Meet the Staff

Executive Director:

Melissa Kamphuis

1) Tell us a bit about yourself: Melissa_Edited

I grew up just outside London, and have lived in the city on and off for the last 10 years. I have a BA in Political Science from King’s University College, and an MA in Political Science from the University of Alberta. I then decided to go back to school and earned a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources from Fanshawe College, as well as my CHRP designation. I’ve somehow managed to mesh the two in the magic of the LYAC. Books, coffee, and breakfast foods all make me very happy.

2) What is it about the LYAC that made you want to get involved?

I started volunteering with the LYAC in 2014. I loved the idea that there was a space for young people to meet to talk about things that mattered to them in the city they called home. It was a way for me to reconnect with London after being (at best) a part time resident for a few years, and I can safely say that pursuing this opportunity is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The LYAC really is a space where people have the chance to explore ideas and have support and trust needed to make them happen, and I’m very excited to have a part in it.

E-mail Melissa at: melissa@lyac.ca


Director of Advocacy:poetphoto

Emma Blue – @emmajaeblue

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

Although I’m originally from Vancouver, I moved to London when I was   seven and have called the city my home ever since. I’m headed to Western this fall for Media Theory and Production, and I’m looking forward to having a place to nerd-out about media, the Internet, and the kinds of stories we tell one another. Poetry also means the world to me, which is why I frequent the London Poetry Slam and spend too many sleepless nights thinking about metaphors. You can usually find me at the library, the bookstore, or holed up  in the office trying to tick tasks off my very long to-do list.

2) What is it about the LYAC that made you want to get involved?

 When I started getting involved in the LYAC as a Social Media Coordinator, I was mostly interested because I loved politics and marketing and wanted to bridge the gap between the two. It was only after going to meetings that I realized that LYAC was a completely different space from anything I’d ever seen before: one where people were comfortable seeking understanding when they disagreed with each other. LYAC is not a place of easy consensus: it is a place where people can ask questions, share their own experiences, and openly discuss conflict. Each person takes their full self into our discussions and they have permission to be authentic, honest and wholly themselves. I often joke about LYAC being magical, but it really has been for me. Helping shape it has been such a privilege, and I’m so excited about what’s in store for us in the future.

E-mail Emma at: emma@lyac.ca


 

Council Director:

Elizabeth Muriithi

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:Elizabeth_Edited

My family moved to London when I was quite young, so this is where I’ve spent the majority of my life. This fall, I will be heading into my third year of the Food and Nutrition program at Brescia University College. In my spare time, I enjoy checking out different food places around town, hunting for the perfect playlists on Spotify or wandering around an Indigo store looking for a good read or at their aesthetic-y items. I also love learning new things, so if you have any neat facts or interesting stories you’d like to share, I’m all ears!

2) What is it about the LYAC that made you want to get involved?

Having been previously involved with the LYAC as a youth councillor, I found it to be an incredible learning experience in terms of discussing ongoing issues facing youth around the city and starting to develop skills such as advocacy. The space that the council creates for young people to discuss issues is a unique one that I found to be welcoming and inclusive rather than intimidating in the way that the formal political system can be. I wanted to get involved again in the hopes of using my experiences to help build on the success of the council as well as to encourage the councillors to make the most of their term by using their platforms to generate important conversations as well as to discover the opportunities available to them.

E-mail Elizabeth at: elizabeth@lyac.ca


Co-Founder:matt

Matt Ross – @mattasross

1) Tell us a bit about yourself: 

I am a Philosopher, Chemist and Creator. I like to build things which solve problems, experiment with new technology and new ideas, and I love building connections and relationships. Driven by my curiosity, I’m always excited to learn new things. Driven by my ADD, I am always excited to build and think new things.

2) What drove you to start the LYAC?

I started the LYAC because I saw that there weren’t young people being represented by formal politics, and I began asking friends of ideas how to change that. It has been amazing to see something grow so far beyond us original founders, every new person adds a new flavour to this organization which makes it grow into a genuine movement, something beyond what all of us could create individually. I can’t wait to see it into the next decade.


adam_Fearnall_HeadshotCo-Founder:

Adam Fearnall – @adamfearnall

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

There are few things that I dislike more than writing a bio for a website. I think that I dislike it because there’s absolutely no hope  that I will be able to communicate anything particularly nuanced  about who I am. Perhaps part of who I am is someone who tries to recognize that people are incredibly complex and believes that we only ever know a fraction of what someone is like. That makes  people and the world rather interesting (I think). In terms of  boilerplate things about me, I’d say that I’m passionate about discovering the narratives and stories in the communities around   me. My life has always involved a combination of politics and the  arts. I’m a big fan of CBC radio, storytelling, and baseball. I have a degree from Huron University College in English and Political  Science (they like stories better in English than in politics), will have  a Masters of Public Administration from Western University shortly, was the President of the Western University Students’ Council (and have held various other positions in student government entities), sing and song write for a band called The Chase, and am a co-founder of the LYAC.

2) What is it about the LYAC that made you want to get involved? 

Very honestly, Matt Ross made me want to get involved in the LYAC. I was going to head out to the East Coast to do a Masters in Public Administration at Dalhousie until Matt convinced me to stick around to help build the LYAC with him. Matt came from outside the student government world and therefore brought a completely different perspective to the idea of youth involvement in politics. His ideas meshed with my own desire to find better ways of helping young people to contribute to the political systems that govern their lives. The LYAC is a place to experiment with new ideas, to question foundational concepts, and to chase after the wildest of dreams. I like it here.


Summer Research and Community Development Assistant: 

Marie Fiedler Marie_Edited

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m most interested in breaking down the false barriers erected between groups of people. Mostly, I do this through anti-oppressive community organizing, lobbying, research, and advocacy work.  

2) What is it about the LYAC that made you want to get involved?
The aspiration to live in a more equitable world where everyone has equal opportunities to exert their citizenship.


Summer Communications Assistant:

Cassandra Morrison

1) Tell us a bit about yourself 

I grew up in London and have lived here my whole life up until I moved to Toronto last Fall where I completed my first year of RTA Media Production at Ryerson University. I love traveling and I have always been extremely passionate about creating content and art. I love music, visual art, cinematography and pretty much everything in between.

2) What is it about the LYAC that made you want to get involved? 

I have always been passionate about pursuing what you believe in and that is something that I thought fit really well with the LYAC. LYAC is an organization that strives for greatness, change and takes chances to better themselves and the community around them which is something I truly admire. The LYAC truly empowers young voices in the community and it’s a great step towards a more innovative and equal community. I love creating content and being able to do that with an organization that is truly making a positive change is a great opportunity and I am grateful to have the chance to be a part of the team this summer.