2018 LYAC Candidates So Far

Here you can see who has applied to be a youth councillor candidate so far! Applications are open till 11:59pm on April 15th. If you’re interested in applying, check out the form here.

Ward 1

MFK-Elections HeadshotMuhammad Faran Khalid

Tell us about yourself.

Hi! My name is Faran Khalid and I am a first year student at Western University. I have always been an advocate for student involvement and raising awareness. I believe it is ever so important for the community and individuals involved to have a clear grasp of their political leaders and to make informed decisions in their political choices. Specifically of course, I aim to raise political sense within the youth, while standing on five main pillars of communication, collaboration, organization, knowledge and availability. Join me for a prospective year!

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I am a very passionate and enthusiastic individual who wants to make long-lasting, tangible changes within the community. I believe the LYAC is one of the best ways to accomplish this, as it would allow me to work towards improving the city for London residents, in a plethora of aspects. Indeed, as Ward Councillor, I aspire to to ensure that every resident within my ward is aware of all the opportunities to get connected in the community. Furthermore, I want to act as a liaison between residents and city council, making a positive impact in the community.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Poverty: Poverty is prevalent throughout London with many areas of prominent homelessness. Tackling the issue with a sound policy and effective measures would be an area of immense promise.

Youth Advocacy: It is crucial to involve the youth in London to advocate for their issues as they are the coming leaders of tomorrow. I look forward to working with other ward Councillors to attack the issue by collaborating with respective organizations and increasing LYAC communication, availability and involvement to develop a strong youth within London.

Mental Health: Mental Health is an issue prevalent throughout Western and being a student advocate I wish to increase the resources available for therapy, awareness and de-stigmatization. Particularly, with the recent allocation of $2 billion in funds towards mental health by the provincial government, there is great potential of improvement in this area. One simple step would be to increase the number of workshops and awareness around self-care: exercise, proper eating habits, sleeping habits, stress management, and support networks. Specifically, researching different recommendations such as those by the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council, and proposing and planning the implementation of such will play a crucial role.

Ward 2

Dominique Cho

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Dominique Cho, and I am a grade 11 student at H.B. Beal. I am currently in the Raider Robotics team, and I am also a candidate for student council vice president for next year. I have been part of Museum London’s Youth Council for six years and LYS Chamber Winds for four years, I created the art club and programming club at my previous school, Central S. S, and I have volunteered at a pediatric clinic for a year. In my spare time, I like to cook, bake, watch Netflix or YouTube, draw, make slime, or get into stupid arguments in the YouTube comment section.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to be a part of the London Youth Advisory Council because I find it amazing that young people, like me, can lead the change in this city. I want to share my opinions on various subjects ranging from transportation to LGBTQ, and let them have a tangible positive effect on London. I also want to help my friends and other young people have their voices heard by bringing their ideas to the weekly meetings. I believe that these opinions and efforts combined with the other youth councilors’ will definitely make our city a much better place for everyone.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

1) Racism I have seen racist behaviour far too many times in London, whether it be straightforwardly expressed or subtly implied. I absolutely believe that this needs to be fixed since it is an issue that continuously causes harm to our community. It is especially important to eradicate racism from London because it is a rather diverse city, and I feel that this kind of prejudice will ultimately cause the community to fall apart.

2) Youth Substance Abuse: The number of times I have seen high school students smoke cigarettes, marijuana, or do drugs in London is innumerable. I also happen to know how this impacts these students because I have witnessed one of my friends slowly getting addicted to drugs. I firmly believe that drug use in this city should be much more strictly controlled because I think it is tragic that so many bright, young minds are being destroyed by drugs.

3) Downtown I believe that London’s downtown area has much potential to be very beautiful and attractive due to its antique, alluring buildings, bountiful trees, and small, interesting shops. However, this beauty is hidden due to the city’s negligence in terms of appearance, and the area is mostly drab, uninteresting, and dark. I believe the smallest effort can bring it back to life, and I think it would be a great idea for me as a sixth-year Museum London Youth Council member to come up with ideas or potentially partner up with Museum London to fix this issue.

Ward 3

Yuriry Karpov

Tell us about yourself.

Employed in family law, past CAF member, amateur weightlifter and mechanic. Avid reader with an interest in social policies and advocacy, as well as philosophy. Fluent in Russian which can be used to reach out to the local communities.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

To add a useful perspective the youth of today that they can perhaps use to adjust into a rapidly changing community, and in turn understand themselves.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Public education, recreational activity involvement (mentally and physically engaging and in person; not online), lack of opportunity in job training and career direction.

These interest me because I myself had problems with the above topics. Having dealt with them, I feel like I have enough of a grasp to assist others in their own path while still maintaining their independence.

Eleanor Park

EP-Elections Headshot.jpgTell us about yourself.

My name is Eleanor Park and I am a grade 10 student currently attending A.B. Lucas Secondary School. I came to London from South Korea 2 years ago and fell in love with the beautiful city right away.

At Lucas, I was the Secretary General of our first Model United Nations conference in 2017 and I am currently the youngest executive member of our Model UN club. I am also heavily affiliated with the Mock Trial club, DECA, Student Voice club, and the TED-Ed club in our school. Outside of school, I am a youth worker for the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre, frequently volunteering at networking conferences for newcomers in London with diverse backgrounds. Other than that, I enjoy fencing and playing the piano and cello in my free time.

I am planning on studying political science or journalism in the United States after secondary school.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

Aside from my strong passion towards politics, helping the ideas and opinions of youth affect crucial decisions made in our community is essential and is why I want to be part of the movement. Making changes and improvements in our community through a youth lens is what our community is in need of right now, and it will be an honour to be involved in making the change. Additionally, I am eager to learn from other amazing students in London and communicate effectively with everyone.

Identify three community issues that you consider to be important.

a) Safety of Students
In America, as the safety of youth in schools is being questioned after the continued gun violence, school and student protection is being strengthened. This is not only a concern in America, however, but is being expanded into Canada as well. In the beginning of this year, a once expelled student of A.B. Lucas Secondary School interrupted a class by violently attacking a student who was attentively listening to the teacher. There was an immediate code yellow in the school and I remember feeling extremely threatened at that time. There was also another incident prior to that in which a code yellow was called because of two to three men from another city trying to attack students in our school. The students of our school were never clearly told on what happened and the school was extremely vague on what really happened. To feel so threatened and vulnerable in an environment where students are supposed to feel safe and protected is a problem that should be issued immediately.

b) Drug Problems
Despite the size and the population of London, the drug problem rivals that of any other major cities in Canada such as Toronto or Vancouver. According to the Middlesex London Health Unit, London currently has between 3,000 to 10,000 to injection drug users and gives out 2.5 million needles a year, second only to Vancouver. As these drug problems can very easily give negative effect to teenagers, young adults, and children as well, it is important to discuss this issue as soon as possible. To extend this issue, the increased use of drugs and vape among young students can also be a problem that worsens the health of Londoners.

c) Homeless Population
The situation of London’s homeless people is beyond serious due to approximately 60 percent of the homeless population being chronically homeless. As 43 percent of the homeless had chronic health issues and 7 percent were veterans in 2017, London’s previous approach of “housing first” is not working well enough and more specific tailoring of the programs and individual attention is required to improve this situation. Poverty does not only affect adults but affects the youth in our society as well and this can be proved through the statistics. Sadly, 11 percent of the homeless population are dependent children and youth. To see teenagers my age to live on the streets is heartbreaking and is why I want this issue to be discussed.

Ward 4

Colin O’Connor

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Tell us about yourself.

I am a grade 10 student at Beal Secondary School. I enjoy discussing issues in the community and how it can affect other people.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to be a youth councillor because I want to be involved in the decisions that are made by our elected representatives.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Poverty – there are too many impoverished people living in my community. I find people living in my area who do not have a place to live and have to resort to pan handling.


Drug abuse – London has a serious drug problem that many people don’t know about. I would like to work tonorevtn deaths caused by drugs.


Environmental change – I believe London can be more environmentally friendly than it is now. I would like to be part of creating this change for my future. I’d like to see better recycling and treen bin programs in London.

 

Ward 5

Nunu Mequanint

image_6483441Tell us about yourself.

I am currently enrolled at London Central Secondary School and am in the 10th grade. There, I have involved myself in school extracurriculars, such as Model UN, Social Justice, Writer’s Guild, Book Club, and many others. I am also the co-president of my school’s Eco-Club along with current Ward 13 councillor, Sarah Chun. Outside of school, I am attending Anita Norris Modelling classes, with the intent of signing with them afterward. I am also an active volunteer with the London Public Library and am part of the R.E.A.D program there, designed to help younger kids learn to love reading. I would describe myself as determined, sociable, and easy to get along with.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I love the idea of being involved in my community, not only being aware of things that are happening but also being able to influence those events and the people. I often feel and have heard other youths say that they don’t feel heard in the city and when I found out LYAC offered to be a voice that could be heard, I felt obligated to try and represent my community. I believe there are many ideas I could contribute, as well as experiences I could share, to make the council more aware of my ward. In turn, I also believe that the council could help me become more aware of my city and the community that lives within it.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

 

One issue I care about it the lack of snow plowing in my area, especially in the newer section. My neighbourhood is very family friendly and constantly has new people moving into it. However, the delay of road clearing, or sometimes the absence of it, disables kids to get to school on time, and adults to get to work. Some of my fellow peers at Central have had to miss days off school because they couldn’t clear the snow surrounding their house and nieghbouring roads on time. I understand the city’s need to prioritize major roads and homes first, but I think they should also be understanding of the lives people have and should try harder to accommodate them.

Another issue I feel is important is the lack of representation of people of colour especially for children of colour. Of course the world is progressing and now movies, tv shows, and other forms of media are filling with people of colour but I find it lacks in books, specifically children books. My idea was to create a book club geared to, but not exclusively for, children (ages 6-8) of colour. We would read a book with a narrator of colour and that way kids could see themselves represented in novels. I’ve noticed that one of the reasons children don’t read is because of the lack of representation and I feel as though this can hopefully increase their love for reading. I also thought I could use my ties to the children department at the library, as well as the fact that I have participated in book clubs previously and greatly enjoyed, to help with this initiative.

The last issue I will discuss is regarding London Transit. The bus system itself could do with some upgrades, such as more efficient timing and reliability, but I wanted to focus on the bus routes. As a student in the downtown area, I rely heavily on the transit and count myself lucky to be able to find a path that brings me almost directly to my house. Even then, it takes me nearly an hour in total and two buses. Some other students can’t say the same. Friends of mine may take a bus close to their house, but then have to walk 20-40 minutes to finish the journey, because they have no other closer bus routes available. I would prefer for more bus routes to be created, allowing people to arrive safely at their house with minimal trouble. I feel as though this would make London have a better relationship with its transit. 

Kristina Fearon

Tell us about yourself.

I am 21 years old I spent my time, volunteering, going to school and work.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I would like to be a councilor because I would love to represent my fellow youth and, make beneficial changes to our community.

Identify three community issues that you consider important. 

Three issues I find important to my community is, newcomer connection, mental health and poverty, bacause for the past few years London immigrate population has risen and its our responsibility to help them to integrate into the community ; poverty has always been a big problem for London and we could make really start a change for the future, and it’s about time that at the issue of mental health is no longer a taboo.

Rabia Mirza

IMG_9677Tell us about yourself.

I am currently going into my second year of Health Sciences at Western University. Through my previous experiences, I have learnt three important skills which include leadership, organizational and time management skills. Leadership skills are key since they correlate to having strong interpersonal skills, which means that relating well with others will lead you to be successful in the task provided. Along with that, organizational skills is advantageous because it proves that I can efficiently and effectively manage tasks. Lastly, having good time management skills allows me to prioritize my time on duties that need to be completed.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

Over the years, I have developed a great passion for politics, which is the reason why I want to be a part London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC). I believe that this is a great learning opportunity as well as a good way to improve my current skills set. It will also enable me to voice my opinions and to connect with my community members at a larger scale. And the most important aspect in joining the LYAC will be to give back to the community, since it has played an integral role in my upbringing.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

In my opinion, the most important issue that London is facing is our traffic system. Being a citizen that commutes to almost anywhere in the city via a car becomes a hassle at most times because of how congested the traffic becomes. By improving our transit system, the city’s traffic should improve itself. The second key issue that London is struggling is with poverty. Almost on all main intersections of London, like Oxford and Wonderland, it is hard to miss a homeless person standing at the lights for money. Along with shelters and the Food Bank, the city needs to improve their socioeconomic status in order to bring them out of poverty. The third and final issue that is important to note in London is our downtown. For many cities in Ontario, the downtown seems to be the hub for almost anything and everything like entertainment, shopping, and work. However in London, Masonville and surrounding area is being developed to the point which it detracts attention from our downtown. Without improvements to our downtown soon enough, it will not be a go-to place for Londoners.

Paris Liu

PL-Elections Headshot.jpgTell us about yourself.

Hi there! I am a grade 11 student at AB Lucas. At school, I am part of DECA, eco-club, band, cross country and tennis. I was voted to be grade 11 representative on student council, and I also started a TED-ed club to help people overcome their fear of public speaking. Outside of school, I take tennis classes and dance classes, and I work as a dance instructor for the City of London. I also volunteer at my church library, the London public library, and SARI Therapeutic Riding. In my free time, I create videos of my travels and experiences.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

From a young age, I have wanted to create change in my community. Whether that be in my school community through events my student council runs to make high school a more enjoyable experience for my peers, or the greater London community. Just this March, I started a Sockathon for the homeless in London. We raised almost 900 pairs of socks to give to UnityProject! I want to be a youth councillor because I believe that LYAC will help me grow as a leader while using my skills to represent youth in creating positive change in our London community.

Identify three community issues that you consider to be important.

Overpopulation in schools: I attended Jack Chambers Public School for my elementary schooling, and I now attend AB Lucas Secondary School, both whom are in my residential ward. Jack Chambers has about 900 students, and AB Lucas has over 1500. Despite multiple portables being built, this overpopulation is of concern because it affects the quality of students’ education. I know from experience that because of overcrowding at my high school, the student to teacher ratio no longer allows for personal attention to students’ individual needs, and because classes fill up so quickly and there are not enough teachers, many students are unable to take the classes they want. Guidance counsellors are also lacking at my school, making it harder for students to get the support and advice they require to succeed in their education.

Transportation: Our transit system is not the most convenient, to say the least. My friends who rely on it can spend over 40 minutes on the bus for a one way trip to school. Londoners have to spend more time on the bus and are unable tog et home safely anytime after midnight because of the lack of bus stops, routes, and the bus schedule. Due to all of these reasons, I shy away from public transportation, resorting to carpooling or bicycling instead. But even biking in London is not as convenient as it could be. Although there are some bike specific lanes in the city, for the most part cyclists must share the main road with bigger vehicles. Despite wanting to reduce our carbon footprints’, many cyclists, like myself, feel unsafe on the road.

Recycling: Just a few weeks ago while doing my drivers ed class in the south end of the city, our instructor told us that nobody in that area recycles because the city does not collect recycling there. This was shocking, so my friends and I brought in a recycling bin for the classroom so the instructor could take the recycling home. Although the municipal government collects recycling in some areas of London, others are neglected, leaving citizens no choice but to trash everything. Even in public places like outside of elementary schools, there is either no garbage bin, or only a garbage bin and no recycling, leaving kids and adults alike no other option but to toss their waste on the ground or toss everything in the trash.

Neha Siddiqui

Tell us about yourself.

Hey! I am a grade 11 student at A.B. Lucas Secondary School and I consider myself to be very involved in the community. At school I have participated in various teams and clubs such as Cross Country, Track and Field, DECA, MSA and Lucas Leads. Outside of school, I volunteer at the St. Joseph’s hospital and the Cross Cultural Learner Center. I am very passionate about equality and giving a voice to the underrepresented and am also on the Speaker’s Bureau for Plan Canada’s ‘I am a Girl’ initiative.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to be a youth councillor as I believe that youth deserve to play an active role in the society. Several times, my opinion on political matters has been cast aside as I am ‘too young to know what is going on’, which could not be farther from the truth and I know for a fact that many other people of my age have been faced with this aswell. Thus being a youth councillor would allow me to be able to represent the opinions of youth like myself and contribute to the community. I want to help solve the various problems that youth of our generation face. LYAC will provide me the platform to bring forward ideas for much needed change.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Mental Health:
In highschool, there is a lot of stress to get good grades, be involved in clubs and partake in sports and that takes a huge toll on student’s mental health. I know that lot of people my age struggle with mental health issues as a result of stress from school. Unfortunately most people are not well informed about mental health issues to get the help they require. This is reflected by the statistics that more than 1.2 million children and youth are faced with mental health issues in Canada, yet only 20 % get the help they require. This proves that the system is in need of improvement. Since so many youth face these problems it is important to have a focus on this matter by giving students proper information and education.

Youth Involvement:
I strongly believe that the youth deserve to have a voice in political matters, especially those that affect them. As mentioned before, a lot of adults cast aside the opinions of young people as less valued. However, giving more youth a platform to have their opinions on matters voiced is important. I believe that the remarkable youth of our generation are capable of bringing about great change, but only if they are given the opportunity to do so.

Drug Abuse:
Youth drug use is an increasing issue in today’s society, yet is a subject that is often shyed from. Most youth have easier access to drugs in recent years and are suffering, as a result street youth are 11 times more likely to die of drug overdose. I believe that drug use should not only be properly monitored, but that the youth also be provided safety. Although I do agree that drug use is wrong, most of these people are young and make mistakes, so I believe that they should be made aware of facilities that can help them by further educating them on the detriments of drug abuse. If they are already drug users, we should provide them opportunities of rehabilitation so that they can be fully integrated back into the society.

Matthew Jones

Tell us about yourself.MJ-Elections Headshot

I graduated from Western University with an Honors Specialization in Political Science. I am currently enrolled in the Master of Environmental Sustainability program at Western for the fall of 2018. I volunteer for a variety of environmental organizations in London as well as at Deb Matthews’ constituency office. I am President of the Young Liberals riding club in London North Centre and I am also an executive on MP Peter Fragiskatos’ youth council. I currently work at Western as a Residence Clerk, but I will be starting a new job at CPRI as a Projects and Communication Assistant in May.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to be a youth councillor because I want to become more engaged within the community at the municipal level. I have experience engaging with youth on a variety of topics and issues that directly relate to the City of London. I also believe that youth voices are vital to the wellbeing of any community and too often youth’s opinions are not taken seriously. I have been a proponent of youth community engagement for a very long time and I want to make sure youth opinions are heard when it comes to issues they care about.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

1. Waste Management: I am originally from Durham Region just east of the GTA where they have successfully implemented a compost program in the municipality. I strongly believe that promoting sustainable waste management initiatives is vital to the sustainability of the community. I am disappointed that London has not adopted a similar program whereby households have a separate bin for disposing compostable products. Composting has many communal benefits including enrichments of soil for farming as well as reduction of food waste in landfills. As a councillor I will be a strong advocate for some kind of municipal composting program in the city.

2. Municipal Public Transportation: I know how valuable public transportation is to students in London. Western University is home to around 35,000 students for eight months out of the year and a vast majority of them rely on the LTC for their transportation needs. I believe BRT is a great start for London because it improves stop frequencies and make taking the bus around the city much smoother and faster for individuals. However, I think the city needs to do more in improving public transportation in the city. This is an issue that relates directly to my ward as many students and Londoners live north of campus in the Masonville-Stoneycreek area but have very limited options when it comes to public transpiration to move around the city. I think implementing a system that creates better options to move people faster can help reduce traffic congestion and improve people’s lives.

3. Affordable Housing: It is no secret that London has a large homeless population. I am very much a proponent of affordable housing initiatives and as a youth councillor I will be a strong advocate for the implementation of more affordable housing projects in the city. I know that London’s Homeless Prevention and Housing Plan outlines the goals of the city to reduce homelessness between 2010 and 2024. I am also aware that in the city’s multi-year budget allocates $8.8 million in major upgrade to public housing as well as $3.8 million towards homelessness. I think this is a great start, but I would like to see more affordable housing stock being created in the city between both the public and private sector. Reducing homelessness can help elevate the entire community and I believe it should be a top priority of the youth council.

Ward 6

Yuting (Zoë) Wei

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Tell us about yourself.

I’m Zoë who is a second year foods and nutrition student at Western university. I plan to take another management diploma after I graduate to enrich my skills and experiences. In life, I’m someone who always pay close attention to small changes and detailed things around my life.I believe this is the reason why I’d love to care and think about others snd the environment I’m living in. I’d love to meet new friends and learn different cultures. In today’s multicultural environment, I believe that the more culture you know more comfortable people will feel when they are with you. That is what I think the major principle when I get along with people around me.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

London is where I’m studying and plan to live for a longer period of time, so I’d love to learn the culture of it, feel the atmosphere of it and contribute my strength for it. “A young man should concern for the well-being of others and act on that concern as a leader.” This is what I believe and what inspired me to exert my self-worth and do as much as I can to live myself and others a better life. Hence, becoming a youth councilor and working with other 14 outstanding young people, to represent the young voices in this community and taking good care of them are what I‘d love to devote myself to do.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

1. Environmental conservation. Take recycling system as an example. When I walk through those neighborhoods around the Western University, I realize that students, especially who live in the house independently, usually careless in garbage classification. Though they did the waste sorting, they did not do it thorough and accurate and this will increase the difficulty of garbage disposal. This is also a common phenomenon in the apartment building. Garbage recycling is a huge part of the city environment, every citizen has the responsibility and obligation to understand how to properly classify waste which will help with the city recycling system.

2. Student mental health.
Recently, quite a lot students struggle with the mental issue. Though there are hotlines for helping everywhere in the city especially in the university and colleges, people with mental problem barely call the helping center when they feel bad or even want to suicide. What I think is young people nowadays lack the knowledge of how to identify the symptom of mental health problem and how to face the problem calmly. Besides, only adverting in the bus station and post hotlines number on the wall cannot really help people who are suffering. I think what the community and education institutions can offer are better people-to-people care and substantial company.

3. Traffic safety.
Every crossroad has potential risk. For example, there are some small roads still don’ t have a traffic light. People just passing through the road and even running through it. The avoidance of the driver may lead to irreversible risks. The city construction can establish or adjust traffic rules depends on the actual situation nowadays. What’s more, people should raise the awareness of traffic safety issues from community council or education institutions.

Moeez Tahir

IMG_4519Tell us about yourself.

Hey! I’m Moeez, a first year student at the University of Western Ontario. Outside the classroom, I’ve always found Politics to be something Youth should be involved in. Thats why I’ve always been a strong advocate for Youth involvement in community which encompasses Policy and Advocacy Work. I’m also very interested in the Health-Care field which in recent years, has had issues arise.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I personally want to advocate for Youth in the community including students, in regards to topics such as BRT which will have an impact on our City with us being a student-friendly city. I have also previously served as a Councillor for Ward 11 in 2016-17 which was a joy. Having now being more involved in/working in Ward 6–I found it to be more fitting to run in this ward to advocate for a community I’m familiar with!

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

1- Transportation
Western is encompassed in this Ward and will have significant changes forthcoming with BRT. This includes the proposed closure of the University Drive bridge. This was something specifically that I was not even award of until City Councillor Phil Squire brought it to our attention. I would like us to take a pause and call for more consolations rather than rush this project as “following through” on a campaign promise.

2- Youth Advocacy
In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, it has become even more apparent how much Youth standing up, can impact Policy. This is a standard example in the sense, that even as we don’t face Gun-Problems nearly as much as the US, we as Youth can impact Policy by merely standing up and talking about.

3- Mental Health
Over the past few months, Mental Health is something that has become more talked about which is fantastic. Whether it be Raptors Star DeMar Derozan breaking his silence or even more recently–Dwayne Johnson. Mental Health should never be something that is only talked about in an election year. This means having more consistent discussions as well as facilitated events such as training on how we can help those who identify themselves in their crisis’. I would specially like us to run training including Straight-Talk to better educate not only adults but high-school students and University Students. This specific workshop is offered with the Centre of Suicide Prevention.

Andrea Helter

Tell us about yourself.

I’ve lived in London my whole life and I have always wanted to get involved in making this city a better place. I’m currently an engineering student at Western.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to get involved in making London the best it could be, and I’m particularly interested in issues such as public transport and outdoor spaces.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Public Transport: Having taken the LTC nearly every day for the past 5 years I am particularly interested in what steps London will be taking to improve cross-cultural transit. Although the most popular routes are relatively well serviced, it can be very difficult to get from one end of the city to another by bus in under an hour.

Public parks: Outdoor public spaces have always been very important to me, especially in urban areas like downtown. They make the city an enjoyable place to live in. Buy at times, parks can be left un-cared for and uninviting.

Forrests: This issue is especially important in ward 6 ( which I am applying for ) as we must ensure London maintains its status as the Forrest city. These forrests provide the city with a connection to nature that is lacking in most cities, and we must make sure we hold on to them despite pressures to develop them.

Ward 7

Lev Konopelko

Headshot - Lev Konopelko

Tell us about yourself.

I am Lev Konopelko, Political Science student at Western University. This year, I helped organize the Western Student Research Conference as a Sponsorship Director. To satisfy my passion for diplomacy, I joined the Association of International Relations, and I attended national conferences as a delegate of Model U.N. and NATO. Additionally, I am on the Board of Directors for the London Employment Help Centre, and was the Vice-President of Finance for EcoGro, JA. I graduated London Central last year, where I was Vice-President of the Model U.N. club, member of the Investment Club, and played hockey and football.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

The desire to create change is what inspires me to be on the council. Being an ordinary citizen with a mere right to vote is not enough for someone such as myself who wants to create meaningful, lasting, and beneficial change in local and global communities. It is often said that younger people at times have the best ideas and the most creative and effective solutions to problems, and there is no better platform for me to make the community a better place through solving such problems than the LYAC.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Transportation
The lack of access to public transportation in newer subdivisions is a strain on youths: an issue which has taken a great toll on Ward 7. With a much smaller amount of high schools around the city, as well as many students’ choice to pursue education at an institution not located in their local area, there needs to be viable and safe access to public transportation that will shorten high school and post-secondary students’ daily commute. Additionally, with the recent decision to implement the BRT, it will be the responsibility of the council to ensure that the process of installation and implementation is thorough and completely transparent for all citizens of London, and this campaign aims to do just that through ensuring that all voices and opinions are heard with regards to how this system will benefit or harm them, with a focus on youths.

Employment
The issue of employment can be split into two parts: present and future. In today’s world, graduating from the top university while attaining the highest grades will not guarantee gainful employment. Graduating students are less likely to find jobs than ever. Through the council, I hope to implement programs that will educate recent on showcasing their skills to job markets in which they are desired. With regards to the future, the development of AI and robotics has replaced humans in a great number of jobs, and it is not slowing down. It is said that around 2/3 of today’s students will work in jobs that do not exist yet. With the current rapid change in the job market and a looming possibility of robots being able to perform every human function, it is time we adapt to the new world and ensure a prosperous future.

Youth Advocacy
Despite the efforts of various individuals and other trends, youths are not involved in local and federal politics nearly as much as they should be. Issues that surround this age group are not mediocre and have the same level of importance as the rest, yet they are often given the blind eye due to the lack of their representation. Those that represent youth issues are not youths and therefore do not understand those very issues through experience. Decisions that are made now will impact the future, the very same that the younger generation will inherit, which is why it is imperative that youths participate in all levels of politics. To do that: the outreach and influence of the LYAC should be expanded through strengthening its executive roles in the city and using that to partner with other like-minded organizations locally, as well as around the nation.

Shehaam Makhdoom

SM-Elections HeadshotTell us about yourself.

I am a Grade 12 student attending Oakridge Secondary School. I am a motivated and hardworking individual; all tasks I embark on, whether in my personal or professional life, get done with precision and care. I love baking and currently operate a business called The Sweet Spot Bakery. I am involved at my school as the Vice President of the Multicultural Club, and as a member of MSA. I care deeply about humanitarian aid and spreading awareness about ways to help; through my business, I have been donating to support the efforts to help the Rohingya escaping genocide. I also enjoy working with different types of people and learning about their experiences.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to take advantage of the opportunity to stand as youth councillor because this platform will allow me to serve and give back to the community that I care for so dearly. Another reason for my interest is that I can engage with and provide a voice for the youth who need it. I support the notion of shared decision-making and advocate to improve the outcomes of the various issues that my community faces. In my previous term as a councillor, I was able to help bring real change, and I would love to be involved for another year.

Identify three community issues that you consider to be important.

Mental Health: Mental health is greatly affected during adolescence; it is a time full of stress and change, with new challenges at every turn. There is pressure to have friends, to perform well in school, and to be a well-rounded individual by participating in multiple extracurricular activities. A major concern is that many youth do not possess the knowledge and experience they need to deal with these daily stresses. If they get overwhelmed, negative effects include depression, self-injury, and isolation; without a stable support system, it can be quite easy to succumb to these effects. I would like to work with people first-hand in creating a support system that they can utilize and benefit from.

Drug Use: Adolescents have found easier access to drugs in recent years; the issue is spreading widely through schools and other centers with teenagers tend to go. The use of drugs has a detrimental impact, both on the neurological and emotional development of teenagers. The consequences of drug use range from decrease in academic ability and effort, to emotional issues such as anxiety or depression. Teenagers whose lives have been affected by drug abuse need to be educated through resources available in the community. I believe that easily-accessible, strategically located youth groups could provide the outlet that many youth need to be able to reach out for different kinds of help and support.

Youth in Poverty: Poverty can have detrimental effects on a teen’s development; it comes with many disadvantages and usually makes it quite difficult to set up a stable future. Children living in poverty can lack resources which can lead to poor skill development and less than optimal educational skills. The lack of these resources can result in significant long term effects on any individual. I believe that this issue needs to be brought into the spotlight as many people our age are unaware of what certain families go through on a daily basis in order to make ends meet and how it can impact certain children and youth. I would like to help build bridges that will allow for these affected teenagers to access the tools they need to better support themselves and build a healthy and promising future.

Ward 8

Abdullah Al Jarad

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Tell us about yourself.

My name is Abdullah Al Jarad, I’m a Gr.11 Oakridge Secondary School student. I volunteer at the London Muslim Mosque where I help set up and serve at dinners. I am now the Head Volunteer at the weekend K-8 School, where I have put in more than 250 volunteer hours, delegating tasks and assisting and monitoring other volunteers. At Oakridge S.S. I am now in my second year as vice-president elect of the Muslim Student Association (MSA).This very active MSA looks after Friday prayers and hosts events and dinners. I am also a member of MP Kate Young’s London West Youth Council where the focus is on a selection of community topics and discussing issues that matter to us. I am also part of the Pledge to End Racism campaign which uses different social media platforms to encourage people to be mindful of the power of what they say and do on and offline.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I have a passion for community involvement, and I feel as like it is everyone’s duty to give back to their communities. Having the opportunity to represent a part London sounds as if it’s the thing I should do. I believe that I have outstanding leadership skills that I would be able to implement while being a Youth Councillor. Talking about issues that matter to the community is very important for me, I would love to tackle issues in this city one by one, whether it’s mental health, London Transit, or Youth Employment. Becoming a Youth Councillor will definitely allow me understand this city a bit more, by connecting with people one on one, would give me a chance to learn more of what people think in London.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

1) Mental Health:

Sadly, one in five children and teens between the ages of 13 and 18 have or will have a serious mental illness. Mental health problems with teens and others, is a serious situation that needs to be taken care of. You either suffer from mental health problems, or you know someone who suffers from mental health, as the years go by, it’s becoming more common within teenagers and adults. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, or stress, these factors can impact the teenagers’ lives. What I plan to do to tackle the issue, is to provide a hotline, for almost every school, or a hotline for every Ward, so people that suffer from this can connect with a professional. One of the reasons that causes teenagers to suffer with mental health problems, is their relations with people of authority, for example, the manager would make the teenage workers, work for long hours, and make them work at times where they’re not able to, the relation between the employee and the employer is nowadays so dry, where the employee can’t tell the employer that they can’t work because they feel mentally down. Another example is at school, teachers would usually pile work over the student, and pile tests, where the student is now unable to work with their time, which would cause them to stay up late, or go through stress, the relations with the teacher and the student should very transparent, where the teacher should understand what the student is going through.

2) Poverty:

The number of people going through poverty seems to increase day by day here in London. It’s absolutely devastating to see people standing outside in the cold with no shelter. We can take the abandoned buildings in London and turn them into shelters, where people would be able to sleep and stay there. The main factor that impacts the poverty level is the job market, it is too difficult to find a job. The jobs open at just a certain time of the year, other than that, only the lucky ones receive a job. Personally, I have been applying everywhere I know, over and over, for three months, and until now, I did not receive a single phone call, even though I was qualified for every job that I applied to. Then what about the people who aren’t that qualified, it would extremely harder for them to find a job. If I were to be a LYAC Councillor, I would definitely look into the job market, and hopefully achieve a goal and tackle down this issue.

3) Substance Abuse:

As a highschool student, it is easy to recognize that the amount of substance abuse have heavily increased. Substance abuse includes drugs, smoking, and even now, vaping. It has become more and more common for teenagers to turn to drugs and vaping. Also, some people turn to drugs when they suffer from family issues, social issues, school, or peer pressure. Students have even starting to vape inside the washrooms at school, it is becoming normalized to smoke and to take drugs. Teenagers, or anyone, should stay as far as possible from drugs or smoking, it kills the lungs and the body. We need to let others know the negative side of vaping and drugs, because at this moment, not a lot of teenagers understand the negative effects of vaping, so they do it anyways. This issue is extremely important to me, and I hope to solve this issue.

Yusar Madlol

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Yusar Madlol, I am 14 years old and I am currently attending Oakridge secondary school. I love volunteering and it is a big part of my life. I volunteer at the Cross Cultural Learner Center downtown where I help run community activities like the winter and fall festivals as well as the community cup. I also volunteer at the Boys and Girls club of London as an activities coordinator. In my spare time I love playing on my school’s sports team. I am on the basketball, track and field and badminton teams.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I would like to join the London Youth Advisory Council because I want youth voices to be heard and take ideas and transform them into actions. I understand that London is a community of diverse voices and to me the most important part of a youth council’s role is to connect to those who feel their voices are not valued in our community. I think this would be a great opportunity because the youth are our future and this will all lead to a better London. I’m interested in learning from the other youth councilors, municipal leaders and community members.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

A community issue that I consider important is the lack of outdoor activity in my ward. As new versions of technology and games come out, kids tend to stay inside and play on their phones rather than enjoying the outdoor spaces in their community. I think it is important to create a diverse range of outdoor spaces as not everyone is attracted to the same activities. Currently my ward has a number of green spaces that are not used to their fullest potential and outdoor community space would bring everyone together and allow neighbours to connect with each other.

Another issue that I think needs to be addressed in my community is the lack of support towards its new members. Through my work at CCLC I can see the isolation that new Londoners feel as they don’t understand how the community works, how to travel and where essential services are located. I think the LYAC needs to focus on the needs of new community members and understand the unique struggles that they might face in each specific ward. As London grows in the future years it will be more diverse than ever, this means that we must bridge the cultural divides between communities so as one united community we can grow closer together rather than further apart.

As London grows over the next 20 years one way to attract new community members as well as tourists is to increase the attractions that make London so unique. Londoners want to see their city as more than just a space where they go about their daily activities but rather a place where they can enjoy themselves in a number of ways. London is fairly homogeneous and its neighborhoods do not differentiate from one another, unlike Toronto or Ottawa where at every corner there is something new to see. If we want London to be seen as a city with a vibrant culture we need to build personality on every street. As we take a step forward in building up our community, London will not only be a place of attraction but also a place that people can call home.

Ward 9 

Bella Van Oirschot

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Tell us about yourself.

My name is Bella Van Oirschot and I am a grade 10 student at Catholic Central High School. I enjoy participating in and refereeing sports, specifically hockey. I am a person who actively expresses her opinion, and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. I am an active member in my school community, and I am always looking for more ways to extend my reach beyond that. I aspire to one day be a leader who many people, nationally and/or globally, can idolize and respect.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I would like to have the opportunity to be a youth councillor because I believe that the voices of our youth are important, and I would like to have my voice heard by the people of London. I feel that my opinions would be greatly beneficial to the London community. Having connected with many different people, I know the struggle of today’s youth. I would be a great advocate for my peers, and for the issues I witness in my community. I also would very much appreciate any opportunity to involve myself in politics and further my professional development.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Being a Catholic Central Crusader, I am very passionate about my school. The recent media attention about “changing the crusader mascot” hit me quite hard. I am a person who strongly believes in inclusivity and justice, but I also believe in tradition and culture. Ever since I walked through the doors at CCH, I have felt nothing less than warmly welcomed, and this goes the same for any student, regardless of race or religion. This community is about sticking together as crusaders for our faith, our students, and our community. We represent the ability to turn a negative past, into a bright and positive future. Changing the crusader mascot would just show that it is not possible for us to move on from the past. This issue affects many people I know, as well as myself, very personally, and I feel obligated to advocate for my community of crusaders.

Within ward 9, there are many people who are employed by the farming industry. As London continues to grow and expand further into these farming communities, it puts pressure on farmers to sell their land, and city officials to change zoning bylaws. As someone who has family employed in this industry, I would advocate for these farmers, and protect their land from becoming the newest subdivision or highway. Recently, a zoning change has been made in ward 9 allowing for an illegal abattoir to remain functioning. This zoning change has upset many members of the ward 9 community. Having witnessed this issue first-hand, I would advocate strongly against further zone changes. I believe that we must protect the farm land in ward 9, before we are completely over run with new developments, increasing the pollution levels in our city, and in turn decreasing the quality of life.

I have noticed that many students at my school do not know how to deal with money. Many of them often run down their bank accounts to zero dollars. This is an issue, as these students will one day be the future of our city. Unless we aim to have a city in grave debt, then something must be done to educate our youth. There are no programs in our schools that teach us how to budget money, apply for loans, do taxes, or pay a mortgage. Not knowing these basic skills is setting us up to fail. I realize that school curriculum is a provincial matter, but that does not mean that the city of London cannot provide extracurricular learning opportunities to students on these skills. As a member of London’s youth, I see this as a prevalent issue, and one in which I intend to advocate strongly for.

Kaitlyn Anderson-Mitchell

KAM-Elections Headshot.jpgTell us about yourself.

My name is Kaitlyn Anderson-Mitchell, I am a grade eleven student attending London Central Secondary School. I have been an active volunteer with various organizations for the past six years, including SARI Therapeutic Riding, Twin Streams Equestrain Club and Days for Girls. I also went on a volunteer trip to Costa Rica, where I helped the local coffee farmers with a sustainable agriculture project. As a Métis person, I am currently serving as the Youth Representative on the Thames Bluewater Métis Council and I am very involved in my local Métis community and have helped organize numerous events. I am very passionate about bringing a voice to the issues that impact youth in our community.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

Serving on the Métis Council has made me realize that I have a passion for bettering my community. I want to provide the opportunity for all youth in this area to feel as if their ideas and opinions are being heard on the municipal level. I would like to go beyond the Métis people, and to improve the lives of all youth living in the London area. I believe that my leadership and problem-solving skills will be a great asset to the LYAC and the youth in our city.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Transportation – Ward Nine has a notoriously under served transportation system. If you live in communities such as Byron or Lambeth and want to travel to other parts of the city, outside of downtown, you will have to take numerous buses with long walks in between stops. Young people are especially impacted by the poor system as we rely on the buses to go to and from school and extracurricular activities. Since the city has committed to redesigning the transportation system, it is necessary that young people’s needs and perspectives are considered during this process.

Youth Involvement – Young people today are often criticized for being uninvolved and uninterested in politics and their communities. I however have seen the power of inspired and motivated youth to create a meaningful change. I believe that if more youth were given the opportunity to become involved through volunteering and councils such as they LYAC, the entire community would benefit. By creating programs to encourage youth involvement and promoting the opportunities that already exist, I believe that London youth will become active citizens that will go on to change the world.

Indigenous Representation – As an indigenous youth, I have noticed that Indigenous people are heavily under-represented within the decision-making process in London. As well, many Indigenous youth experience racism that originates from the lack of knowledge of Indigenous heritage. I want to ensure that the First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspective is heard while making all decisions regarding our city. I also believe that it is very important to educate non-Indigenous people about our culture and history so that we can move towards a brighter future for all Indigenous people living in London.

Eric Trudell

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, my name is Eric Trudell. I am a grade 10 student at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School. I am the self-proclaimed ‘angsty art student’ every high school needs. I try to put myself into every possible artisitc scenario possible. I am very interested in music (writing, playing, and listening to), acting and performing, visual arts, programming, and especially creative writing in terms of narratives, poetry, theatre. I have been an active member and volunteer at the London Poetry Slam for almost four years, travelling to five national poetry festivals, as well as currently coaching a team of youth poets and running monthly workshops.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

As someone passionate about communities of all sizes, I recognize that I am greatly unfamiliar with many in London. I believe that the council will not only foster another community I can be a part of, but connect me with many people who have communities of their own that I can observe or take part in. I want to provide my perspective on that state of our city, as well as educate myself on that of others, especially youth, around me. Being a councillor would give me an opportunity to meet new people and develop connections in the community to further my own efforts of growing as an individual because of my new understanding of the whole.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Art Communities in London
While many parts of the city thrive off of strong art communities, like Old East Village and Dundas Street, there are areas in London that have none, or struggle to maintain the ones that exist. As an artist myself, I understand the importance that art communities of all types have for diversifying the public image and bolstering the importance of creators and observers in the city. However, in Byron and West London, these communities are few and far between at best. At my high school, STA, the arts community has small and continues to shrink. I believe that it is important to create new groups that give a platform to artists of all types in the area, and support the groups that are already here.

Queerphobia at Secondary Schools
This is not just a problem that one school, or community, or city faces, but queerphobia is a universal issue. As someone attending a Catholic high school, I understand the extent of this issue. At least, the extent of this issue in predominantly white, middle-class neighbourhoods. Although discrimination based on the sexual orientation is a serious part of the overall problem, I believe that the greatest part of it lies in the issue of transphobia, specifically our erasure of the people and unwillingness to talk about it. At STA, queerphobia is more present than an effort to stop it. So much so that the only ‘safe space’ in the school is one where the problem is at its worst, where staff members not only stand by, but participate as well.

Student Outreach and Support
Undeniably, there are more students in London that exist with unsupported disabilities, mental health issues, abuse, and social issues like racism, queerphobia, and misogyny than those with support for the same issues. I believe that it is important to schools to have tools to help and support students dealing with such problems easily accessible and in proper safe spaces. Secondary schools would benefit from mental and physical health professionals to accurately deal with well-being of young people in a place that is private and easily accesible, like offices at the school itself. I also believe that it is important to have diversified social workers so that students of colour have a place to share their feelings with people other than white adults, or so that queer-identifying students have a such a place with other queer-identifying professionals. Currently, schools suffer from inaccessibility to such resources that minority students so need to be safe and comfortable.

Ward 10 

Yasmin Amin 

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, my name is Yasmin Amin. I am in first year at Western university. I am someone who loves to communicate with other people and have conversations with them. I am willing to help anyone in need.i have been volunteering in Western University for international students who are coming to study English.In my free time, you will find in the gym or watching youtube videos about wellness and healthy life style. I am so obsessed with any kind of activities outside.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to be a youth councillor because I am willing to improve London in all important aspects. Also, it is a great opportunity to learn all the issues that people face in London and make our community better in the future. My suggestions might be helpful for some people to live in a better situation.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

dealing with stress: As a student in university has already seen some students in exam time how stress they are and some of them quit studying because they do not deal with a bad thought in a appropriate way. I have already experienced that and watch a lot of videos how someone can get rid of anxiety in only 5 seconds and I am very willing to tell them that it is very easy to be not anxious and stress anymore.

OBESITY: many places in London offer fast food and many people especially children eat this bad food with high appetite. These food is in high risk of heart disease and obese for young children. My role is that trying to convince the children and their parents too how bad and dangerous these food on their health for the future. As I mention I am obsessed with watching healthy life style ,so I can give them all tips for children to be healthier and stronger.

Ainsley Jeffrey

AJ-Elections-Headshot.jpgTell us about yourself.

I am a grade 10 student currently attending Saunders Secondary School. I started to become engaged with politics and advocacy after starting high school, after I discovered my passion for education, engaged, and equality. I am a youth advocate with Plan International to strive for global gender equality and the Project Lead for the London West Youth Council. In school I am involved with our Athletic Association, Student Council, and Relay for Life organizing committee. In the future I plan to attend the University of Ottawa for a degree in a social science field.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

After starting high school, I started to recognize the importance of engaging youth in activities, social issues, and news. There are many capable students who are looking for ways to become engaged, but are unsure of how to become involved. As a youth councillor, I would make it my mission to reach out to as many youth as possible and truly understand their values and the issues they are passionate about. Becoming a youth councillor would help me to bring the youth opinions in my ward to the table, and represent them in a meaningful way. This also would serve as a learning opportunity to help me expand my leadership abilities.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Mental Health
Students of London lack the resources to take care of their mental health. Many students are burning out due to an overwhelming amount of work in their lives because they are not given the resources and knowledge to properly educate themselves on self-care. Youth are expected to participate in a lot of activities, do well in school, and do above average in all they participate in, and never seem to have the opportunity to slow down and de-stress. Each week the semester goes on, more work builds up, without a chance to get caught up, and as a result, the mental health of students in failing to meet standards. There needs to be ways to help youth de-stress and take care of themselves so that life is never seen as too overwhelming.

Youth Engagement
Students understand the importance of staying educated and being aware, but are not given any resources to help them to become engaged. I personally have struggled to find opportunities, and I will work to help give youth an opportunity to become involved and educated. Especially when it comes to activities such as leadership opportunities, civic engagement, and activism, youth are unsure of how to become involved because there is no where for youth to find these opportunities in a convenient and manageable way.

Public Transit
It is never a surprise to hear complaints throughout the ward about public transit. It is nearly impossible to find a reasonable route to bus anywhere other than Westmount, White Oaks, and Downtown. Many students are involved with other activities and have to take public transit home, but are stuck waiting for hours because of transfers, delays and cancellations. This makes it nearly impossible to balance activities, school, work, and self-care activities such as eating and sleeping, because there is no time to conveniently take the bus. I have talked to youth who feel like they are missing out on opportunities because they are unable to find a means of transportation.

Ward 11

Mony Madlol

MM-Elections Headshot.jpegTell us about yourself.

I am a grade 10 student from Oakridge Secondary School and consider myself to be a very involved and active person within my community. Within school, I’ve been a part of the cross country team, basketball team, ping pong club, intramural club, football, and am a part of the parliament within my school being the grade representative. Outside of school, I am apart of Youth in Philanthropy (which has recently been connected with the LYAC), the Duke of Edinburgh, and I love volunteering with over 550 volunteer hours accumulated since the beginning of grade 9.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

As of now, I have not only heard of the LYAC through my friends, but through my colleagues and different organizations (Boys and Girls Club, Youth in Philanthropy, etc.) as well and am super interested in what this council has to offer. Not only that, but I also am also constantly trying to find new ways to get involved and would love to be a part of this council. Finally, being that I have experience in student council within schools and some councils with in the boys and girls club, this feels like it’s right up my ally way and I would love to have the opportunity to work alongside yourselves as the representative of ward 11.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Poverty and Income: Did you know that London is the third highest city in Canadian child poverty rates. To me this is mind boggling. The reason these children are going through poverty is due to the income-based crisis their caretaker was going through, forcing them to not only neglect, but kick out the children on their own. I feel like by targeting income, we can not only reduce poverty, but maybe one day abolish it.

Mental Health and Addictions: A mental health/addictions crisis’ are too present in today’s society. Many people neglect this, not understanding that it is a serious problem in which a situational crisis, psychosis, risk of self-harm or harm to others, emotional trauma and many more are all present. This can happen through substance abuse, addiction, and many more. I want to change all of this and hopefully change the way we view, and deal with mental health.

Employment and Education: How is it that 16% of the 15+ years old Londoners reported that they didn’t have a certificate, diploma, or degree which is lower than Ontario (17.5%). Or that London’s unemployment rate is 7.9%. Sure we have progressed over the years, but I feel it is necessary that we keep going in this direction and decrease these percentages as much as possible. We have lowered it in the past, we can lower it again.

Spencer Reid

SR-Elections Headshot.jpgTell us about yourself.

My name is Spencer Reid, and I’m a sixteen-year-old grade 10 student at H.B. Beal. I’m currently running for reelection in my ward, and am hoping to be a part of another term representing the wonderful constituents of Ward 11! I’m a political and current events junkie, and in my spare time I enjoy writing poetry and competing in London Poetry Slam, hiking, and playing with my two dogs.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

Last year working as a youth councillor, I was taught how much of an impact young voices can have, and how important it is not to discredit those voices. I want to work and change the stigma about youth in politics and help identify and solve challenges within the community.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Drug usage and the opioid crisis: London is not immune to the opioid crisis that has hit Canada, with oft-weekly overdoses being reported in the news. In 2016, thirty Londoners died from opioid-related deaths, and hundreds required medical assistance with overdose and drug-related health issues. Ontario has announced front-line workers will carry naloxone (brand name Narcan), an medication that blocks the effects of an overdose, and I personally believe naloxone should be accessible in all public areas and identified high-risk areas in case of a medical emergency. It’s important that Londoners have access to tools to be able to help those in need.

Community engagement and opportunities: Ward 11 is one of the most diverse wards in London and is well-known for neighbourhoods such as Wortley Village, The Coves, and part of Springbank Park. However, with such differing backgrounds and areas, many Ward 11 residents struggle finding communities they can connect and engage with, and their needs are often overlooked in favour of those in more well-known areas. I would work to expand LYAC’s connections within Ward 11 and their schools and help promote various community groups within Ward 11, giving constituents places where they can have their voices heard.

Ranked ballots in London: London’s 2018 municipal election is going to be held using the ranked ballot voting system; we are the first in Canada to do so. I have been following ranked ballot voting since it first became a topic in London, and attended City Hall’s historic meeting where they voted to introduce it for the next election. With many citizens expressing confusion and a dislike for the new voting system, I think it is important to replace their fears with proper information and education by holding information sessions on the new system geared towards first-time voters and those who need adjusting to ranked ballots. A populace that is able to understand and accurately use a method of voting is a populace that is able to make educated decisions on voting and show the most support to those who they feel should be in power.

Ward 12

Cindy Xie

CX-Elections Headshot.jpgTell us about yourself.

My name is Cindy Xie and I am a 10th-grade student at the London Central Secondary School. I am an avid book reader and enjoy participating in initiatives such as the Canadian Cancer Relay for Life, Brain Tumour Foundation, and the Women in Technology Society. Inside of schools, my extracurriculars include Science Olympics, Environmental Club, Model UN (United Nations), Social Justice, and Math Team. I am passionate about equality and am the Co-Founder of Girls in TE, an organization which strives to increase gender diversity within STEM. By my friends, I am described as motivated, positive, and hard working. My personal interests include reading, painting, drawing, and the occasional binge of Grey’s Anatomy.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I would like to be a youth councillor because I believe that it is important to become more involved within London’s community. I have lived in London for two years but I have loved every minute of it. I believe I can truly create change as a Youth Councillor at LYAC and learn more about different community topics. Initiatives such as the Social Justice Committee within my school has proven that a small act can go a long way. With LYAC, I believe that the youth can voice their opinions and create change as leaders of the next generation.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

STEM Initiatives for Children
In the few years that I have lived in London and within my ward, I have noticed a lack of STEM initiatives. It disheartened me to know that only 36% of all high school graduates are ready to take a college-level science course. I believe this is due to a lack of exposure of STEM at an early age. When we expose children to STEM at a young age, we create a foundation for future passion and interests in these topics, thus increasing the amount students studying STEM. It will also be beneficial for their future careers as STEM fields are growing at a rate greater than any other field. As Ward 12’s Youth Councillor, I would like to create a program dedicated to teaching children about STEM with interactive and entertaining activities.

Mental Health
Mental health has always been a prominent issue, revolving around children, students, and even adults. In any given year, 1 in 5 people is affected by mental illnesses in Canada. In my school environment, I see it affecting my peers, friends, and family on a daily basis. Even with the current trends and mental health organizations aiming to help, rarely do those suffering receive the proper treatment and care. Mental health is critical in for education, health, and how one acts. As Ward 12’s Youth Councillor, I would like to organize events supporting proper mental health treatments and helping those affected.

Immigrant Opportunities
Ontario is the most multicultural province within Canada, being the top choice for nearly half of the immigrants, and yet I have noticed a lack of opportunities for immigrants in London. Many immigrants are struggling to find work, despite them being highly qualified in their home country. My parents immigrated from China twenty years ago in 1998. For the first few months, they were not able to find work due to the lack of opportunities and their deficiency in English. As immigrants make up 21.9% of Canada’s population, it is imperative that there are more resources, initiatives, and organizations dedicated to helping newcomers into Canada.

Raghad El Niwairi

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Raghad (RA-god) El Niwairi. I am a high school student, passionate activist, avid reader, film/TV watcher and food eater. I live for spontaneous, off-track, invigorating conversations. In my experience, there is knowledge, wisdom and intelligence to be gained from in every conversation. I am lucky to be curious and impulsive enough to find myself having these conversations.
When I’m not talking, I love to waste my time researching. I learn about the things, people, the movements, the moments and the history that intrigue or inspire me.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to be a youth councillor because I know the strength that title holds. Young people have so much power, energy, strength and innovation to create change. But it’s hard to find opportunities that all youth to live up to their fullest potential. As an LYAC Alumni, I’ve heard, witnessed and experienced the power of this platform for young people. It forces people to take a young person seriously despite the stereotypes telling them not to. I only hope to share the credibility of this platform with as many aspiring, ambitious youth as possible.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Representation and Outlets

As a Black Muslimah, the topic of representation (or lack thereof) is not new to me. Often times the lack of representation of people of colour and “minorities” in positions of power is enough to discourage and even drive people away from events, job opportunities, schools and other strong institutions. It can be especially frustrating as an aspiring student living in London. I hope that through creating space for marginalized peoples, encouraging, supporting and standing with other movements hoping to change the current situation, the representation of marginalized communities will become less and less of an issue within London communities and institutions (City Council, School Administration Boards, schools, etc.).

Beautifying London

Through being part of the LYAC and spending a significant amount of time downtown, I’ve come to see many magnificent, eye-catching works of art on downtown buildings and in alleyways. After seeing projects in Edmonton, and Vancouver where “Graffiti” and city beautification were legalized, it was evident how much one well done mural can add to an entire community. One painting on a common wall can liven/brighten up, inspire and strengthen a whole community, and if done on a well-populated area, an entire city. It also allows artists to legally test their own boundaries while encouraging young people to tap into their own creativity and individuality. There are so many more benefits to legalizing this form of art that I hope to see London posses in the near future.

Communal Resources

Something I am incredibly hopeful for is the creation of stronger community resources and the full use of the resources already available. I believe in community because the strengthening of communities can mean having a supportive neighbourhood family that creates a sense of home. Communities have so much power when standing together, but many are missing resources that allow people to continue living in those neighbourhoods. By that, I mean anywhere from recreational parks, basketball courts and communal gardens, to community centres with spaces for people and children to learn different skill sets, languages, arts or build up the skills they already have. A resource like a building in support of immigrants/newcomers and their families providing English classes, sports and recreational activities, support services for job re certification and more. I know that London has many wonderful communities on its own, but I know that London can do more to keep those communities and support them.

Ward 13

Neehar Chintam

Tell us about yourself.

Am really active in volunteering since my schooling. I am always ready to take up and face challenges. I can also handle people of different mentality. I can handle pressure. I can take up responsibility as a leader of a group and also as a group number. I do not have any ego, self centric mentality and also cool in nature. I think my experience in bolunteering can come in handy for this task too.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I can be a better person by making people and things around me better by recognising their potential and just guiding them instead of promise about statements like freedom, equality and all i belive in actions or rather doing doing them. I think am positive atitude person so i can spread my positiveness all around and bring right combination of balance in all.


Every person in same and equal they may differ because of nature and actities they do just be with thrm and show them their potential.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Un employment, Equal chances to all irrespective of their nationality, individual responsibility towards society

Alice Balluku

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Tell us about yourself.

My name is Alice, I am a grade 11 student attending London Central Secondary School. I am currently a member of my school’s DECA team; I competed at the provincial competition this year with a written event project on fashion merchandising. In the past, I’ve successfully created and sold art pieces to fundraise towards earning a girl in Kenya education for life and I also competed in the 2017 provincial Envirothon competition. Some of my personal hobbies include photography, writing creative stories, taking part in competitions, advocating for animal rights, and reading.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

My generation is quite literally the future, yet we tend to be underrepresented. I want to be able to contribute to our society in a way that will allow for our community to reach its full potential. The opportunity to work with other youth to improve our community is more than appealing; this opportunity would allow for me to share and implement many of my diverse yet realistic ideas. I yearn to see a community in which my generation will be effectively represented; LYAC provides the opportunity to implement needed change. I want to be able to represent those who may not be able to use their voices so that our community can achieve a sense of equality.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Lack of Opportunity:
In London-particularly for youth-opportunities are not made easily accessible. This can deter the younger generations from wanting to reside in London for an extended period of time. I feel that it would be beneficial to initiate a campaign that would make opportunities more accessible, or at least better advertise these opportunities. There needs to be plans implemented that will lead to our individual success, which will eventually lead to the collective prosperity of our community. Moreover, London has potential to be more accommodating to tourism, a currently weak industry that could significantly benefit the job market in London.

Healthcare System:
London has seen a multitude of concerns with our healthcare system, from the overcrowding of hospitals to the lacking readily available resources for individuals with addictions. This issue is especially prevalent in downtown London where addictions have morphed into a community-wide crisis. There is a need for a solution to help individuals affected by addictions so that they can reintegrate into the community and escape the isolation associated with addictions. Furthermore, the issue of overcrowding in hospitals is one that is solvable-one that I have already developed a few plans for. Contributing to issues within the healthcare system that are attainable through community effort is within reach-there simply needs to be appropriate means in order to educate the community on how they can contribute to this issue.

Transportation:
Currently, the abundance of students that attend school in my ward are dependent on London’s public transit. With many students living out of zone for their respective schools, transit is essential. However, the bussing system in London is quite costly, especially for students who utilize the LTC as their primary form of transit. When considering the students that have to embark on the hour-long bus journey to the suburbs of London, the trip does not end at the bus stop. Often, in these communities bus stops are quite sparse, leaving students with the burden of having to walk for an additional distance to actually reach their home. This deficit in time can cause students to feel overwhelmed; they have to dedicate a large portion of their day to traveling to and from school.

Sarah Chun

Tell us about yourself.

Hello! My name is Sarah Chun and I am a sophomore at London Central Secondary School! I enjoy reading, biking, and watching Netflix. I also co-founded Girls in TE, a non profit organization empowering young girls to pursue careers in technology and engineering. I am the current Ward 13 Councillor of LYAC.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I believe in sharing my opinions and creating change in my local community. I love advocating for equality and human rights both locally and internationally. By being a voice for the youth in Ward 13.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

1. London Transit (overseeing the new pilot plan for the lowered costs of high school student bus tickets)
2. Human Trafficking & Sexual Harassment/ Assault
3. Diversity in Technology

Ward 14

Erika Juhasz

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Tell us about yourself.

My name is Erika, I’m 21 years old, and I’m a nursing student a Western University with ambitions to become a neurologist and research the impact of concussions on the body. I’ve been involved with student government since first year, but outside of politics I like to engage in hobbies such as sewing, cooking, running, drinking bubble tea, and playing Pokemon Go. Other extra-curricular activites I partake in, are martial arts, participating on the London Homeless Coalition (non-voting) and I am also an ambassador for the Concussion Legacy Foundation of Canada.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

Youth can be tremendously empowering – they are the future for our society, and being part of this demographic, I have a vision for where I would like to see my ward. My ward is full of diverse people from a range of economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds and having been raised amongst this diverse population would allow me to use the strengths of the communities in my ward to advocate for larger scale change and vocalize issues more accurately. I am experienced in politics, but I always want to learn more and practice my craft more; I feel LYAC would provide me with that opportunity.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

1. Programming for children: my ward has a large population of people under 18, many of which would be classified as living in vulnerable cases. Programming before and after school would support these children in breaking cycles of poverty, building skills to benefit their futures, and deter negative behaviours.


2. Resources for newcomers: My ward is the home for many immigrant populations, and I feel it would be beneficial if more resources were accessible within the ward that would support their integration in London as a community (i.e: Community English classes, social and networking events, resource access points etc)


3. Employment resources: 
There are neighbourhoods within my ward where residents are low-income (which statistically, can lead to many negative implications). Empowering employment resources could connect those residents of my ward to various work opportunities, education opportunities, and related resources (resume writing/interview workshops). I say empowering, because I want residents to feel confident in their abilities, and motivated to make positive life changes.

Aashu Oza

Tell us about yourself.

I am Aashu Oza, student in Fanshawe College and enrolled in program Computer Systems Technology. I am a very enthusiastic and active person in doing different activities and tasks. Persue good communications skills and love meeting new people, understanding them and learning new things.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I want to become a councillor because i am the part of youth and i feel no other person can understand people of our age more than the person who is of same age. I feel i can relate to youth more easily and understand their problems and emotions.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

I feel the three community issues are intergroup conflict , jealousy , and the quest for status because now a days everybody wants to become successful and rich and in that race of success these things hit up and brings distance between other people.

Terry Ross

Tell us about yourself.TR-Elections Headshot

My name is Terry Ross, and I am a Grade 10 student at H.B Beal Secondary School. I spend a lot of time on the FRC team Raider Robotics as well as volunteering with the Glen Cairn Youth Council. Outside of that I enjoy watching horror movies, experimenting with strange and new foods as well as working towards achievements in whatever steam game I’m focused on.

Why do you want to be a youth councillor?

I’ve lived in London my entire life and as I’ve matured, I’ve realized the many wonderful opportunities in the city as well as a few problems that are present. I am a very determined and outgoing person and I feel that as a Youth Councillor, I could be able to create and transform London into a place that gives back to the community and improves the quality of life for each of it citizens.

Identify three community issues that you consider important.

Mental Health: Poor Mental Health is an epidemic present in every ward of London, and despite a survey taken in 2014 showing a 132% increase in depressed patients (London Free Press), there is still a jaw-dropping lack of resources to people who are struggling all over the city. There are so a few steps that need to be taken before we can start to decrease this drastically large statistic, starting with the de-stigmatization of there being something wrong with struggling mentally, followed by promoting the importance of getting help, ending with the implementation of resources throughout every ward of London.

Wasted Space: It breaks my heart seeing how many empty buildings there are on my daily commute to school. In the ward I live in alone there are over 10 buildings I can name off the top of my head that have been empty for over 5 years. This waste of space is detrimental to our economy, as well as our community’s. If we were to create programs that made entrepreneurial endeavors more accessible to the people of our city as well as people outside of it, we would see an increase in local business, community involvement and economical success.

Youth Advocacy: There are not enough outlets for the youth of our city to have a voice. Very often we are written off as “Millennials who are over-privileged and
don’t have the maturity or intellect to understand how the world works”. Although I understand the opinion it simply isn’t true, I know the LYAC is an excellent platform to help the youth of our city voice their opinions and I want it to be promoted to a scale where every child in the city is aware of what it is.