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Time to Check Your Head?

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They seemed to be missing their guitarist Sasha Olynik that night but played fantastically nonetheless, keeping the crowd entertained and impressed by their talent for such a young band. 

Looking around the room, I wondered how many people there that night were friends and family of board members of Check Your Head, and how many were simply passionate about their cause.

A few people I spoke to were sponsored by their company to attend, which pleasantly surprised me as it seemed unusual for a somewhat smaller event in Vancouver. Ages ranged from young to old, some with their family, others with their partner or flying solo. Whatever the case was, the venue was set up to encourage mingling and socializing, whether it was in line for a glass of wine, at your table over dinner or fighting over the last pieces of deep fried cauliflower.

To emphasize Check Your Head’s need for donations to continue their efforts and facilitate workshops, Executive Director, Kaitlin Pelletier, shared some thoughts.

“I’m able to see first hand the dedication and commitment that our generation has to working together, and find the innovation and tools that we all need to move towards the future. With the right tools and support the future is bright and I know that as a community we can work together to continue to empower and activate youth. 

But we can’t do it alone; we need your help.

Our Youth Facilitation Training Program is one that particularly needs your support. It is so inspiring to see how the facilitation training ignites the potential in young leaders both within Check Your Head and the respectful organizations."

Her words were well received and hopefully inspired those attending to be generous in their donations to the organization.  At the very least I’m sure they were glad to have contributed already by showing their support and attending the event.

But the night did not end with her speech, it wrapped up with more beer and wine, lively chatter and fantastic music from Wake Owl. The men of Wake Owl, Colyn Cameron, Sam Cartwright, Dave Meszaros, Andrew Rasmussen Aiden Brandt-Briscall and Rick Hopkins a band who will be performing at Live at Squamish, took a moment to pose for a picture after their performance. They were all down to earth, happy to chat, and with a smirk they described themselves as the “tallest (and best looking) male band in Vancouver.”

I smiled and agreed, maybe because they’d won me over on stage, or maybe because it was true.

At the end of the night I had a moment to speak with Kaitlin a bit more about Check Your Head and about how she got to be in the position she is today. As Check Your Head is made up of a youth-identified staff, I knew she was young and it seemed like big shoes to fill for a woman in her mid 20's. After discovering her educational background and learning that she also is on the steering committee for the BC Health Coalition and sits on the Women’s Advisory Committee for the City of Vancouver, I knew she was simply a driven and passionate individual. As a woman around the same age it’s empowering to see what one can do when finding their passion.

Kaitlin Pelletier with board director Ryan Cho

In a 2011 article on Charity Village, Elisa Birnbaum, a freelance writer, quoted Kaitlin Pelletier explaining her struggles with ageism.

"People expect less of me, so I have to work twice as hard to prove that we're not going to flake out and things aren't going to go wrong cause we're younger." The truth is, she adds, "We can be just as professional at 26 as you can be at 46, but it's harder because we're constantly having to prove that to people."

This is probably one reason why she puts so much faith in the youth of today because she realizes their capabilities, being an individual who started at a young age and has accomplished so much. 

Check Your Head team: Charlene, Amanda, Eddie

For more information or to donate to Check Your Head visit their website.

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