The co-founders of FOXY will receive Meritorious Service Medals from Governor General David Johnston during a ceremony in Edmonton Thursday morning.
Yellowknife’s Nancy MacNeill and Candice Lys will be among 70 Canadians recognized for their exceptional dedication to service.
The two women are being honoured for their work with FOXY, or Fostering Open eXpression among Youth.
Since 2012, the NWT-based group has used the arts to teach girls about sexuality, sexual health and relationships.
More recently, the group has launched a program called SMASH, or Strength, Masculinities and Sexual Health, geared towards younger men in the territory.
In a statement on the governor general’s website, MacNeill and Lys were credited for running ‘life-changing’ workshops and peer leader retreats.
“They have empowered youth and especially girls in the Northwest Territories to freely express their sexual health and relationship challenges … and share lessons learned with their communities,” the statement read.
“Thanks to FOXY, youth play an active role in building stronger communities in the North.”
MacNeill says she’s honoured to be recognized, adding that it means a lot to know people see value in what FOXY does.
“The reaction that we get from teachers and parents is amazing,” she told Moose FM.
“We hear that parents see huge changes in their kids … and that participants are coming back to school with a renewed sense of confidence.
“The knowledge is getting across but the empowerment is something that I think we’re starting to see too.”