Youth Recipient (2016)
“The legacy lives within the process. Every day is integral to who you want to become.”
Youth activist. Spoken word poet. Community leader.
Twenty-six-year-old Zondra (Zoey) Roy is all of these, and she has created a vibrant life of art and activism despite leaving home at 13 and being incarcerated before the age of 15. Connecting to her community, volunteering, and gaining deeper knowledge of her Métis, Cree, and Dene roots were her first steps to her new life.
Her potential quickly emerged: in 2006, Zoey got her first job as a Youth Facilitator, writing, producing and performing children’s educational plays in a project for the Saskatoon Catholic School Board and the City of Saskatoon. More work mentoring and supporting Indigenous and marginalized youth followed with various organizations.
In 2011, she returned to high school, graduating the following year and earning the school’s Girls’ Contribution and Leadership Awards. Currently, she is in her fourth year at the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan, working on her Bachelor of Education.
As Zoey learned the power of her voice, she initiated leadership workshops so other youth could find their voices, too. From 2011 to 2013, Zoey worked with National Youth Arts Week mobilizing a team to facilitate 96 arts and community events in Saskatoon. In 2013, she co-developed Write Out Loud, a spoken word collective that promotes all-ages shows, and partners with community organizations.
She has also become a widely travelled performer and speaker. In addition to numerous events across Canada, Zoey has travelled to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City to advocate for young Indigenous people who are disenfranchised within Canada and around the world.
From wounded and uncertain beginnings, Zoey has grown in her commitment to teaching, learning, and turning hurt into hope.