News Story

Youth Press Forward in Ottawa

As part of the Ottawa youth conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held August 6, 2016, 130 youth from Ottawa and Montreal performed at the Andrew Haydon Park bandshell in Ottawa, Ontario, raising awareness for refugees in the Ottawa area.

Through song and dance, the youth entertained park-goers. Between performances, the youth talked about how people can support the Refugee 613 program to benefit Syrian refugees in Ottawa.

Jamie Dick and Cloe Stiles, two of the Mormon youth who attended the conference, enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the community through the fundraising efforts of the group. “Even if we didn’t raise a lot of money, we made a difference in ourselves,” said Stiles, speaking of the opportunity to make these Syrian families feel welcome in their new homes in Canada.

The youth performances included a haka (Maori traditional dance), breakdancing, singing, a Canadian fashion show and a hockey game.

Kamrie Lavoie performed on her guitar while singing “When You Give Love, Love Gives Back,” which she wrote specifically for the youth conference. Her sister Maya accompanied her by performing an interpretive dance that she choreographed herself.

For the finale, the 130 youth sang “We Are the World,” with their final words being “We are all children of God and we should help each other.”

Stake Young Women president Catherine Potter said, “Today the youth spread a message of hope, of love, of unity, of acceptance and of welcoming to our Syrian brothers and sisters. We hope we’ve inspired the community to get involved in any way they can to extend a hand of fellowship to the new members of our Canadian family.”

Youth also sold water and treats to raise money for the cause, partnering with United for Refugees. The event raised almost $800 for this organization, 100 percent of which will go toward helping local Syrian refugees meet their most pressing needs.

The theme of the conference was “Press Forward,” based on a scripture from the Book of Mormon: “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men” (2 Nephi 31:20).

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