I’ve always asked a lot of questions growing up. I would drive my elementary school teachers crazy because I was curious about the world and I always wanted to know more. It was in high school that I started volunteering, where I finally got the opportunity to seek answers to my wonders.
While volunteering, I became aware of different social issues such as poverty, food security, climate change and many more. In grade 9, I interviewed people in the Downtown Eastside, which gave me insight into the depth and complexity of poverty. I discovered that as social beings, our societal issues were rooted in the unhealthy communities we live in and I developed a passion for sustainable communities and community engagement.
How he's a changemaker
What I like about community engagement and sustainable communities is that the topic is very broad. I got to work in very different sectors under the umbrella of economy, environment and society. In high school, I started a non-profit organization addressing different local community issues. We had projects rollout such as the Little Free Library, a community garden, Gro-Carts (mobile gardens), collaboration events with the City of Surrey and many more. Last school year, I was part of Enactus SFU as a Project Development Manager, where I helped develop a workshop and mentorship program for newcomers and refugees. I am currently involved with the Federal Youth Policy, working on topics such as volunteerism, environment and employment in the Greater Vancouver area and Toronto. I am also interning as an International Marketing Specialist at Urban Racks, where I promote active transportation and sustainable communities.
How can others get involved?
If you want to get involved in community engagement and sustainable communities start volunteering for different causes that interest you. Learn as much as you can, ask a lot of questions and build a network. Also, don't be afraid to be entrepreneurial! Start by applying for one of the many student funds like the Student Engagement Fund and the Social Innovation Seed Fund.