The 2016-2017 LYAC Council

WARD 1: Dana BoothDana.png

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Dana Booth. I am 16 years old, currently attending Clarke Road Secondary School and am the ward 1 councillor.

 2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

I ran to be a youth councilor because I thought it would be a great learning experience and encourage other youth not to be afraid to say something or speak up about something they are passionate about. As well as showing people that not all youth are the same

3) What is your vision for Ward 1 and London?

The vision I have for my ward and London are similar. I would like to help the homeless and stop littering.

Send Dana an e-mail at:

Brandon.jpgWARD 2: Brandon Dickson

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am the outgoing Ward 14 LYAC councillor, a recent graduate of Clarke Road Secondary School and will be starting at Huron in the fall (though I have yet to decide on a program). In an effort to prevent making the “tell us about yourself” section sound like a sanctimonious resume, I will avoid talking about my “credentials” in any detail. Instead, I will say that I have lived in London my whole life, but don’t know if I will be able to stay here in the future or not. I have loved high school and look forward to see what this new stage in my life has to offer. Right now I’m loving floating and am just excited to be sitting here typing on a laptop in my living room listening to AC/DC.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

When I went to the candidate training day for my first election campaign, I talked to a past youth councillor. I asked him why he was rerunning and he said that he felt he had gotten everything he could get out of the LYAC and now felt it was time to give back. I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant, but I think after a year on council I understand. The past term for me was a truly incredible experience. I gained knowledge and perspective I never would have thought possible and truly believe I have developed immensely as not just a “young-politician” but as a “young-human”. I think I reran so that I would have the opportunity to, if nothing else, try to give back to the LYAC a piece of what it has given me (if that makes any sense at all).

3) What is your vision for Ward 2 and London?

Let me start by saying that this has been by far the most difficult section to fill out, not because I can’t think of a vision, but because it is difficult to form my vision into a reasonably short paragraph. Canvassing in both my elections were probably the most difficult tasks I have ever attempted. I found constituents (particularly youth) were completely unaware (as was I until about a year-and-a-half ago admittedly)  to the workings of the LYAC, yet were often excited to find out about this unique and powerful group of their representatives. I would like to be able to go (sometime in the future) and talk to any person on the street, mention the LYAC and not have them think it is a baseball league. My vision for this city and my ward would be that everyone knew of the services available to them and knew how to access them.

Send Brandon an e-mail at:

WARD 3: Asala Aladl

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m heading into grade 12 this upcoming year at A.B. Lucas secondary school and this is my second term on council. My parents immigrated here to London and I was born here and have lived my whole life in this city. I love reading, writing, and anything that involves self improvement! I am the president of the Muslim Student Association at my high-school and president of the Model United Nations club at my high-school. I’m a very motivated and self driven individual. Also, I’m a firm believer that anyone can achieve anything with the right mindset and habits.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

I ran to be a youth councillor because this past term has been a great experience. I have grown as a person and have learned many lifelong skills. I ran again because I want to help other councillors achieve whatever community initiatives that they have in mind. As well, I want to use the resources at the LYAC to explore the issues that are affecting youth in London.

3) What is your vision for Ward 3 and London?

My vision for my ward is a community that is inclusive and one where all members can thrive. Where we can all grow, work, and learn from one another. A community that has safe places with abundant resources for people of all ages where they can have fun and benefit from each other. A Ward where the constituents are safe, happy, and healthy is the ideal vision for me.

Send Asala an e-mail at:

13178722_1156431941055388_5624112086132241310_n.jpgWARD 4: Meegan St. Denis –@Meegan_StDenis

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:
Hello, In the past I have volunteered with the North East Youth Council, and I currently serve on the Board of Directors at Tol Puddle Housing Co-op. I am also now your youth Councillor for Ward 4 as well. I like Cats, Games, Science, and Politics. I am compassionate about others and their issues, and I believe in equality for everyone.
2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

I ran to be Ward 4 youth Councillor because I wanted help others and improve the community we live in. I also wanted to be a part of the process for change and get involved more with politics. I also wanted to learn more about peoples’ needs and ideas on improving this city.

3) What is your vision for Ward 4 and London?

  • An improved transportation service that all Londoners can believe in and trust to take them anywhere they need to go.
  • Sidewalks that are accessible and safe for all citizens of London, so all people and especially those with mobility aid devices can go places.
  • A reduction to the number of people living in poverty. This is a long term goal but I believe we can achieve it. Did you know that London has the highest rates of poverty above the the averages of Ontario and Canada?
  • Youth are more involved in the community and the political process.

Send Meegan an e-mail at:

WARD 5: Fawaz Mahboubagryffindor.jpg








Send Fawaz an e-mail at:

WARD 6: Grace Wugrace.jpg

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am an adventurer who comes from a beautiful city surrounded by mountains in China. I am currently studying Nonprofits Management at Brescia University College and I try to do what I can to make London a better place every day! I love hiking, drawing, volunteering and most importantly, I enjoy talking to people and hearing their stories. That’s the beauty of life!

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

I have been to many places in the world where amazing stories were born, but one place in particular I felt a strong connection, a sense of belonging, a special city I fell in love with; London, Ontario. When I graduate several years later, I wish I could do something valuable for this city, to reciprocate its love and support. As an international student in London, I want to make sure all voices have an equal opportunity to be heard. The London Youth Advisory Council has provided me a great opportunity to start it, so I asked myself “Why not start here?” 

3) What is your vision for Ward 6 and London?

I want to give Londoners a chance to be part in decision making. There are many students and young professionals who live in Ward 6 and they are the decision-makers of tomorrow. The city of London should provide a greater access to people who want to voice their opinions regardless of their ages and backgrounds. We can do it! Let’s share our ideas, make sure what we do fits into a bigger picture and be part of making a great impact together!

Send Grace an e-mail at:

WARD 7: Almas Farooqi – @almas__cAlmas.jpg

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:
 Hello! My name is Almas, I’m a Banting S.S. graduate and recent Western student. I’ve lived in London for pretty much my entire life and have been involved in various organizations in the city for quite a while before running for a council position. Community development and engagement are two things I am very passionate about, and it’s why I’m here! If I’m not dedicating my time to these pursuits, you’ll usually find me with my nose stuck in a book about pretty much anything including: philosophy, art history, sociology, world politics, world literature, and geographical history. I also enjoy watching foreign films, analyzing seemingly absurd videos on the odd side of YouTube, and living up to my title as a self-proclaimed adventurous foodie. I also strongly identify as a creator and work in various mediums including: painting, writing, illustration, filmmaking, and photography. I’ll finish with a quote from one of my favourite Afghan Persian poets/philosophers whose philosophies I try to live my life by: “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place” – Rumi.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

I already had the experience and interest in community involvement/engagement but I decided to take on this role as a learning experience above all. I’m genuinely interested in continuing to reach out to the communities in my ward and the wider London community to learn more about their concerns and aspirations. What attracted me to the LYAC as a platform to pursue initiatives for change was that it was an organization that is run by the youth, for the youth. We are at the centre of the discussions and decisions made about issues that affect us, and our younger constituents.

 3) What is your vision for Ward 7 and London?

I hope to learn and research more about issues that affect young people in London and in Ward 7 in order to approach them in the most appropriate way. I would also like to change the way youth here think about their city from a realistic approach by not putting down their criticisms, but by simply listening to what they truly think of their home, and starting out there. I feel that young people tend to feel alienated or intimidated by politics because they feel that their voices are not being heard, that the issues city representatives talk about have no real impact on their everyday lives, or that they are just not appropriately represented. Open and meaningful conversations are excellent ways to spark change and figure out what it is that needs to change in the first place. There is always something new to learn if we just take a moment to respectfully listen. I truly want to use LYAC as a platform to empower my constituents and London youth in general by encouraging youth leadership and youth voices.


Send Almas an e-mail at:

gryffindor.jpgWard 8: Hassan Yousuf 








Send Hassan an e-mail at:

WARD 9: Noor Hmidan Simsam Muslim_Feminist_Propaganda.png

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

Noor Hmidan Simsam; ambitious, passionate, over-analytic and sarcastic. Inevitably, this combination may result in the need to use a fire extinguisher for safety precautions. When you’re not catching me attempting to liberate the people around me, I’m usually reading, trying to help out somehow, writing, doodling, or re-watching episodes of The Office.

I’m currently student body president of Al Taqwa Secondary School, Al Taqwa’s Kiwanis Key Club’s founder and president, Model UN Vice-president, and one of London Public Library’s loyal volunteers. These are the fair share of leadership roles that I hope to utilize in my upcoming term as a Ward 9 youth councillor at LYAC, as well as my upcoming years at Western as a Health Sciences major and a Political Sciences minor. Ultimately, I aspire to one day shine in the medical, writing and political field and with the many opportunities here in the London community such as the LYAC, I can realistically envision that being a successful pursuit.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

A welcoming hand of hope and a megaphone has finally been outreached to harness the voices of London’s youths community. LYAC seems to resemble a pivotal outlet where mutually socially aware youths can share concerns and struggles that no longer need be marked unheard or neglected. As it is nothing less than an opportunity to take advantage of, being placed as a youth councillor will allow me to advance these voices into the social, political and economical priority that they are. I hope to also use this opportunity to return the individual growth that London has personally provided me in the past ten years

3) What is your vision for Ward 9 and London?

I envision an image of security and stability as the residents of my ward and London as a whole, grow an understanding of a political system that is structured on justice and equality. By building a community filled with acceptance towards individualistic diversity, I hope London becomes a channel of awareness towards issues of injustice and that the number of politically-informed residents increase. In time, I hope that the construction of a more articulate and proficient vision is able to pragmatically approach my ward and the city of London’s goals.

Send Noor an e-mail at:

maia.jpgWARD 10: Maia Harris – @baguelss 

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

Hello! My name is Maia Harris, I go to Oakridge Secondary school, and I will be the LYAC ward 10 councillor for 2016-2017! I am an avid reader, a self-proclaimed thespian, a javascript enthusiast, I am a proud part of team instinct, and I am a Gryffindor.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

I have a huge interest in politics and youth advocacy, and a large interest in communities. I also have grown quite passionate about the Thames river and indigenous engagement in London. I am so excited to make sure the youth voices of ward 10 are heard through interaction with the community/communities, and cooperation with fellow councillors and the city.

3) What is your vision for Ward 10 and London?

My vision for ward 10 starts with the youth voices being fully heard and recognised. With having Saunders in the ward, I know there is a lot to hear. My vision is also one of revitalization. Westmount mall, which already serves as a youth hub, could truly use a good spritz up. As for London, my vision is one of youth advocacy all across the board, a clean and revitalised river, constant indigenous engagement in politics, and better transit.

Send Maia an e-mail at:

 WARD 11: Moeez Tahir moeez_photo.JPG

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am Moeez Tahir, currently a student at Oakridge Secondary. I am entering Grade 12 in the 16-17 School year. I have been involved in clubs such as the Model United Nations, MSA among others. I have had the pleasure to be a candidate in the 2015 TVDSB Student Trustee Election. As well, I have been honoured to have been a volunteer for organizations such as the OCC Run, Westmount Gardens as well as other various Runs such as the Colour Run. My favourite subjects are Science and Math and I am hoping to attend Western for the Medical Sciences Stream. I am current in the PEL-Program partnered with UWO and have been very fortunate to meet various researchers. I look forward to enhancing my experiences with this amazing opportunity at the LYAC as a councillor!

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

I learned about the LYAC in 2015 and thought that it would be amazing to be a part of it. I intended run but I decided that to focus on my existing projects and lost out on the chance. As soon as the applications for this year’s council started, I made the decision of starting my application and campaign. The main reason I ran my campaign was to really get out there and hear what other young people wanted our city to hear and hopefully to give them a voice. I had the pleasure of canvassing in various neighbourhoods and seeing how enthusiastic people were so I hope that I can appropriately represent them!

3) What is your vision for Ward 11 and London?

My vision is to really get young people involved. While canvassing, I noticed that very few people were really aware of the LYAC and it’s function. I hope that I can encourage the youth in Ward 11 to come out the meetings and all the events and really interact with other youth in London.

Send Moeez an e-mail at:

WARD 12: Raghad Elniwairi raghad.jpg

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Raghad Elniwairi and I am currently a Westminster Secondary School student. I consider myself a movie and TV show critic in-the-making. I live for sitcoms like Community, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and for films like The Lion King and The Big Short. I have been an avid bookworm for quite a few years. I am intensely passionate about making, and eating all food from scallops to fresh mangos and pineapples.

Over the years, I  have collected various different attributes that I aspire to have from several wonderful role models like Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, David Suzuki, Amandla Stenberg and many more. From all these people, I have learned so much about wisdom, love, compassion, patience and positivity. But, had it not been for an inspiring fifth grade teacher and my amazing parents, I would not be as vehement about social justice and development as I am now.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

Before March, the only experience I had had with the LYAC is through a focus group I was involved in, in November. But I am thankful that I had some amazing friends who encouraged me to apply for the role of an LYAC councillor. After doing my own research on what the London Youth Advisory Council was, I had decided that this was my first chance at being in a place where I had some of the resources I needed to really execute the positive change I wanted made in my community. This opportunity has since made me grateful for my application because I have already learned that there is so much more I could do to really help out in my community than I thought.

3) What is your vision for Ward 12 and London? 

My vision for Ward 12 and for London is to see London overall, become a much cleaner, vibrant, and opportunistic place to live for everyone. I have lived in London, and in Ward 12, for the past ten years of my life and I have loved it for all the playful screams from children that I hear everyday, and for all the music I hear constantly playing downtown. But, I know that there can always be positive change and some changes that I am hoping will happen, is an improvement of our environmental health, in our liveliness, and an advancement in our opportunities especially for youth in the city.

I am aware that am a citizen of what was once known as the “Forest City”. I personally have noticed a major decline in our tree population and in the state of our parks and Thames River. I hope to see that changed whether it be by me or any other person or group of people.

I have heard from many leaving London that a popular opinion is that London is a boring city with not much going on and barely any educational and career opportunities for youth. Many leave because they find a better chance at gaining educational advancements and their chosen career in other, “busier” cities. I would like to help in any way possible to change that because if there is anything I would want to see in London, it’s the creativity, vibrancy and job and schooling openings to increase to make London more accommodating place to live for us all.

Send Raghad an e-mail at:

WARD 13: McKenzie Edwards: gryffindor.jpg

 1) Tell us a bit about yourself:  
My name is McKenzie Edwards, and I excited to be your Ward 13 Youth Councillor for the upcoming year. While I was born and raised in Mississauga, I attended high school in Toronto, and in the fall of 2011, arrived in London to attend Western. Suddenly, and somehow, five years flew by, as I now find myself in the home stretch of completing an undergraduate degree in Political Sciences & French Studies.

If I were to say that my five-year experience has been nothing but positive and easy-going, I would be lying. Adapting to life in a new city can be difficult. Living away from home for the first time, it definitely was for me. I was exposed to different ways of life, beliefs, perspectives and values. I also faced personal adversity numerous times. That being said, I’ve welcomed and embraced these difficult experiences, as I see them as opportunities. Opportunities for my beliefs, opinions and values to be constantly challenged by others, allowing me to grow into the person I am today.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

Growing up, my parents taught me that as individuals, we owe a great debt to society for shaping us, and for providing us with the opportunities to succeed. I want to give back to the city which has supported and influenced me, by becoming actively involved in building its future. I firmly believe programs and policy developed at the municipal level, have the most immediate and tangible effects on our daily lives. As the long-term consequences of today’s decisions will be felt most by our young people, youth engagement and input are absolutely crucial factors to creating the communities we aspire to live in.

3) What is your vision for Ward 13 and London?

One of the biggest problems facing London is holding on to our young people, after they complete their post-secondary studies. We can incentivize them to settle down and start their careers by making they city more appealing and accommodating of their wants and needs. The neighbourhood most suited to achieving this is the downtown core. Existing public spaces, venues, and residential options provide the perfect foundation for future development of the area. Should this foundation be complemented by appropriate investments in Public Transportation and environmental sustainability measures, the downtown core has the potential to become world class. Prospective students see London as a great place to study, we have to show them it’s also a great place to build a life.

 Send McKenzie an e-mail at:

mike.jpgWARD 14: Mike Scafe – @mike_scafe

Instagram: mikescafer

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:

I was born and raised in London, ON, and have lived here my whole life. I’ve always been really curious about the world and have a strong desire to constantly be learning and experiencing new things. I want to live life to the fullest, and to help others. Currently I’m studying Political Science and Economics at Huron University College, in hopes of achieving that dream. I love meeting new people! I also love music.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

I ran for the LYAC because of a nagging sense that things could be better than they currently are. I saw an opportunity to challenge myself as well as take leadership in my community. To be honest, running for the LYAC was terrifying for me, so I knew I had to do it! Frustrations from high school bubbled up, and I saw an opportunity to give young people a voice that they may feel they do not have. I knew that even if I did not win the experience was sure to be beneficial. I feel as if we’re becoming increasingly disconnected as a society, despite social media claiming to bring everyone together.

3) What is your vision for Ward 14 and London?

I want to see a cultural shift in London, both in Ward 14 and in the city as a whole. We’re doing decently well economically, there is low unemployment and a lot of great paying jobs, mainly in technology, but culturally I feel London could have more to offer. I think we’re often too conservative for our own good. We need to make London a place that is both amazing to live as well as work in.

Send Mike an e-mail at:


Western Rep: Olivia Gomes – @oliviagomes_

1) Tell us a bit about yourself:  

As a political science student at Huron Western University, I am always on the pursuit to gain knowledge, and to learn more about the world around me. This curiosity drives my self-described go-getter attitude. I enjoy looking for ways to reach my full potential in my educational, work, personal and creative life. Personally, I can’t sit still!  One day I hope to work in the Canadian government or in international relations, and maybe dabble in business. In my day-to-day life I enjoy the violin, a good book, sunshine and being with good company.

2) Why did you run to be a youth councillor?

Given I can’t sit still, I love participating in my school, my community and in LYAC. I decided to run for LYAC because I knew that getting engaged in my community would be something I could really be passionate about.

3) What is your vision for Ward 12 and London? 

With my position I hope to create a more cohesive Western community and London community. I also want to make changes to Western infrastructure and programs to improve the student experience. I really love the fact that LYAC has given me the opportunity to express my ideas and push my creative boundaries and am looking brightly towards opportunities this year will bring. If you have any questions or suggestions to help improve your community and your Western community please contact me at any time, my door is always open.

Send Olivia an e-mail at: