Lasting and healthy change is difficult to achieve because there are so many forces that work to keep change from happening. The societal, cultural, and/or personal forces must be resisted by the person or organization that decides the change they desire is necessary. However, most of the time it is not enough to simply make this decision and put forward this effort by oneself. Support is often needed in these times of change so that the forces trying to stop it do not become overwhelming. St. Philips will be hosting two people who try to, Kyle Mason and Don Amero, at our 11am service on July 17th. These individuals have devoted themselves to be supporters of lasting and healthy change within their communities.
Before they arrive it would be good for us to get to know a bit about these men so they do not spend their whole time simply explaining who they are. Kyle Mason will be sharing a message with us when he visits on July 17th. Kyle Mason is Winnipeg born and was raised in the North End by a single parent family. As Kyle grew he noticed that it was not just his family that struggled with poverty but many throughout his community. During this tough time in his life Kyle Mason was able to find support and community from a local church youth group. Having a supportive community during a difficult time obviously stuck with Kyle as when he moved back to the community he knew exactly how he wanted to help it out.
Kyle Mason decided to help his community by starting the North End Family Centre. It is within this organization that Kyle, his staff, volunteers, and everyone who comes to the centre work on creating a loving and safe community. This community was formed by the North End Family Centre’s ability to hear the community they wished to serve. Kyle explains, “We listen to the people that we serve. We ask what they want and what they need and move to do that. And when the community feels like they have real input, which they do, they respond.” The response Kyle refers to is that despite only having a starting location 1000 square feet they were receiving up to 1400 visits a month. This response allowed the North End Family Centre to expand to their new location so they might serve more people and help support this ever growing community.
Don Amero, the Juno nominated man who will be providing the music to our service on July 17th, grew up in the North End community like Kyle Mason. Don Amero also is filled with the desire to give back to his community. With this desire in mind Don works in his local community; a good example of this is last year where Don took the responsibility on to help mentor some middle school kids at Niji Mahkwa. It is here the students collaborated with Don Amero to make a song about missing and murdered indigenous women titled, Never Alone.
Don also sees his community in a broader sense and has toured the country with country music star Brett Kissell last year. They toured through many indigenous communities to do their part to support the reconciliation conversation that was spreading throughout the country. Don Amero has this to say about reconciliation, “Reconciliation is relationship, and I think that what Brett and I want to do is be a living example of two guys from different hoods, different places, different backgrounds coming together to do something really great for people.”
The relationships these two men have formed with their communities is an inspiring story we will hear more of on July 17th. We hope many will come out to be inspired by their stories and song so that we can all figure out how we can help support change in our country, city, neighbours, and selves.