe College. She is a member of London’s Indigenous Leadership Circle Member and Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada. Above all else, she is a mother to an amazing young Anishinaabe gwewinzenhs and Auntie to several Indigenous youth.
WE MATTER wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing support of the following organizations who believe in a world where indigenous youth have the resources to overcome hardship and struggles with mental health and suicide.
Our model of sharing messages of hope and resilience is based on the It Gets Better Project, an initiative started in the U.S. to share videos of hope and positivity with LGBTQ youth who may be contemplating suicide.