Giving Back and Getting Involved

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Want to make a difference in the world and have fun at the same time? Want to do something positive for your community?


Getting involved in your community can make a difference to others. It can also help you fight stress and open up a world of new friends and opportunities.

Changing the way things are starts with you. Take the lead. Become involved. You have what it takes and what others need.


It’s good advice when you’re feeling blue – help someone else and you’ll feel a lot better about yourself and your life. Find a charity that you believe is important and donate some time to it. Try the local food bank or seniors’ centre. They welcome volunteers and can use your help.

Volunteering is a great way to meet people who share your concerns, values and beliefs. It’s also an excellent way to learn more about issues that interest you.

When you volunteer, you are contributing your very valuable time and energy to an issue you care about.

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Every girl has the potential to be a change maker in her life and in the lives of others.

People volunteer their time for lots of different reasons. You can pick your own reasons, but are some we think are important:

  • Pump up your resume – When you’re looking for a job later, volunteer experience helps. It shows you’re responsible and gives you references who can prove you do good work.
  • It feels good to help people – Try helping somebody and see how you feel. Giving of your time and energy makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Make the world a better place – Making the world better, safer, happier, healthier or cleaner starts with small projects, so get in there and get your hands dirty.
  • Learn something about yourself – You might be a great leader or more outgoing than you ever thought and there’s only one way to find out – try new things!
  • Figure out what kind of career you want – Thinking about becoming a doctor? Volunteer at a hospital!
  • Activism is cool! – If you’re passionate about causes like the environment or human rights, there are lots of charities and groups you can join.
  • Meet new people – Your best friends might be the coolest, but volunteering is a chance to meet a whole new circle of people.
  • It’s fun – If you volunteer doing something you love, the work you do won’t feel like work at all.



Think about the different things you care about. It may be caring for the environment or anti-racism, reading a book or playing an instrument. Whatever you’re passionate about and whatever your skills, there are plenty of ways to get involved in your community. There are many organizations and local events looking for volunteers like you.

Check out the MB4Youth website. MB4Youth works closely with youth, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, community groups, schools, provincial departments, and other levels of
government to accomplish two main goals:

  • to encourage employers to hire students and youth up to age 29 by providing internships, grants, job referrals, mentorship and bursary opportunities, and wage incentives. MB4Youth delivers over 20 employment programs.
  • to be the single source of information for all youth programs and services offered by the Manitoba government. MB4Youth would like to make it easier for youth to access over 200 provincial programs and services through the Opportunities MB web portal at

Or check out Volunteer Manitoba’s section on youth resources. You will find a list of volunteer opportunities and lots of other info on jobs, scholarships and how to create your own service projects. It’s a great way to get involved!

Try a world view!

Are you interested in making a difference in the world and becoming inspired? Then check out the Girls Action Foundation – a great place for teenage girls in Canada to meet, learn, have fun and get inspired.

For more information, visit


For other opportunities across Canada and around the world, check out:

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In today’s digital world of smart phones and the Internet, there are many more ways to communicate with others.

Through social media, we can share our thoughts and passions on any particular issue, help others and improve our communities. There are many social media platforms that give you the potential to reach many people from around the world.


There are also several community events that are held throughout the year that celebrate women’s milestones or focus on an issue that concerns many different groups of women right here in our province. Why not volunteer to help organize a walk in your community or spread the word to all of your friends through social media. Keep an eye out for these events:

      • Feb 14 Annual Women’s Memorial March
      • Mar 8 International Women’s Day
      • Apr 22 Earth Day
      • May 1 May Day
      • Sept Grandmothers Protecting Our Children Sacred Walk
      • Sept Annual Take Back the Night March
      • Oct Women’s History Month
      • Oct 4 National Day of Remembrance for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Canada
      • Oct 4 Sisters in Spirit Vigil
      • Oct 11 International Day of the Girl
      • Oct 18 National Day of Action to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls
      • Nov Take Your Kids to Work Day
      • Nov 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance
      • Nov 25 – Dec 10 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence
      • Nov 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
      • Nov 29 International Human Rights Defenders Day
      • Dec 1 World AIDS Day
      • Dec 3 International Day of Persons with Disabilities
      • Dec 6 Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
      • Dec 10 International Human Rights Day

      If we work together and make our voices heard, we can make a difference!

Girl power didn’t just happen!


Suffragists were women working to break down barriers long before it was cool (in the late 1800s). These women worked tirelessly to gain suffrage – to have the same right to vote as men did.

Members of the Political Equality League, who believed in peaceful activism, made a plan to raise public awareness and gain support for their cause. The league staged a mock parliament on January 28, 1914. Gender roles were reversed and they made fun of how society would be in chaos should men be allowed the right to vote.

Nellie McClung played the part of the premier, using her wit and humour in mimicking the style and tone that the premier at the time had used when addressing the people about this issue. The mock parliament was a success, making the news in Manitoba and across the country.

It is important to note that, even though women were granted the same right as men to vote, many people continued to be denied the vote for decades.

Being granted voting rights was tied to a number of factors such as a person’s:

  • property ownership
  • marital status
  • cultural or ethnic group

Here are some quick facts:

  • Manitoba was the first province in Canada to give some women the right to vote in provincial elections on January 28, 1916.
  • Chinese and Indo-Canadians were not granted the right to vote in federal elections until 1947.
  • Japanese-Canadians won this right in 1948.
  • The Inuit received the right in 1950.
  • First Nations peoples could not vote, without giving up their treaty rights and registered Indian status, until 1960.
  • Manitoba was the second province to grant the unrestricted right to vote to First Nations peoples in 1952.

For more information about some inspiring Manitoban women who have become leaders in their communities, business or the labour movement, check out: Gender Equity Manitoba's publications.

See history in action – Go to Historica Canada, to watch Heritage Minutes – short videos about important women in Canada’s history.

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What is Canada's Political System?

In Canada, there are 3 levels of government. Each level of government has different responsibilities.

  • Federal government (the Government of Canada) – Responsible for things that affect the whole country, such as citizenship and immigration, national defence and trade with other countries. For more information, please visit the Government of Canada's website.
  • Provincial and territorial governments (the Manitoba government) – Responsible for such things as education,
    health care and highways. For more information, please visit Manitoba Government's website.
  • Municipal (local) governments (cities, towns and villages in Manitoba) – Responsible for firefighting, city
    streets and other local matters. If there is no local government, the province provides services. For more information visit the Association of Manitoba Municipalities.


THIS OFFICE IS CALLED THE Gender Equity Manitoba.

You may have read the Minister’s message earlier in the book and wondered who she is and what she does?

Here in Manitoba, the Minister responsible for the Gender Equity Manitoba is an elected official who is the head of Gender Equity Manitoba — a branch within the provincial government (Gender Equity Manitoba). Part of her job is to promote issues of concern to women, both within government and the community. Girls rights and issues are important part of that work, so Gender Equity Manitoba created this guide which is full of information about topics that are relevant to girls and young women just like you.

Check out Apathy is Boring, a youth-led charitable organization that helps youth make sense of Parliament and the democratic process in Canada.

To learn more about voting here in Manitoba and the electoral process, please visit Citizen Next. Try out their games section!

Even if you’re not old enough to vote now, you can still be involved in politics, especially if you’re interested in what goes on in your world. We know that each of you is driven by your commitment to specific causes that are close to your heart.

Given the right opportunities and supports, we hope that girls, like you, can speak your mind to your peers, adults in your life and others and even change views and practices in your community.


Women who are already active and involved are usually happy to share their knowledge.

Don’t be shy!


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You can make a difference.

Every girl has a voice!

Some may be soft, some may be loud, some may use words, some may use art, some may use music, some may dance...

But we all have a way to express ourselves and share what’s in our hearts and our minds.

Today, girls are taking charge of their lives, telling their stories, working for change – for themselves and for others.

Activists are people who see the need for change, improvement and motivation on a large scale. They are people driven by passion, keen to share facts they want understood more widely and led by a vision for a better future.

Whatever your reason for wanting to become an activist, you have the ability to do so, no matter your age, your means, or your background. Believing that you can make a difference and that you have the power to do something about an issue are at the heart of creating change for the better.

You have a voice.
Express yourself.
Discover your potential.
Be positive.

Shannen Koostachin, youth education advocate from the Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario, had a dream – safe, comfortable schools and culturally-based education for First Nations children and youth. The young activist not only arranged protests and letter-writing campaigns to Canada’s government, but also met with the Indian Affairs Minister, afterwards speaking to a crowd of over 5,000 people on the steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. In 2009, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize for her work. Although she passed away in 2010, her dream still lives on ( and she will be featured as the newest heroine in DC Comic’s Justice League Canada series. Always believe that YOU can make a difference!

Here are some ways to begin:

  • DEFINE YOUR PASSION - Is there one cause that moves you? Maybe it’s getting more women involved in non-traditional sports or careers. Maybe you’re interested in raising awareness of how women are shown in the media. Maybe you’re worried about the environment or animal rights. Get involved in an issue that interests you, then start to make a difference in the world around you!
  • LEARN THE ISSUE - You have the passion. Now, you need the facts. Google it. Follow activists on Twitter. Call leaders in your community. Knowledge is power. You’ll also need to learn which organization or level of government is responsible for your issue.
  • TEAM UP - Talk to your friends. You’ll gain support, create great ideas and form a team of people looking to help. You can even start a club at your school.
  • MAKE A PLAN - It’s time to take action. Start with something small, something you can do in your school or community, or even on your computer. Create a petition. Make a newsletter and post it at school. Write an article for your school newspaper. Post information on the Internet on a blog or through social media.
  • ASK FOR HELP - Talk to your parents, teachers and coaches. Contact community organizations or your church.
  • SPREAD THE WORD - Go public with everything you and your club are doing. Use the school newspaper. Contact your local newspaper or TV station. Go crazy on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are your best friends.
  • STAY IN THE KNOW - Follow the local and national news. See what similar organizations are doing. Contact them. Organize with them. You’re all on the same team.
  • CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES - Make workable steps and small goals. Pat yourself – and your team members – on the back every time you achieve one of those goals.
  • DON’T GIVE UP - Something will go wrong. Someone will tell you ‘no.’ At times, it will feel like you’re not making progress. But you are. Be patient – and persistent. Just keep going. You will – and are – making a difference.

Don’t speak out only against oppression, speak out for equality!

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