When times get hard, people often find themselves in need of help. Sometimes, that help comes from strangers but other times it comes from supportive friends.
Meet Deep Braich – a friend on a mission to help those in need.
Deep, a 20-year-old university student from Calgary, Alberta, is the founder of Youth Helping Youth YYC. She started the organization at the height of the pandemic to provide much needed hygiene supplies to young people in her community.
“When the Covid lockdown was first announced, my classmates and I were doing our best to stay in touch with one another through social media because we all felt the drastic toll it had on our relationships with one another,” she said. “We shared with one another the problems we were having with families losing jobs, having an increase in financial difficulty because the university was going to start in the fall, and my female friends being unable to access feminine hygiene products because of financial difficulty, the inability to leave the home, and many more concerns.”
After hearing about the issues her friends and other associates were facing, Deep wanted to do her best to help. She started looking for any extra hygiene products like shampoos, pads, and tampons that she had at home and started packaging them up into brown paper lunch bags to keep them discrete.
“I would leave the package outside my front door and my friends would come to pick it up to take home,” she added. “The number of friends I was helping started to increase when those I had helped started telling their friends that this was something I was doing. Slowly people from all over Calgary – teenage and adult women – reached out because they were in need.”
Deep was initially funding the project with her own savings and the money she earned from babysitting and a summer job. But she needed more resources to meet the need in her community.
After receiving some local and even international media coverage about the project and the selfless work she was doing, Deep started receiving messages from people asking how they could donate. “Suddenly the project I had started to create a difference amongst my friends became a project to create a difference amongst my city,” she said. “ When organizations like the Women’s Shelter began to reach out to access feminine hygiene kits, I became more aware of the structure of our society and the people at the bottom of the economic triangle who are in need of hygiene products year-round, even more now because of Covid.”
Youth Helping Youth YYC was founded as a result.
What started as a thoughtful gesture to help friends has become an official nonprofit operating under Youth Helping Youth Alberta, an umbrella organization for Youth Helping Youth YYC.
“We started local with the YYC title and we wanted to provide support to more youth communities, therefore we registered ourselves as Youth Helping Youth Alberta Foundation to provide opportunities to establish smaller umbrella organizations in other cities,” Deep said.
To date, the organization has provided over 2,075 feminine hygiene kits to women in Calgary and parts of Alberta. The organization works with local emergency shelters as well as housing and youth organizations. It also offers mental health, anti-bullying and anti-racism workshops.
Youth Helping Youth is youth-run in all facets – from projects, ideas and planning to communications, social media and networking.
“We work together to build solutions to youth social issues and advocate for our fellow youth,” Deep noted. “We find that youth issues are often put aside and we want to bring the spotlight back on this community for politicians to recognize the support and resources our youth need.”
Deep is a true advocate with big aspirations. After completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to go to law school and become a lawyer while also continuing her work in the community.
Connect with Youth Helping Youth YYC: