Non-Profit Youth Leadership Network offers accessible skill development for youth

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The social network Morgan Ortman

Youth building up youth

The Non-Profit Youth Leadership Network (NPYLN) is a new Canadian non-profit that aims for peer engagement and communication among youth, and streamlining networking and volunteering across Canada. First thought of by Emily Lints in May, since then she’s managed to put together a board of nine youth across Canada between the ages of 16-29. Together they have launched NPYLN in on August 17 this year. Since then they have had nearly 100 youth join and are in conversations with 27 non-profit groups, as well as school divisions and school boards, all within one week of them starting.

In an interview with Lints, she described her inspiration for this project:

“Personally, I’ve been involved in lots of different networks for a variety of different groups and non-profits,” she said. “So I thought ‘how cool would it be if we could streamline that process for everybody across Canada to get involved in these organizations?’” Lints add that “having one place where people could go to share opportunities and their thoughts is a great way to connect people across the country.”

 The most important skill NYPLN teaches according to Lints is professional development. That’s everything from getting experience so people can get the long term careers they desire, learning how to network, learning things like ‘what is a financial statement?’ and to overall have confidence in one’s abilities when they step into a role that, before NYPLN, they might have thought was out of their reach.

People can sign up to NYPLN on their website, for free. Immediately, they’ll be added to a Slack group where they can meet up with other youths aged 16-29 across Canada, where they can ask questions and connect with peers. Starting with their first session on September 4 they will do four sessions every month, a networking session, a professional development session, an organization spotlight and a panel session. All of their information is on their website, and currently their sessions are happening over Zoom. There is no cost, and no commitment to these sessions. The guests for each session come from the various non-profits NPYLM is working with, with each session covering something new. Each of the networking sessions will have a panel based on the theme, presented by a non-profit or the board.

 Reese Estwick, NPYLN’s Director of Communications, pointed out that “young people aren’t given the opportunity to grow and gain the experience they need to get into the long-term positions they want. For example, if someone wants to get into long-term politics, they require five years experience. NPYLN was created with the thought in mind that we want young people to grow and network and gain experiences ahead of the game, and find opportunities across the country, and gain the abilities and skills to get into their dream positions long term.”

 Estwick hopes this group gives people the ability to connect with other people, and gain self confidence. “Properly communicating and inserting yourself into a conversation where you wouldn’t necessarily be invited to. “I don’t think I’m qualified” goes away if a person has some experience to go off of.”

 NPYLN is a Canadian-made, youth-led solution to a problem that many youth face. Particularly during COVID, having an easy, accessible way to learn and develop leadership and personal skills, as well as connect with peers across the country, is invaluable. Youth aged 16-29 can enroll free of charge and learn countless skills with a variety of peers. Already, Estwick noted, peers have been asking each other questions over Slack to help for things like writing resumes and cover letters, in order to help them get the best shot at their long-term goals.

 “It’s about building a community.” Estwick said, “And making sure people have the confidence and ability to pursue their long-term dreams across Canada.”

On their Slack, they have various different channels including current opportunities, networking, social media, and fun stuff. There already youth are spreading job opportunities, volunteer opportunities, leadership advice, and more. “The group is flexible,” Estwick said, “[NPYLN] helps people with questions about public education, even down to recipes and such. It’s a safe place to be yourself and anybody and everyone can get involved to build as many skills as possible.”

If you are looking for networking or non-profit experience you can find their website at nonprofityouthleadershipnetwork.com

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