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A Message from Nicole Petryliak

I used to be one of those kids. Acting out for attention; aimless; getting into trouble; self-sabotaging; resistant to authority; labelled by behaviour disorders... you know the ones. Like many of us, I was combating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; navigating blended families, domestic fragility, genetics and generational trauma; feeling like I was invisible; mirroring what I learned in the environments I spent most of my time in; and fundamentally believing I was unwanted. I wish I had found a safe community to go to when I was a youth. Instead, I found myself looking for love in all the wrong people and places.

After a long and productive decade of healing and exploring a career that lead to wellness entrepreneurship, life suddenly redirected me to youth work. Crashing my mountain bike put my life into a state of upheaval that lead to the swift kick of my career transition. As a business owner and single-mom, giving in to pain was not an option. I refused to go for x-rays or take time off and continued to work on a fractured arm with torn tendons. When it was obvious I was only making it worse I finally surrendered. Fortunately, by the time I was ready to admit defeat, I had started a new volunteer role as a community youth leader. It gave me a sense of fulfillment I had been craving for a very long time, which also came with the realization that I could re-invest the wisdom gained from overcoming all of my previous challenges into becoming a passionate force for the revival of youth culture today.

Eight months into recovery and transitioning from entrepreneurship to youth work, I still had not landed a single interview. My confidence was crushed, so I accepted it wouldn't happen and found a different job to pay the bills. Right before my start date, a call came in from a private number. Normally I assume those calls are scams or patrons looking for services that I no longer provide and promptly ignore them: but this time I didn't. Lo and behold! It was Youth Unlimited humbly asking if I would still consider them for an interview. At first I thought I was dreaming... but now I see that the gruesome process of wishing, waiting and persisting without success gave me something I will never take for granted: an unshakable hope for a brighter future, and the resilience needed to manage The Core Youth Program in the Millwoods Rec Centre. Now I'm leading a team of advocates who passionately support the same vulnerable teens I once identified as. And it’s AWESOME!

Each has a unique story that's still being written and one consistent adult pouring in can change that story for the better. Why stop there? Together we can give them more! YUE wants to be a primary influence on youth culture to foster their transformation into adulthood on a sturdy foundation that helps them heal from trauma, realize their potential and inspire positive social action in those around them. That’s why I do what I do. Co-creating a safe, barrier free community for teens to explore their identity and learn essential values humbles me in ways I never could have imagined. And while it's a beautiful chapter in my story, it's no small task. I strive to be available to youth in crisis whenever they're in need, and sometimes that requires me to step out of comfort to put their needs above my own.

I am so grateful to serve a mission that can help the world be a better place for our kids. If you're grateful for what you have and you want to support future generations in creating that for themselves as well, I would love to connect with you. Not only to share more about our programs and what they do for these teens, but to learn how I can support you... united communities are essential for a healthy society; I don't want anyone to miss out on this world changing kind of love!

Partner with Nicole Petryliak, and give a gift HERE. Be sure to select that you want your donation to go to "Nicole Petryliak".


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