Extreme Youth Group is on a mission to make a positive impact near and far

Lauren Cooper (Center) and the Extreme Youth Group “Water Walk” participants

Extreme Youth Group (EYG) is a small organization made up of a group of young people who banded together at their local church seeking to have a positive impact on their community by means of multiple initiatives. Inspired by the ‘Me to We’ movement, the group decided to set out on a ‘Me to We’ mission hoping to extend helping hands to their neighbours worldwide.

“We have a responsibility to care for our neighbours including those on the other side of the world who are living in a different reality.” EYG team leader, Lauren Cooper, told The Suburban.

The ‘Me to We’ package comes with a variety of suggestive group activities divided into categories serving as a source of inspiration on tackling social justice issues globally and locally. The groups may also come up with their own ideas and action plans. With proof of their participation in raising money and awareness towards one of the chosen categories, they may attend the ‘Me to We’ day which takes place in multiple major cities and set to go forth in Toronto this year where participating groups will gather to expose their projects and share their experiences with one another.

Cooper’s Extreme Youth Group conducted a variety of functions to earn their spot at ‘Me to We’ day, including an eco-fair and videos on how to compost along with multiple self-motivated initiatives they set up before joining into the ‘Me to We’ movement.

The group also performed a 5 km “Water walk” in the spirit of experiencing what many people around the world have to go through to access drinking water on daily basis by mimicking that reality. The group carried large jugs & heavy back-packs to the riverside at Centennial park in DDO to fill up jugs with water on the riverbank and carried them back to their starting point. The “Water walk” initiative raised enough money to grant 95 people lifelong access to clean water.

In 2018, while EYG attended a ‘Me to We’ day, they discovered that they could go on a selection of hands-on trips overseas organized by the ‘Me to We’ association to help people in other countries with struggles related to poverty. At that point, EYG decided it was time for their next big step.

The group is responsible for raising the money for the trip by establishing fundraisers or selling items like ‘Me to We’ coffee products produced by developing communities and “awareness bracelets”.

EYG set their sights on the Kenya trip, scheduled for July 2021, which will cost each participant $4500.00 to attend which includes the cost of their flight, lodge, meals and safety gear. According to Cooper, EYG chose Kenya because the long-established impact of ‘Me to We’ in Kenya will allow her gang to visit hospitals, schools and clinics already put in place. “The youth will help support the projects that ‘Me to We’ will be working on when we arrive there; be it building a school, a water well or stocking supply shipments in local hospitals and they will also take part in an authentic water walk with the locals which consists of walking long distances with jugs to fill with water at a source and carry back on their heads.” Cooper described to The Suburban. “They will also learn about the Masai Mara culture from the locals and attend leadership training programs run by ‘Me to We’ facilitators in the evening.” she explained.

As a team leader, Cooper revealed to The Suburban that she hopes for her group to gain a new perspective and to experience the fulfillment of ‘doing good for others’. “This is an opportunity for them to share and to bond in a life changing experience.” she said.

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