The Impact of Harnessing and Unleashing the Power of Youth as the Interim Executive Director

Feb 11, 2024 | Future North’s Impact, Stories from You

Written by: Kamilah Francis, Interim Executive Director at Future North

When I started at Future North, I saw so much potential working at this organization that boasted a collective impact approach to improving youth futures and focused on amplifying youth voices on issues in our community. I  have always believed that collaboration is the only real way to have impact and stand by this.

I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into initially. To say I was overwhelmed at the mountainous tasks ahead of me, which included transforming this program/initiative into a registered charity, is an understatement. However, despite not having directly started a brand new charity before, I knew that I needed to do this. Not because I was the best or only person that could, but because I was passionate about youth having a say in what would best serve them. I knew the potential that youth have, and I was genuinely excited about having a role in harnessing and unleashing that potential in a way that would make our community a better place. 

I grew up in a home where our individual and unique values we each brought to this world were always celebrated. My mom was instrumental in letting us know that we all had potential to be history makers, changing the world one interaction at a time no matter your age. I have always been passionate from the time I was a young youth myself about removing limitations based on age and understood the weight my youth voice carried. When I got hired at Future North, I understood the assignment: that youth should have direct decision-making power and influence in the areas that would ultimately impact their futures. 

As soon as I started, Future North immediately stood out to me as the authentic organization they claimed to be. They actually put their money where their mouth is. They didn’t just say they did youth engagement right, they showed it in their daily practices and committed to making this a universal practice in other organizations as well by providing consultations. 

Future North supported youth-led projects and created opportunities for youth to actively participate in shaping their futures and in this role I have witnessed youth truly thriving. Their voices have been leveraged and they’ve been given the platform to be change agents. They each bring their own lived expertise in developing solutions to our community issues and gaps. I’ve witnessed youth blossom before my very own eyes with just a few tools and some confidence in what is already innately within them.

Being the interim ED at Future North has pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I’ve learned so much from youth and from the community, had the privilege of bringing youth to the table, and being able to gather and share with decision-makers what youth are saying. 

I’m so proud. Not of myself, because it’s not me that created this. I’m proud of the youth, for putting their trust in Future North and making it into what it is today. For being and creating the changes they wish to see in our community. For allowing us as a community to benefit from their innovation. For using their lived experiences to improve the future. 

Without Future North, we risk staying in the same old patterns. We need youth. We need their fresh perspectives and resiliency. We need to know what they are dealing with currently. We need their lived experiences of the present to push our community into the best and brightest future. 

Please sign the petition, share YOUR story and/or donate today to ensure Future North’s sustainability!