LYAC Alumni

LYAC brings young people together from all around the London community and gives them the space to discuss and act on matters that are truly important to them. We brought some of these young people back together and got them to share their experiences as past councilors with the LYAC. See the full transcripts here!


Brandon Dickson
Board Member-Former ward 14 & 2 councillor 
So my name is, uh, Brandon Dickson I was a uh two term councilor I was first ward 14 and then ward 2 uh and I now sit on the board of directors at the LYAC uh and I am currently a student up at Huron university college.

Why is it important for young people to participate in community decision making?

I think its important and it’s going to sound cliche, but I think it’s important because there’s um a different perspective that often comes from youth and I think it’s um one of those ways where if you get uh youth participation early you end up getting youth participation uh for life. Like if you get uh youth engaged with politics they tend to be more involved uh later on the reality is like they are going to be the people in charge in a couple of years so you may as well start getting that perspective now.

What did you take away from your time with the LYAC?
When I came in I had like no idea about anything in London so the LYAC really introduced me uh to a lot of different opportunities in the community to get involved uh and to advance myself further and a lot of the skills that I gained in the LYAC things like report writing and public speaking and uh just kind of understanding exactly how municipal politics works and just how politics in general works um I mean I’m now doing a degree in political science.

How did you find out about the LYAC 
So I actually found out about the LYAC I used to work at the library, or currently work at the library as well uh and my boss came up to me it was back when Emma was the um campaign coordinator uh and she went up to my boss and just said you know if you’d know anybody who might be interested in this uh could you just like poke them were looking for candidates and so he came to me and was like hey I heard of this thing I don’t know if you’re interested here’s the website look it over but like I don’t even know what it is so I can’t help you with any questions and I just kinda like looked it over and I was like ah sure  whatever why not I may as well apply um and then I ran in the election and ended up winning. The first year it was a lot of me learning um and a lot of me trying to better understand how I could contribute, uh, to the city and to the LYAC specifically, uh, and then the reason I wanted to stay involved and ran for a second term uh and am now on the board is because I wanted to give back to the organization and to just help it uh fulfill its uh mission a little bit more.
What is the most important thing participants take away from the LYAC?
I think the most important thing that participants take away uh is just a better sense of community and it’s also just given me a valuable network uh to draw on when I have questions uh and when I have concerns and when I have things that I want to advance and I just don’t know what exactly to do I can go to the 14 other people who were uh on my council and who and are experts in their field and can help push me in the right direction.

What did you accomplish in your time with the LYAC?

So the project uh that I worked on was I kind of researched um why low  income youth aren’t able to get access to sports, uh, specifically kind of why the programs that are in place things like um Jumpstart uh you know exist but why aren’t people taking advantage of them and how can those programs be made better. Well I came to some concrete conclusions but haven’t really gone anywhere with it and am still kind of looking for the right avenue and the right direction I have all of the work done it’s just a matter of where to go from here.
What advice would you give to an aspiring young person who wants to make a difference in the community?

If you want to, you know make a difference I think it’s important to find um something that you’re passionate about and not to just kind of jump on the bandwagon that somebody else is doing because when you, when you follow in somebody else’s footsteps you often don’t, uh, have the same passion for the project and you’re just not as engaged with it so I think it’s important to find something uh that you’re passionate about and then find people who are doing that thing and then make sure you align yourself uh with the, the organization that has the same values as you that you can then uh really enjoy the work you’re doing find it meaningful and actually make some sort of a difference.


Elizabeth Muriithi

Current Council Director-former ward 6 councillor

Hi my name is Elizabeth Muriithi and I am currently a staff member and part of the LYAC, um, I’m a student here in London and I go to western university

What did you take away from your time with the LYAC?

So I think since joining the LYAC, so I was a councillor a couple of years ago and I think the progression from then until now, um I’ve learned a lot more about the city and what it has to offer. I think I’ve learned a lot more about what advocacy means to me and what it looks like for me. I think I’ve learned a lot in terms of just like the way that young people see the city from different parts of the city. The council kind of brings that together in a way that you may never otherwise interact with those people.

How did you find out about the LYAC?

So I actually found out about the LYAC because my brother was in it the year prior to. It took a lot of convincing because I didn’t really think it was for me I wasn’t really politically inclined, um, and  I didn’t really think I had very much to offer and I didn’t really think I could be of benefit to the council and so I think it took a lot of convincing in terms of framing it in the way that it is, it’s like you don’t have to know everything going in it’s a lot of learning yourself and learning about what works best for you. I eventually did it because I had a large curiosity of what was available in the city.

How does the LYAC impact the community?

Um, especially for the young people who are a part of it it makes an impact because like you learn a lot more about the process in the city and you learn about the connections in the city and who deals with what issues and who to go to. It kind of allows young people the space to explore advocacy for themselves. And kind of gives them the opportunity to learn from one another in this space and to, and to fail and to try new things.

What did you accomplish in your time with the LYAC?

In my term as a councillor I didn’t have anything specific that I wanted to work on, um, so I didn’t come in with a mindset of wanting to do a specific thing or tackle a specific project, um, so it was more of a learn as you go kind of thing and so I think one of the most interesting things  we did on our council at least was we had an age-friendly conversation where we had, um, elders in London and young people in London kind of come together and talk about what they experience on the daily and just like their life experiences and I thought it was interesting how much they overlapped and we kind of talked about how sometimes we’re overlooked, like decisions are just made for us rather than the inclusion or when there is inclusion it’s not really like engaging.

What advice would you give an aspiring young person who wants to make a difference in the community?

Well I’d probably say go for it, um, but before you just go out and do anything I would say learn more about it so learn who in the city you could talk to. Learn about what’s been done as well so you kind of make, make progress on what’s already been started and what’s existed already. Find something that you’re passionate about so find something meaningful to you and so it’s something that will continue to drive you in the work that you do. Yeah I would just say before going for it, and you should definitely go for it, just think, think about it in terms of like who it impacts, and what kind of outcomes you want from it and who to talk to and where to start from.


Nicole Worozbyt

Former ward 4 Councillor

So my name is Nicole Worozbyt and I study Nonprofit Management at Brescia University.

Why is it important for young people to participate in community decision making?

So I think that youth participation is really important because the decisions that are being made impact youth today and their future.

What did you take away from your time with the LYAC?

So during my time with the lyac I grew in my confidence and in my ability to advocate for myself and for others. I created a valuable network that has lead to friendships and jobs and many other opportunities. It’s also really influenced my choices in my career so um, being involved in the LYAC really sparked a passion for community development and that’s why I decided to study nonprofit management in school.
How does the LYAC impact the community?

The LYAC makes the difference by teaching youth how to navigate making change in their community.
What do you think is the most important think participants take away from the LYAC?

The most important thing participants take away from the LYAC is the ability to see the world through the eyes of others. You’re no longer inside of your own bubble but you begin to recognize the barriers and systems that we live in.

Maia Harris

Former ward 9 & 10 councillor

Im Maia Harris I’m a student I used to be with the LYAC from 2015 to 2017 representing ward 9 and ward 10 separately.

Why is it important for young people to participate in community decision making?

I think um, youth are a part of the constituency so having that part, that perspective in a decision is really important to the overall outcome of what a city wants to see on a community basis ward by ward

What did you take away from your time with the LYAC?

So pretty much the LYAC really helped me see how I could implement myself into political decisions even in a community basis like how I could be part of a community at large and it really helped me see like the impact a youth can make and it laid the foundations for seeing how important it is to involve yourself to like really step out into your community, make a change, talk to people, network.

How did you find out about the LYAC?

I found out through my school so there was this really cryptic announcement that came on and I went to find out more information and I decided to join after actually coming to one of their little open houses I spoke to a volunteer that was working with the LYAC at the time and she kind of told me how, how they go about things, how they think about youth advocacy and how they see the community as something that the youth can be a part of and I never heard that perspective before and I just wanted to be involved

How does the LYAC impact the community?

I think the LYAC makes a difference in the community by involving youth that’s not something that happens in every city and were really lucky to have that, to have that perspective, and I think it really brings communities together to root for one candidate even um to go out canvassing it really brings people together to know what’s happening in the city.

What is the most important thing participants take away from the LYAC?

I think just knowing the impact you can make, um it really lays the foundation for growing as a person even um just getting out there getting into your community that’s so important. It’s important for the community to have the LYAC as well because it’s a push and pull we see both perspectives it pushes youth out of their bubbles and um the community kind of pulls them in and it’s a really good exchange.

What did you accomplish in your time with the LYAC?

One of my projects was uh focusing on the Springbank dam and getting community opinions about it um I had a very strong opinion at first and then after canvassing I spoke to some of my constituents and I realized that there was more to the story that I didn’t exactly know I actually went to speak with The Guardians of the Antler river who are an indigenous youth group who kind of focus on the Springbank dam and the river and I just learned a lot um I tried to get city council to see all those different perspectives this is in a time when they were deciding to open or close it it was a really big hot debate in Byron um so I kind of just gathered opinions, gathered insights from voices that weren’t necessarily heard and I tried to put it out there

What advice would you give an aspiring young person who wants to make a difference in the community?

I think advice I would give would just be to put yourself out there, um you can’t do anything if you don’t show up. It’s really easy to see an event happening and think well I want to watch my TV show that night but it’s really important to just show up from there on you can network, you meet people, people want youth in the room, you will be the youngest person in the room most of the time but it’s really important that you are there for that reason, showing up is really half the battle and it’s the biggest part of the battle.


Grace Wu

Former ward 6 Councillor

Hi my name’s Grace Wu I am the past LYAC councillor at, or 2 years ago and I am studying non-profit management program at Brescia University College, I’m from China.

Why is it important for young people to participate in community decision making?

I think youth participation is important because some of the policies and practices we have are outdated. As a progressing society we need to bring innovative, young voices into decision making so we can move forward

What did you take away from your time with the LYAC?

I joined LYAC when I just moved to Canada in sophomore year, as a newcomer. And by joining LYAC does not just given me the resources to help me with my transition, but instead, LYAC gave me a voice. Um, that allowed me to proactively develop myself and helping other youth in the community. For me it’s not just a volunteer experience, it encouraged me to start my life in Canada with confidence, um, but also helped me to develop a vision for becoming a leader, not just in the London community, but in my future.

What is the most important thing participants take away from the LYAC?

LYAC helps participants to build a well-rounded range of skills to allow them to continue contribute to different domains beyond their daily life and so they can continue foster the important dialogue that we’re having in the community and to continue helping youth and amplify their voices.

Why is it important for organizations like the LYAC to exist?

We need that bridge between our local government and youth population in London and also strengthen the youth organization in London so we can, together we can create a collective impact.

What advice would you give an aspiring young person who wants to make a difference in the community?

Be patient. To knowing that the changes that you want to make is not just some basic level uh change, it is cultural and a systematic change and we need to be patient. This is a long, uh, this is a long game.