Darryle Caribou at the easel: "This is what keeps me balanced."

Violence, poverty, oppression don't change overnight

Article courtesy of ChristianWeek (www.christianweek.org)
Written by Josiah Neufeld, ChristianWeek Staff

WINNIPEG, MB – Paintbrush in hand, facing an empty canvas is where Darryle Caribou finds space to express himself and be a role model for other aboriginal youth.

“I’ve been on the streets, been through schools, been to foster homes – this is what keeps me balanced,” says the 24-year-old Cree painter born in Pukatawogan.

Inner-city issues require years of input; you can’t just simply fly at the issues hoping to see change.

Caribou recently used his skills to inspire youth at Inner City Youth Alive’s 21st anniversary banquet, where he set up a canvas, rolled up his sleeves and, while silverware clinked and speakers told stories, created a painting to reflect the spirit of the evening.

Inner City Youth Alive is seeking to help tranform Winnipeg’s North End through a variety of avenues including a drop-in centre, a work education program, a chopper bicycle club, a stock car racing club, a teen moms’ program and wilderness camping trips for youth.

Though IYCA director Kent Dueck says the Church in Winnipeg is waking up to its calling to care for the poor, he has yet to see if it’s more than a “flavour of the week.”

“Inner-city issues require years of input; you can’t just simply fly at the issues hoping to see change,” says Dueck, who’s seen plenty of gang violence, prostitution, poverty and racism in two decades of working in the inner city.

“I see our community rising up out of the ashes,” says Dueck. “I sense people’s readiness to fight back against the drug dealers, prostitution and other oppressive factors around us.”

Inner City Youth Alive is always looking for volunteers to assist with the program by serving as role models. For more information, click to contact ICYA.

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