The Barrie Native Friendship Centre’s digital media lab is up and running 10 months after the concert fundraiser that helped them acquire some equipment to get started.
Last May, the BNFC held a benefit concert at the Five Points Theatre for their Youth Council in hopes of purchasing any media devices that would help them work toward perfecting their technology skills.
Some of those who were involved with getting the lab open had a ribbon-cutting Thursday evening.
Wasa-Nabin youth program director Meagan Lortie told BarrieToday that education and personal growth are the goals of the new department.
“With this new media lab, the hopes are that they will get trained in all these fun new ways that will assist them on their journey to learn so many things that most of us never got a chance to when we were younger,” said Lortie.
“They’re going to be able to use Photoshop and other programs that will help them support themselves and maybe set them up for a future career," she added. "The main goal though is to empower them with a sense of self-confidence and self-worth.”
Some of the equipment that was purchased through the help from the benefit show and donations was a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the second-generation iPad Pencil, XT Canon Rebel camera and a MAC computer. Other equipment is on the way as is a Green Screen that will go along one of the walls in the new Media Lab.
The media lab will let the youth create advertisements for events that the BNFC are hosting as well as learn to tell the stories using current technology.
Fifteen-year-old Lana Smith-Worthington is with the Youth Council and told BarrieToday that she is very excited to see the opening of the lab as it shows commitment from the BNFC in growing the youth activities.
“The Youth Council is very important to us because it is keeping our culture alive and helping us get involved in the community,” said Smith-Worthington. “I feel it is really important to get the youth involved because we are the future leaders here and we need the knowledge from the past but also the skills for what lies ahead.”
Selena Mills has been assisting the BNFC with their social media presence and helping to hone the youth council as they prepare to learn how to handle multimedia platforms. Being a writer and digital media expert, Mills is relishing her role as a leader with the youth of the Friendship Centre and knows it is good for them.
“It is so important for them to know that they have people who support them and who are helping them develop their skills but also creating relationships and bonds with them at an interpersonal level,” said Mills. “They’re learning skills from other Indigenous professionals and traditional people or practitioners as opposed to going to school where they’re learning an Indigenous skill set within colonial education systems from non-Indigenous people.”
Much of what the BNFC and the youth are doing is visible on their social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram at @BarrieNativeFriendshipCentre and Twitter @BarrieNativeFC. All information on upcoming events are also on their website.