By Tawnya Plain Eagle
The Hope in the Darkness national walk for youth mental health stopped in Piikani on Sept 4 during their 90-day journey from Winnipeg to Vancouver.
Kevin Redsky, and his wife, Harmony Redsky, are completing a cross-country tour for Redsky who walked from Newfoundland to Manitoba in 2018.
“What we did [in 2018] was challenge police officers across the country to send a message of hope and empowerment for our youth, we all know youth suicide is a big crisis in first nation communities,” Redsky said.
Redsky had lost a niece to suicide seven years ago to suicide, which inspired him to start the non-for-profit organization, Hope in the Darkness.
Hope in the Darkness was founded by Redsky to support youth mental health initiatives by creating a safe space and to challenge how we take a stand on youth mental health.
Being a police officer himself and often being the first one on scene during a crisis, Redsky said he has witnessed firsthand the system has failed to support youth mental health.
“There are so many issues that are impacting our youth these days, such as missing and murdered Indigenous woman and girls, racism, drugs crisis… our youth are watching this every day,” Redskys said.
He believes that is it important for adults to continue talking about these issues in hopes that it will give youth the courage to reach out for help.
Redsky was met by members of the community to walk with him as he reached his final stop for the day on the west end of the reserve.
“We love walking through the communities, we are always energized by community engagement and elder blessings, it just fuels us to keep going,” Redsky said.
Elders Peter Strikes with a Gun and Herman Many Guns said a prayer for the couple as they complete the rest of their journey.
According to Redsky, he is expected to arrive in Vancouver on October 12.
You can check out their website for more information on how to support Hope in the Darkness.