Meet our Spring 2020 Ambassadors

Ashleigh-Rae Thomas

I’m an avid reader, a part time writer, and I just want to change the world.

I want to learn as much as I can about community organizing so that when the time comes, I can make a difference.

Erum Khan

Born and raised in the GTA, I’m a multidisciplinary artist working at the intersections of film and theatre. My interests include informing people about my allergies and playing with my cat. 

Through RISE, I’m excited to become a more active community organizer and engage in meaningful work with likeminded people. 

Reach out to me on Insta:

Jerold Brito

An environmental consultant by day and a community musician by night, I am always looking for opportunities to be involved with people and the environment. In my spare time, you'll often find me baking and listening to a good podcast.

I rise to learn what it takes to build something that results in lasting, meaningful change in my community beyond what I can do as one individual. I'm also hoping to learn more about what I can do to be a better ally to folks of marginalized genders.

Talk to me on Insta:

Joyce Erogun

I work with the mental health sector and advocate for youth engagement and consultation. Outside of that, you can find me discovering new restaurants or attempting something creative online (design, podcasts, videos, and more).

It's easy to feel too small to make a difference and I’ve often asked questions like “where do I even start?” and “what can I do?” when discussing the issues I care about. RISE reminds each of us of our ability to make change by developing groups of forward-thinking and passionate young change-makers and trusting in their vision.

Reach out to me on Insta:

Mark Cretu

Hey! Generally, school and work keep me busy, but if I'm not doing that, I enjoy watching movies, reading, drinking coffee, or wandering around the city aimlessly. I like to keep up with current affairs, local politics, and interesting things going on in the city.

Rise is great because it is entirely youth-led. I think we all genuinely want to see this city be the best version of itself, and there's no better way than to tackle local issues.

Petit Aine

Hello! I love playing football (soccer) and am a huge sports fan. I was born in Kampala,Uganda and recently moved to Toronto.

Having been raised by a single Mom she made the gender topic seem like it never existed. With gender equality broader than the aspect of Man and Woman, I hope to exercise empathy and compassion with my new found role as a Rise Ambassador and under the theme gender equality.

Saron Hago

When I am not at work or school, I love reading, spending time with friends and watching shows.

I got involved in RISE because I am passionate about community and want to be an active participant in shaping the future we want.

Sujin Chang

I just moved to Toronto last year and I'm still figuring things out, bouncing around in the city's nonprofit sphere. Learning is a big part of my life. I love teaching, learning, reading, and unlearning - in both traditional and non-traditional contexts. I think there is a lot to be gained by keeping one's mind open to being challenged.

To me, RISE is about learning how to be a contributing community member in my new home of Toronto.

Reach out to me on Insta:

Sureya Ali

Hey there! My name is Sureya and I’m a political science major. As a learner, I aspire to continue my learning to better understand the world around me. In my spare time, you can catch me flipping through pages of books or baking homemade desserts.

From a young age, I was always passionate about joining an organization that is dedicated to changing making. Through RISE, I am able to be in an environment with like-minded people to cultivate a community project. Through my contribution to the RISE program, I hope to inspire younger generations to be more involved in community-based action.

Reach out to me on Insta:

Khadija Mohamed

Hello! I am an undergraduate student in my final year at the University of Toronto pursuing a double major in Biology and English. I am currently an active member on my campus, as I serve as an executive of Habitat for Humanity UTM, and Aspiring Physicians of Tomorrow.

I have grown to develop a passion for social advocacy and community outreach and hope to contribute to a more inclusive society. This passion is also what drives my involvement in RISE; to develop and curate a project regarding gender equality that means much to me and the like minded but diverse individuals.




“Book Qlub” is a welcoming and inclusive space where youth can meet to discuss books by local QTBIPOC authors in an environment where all opinions are respected, new connections are made and existing ones are strengthened.

The Qlub has room for you! If you want to explore gender with the ambassadors, head to the website and sign up!

Follow their journey on Insta: @aisbrise_to

Project Coordinator: Sajanika Sivanu (She/Her)

"The RISE program provides youth a safe space to explore new concepts, ask critical questions and apply their ideas with a whole community of support behind them. I am truly grateful to be part of such an exciting and transformative initiative."

Meet the Toronto Mentors

Chiyi Tam
(She/Her, They/Them)

#AsiansForWetsuweten and building solidarity across communities. I am a freelance process designer that works in the intersection of urban planning and communications. My work is centered around exploring the wisdom in community conflict and believing in the transformative potential of community relations.

I have been fortunate to have been a part of such circles when I was younger and experienced a dramatic increase in my capacity for community leadership. I am passionate about the incredible individuals that have joined the RISE program this year and see in them the healers and storytellers our world so desperately needs.


Sydney Piggott

Sydney is the Director of Programs and Projects at YWCA Canada where she leads impact-driven initiatives aimed at seeing women and girls empowered in a safe and equitable society. She’s also a contributor at Btchcoin News, a British Council Future Leaders Connect fellow, and vice-chair of the board at Springtide Resources Inc. She recently graduated with a Master of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto where she co-founded the Intersectional Feminist Collective.

Sydney believes that investing in community-based work led by young people is the best way to create change. She hopes to share her experience advocating for gender equity at a community, national, and international level with RISE ambassadors and create the space for them to do the same.

Want to know more about these projects?

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