Kiyari and her friends started a safe space for Indigenous youth to share their stories and form community.
Wāpahki, meaning tomorrow, is a United Way funded partnership between Chokecherry Studios, Okihtcitawak Patrol Group, and Prairie Harm Reduction, hosting a youth led talking circle and art therapy program which was co-founded by Kiyari and other community members.
“When I started high school, that’s where I started noticing a lot of this stuff. I was having a hard time with racism, transience, and mental health and addictions. Chokecherry was actually the space that myself and others came up with, and then a couple of years later we were able to make it come true. It became our break space where we get to talk about these barriers and not have to worry about what other people think about it.”
Kiyari identifies barriers with “education, mental health, transit, and racism.” Recently, she notes, “with the pandemic there have been a lot of overdoses, and it has been difficult to access services.” Exemplified by her experiences from a young age, as she sought to provide community members with an opportunity and space where these issues could be talked about: “Before Wāpahki my friends and I would get together and talk about these barriers and challenges that we have.”