Shekoli, hello, my name is Amanda Lillian Kennedy and I am a First Nation from the Oneida Nation of the Thames and I am Bear Clan. I am 36 years old and I was born in Calgary, Alberta and grew up in London ON, and Toronto, ON. Throughout childhood and as a younger youth I lived in a First Nations low-income housing co-op, based in a small neighborhood called Manor Park in London, ON. Our families didn't express emotions or talk about residential schools. Our grandparents were residential school survivors and I am just now learning about the horrific experience that they had endured. It is so heart breaking that our grandparents generation had to go through such an experience and of course they were traumatized and struggled and due to their mental health issues our parents, who were the children of residential school survivors, struggled as well. We learned to fear who we were as First Nation Peoples, we were disconnected to our grassroots, languages, teachings, traditional practices and healing, and ceremonies. People think those times are over, that our people are no longer being affected or suffering from what had happened in the past; but that's far from the truth. Our truth is our children and youth today struggle from intergenerational trauma. I'm the youth of yesterday and I see how my loved-ones, communities and Nations stayed broken and struggling. Our people have serious mental health issues, addicted to drugs, incarcerated, attempted or committed suicide, or living unhealthy lifestyles. We need change and it starts with the children and youth; so I created a Social Enterprise, giving them the structure, support and teachings they need; reconnecting them and leading them to live brighter futures; and giving them a real chance in life.
Throughout my youth I had restructured, developed, and coordinated programs for various organizations in the First Nation communities. When I was a young youth and I was asked to coordinate and organizing many youth groups, start committees, coordinate workshops, circles, and conferences.
I have also worked in the Finance and Administration field for 20 years holding various positions in both London, ON and Toronto, ON. I have been professionally involved in the Social Work field for 15 years holding many positions again in both London, ON and Toronto, ON.
I started the Yesalihuni Youth Leadership and Community Development Initiative in 2014 where I collaborated with other Youth Workers in London, ON, as well as volunteered and worked with children, youth and their families in the First Nation communities both in London, ON, Toronto, ON and in the surrounding First Nations. I have advocated and supported for many children and youth and their families when dealing with the criminal/family courts, Children's Aid Society, the police and within Elementary and Secondary Schools. Through all the knowledge and experience gained from helping and supporting the children, youth and their families I developed a Social Enterprise.
In January 2016 I registered Yotuni as a Profit Business and introduced my new business to the community as a Social Enterprise. Yotuni in the Oneida language means "its growing". Yotuni is a First Nation, grassroots Enterprise that provides camps, workshops, programs and services to at-risk Indigenous children and youth as well as to all children and youth from all walks of life. Yotuni empowers awareness, positive solutions and impacts growth mentally, physically, emotionally and Spiritually.
With honor, I will embrace the opportunity to connect more strongly with the children and youth in various communities and develop programming based on the children and youths needs and wants. I know how to reach out to the children, youth and their families and have a strong vision, strong-willed and an amazing, powerful and gifted team. I have always strongly believed and known that children and youth need more programming based on their culture as well as other Indigenous cultures and new age teachings, which will empower growth and change and I am determined to help reconnect the children and youth to their grass roots and original ways through Yotuni Enterprise.
Skills and Qualifications:
- Flexible and adaptable, worked with many communities, in different environments with various people from all walks of life, extensive experience working with children, youth, students and women
- Effective and experienced working within high stress situations
- Vast knowledge of the issues of family violence and the effects of violence on children, youth, woman and communities
- Non-judgemental and empathetic; effective working with people with various needs
- Excellent written and communication skills; experienced in strategic planning, facilitating various meetings, writing business plans, proposals, budgets, reports, documenting information, developing materials and providing workshops and support to children, youth, their families and communities
- Excellent communication, organizations and mathematical skills, very quick learner and able to multi-task effectively
- A self-starter and extensive experience working within an fast past environment
- Highly trustworthy, discreet and ethical
Social Work Skills/Experience:
- E.O/Founder of Yotuni Enterprise, working with children and youth and their families, doing community assessments, one-on-one assessments as well as developing programs and services based on their current needs and wants; working with the London, ON, Oneida Nation of the Thames and Chippewa Nation of the Thames communities, focusing on children and youth at-risk and from low-income families
- Founder of Yesalihuni Youth Leadership and Community Development Initiative, working with youth, creating a Youth Council, partnering with other organizations and services that work with youth, delivering programs and services for Youth who are at risk and from low income families while doing community and one-on-one assessments
- Teacher/Student Advisor for George Brown Colleges A.C.E program working with youth and adults, doing plans of actions and upgrading their skills and qualifications for future education endeavours
- Student Placement Coordinator at George Brown College in Social Work Department, working with their students and connecting with First Nations organizations and services creating stronger connections with the students and partnerships
- Women's Support Worker/Children's Support Worker for women's shelter for abused women and children
- Youth Transition Worker for troubled and at-risk youth who were CAS wards
- Organized and facilitated camps for children for ages (5-16)
Administration, Planning and Organization Skills/Experience:
- Experienced in strategic planning, facilitating various meetings, writing business plans, proposals, budgets, reports, documenting information, developing materials and providing workshops and support to clients
- Developed materials and facilitated various programs for children, youth, students and adults
- Liaised with other community agencies and services and developed strong partnerships in order to provide further services to the clients
- Developed material, agendas, notes, intake packages, and facilitated many workshops, camps, conferences, youth groups, boards, committees, teams and meetings
- Performed bookkeeping, payroll, processing of payable and receivable, bank reconciliation and collections, invoicing, receptionist, inventory and other related duties on a computerized system
- Skilled in producing accurate calculations for data used by management for budgeting and forecasting
- Trained, coached, supervised and evaluated staff members
- Experienced in working with a high volume of clients, agencies and services on a daily basis while maintaining a professional, customer service oriented manner at all times
- Ability to apply business ethics and human relations skills
- Established and improved client communications, maintaining ongoing relationships
- Currently advocate for children, youth and their families when dealing with C.A.S, Criminal and Family Court, Police, and Schools
- Served as a representative and liaison for my own business as well as other organizations, agencies and schools
- Skilled at crisis intervention, covered front line and 1-800 crisis line
- Skilled at building excellent working relationships with other agencies and organizations staff and clientele; effectively communicating one-on-one as well as via email, social media and regular business correspondence
- Trained and experienced with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Simply Accounting AccPac, and Quick Books
- Keyboard skills: 75 wpm