This completely youth-led film features interviews with young people across the province discussing how they are making change in their communities. Youth Leading Change was a big project for our Youth Advisory Council, but through their hard work and dedication, they were able to produce something amazing.
You can learn more about the participants and their organizations below!
Inspired by the famous ‘Humans of New York’ page, Humans of Thorncliffe Park attempts to display the lives of humans living in one of the most isolated and misunderstood neighbourhoods in Canada. Laying in the heart of Toronto, Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park are two of the most diverse and multicultural neighbourhoods in the world. As an immigration destination, the area is home to over 50,000 people, including refugees from all over the world. Through the lens of their camera, the founders not only discover the beautiful humans that make up this diverse community, but also tackle some of the stereotypes and stigma that surrounds the neighbourhood they call home.
Jean is the Program Worker for the Village Bloggurls, a weekly girl’s leadership and media production/literacy program where girls aged 9-13 from within Lotherton work with their mentors aged 13-18 and staff to create a safe and supportive environment. She helps the girls with developing a sense of ownership and belonging in this group and in their community of Lotherton, which is an under resourced, socially and geographically isolated neighbourhood that exists in a service vacuum away from the larger neighbourhood of Lawrence Heights.
André co-founded a club called Colour Me Truth, the first equity club at his school. Their goal is to eliminate discrimination and the barriers for opportunities due to stereotypes regarding race, sexual orientation, disabilities, class, and gender roles, thus creating a society of inclusion. They run workshops in their school to spread their message of inclusion and are currently working to present their initiative in other schools. André is also a Youth Volunteer Leader for Victim Services Toronto.
Jega is a community builder based in Scarborough. He founded his own collective called the Carefree Black Boy Project, which aims to create spaces where black males can explore themselves without limits. He also volunteers with R.I.S.E. (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere), an open mic hosted every Monday and open to people of all walks of life. He is also the Volunteer Co-ordinator of Reclaim Your Voice, an organization dedicated to creating safe places for abuse survivors to tell their story, which meets once a month.
Travis is currently working with a friend as the Assistant Executive Director and Director of Health and Wellness on a new pilot project called “Connect 2 Youth”. This project is based in Thunder Bay and its aim is to provide support for youth, similar to the work of the organization 211, except with a youth-friendly and less formal platform with the intention that youth can get in touch with services they need. Therefore, Connect 2 Youth is mainly a social media based platform, which creates an ease of access for youth trying to find different forms of services.
Advocating Young Minds (AYM) is an organization that facilitates community outreach projects in West Windsor’s geared-to-income housing communities, with a focus on youth empowerment and community engagement through programming. AYM offers a free drop-in program for children and youth that includes a snack program, art, recreation, homework help, and community engagement, in order to foster personal growth, skill development, and empowerment.
Advocating Young Minds was developed by Mackenzie Kovaliv and Angela Thompson, whom both now act as Program Coordinators. There are currently ten volunteers helping to facilitate program activities and AYM receives support from various organizations and initiatives in Windsor to sustain its programming.
EILEEN LETANDER TRUDEAU
Eilieen and David are members of The Equality Project. The project meets every week to plan fundraising, organize volunteering opportunities, support each other, and work towards their mission. The hope in creating this group was to help youth feel supported and accepted, offering them a safe place to explore who they are without judgement or shame.
The youth in this group are vibrant, caring and motivated individuals. In the short time they have been meeting, they have demonstrated their dedication to making a difference in their community despite obstacles they have faced. Eileen and David demonstrate youth leadership, initiative and passion for making positive change in the world.
David has worked with the AIDS Committee of Ottawa on multiple projects including Totally Outright, and recently launched their “Snow Blower” event in February. He also works with Out in the Capitol (a division of Out on Bay St) to promote diversity in the workplace.
In addition, he has also done work with diversity and inclusion in schools, including planning the 2015 Ontario educator conference with the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. He also guest lectures at Carleton University with the School of Language and Linguistics in their Deaf Studies program (specifically dealing with youth, LGBTQ issues and working with children of deaf adults).
Autumn Peltier is from the Wikwemikong Unceded Territory located on Manitoulin Island and currently holds the title of Miss Junior Wikwemikong in her community. She has been involved in public speaking and has won her community native language two years in a row. She recently represented Canada as an Ambassador for First Nations people and attended the Children’s Climate Conference in Sodertalje, Sweden in November 2015, with 50 other countries represented. Their goal was to produce a Communique that would be taken to the United Nations in Paris with their concerns regarding climate change from the children of the world. Once they returned home, they were invited to share their speeches and Autumn sang her water song at the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs meeting, singing and praying for mother earth and all of creation.
Becca and Thane are a filmmaking and community building duo. They are committed to creating spaces that utilize anti-oppressive frameworks in real ways for youth.
Project Uprooted started as a documentary about youth activists (ages 14-19) across Canada. Becca and Thane spent two months at the end of summer 2015 driving across Canada to conduct interviews and host workshops/focus groups for youth. The conversation was centered around the stories of youth doing work in their own communities. Issues ranged from reproductive justice, LGBTQ+, Black Lives Matter, land defense, missing and murdered Indigenous women to environmental justice, refugee and migrant youth. Now Project Uprooted is growing into a nation-wide youth media collective. Their most recent project was Making a Scene; a fully funded filmmaking workshop series for LGBTQ+ youth in the Kitchener-Waterloo region to create their own short films.
Zackery is a part of the Youth Suicide Prevention Committee for Sarnia Lambton. They are a youth engaged committee comprised of a multitude of different partners and youth working towards a plan to promote suicide prevention and the awareness of how to handle those at risk. They also host a ‘Reaching Out’ Conference in March annually, (this will be their third year) to inform and engage the community. It is a 1-day conference for youth, adult allies, parents/caregivers to meet and interact with front-line workers and social service agencies within the community.
They also help host SAFETALK and ASSIST training for Sarnia and the county of Lambton to help its citizens develop suicide prevention strategies within their local communities.
Shaili Champaneria, also known has Shaii Champ, is an Indian artist from Brampton. Born in India and raised in different parts of Ontario, she has a variety of musical influences that reflect in her art. Music has always been a significant aspect of her life. She began writing songs at a very young age and began producing her own music in her late teens. She passionately believes that music is a great tool to spread awareness of social issues, to get people thinking about taboo subjects and generate conversation. She is currently working on her first mixtape which include songs discussing subjects such as immigrant life, feminism and the pop industry. You can find her music on https://soundcloud.com/shaiichamp.
She can be contacted at email@example.com.