BUILD COHORT 1

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ALICIA

I joined BUILD because I want to educate myself on political issues and learn about how I could make a difference in my community. I want to see people more confident and engaged in their democratic system and know that their voice means something.

ALICIA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON LOCAL COMMUNITY REPRESENTATION:

- Connected with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues through a neighbourhood association

- Attended neighbourhood group meetings and learned about various EFCL initiatives

- Joined the supporting inclusive communities initiative to deepen participation in local community building efforts 

Chloe

It was hard not to be apathetic to all the issues in the world because I didn't know how to get involved. I want to have the tools to get involved and have an impact on the decisions being made by the people in power. I would like to see a shift away from party politics, or at least see more bi-partisan efforts on important issues such as climate change, housing and the pandemic. Politicians should be held to the standard of making informed decisions in the public interest, not just doing or saying the things that will get them re-elected.

CHLOE’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING ADVOCACY:

- Joined an advocacy group working to address the issue of affordability in the community

- Learned about affordable housing efforts locally and campaigned to mobilize support for solutions aimed at the municipal and provincial government

- Seeking to be further involved with the campaign and directly support city council candidates committed to affordable housing in the upcoming municipal election

JANAT

I joined BUILD to learn how to actively engage with my local politicians within Toronto to address issues and keep them accountableI’d like to see more inclusion and representation of people of colour in our government, especially Muslim women.

JANAT’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON Municipal Governance & Mental Health Policy:

- Researched the inaccessibility of mental health and collaborated with peers to organize a youth mental health conference

- Learned about Toronto’s Anti-Black Racism task force, their action plan and engaged with advisory committee members

- Participated in campaigning for and nominating a local politician in the upcoming provincial election in Ontario

Jessamine

I joined BUILD to learn about concrete mechanisms that will lead to effective and durable institutional changes. I would like to see our democratic system become more accessible to anyone who wishes to participate at any capacity. We deserve better political representation of marginalized communities and transparency in all instances of governmental decision-making.

JESSAMINE’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON QUEBEC PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION:

- Examined existing provincial school curriculum across Canada to analyze how changes are introduced and implemented 

- Sourced best practices on aligning classroom material with BIPOC perspectives as a toolkit for social studies and history school teachers

- Now participating in Climate Justice group on campus to decarbonize university activity through advocacy and education

Kiemia

I want to better understand the powers of different jurisdictions and understand if and how radical action is possible in and around our current political systems. I'd like to see our democratic system completely reconsider and reimagine itself — democracy for who  when the country was built on land theft, murder, and colonization? With ancestry from what is now a country that is deeply non-democratic, I comparatively value Canada's democratic system, however to move toward a healthy democracy for everyone that rights Canada's systemic wrongs, I think we must understand Canada's origins, accept today's landscape, and collaboratively build appropriate, localized governance structures.

Kiemia’s experiential learning focused on municipal advocacy and education:

- Organizing a town hall to educate her community on participatory budgeting

- Worked with public transit advocacy and environmental groups

- Planning to continue involvement in community organizing at a municipal level around public engagement with city hall

 

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Koren

I joined BUILD to learn how to take my interests and values to make a positive impact in my community. I want to be inspired by others that also felt tired of waiting for change and instead want to take steps in collective change. I'd love to see more young people get involved! Many of the policies that govern our communities were put in place and upheld by people that do not represent us. After a difficult couple of years during the pandemic, it was made apparent to me that the interests of workers are rarely the measure of success of our systems and it is time that we tackle these issues and have our voices heard.

KOREN’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING ADVOCACY:

- Explored ongoing campaigns aiming to address the need for more affordable housing in the Greater Toronto Area

- Joined the Friends of Chinatown community association, a grassroots group fighting to keep Chinatown affordable and inclusive

- Participating in the Chinatown Community Land Trust project on the local residence/business canvass committee

Rita

I joined BUILD to gain the tools to better engage in Canada’s democracy and to advocate for positive change in my community. I would love to see our democratic system focus more on the common ground Canadians share. We could do so much more if we worked together rather than focusing on what separates us.

RITA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON PUBLIC HEALTH ACCESSIBILITY:

Researched access to public healthcare provincially and learned specifically about primary care providers

- Compared how health access works across the country and analyzed media coverage of efforts to improve the system

- Moving towards connecting with local groups who want to expand access to primary care for underserved communities

SERENA

I joined BUILD because I want to learn how I can make positive changes in my community with the tools that are available to me right now as a Canadian youth. I would like to see our democratic system place more value on lived experience and less on professional or academic experience. Lived experience is so often discounted and folks who have this knowledge are rarely brought to the table to discuss issues that directly impact them.

SERENA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON ADVOCACY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES:

- Spearheaded efforts to bring a service animal policy onto her university campus

- Researched and compared existing policies across universities in various provinces across the country

- Arranged meetings with campus groups to educate and raise awareness about the need to adopt standards and fair procedures for people using service animals in academia