Yellowknife, NWT – A group which talks to Northern youth about sexual health and sexuality has won the $1 million Arctic Inspiration prize.

FOXY operates throughout the Northwest Territories and beyond, creating a dialogue with young men and women about sexual health issues, leadership and coping skills, and self-confidence.

Executive director Candice Lys and her team received the $1 million award in Ottawa at a ceremony on Wednesday evening.

At the top of this page, watch the “FOXY Takes Flight” condom safety video, produced with help from Buffalo Airways. Visit FOXY’s website to learn much more about the project, and visit FOXY’s blog for news of recent trips to communities throughout the NWT.

The organization faced a funding crisis as recently as August this year, when project coordinator Nancy MacNeill revealed that FOXY’s $250,000-per-year funding arrangement was set to end in March 2015.

“We want to keep doing it all and the parents we’ve talked to are devastated at the possibility of us not being able to do it, but unfortunately that’s just where we are right now,” MacNeill told Northern News Services at the time.

“We really need money … we were hoping to get support from the GNWT and so far they’ve been very interested in trying to support us, but no cheques yet, which is what we need.”

Arctic Inspiration’s award, in the prize’s third year of existence, should solve at least some of those problems. This marks the first occasion on which the full prize has been awarded to a single organization.

“The sexual health of Northern youth is a serious public health concern, with extremely high rates of sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancy, and sexual violence across the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon,” said Lys.

“We are thrilled to receive this prestigious prize that will support our team of youth, Elders, educators, community-based researchers and artists to deliver a sexual health education program that is relevant and accessible to Northern youth of all genders, in all three territories.”

The Arctic Inspiration prize is awarded annually to teams working on important issues in the Canadian Arctic in the fields of education, human health, social-cultural issues, environment and the economy.

Wednesday’s ceremony also featured performances by Polaris Music prize recipient Tanya Tagaq, Celina Kalluk, Sylvia Cloutier, Digawolf and David Serkoak.

CJCD Moose FM News