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YKNOT Campaign Asks Young People To Share What Ties Them To Home

Thursday May 22nd, 2014, 12:35pm


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All those involved with YKNOT crowded together to participate in a “knot tying ceremony,” rather than a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially kick off YKNOT Windsor-Essex.

Project YKNOT kicked off this morning as the first of three pillars to help build a youthfully prosperous Windsor-Essex community.

Dan Brown, coordinator of YKNOT Windsor-Essex was hired in February to begin implementing the Youth Attraction and Retention program alongside WEtech Alliance. The project all started a year ago with a $105,500 Trillium grant.

“The idea is that we are young people and we tied to the region,” said Brown. “It’s not about whether you live here or not it’s about being proud of it. The knot is representative of being tied together, being tied to our region and being tied to our history.”

Brown said the goal for this first phase is to make people feel attached to something. In celebrating what residents and local youth are proud of, they give reasons for youth to stay. YKNOT and WEtech Alliance have launched their hashtag, #tied2WE on social media and are asking young people to share what ties them to home.

“The most exciting thing about that is that we can really involve the people who have moved away to Australia, to South Korea, to Toronto,” said Brown. “They can share their pride online whether they’re here or not. The other piece is as opportunities come up we can connect them and blog them over social media.”

The second pillar and part of action to this three-step plan is opportunities and ensuring their availability. Brown said there is often a misconception that it’s always the number of jobs available and how many jobs are said to be had in the area, however Brown said it’s not the case of quantity, but rather quality that matters. The third piece of this movement is their advocacy piece, which is about the voice of the youth in the community. To kick start this movement, everyone involved with YKNOT wore white t-shirts with the YKNOT logo.

“The reason we wore white is because a lot of times young people are absent specifically in this region from conversations, from positions, from decision making positions,” said Brown. “So we’re invisible a lot of time in the area and I think today we became visible.”

Yvonne Pillon, Vice President of WEtech Alliance and co-chair of the Youth Attraction and Retention Task Force said it was an “easy fit” for WEtech Alliance to host the project.
“One of WEtech’s four pillars is building the talent pipe-line,” said Pillon. “We know that any region prospers because of it’s talented people and specifically young talent so when the opportunity came to host this grant it was a clear fit for us and also we are an innovation technology accelerator … so the social innovation component fits well with WEtech Alliance.”

As a young professional in the community, Pillon said she’s very excited to be a part of the launch because she knows it is all about engaging people and building roots in the community. From a personal standpoint, Pillon said the chance of her leaving the community is slim because of the roots she’s built and that’s something that is very important when it comes to tying people to Windsor-Essex.

Teresa Piruzza, Liberal Candidate for Windsor West, was not only born and raised in Windsor-Essex, but she has two young boys as well and wants to ensure to maintain the strong community so youth are able to stay local.

“There are so many different opportunities and as you look around the room here in terms of WEtech and the Downtown Accelerator, you can feel the positive vibes in the room, you can feel the excitement,” said Piruzza. “There is a lot of excitement, there is a lot of opportunity in this community and we just all have to be out there selling it and that’s what’s so important about a platform like this. Everybody shares what they love about this community, because it’s a great community.”

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