Following a research project at the MS Society of Canada in 2009 looking at social innovation and youth, the Society acknowledged and concluded that their traditional service delivery model did not fully capture, engage or support youth in a comprehensive and age-appropriate way.
They set out on a course to change that and in late 2010 began developing an MS youth strategy to address ways in which they could better support Canadian youth impacted by multiple sclerosis. Since that time, the MS Society has identified a new MS youth ambassador, Aaron Solowoniuk who is the drummer from the band Billy Talent. Aaron is a philanthropist, fundraiser and agent of social change who is passionate about the MS cause.
Diagnosed in 1998 with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, Aaron has supported young Canadians living with MS by raising funds and building awareness through his involvement in art shows, golf tournaments and rock concerts around the world.
In addition, the MS Society since recruited and convened a National MS Youth Advisory Group comprised of youth and young adults impacted by MS. The goal of the MS Youth Advisory Group is:
- to bring the voice of youth and young adults to the organization that provides meaningful opportunities to provide guidance and feedback
- to create a forum for young Canadians living with MS to work in a youth friendly environment that respects and values their opinions and input
- to involve young Canadians living with MS in aspects of decision making for youth initiatives developed by the MS Society of Canada that is informational and educational
The MS Society of Canada remains committed to supporting young Canadians whose lives have been impacted by MS through this new on-line community and innovative new resources and activities that will be explored in the coming years.