They gave me the keys
By Kerri Irvin-Ross, CEO
Running between meetings, learning names and new acronyms I feel a sense of pride that I have now been given the keys to MYS. The keys symbolize so much more then just access into a building. To me they represent direct entry into lives of youth, families and team members across Manitoba. At times, I become nervous about the responsibility and seek the quiet comfort of a Diet Coke.
I am no longer the newest team member at MYS. On Wednesday, we were joined by Frankie Snider as the new Director of Care. We are so fortunate to have her as a part of our team. Her knowledge, experience and energy will no doubt strengthen the services and programs we are able to provide to youth. Working with Frankie is nothing new for me as we have previously spent time together travelling Northern Manitoba in very small planes meeting with communities attempting to create recreational and social opportunities for youth. Frankie’s previous work experience at MYS and her years of service in the health sector make her a very welcome addition to our team.
This past week I received an inquiry about spending time between 175 Mayfair compared to spending time in the community. I need to do both. I have so much to learn about MYS as seen through the eyes of team members, youth, stakeholders and funders across the city and province. The knowledge I gain from community partners will help the MYS team to ensure that our services and programs meet the needs of families we serve. These meetings help identify strengths, opportunities and potential new partnerships. I am excited as I listen to people explain their relationships with MYS as they reflect:
It is such a great organization
My kids really like going to the Youth Resource Centre.
This week I met with Indigenous leaders and organizations who shared their insights about MYS. They identified areas for natural partnerships, such as training sessions, staff recruitment, customary care initiatives and cultural interactions. I am very excited about the potential opportunities for the youth and families we assist. I will be engaging Elders and youth directly to assist with identifying a path forward for MYS.
Pictured above: Kerri Irvin-Ross with staff members from the Coach 2 Program.
During week 3 I continued to visit community homes and also attended the educational program, Coach 2. Once again, the MYS commitment and dedication was apparent with every interaction I observed between team members and youth. I personally enjoyed listening to a selection of RAP music, visiting the classroom pet rats from afar and getting instruction on how to make lactose-free chocolate chip cookies. With every interaction I was reminded of the intelligence, thoughtfulness, dreams, potential and gifts all youth have.
While sharing my recent experiences at MYS with a friend my mind was moving quickly and I was overflowing with enthusiasm I was reminded to “slow down.” I need to listen, gather information, experience services and programs, meet partners and learn about the history of MYS to assist in the creation of a plan. It will take time to develop the understanding and knowledge required to formulate a plan with team members. Plans will be shared with team members, opinions will be respected and stakeholders will be engaged so we can walk the journey together as MYS strives to always be better at meeting the needs of Manitoba families.