2020 Youth Leadership Award Winners Spotlight: Koby Mathews, Northern Young Changemaker

Leadership for Koby is authenticity.  

When Koby started learning with DAREarts, he was struggling to find his place and build a life they could be proud of. 

“Growing up in an isolated reserve, sometimes you start to feel alone and trapped. I was shy and dealt with bullying just for being different from everybody else. I lost motivation to do the stuff I used to love doing, I was an artistic kid, but I stopped doing all that when the bullying got worst. At one point, I stopped going to school. I started to do things I promised myself I wouldn’t do when I was younger. I started drinking at such a young age, I started to get high. The feeling of hatred, and disappointment I felt towards myself, it was bad, to a point I started to hate myself even more. Then I realized how badly I was messing up my life by drinking and getting high on a daily basis. I stopped all that and decided to get the help I needed to get better. DAREarts gave me the courage to take action.” 

With DAREarts, Koby challenged himself to forge a new path, reflecting on what really matters to him and the values he wanted to guide his life.  

“DARE has given me a better perspective on what having strong values can do in your life. It especially helped me focus and commit to music and art”. 

Learning with DAREarts, Koby discovered how song writing and music could help him connect to others and share his story. Now, he is using his creative superpowers to make sure others know they are not alone. 

“I just want youth who feel like that they aren’t worth anything to know that they are valid, that they’re important and loved. They should take their opportunity to show who they are, and maybe that’ll help them find their voice and stand up, not just for themselves but for other people or their community.” 

Each year, Koby works closely with the DAREarts team to help others in his community find their authentic voice through the arts. Sharing his incredible talent for song-writing, he leads by accepting others for who they are and helping them feel safe and supported enough to share and connect.

In recognition of Koby’s exceptional dedication, resilience, and compassionate spirit, we are proud to name him our Northern 2020 Young Changemaker. 

This award is proudly presented by EY. They had this note of congratulations to share with Koby:

We’re strong believers that investing in future generations and young leaders is critical to building a better working world. That’s why EY is proud to be involved in the 2020 DAREarts Youth Leadership Awards and are excited to celebrate Koby Mathews from the Attawapiskat First Nation who has been recognized with the Northern 2020 Young Changemaker award.

For Koby, leadership means acknowledging life experiences and talents, navigating challenging circumstances, overcoming self-doubt and finding the courage to live out your values. This mindset, combined with his musical creativity, have pushed Koby to forge new paths and connections to propel his personal growth and improve the lives of others. He’s an inspiration and a role model to his peers and all of those who aspire to face obstacles head-on with the same perseverance, dedication, resilience and compassion that he exemplifies.

Congratulations, Koby, on everything that you have achieved — we know there’s more on the horizon and we’re excited to see how you will continue to build a better working world.

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