BUILD COHORT 4

FATHEMA

My passion for social justice and equity fuels my desire to advocate for diverse youth and marginalized populations. I am committed to advancing equity and creating opportunities for underrepresented communities. I believe that my participation in the BUILD program will enable me to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective advocate and community leader.

FATHEMA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON HEALTH EQUITY & AFFORDABILITY:

- Joined Ontario Health Coalition and RESULTS Canada to connect with health equity advocacy initiatives both provincially to promote fair access, and globally through our commitment to international development

- Attended education/action meetings, and the Ontario health summit focused on resisting attempts to privatize healthcare and promote adequate investment for the future


- Getting more active with the Ontario Health Coalition’s outreach and action working groups in preparation for an upcoming province-wide campaign in the Fall  

NINH

As a first-generation immigrant, I want to engage other young, under-represented groups to be involved in democracy and policy change. When I spoke with those who didn't go through the Canadian education system because they grew up in a different country, I found that most of them are not involved in Canadian politics as this is not something they grow up with or hear about at home. It's important to engage these groups in politics as most of them will eventually become citizens. It's important to equip and empower them with this knowledge when they are eventually able to vote.

 

NIHN’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON NEWCOMER INCLUSION & REFUGEE RIGHTS

- Connected with the Montreal network of the Canadian Council for Refugees to learn about their ongoing efforts

- Contributed towards and participated in the March for Refugee Rights action from Montreal to Roxham Road

- Staying involved with their push to oppose the Safe Third Country Agreement reform that makes border crossings less safe for refugee claimants

 

 

LAUREN

Since learning about the important role city-level government plays in policing, waste management, and parks, I made sure to vote in my local election. Unfortunately, most candidates displayed similar broad messages with little information on how to follow through. I didn't feel represented in my city, and others must have felt the same since only 20 percent of the population voted. With the BUILD program, I have gained the confidence and tools right to mobilize residents and contribute to making a real change in a city I love and care about

LAUREN’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

- Examined the political landscape around advocacy for affordable housing including the current challenges facing renters

- Connected with a local tenants union, attended their meetings, and learned about ongoing disputes in the neighbourhood with property owners

- Remaining engaged with tenant union organizing while seeking out opportunities to contribute towards campaigns aiming to improve food systems in the community

CATHERINE

I am interested in the BUILD program because I am looking for opportunities to build capacity to act on these conversations (on improving the community) in order to see further action taken on them. It's also very appealing to be able to connect with other youth through BUILD who are passionate about implementing change to learn from each other and to both have and offer support.

CATHERINE’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION & CITIZEN SCIENCE:

- Mapped local advocacy landscape and current issues touching on environmental conservation in Nova Scotia

- Connected with the Ecology Action Centre and contributed towards a local event to promote citizen science in an Indigenous community 

- Planning to continue learning how to integrate citizen science into conservation efforts and developing a guardianship program through the Indigenous Friendship Centre

 

DAVID

I am very passionate about policy and have been involved in some advocacy efforts but I would like to learn more about mobilization and how to effectively advocate for policy changes in my community, province, and country. I would like to build on my knowledge of policy and turn that into more concrete action.

DAVID’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON FOOD SYSTEMS & PHYSICAL INACTIVITY:
 

- Studied the local, provincial, and national advocacy landscape by mapping stakeholders and identifying campaigns and programs

- Engaged with city councilors about existing food system challenges and met with groups like ParticipACTION about their efforts to raise public awareness around the growing health concerns from chronic sedentary lifestyles

- Continuing to raise awareness of physical inactivity and its impacts on our health systems and advocating for changes in our sport system to be more purpose-driven through my podcast Sports for Social Impact

CARMINE

I am interested in the BUILD program because I wanted to build my personal political action/ advocacy foundation to support my passion for system-wide change on equitable access to careers and resources for young people in Ontario. Working in the charitable sector with limited resources has allowed me to see the gaps in access and want to build solutions to address these gaps. While also stepping outside of my comfort zone to BUILD my network and my experiences.

 

CARMINE’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON WORKERS' RIGHTS & ORGANIZED LABOUR:

- Mapped the advocacy landscape provincially to understand how organized and unorganized labour are seeking to address the affordability crisis

- Participated in the Enough is Enough campaign day of action and attended the Justice for Workers mobilizing debrief meeting

- Remaining engaged with Justice for Workers’ ongoing Decent Work campaign around raising the minimum wage and expanding access to paid sick days

AMENE

I believe in a solutions-based approach to advocacy work, so I wish to receive formal training to create tangible change at the policy and political levels. I have been involved in my community and social movements for over ten years; however, I often feel like I am navigating these complex spaces without guidance and learning as I go. BUILD is an excellent opportunity to receive training and learn from advocates themselves to bring about social change. The BUILD program can provide this guidance so I can continue my advocacy work more efficiently!

AMENE’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON IMPROVING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:

- Became a member and joined Free Transit Ottawa a citizen advocacy group organizing for transit justice

- Attended a public consultation on the future of mass transit to help prevent the reduction of local bus routes

- Reaching out to a local community association to join their transportation & safety sub-committee to advocate for safe and efficient modes of transportation

 

SARAH

I hope to join the BUILD program because I have ideas for research or community projects that I struggle to get off the ground. I believe that having a space where I can learn more about the systems and institutions surrounding me will be very helpful. I would love to learn real tools and skills I could use in my desire to serve my community and others.

SARAH’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON BUILDING YOUTH-LED & INCLUSIVE SPACES:

- Found existing initiatives and spaces that are meeting the needs of underserved youth in the community

- Engaged with CoCo Montreal (The Centre for Community Organizations) to learn about their supports and upon invitation. submitted an application for their Board of Directors

- Participating in social economy training series and SEMI mentorship program through the Solidarity Economy Incubator Zone (SEIZE)

 

NATHAN

I would like to learn how to be an activist and to move beyond knowledge sharing and learning. I have also realized through learning that a lot of my goals eventually lead to having to work with political leaders and the political system to create the change I want to see.

 

NATHAN’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON TRANSPORTATION & CLIMATE CHANGE:

- Researched the current discourse and activity from existing stakeholders around transportation and climate change

-  Applied to take part in the New Frontiers in Transportation student competition on the theme of transportation network service disruptions

- Working with a municipal city planner to improve active transportation alternatives and accessibility for urban transit

 

BRENDA

I would like to join the BUILD program because, despite my passion for so many issues, I’ve found myself stuck when it comes to taking action beyond the level of learning and talking about them. While I feel that I’m pretty educated about the issues I care about and have a strong desire to do the work to solve them, I don’t know where to start going further, and I feel overwhelmed every time I try to do so. The BUILD program seems like an excellent opportunity to learn and receive guidance on achieving my goal of actively participating in the issues I care about instead of an observer cheering from the sidelines.

BRENDA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE EXTRACTION SECTOR:

- Met with organizations engaged in research and action around corporate accountability to learn about ongoing efforts

-  Joined the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) and participated in their orientation and organizing meetings

- Helping with the launch of MISN's new app highlighting the Canadian extractive industry's deep involvement in human rights abuses

RACHEL

I am interested in the BUILD program because I sincerely want to find ways to reach out and advocate for the issues that matter to me. I believe that with the support and accountability that BUILD offers, I could find the confidence and a solid starting point to finally start getting involved in the causes closest to me.

 

RACHEL’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED FOOD SECURITY & POVERTY:

- Examined the local political landscape to understand the policy relationship between food security and structural poverty

- Sought out and applied to become a member of the Durham Food Policy Council

- Supporting the launch of the DFPC’s food system report card to inform community stakeholders and elected leaders about identified gaps in the regional system

BUILD COHORT 3

TANNIA

I am interested in advocating for community development through equitable access to healthcare. Chronic health conditions are exacerbated by factors such as economic status, food insecurity, stress, etc. Through this program I hope to gain experience about the impact, actionable policies can have on community health.

TANNIA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING & WORKERS' RIGHTS:

- Connected with the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) and began an internship as a research assistant

-  Participated in organizing meetings with Justice for Workers who are pursuing the implementation of a $20 minimum wage & expanded paid sick days for all

- Supporting the coordination of tenant rights info sessions through CCHR and a number of allied organizations for the public at large

ELAINE

I hope the BUILD program can empower me to become a better political participant who is capable of thinking in a more holistic and critical way, have better social skills and more abundant knowledge basis concerning our democratic system and the governmental institutions so that I can give some concrete and actionable policy suggestions to transform our community to be a better one.

 

ELAINE’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON WORKERS' RIGHTS & POVERTY REDUCTION:

- Attended meetings of various advocacy groups to understand how worker's rights are being advanced in her community

- Participated in actions coordinated by organized labour in support of the right to collectively bargain  

- Signing up for ACORN Toronto membership and contributing to their ongoing tenant rights campaign 

 

 

KATELYN

I am interested in BUILD because I think it could give me the skillset, network, and knowledge to accomplish the things I have been advocating for and not making enough progress on.

KATELYN’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON DRUG LEGALIZATION & HARM REDUCTION:

- Researched various non-profits, campaigns, and initiatives to better understand the current political climate for the issues of concern

- Applied to volunteer on issue-based campaigns, endorsed online initiatives, and attended webinars that explore solutions

- Joining the Psychedelic Association of Canada and connecting with the Edmonton branch of Student for Sensible Drug Policy to support their efforts in the new year

CATHY

I am interested in the BUILD program because my experiences have taught me that, at the end of the day, the people in government hold all of the power. Thus, I would like to better understand how government works, how existing systems can be changed to enable more equitable distribution of power, and what I can do to generate meaningful change.

CATHY’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON CLIMATE CHANGE:

- Plugged into lobbying sessions with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a community-based advocacy group

- Networked with CCL chapter leads along the west coast to deepen understanding of current priorities, organizational governance, and opportunities to contribute

- Organizing to launch the first Canadian post-secondary chapter of CCL for the upcoming fall semester

 

STACEY

I want to increase my knowledge in the political process and my skills to bring change in this field. It will bring me out of my comfort zone. The political field makes me uncomfortable and nervous and I want to be able to change that.

STACEY’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE & PROVINCIAL POLITICS:

- Researched NS initiative in raising awareness around sexual violence and the funding of non-profit organization’s projects around this social issue.

- Engaged with the Avalon Centre to learn about their ongoing efforts to eliminate sexual assault/abuse, and to change the current socio-political culture

- Continuing to follow the work of the Centre and getting involved with their upcoming initiatives

 

CARLY

I am interested in joining the BUILD program, as I want to learn how to engage with local and federal government officials and policymakers in order to create lasting change. I have volunteered with a number of organizations throughout my life and believe that I have helped support members of my local and global communities, but recognize that the amount and intensity of problems currently facing our world can be tackled more effectively at the institutional level. Over the past year, I have seen a number of calls for community members to speak at local city council meetings. I want to be able to speak up about the issues that concern not only myself, but my broader community members as well.

CARLY’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ACCESS & SAFETY:

- Examined the current political/policy landscape in Winnipeg around public transportation to better understand challenges and opportunities to intervene

- Attended city council, committee, and community stakeholder meetings in the lead-up to municipal elections  

- Connecting with Functional Transit Winnipeg to participate in their upcoming campaign being developed for 2023

 

VYSHNAVE

I have an interest in being involved in political action to make change and seeing it through. A lot of issues that youth are working to tackle can use the support of policies and funding at a political level and I want to learn how to make a true difference.

VYSHNAVE’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON ECONOMIC FAIRNESS & MUNICIPAL POLITICS:

- Examined key city council issues and what groups/organizations are advancing solutions for economic fairness locally

- Plugged into Progress Toronto’s political engagement initiatives including taking action around policy interventions at city hall 

- Registering for their winter training series co-hosted by the Urban Alliance on Race Relations to better understand the city’s budgeting process

ROSHNI

I would like to use my voice and skills to make an impact in the community. My degree in social innovation means that I am keenly aware of the social injustices in the Canadian landscape, and I would like to create change. I believe BUILD can help me do that by fostering the skills needed for advocacy and effective change making.

ROSHNI’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON ACCESSIBLE & AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE:

- Sought out elected officials and stakeholder groups to assess the current (lack) of progress on the National Childcare Program in Alberta

- Presented to members of the Alberta Federation of Labour, and their community allies, about the ongoing challenges facing parents who need access to affordable childcare

- Staffing a provincial election campaign in support of a candidate who can advance the childcare affordability issue at the legislature

KRISTIINA

I was enrolled at Laurentian University during their disastrous 2021 financial crisis. Both of my programs (political science and philosophy) were deemed “unnecessary” and “unprofitable”. The BUILD program has given me the resources and confidence to continue fighting for equitable post-secondary education in Northern Ontario, and encourage other youth in Canada to participate in politics.

KRISTIINA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON ACCESS TO EDUCATION:

- Organized with the Tricultural Committee for University Education at Sudbury working to bring many lost post-secondary programs back to the region

- Connected with cultural groups in the community who want to make education more accessible to expand stakeholder support for the committee

- Developing a communication plan for the committee before a 2-year anniversary event in the Spring to mobilize around a renewed vision for higher education 

 

KIM

I hope that should I join the BUILD program, I'll be able to gain more insight and civic knowledge on how to best maximize the steps I'm making to make an impact in my community. I hope to make change, learn how to better initiate projects, better communicate the right messages across, and find the right resources.

KIM’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON FOOD INSECURITY:

- Mapped campus and community projects aimed to expand access to nutritious food 

- Visited a Community Food Centre (CFC) in Montreal to learn how they are innovating away from the “food bank model” by engaging in advocacy to meaningfully address the structural issues of poverty and food insecurity

- Getting involved with The Depot CFC and participating in their educational programs while continuing to pursue opportunities to advocate for long-term solutions to food insecurity

 

KATE

Being a newcomer in Canada, I would like to join and learn more about advocacy work. I used to be a social worker in Hong Kong, organized political actions, assisted protests, and political campaigns. Yet, I have zero experience in Canada and would love to learn more and make real change to the community, especially newcomers and ethnic minorities.

KATE’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON PERIOD POVERTY:

- Explored the advocacy terrain around the issue to identify stakeholders and their existing policy priorities

- Met organizations who are advancing solutions like Period Purse and learned how they are developing a new campaign strategy

- Coordinating with community partners to expand distribution points for zero-barrier access to menstrual products

 

BUILD COHORT 2

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EMILY

I joined BUILD because I was tired of opaque political nonsense and disillusioned with traditional protest methods. Change needs to happen now, and must centre community over cost. What I found here was the most amazing group of people, each centring lived experience and compassion. I’m leaving with tools, confidence, community, and a much better understanding of how to make change.

EMILY’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON PROVINCIAL & MUNICIPAL POLITICS:

- Canvassed and GOTV in the Ontario Provincial election to help a candidate win a longstanding seat held by the opposition

- Joined a youth-run political popular education group to produce multimedia content on Canadian politics 

- Planning to join local Electoral District Association post election, and connect with a mayoral campaign in the upcoming municipal election

EMMA

I’m looking for a way to get more involved in my political community and learn more about Canadian democracy. As a queer person married to an immigrant, I feel like I have a duty to take action and be more active in our political landscape especially with the current wave of extremism. I would like to take my desire to do more and learn how to take that and move into more grassroots action.

 

EMMA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON YOUTH POVERTY & HOMELESSNESS:

- Explored the policy landscape at the municipal and provincial level around meaningfully addressing youth facing poverty and homelessness

- Connected with non-profits, advocacy groups, and elected officials to better understand how the current system operates

- Engaging with a local campaigns aiming to support low and moderate income households and families 



 

HASAN

I want to learn about how I can get involved in a more sustainable, political level in the issues that we're facing. I have been involved on the ground, but I'm not sure as to how I can go and participate effectively in higher level organizing while staying true to my values and maintaining my mental health. I'm hoping through BUILD that I can gain some necessary skills, have access to resources, and connect with people who are knowledgeable in this area or are going through similar issues so we can learn from each other's experiences. 

HASAN’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON MIGRANT JUSTICE ADVOCACY:

- Organized a day of action to highlight the importance of #statusforall and challenges faced by those who are temporary migrant workers 

- Engaged in relationship building with other organizations to strengthen ties of support between urban and rural communities

- Coordinating a community engagement drive to amplify awareness of migrant issues, build capacity for solidarity, and connect with allies

KANEIL

The BUILD Program seems to offer the tools and knowledge I am looking for. To help improve the current state of our country. As mentioned, “climate change and systemic racism threaten and disadvantage diverse young people, it’s critical that we be influential participants in the institutions and processes that will affect our future”. I want to be a part of the change for improvement and solutions not a part of the problem. 

KANEIL’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT & LOW-INCOME ADVOCACY:

- Attended Borough council meetings to learn about local issues and examined city-wide community plans to understand their local impact

- Followed Borough participatory budgeting process where public submissions for local projects are being evaluated for selection

- Reaching out to a poverty reduction advocacy group to connect with their campaign focused on supporting single parents facing economic insecurity

 

LINDA

I am interested in the build program because I want to build the confidence to participate in social and political movements, institutions and processes. I am incredibly inspired by people who can turn their ideas into actions and I would love to be able to do the same.

LINDA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON POPULAR POLITICAL EDUCATION:

- Joined the On Canada Project as a writer and editorial lead

- Researched various Canadian political topics/concepts to educate and engage GenZ & Millennial audiences 

- Pursuing further education in information sciences in order to more effectively promote grass roots political education

MARK

I'm interested in the BUILD program because I want to learn the skills necessary to advocate for change in effective ways. I also think it would be great to meet other young people who are like minded and learn from them. 

MARK’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON HOUSING ADVOCACY & PROVINCIAL POLITICS:

- Plugged into a city-wide advocacy group More Neighbours Toronto focusing on municipal engagement to push for greater housing affordability 

- Attended canvassing training, municipal public consultations, and mobilization planning meetings

- Organizing with a mayoral candidate by coordinating public engagement to get out the vote for the Toronto fall 2022 election

 

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MARY

I joined BUILD because I wanted to understand how to take on social issues I am passionate about dismantling through the political process, which has always felt alien to me. BUILD bridges the gap between young people seeking guidance on how to equip themselves with knowledge, tools, networking skills and inner strength to tap into our limitless potential to create positive change in our local and global community. As social creatures by nature, we always achieve more success and development when we work together. With much work to do in our world, it is essential that we unpack systems that have put up barriers to truly connecting with one another and to push for access to physical, emotional, financial and social supports that collectively liberate us all.

MARY’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES:

- Joined the Youth Action Council of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario a non-profit organization

- Facilitated workshops around equity, diversity and inclusivity with a disability justice lens to local community groups & stakeholders

- Collaborating with the School Board to introduce the inclusion of disability justice workshops at schools to broaden common understanding and increase community compassion

MELISA

As someone who cannot vote in Canadian elections, I’ve always seen my role outside of the system. I joined BUILD to learn more about the current system, its gaps, and the different possibilities for change with community. The current landscape has been set up to keep many of us out, but what happens when we build together?

MELISA’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON MUNICIPAL VOTING RIGHTS FOR PERMANENT RESIDENTS:

- Researched the movement for municipal voting rights for permanent residents across Canada, including the Lost Votes campaign

- Connected with local government and organizations in Halifax who are active in the newcomer/immigrant community

- Continuing to work on the issue by creating a resource hub to bring together the different campaigns that have taken place in Canada 

SAMM

I am interested in the BUILD program because I know it will provide me with the tools and knowledge needed to make concrete change, as well as give me the confidence to participate in actionable strategies to help improve our social climate.

SAMM’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FOCUSED ON INCARCERATION/PRISON ADVOCACY FOR MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS:

- Examined existing advocacy landscape to improve mental health support for incarcerated folks in prisons

- Collaborated with non-profits, community groups, and existing campaigns to improve access to 1-on-1 mental health support

- Coordinating a pilot project to connect incarcerated and reintegrating incarcerated people with access to therapy

 

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