Ward 12

Name: Nada Alaloulnada.jpg

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name’s Nada Alaloul, and I’m an 18-year-old Palestinian-Canadian. I lived in London, Ontario for most of my life and have always wanted to contribute to the community. Currently, I’m in my first year of Western University studying Science. Being on the Board of First Years within Western university, I have truly enjoyed encouraging youth participation and helping organize certain events. Furthermore, I’m an avid reader, Netflix-enthusiast, and foodie. I’m a curious person who loves to explore and experience new things. I’m also extremely passionate about social justice, learning about the ongoing world around us, and love meeting new people.

Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?

To be completely honest, I have only recently heard of LYAC. However, once I heard about it, there are many things that pulled me to become a youth councillor. Being a youth councillor is an amazing opportunity to be truly involved within the London community. I want to be able to give everyone a voice, encourage the youth in our community to speak out, and become active within society. Many youths are unaware of the strength they have, and I believe this position will help me bring awareness and change how the youth view themselves as a part of society.

Identify three community issues you find important:

1) Mental Health: One issue I believe is important within our community is mental health. I believe that mental health is an important issue because it is something that regardless of religion, ethnicity, race, etc., it connects everyone. Mental health is an important issue because it is considered a hidden issue where unlike many physical illnesses, you can’t tell if someone is actually suffering right away. This is pivotal in the way we construct mental health because it means that most of the time, if hidden well, people with mental illness need to find it in themselves to seek help. Because of this, mental health should be one of the main issues being addressed. Accessibility and resources for mental health need to be improved, and education needs to be increased. One of the main issues regarding mental health is the stigma that surrounds it and we need to take initiative to change this.

2) Poverty and Homelessness: London is a beautiful city; however, unfortunately, poverty and homelessness still wander all throughout the community. London has rates of poverty and homelessness higher than the provincial and national average. This is a shocking fact and needs to be addressed. This is important because it’s brought up among many youths. Learning about poverty and homelessness throughout my first year, it should be known that poverty and homelessness are almost always the underlying cause to other issues. Therefore, without addressing poverty and homelessness, many current issues cannot be fixed too. For example, if someone is suffering from unemployment and homelessness, they would be unable to gain a job because all jobs need a home address. By addressing poverty and homelessness within the community, we begin to understand others, and can put a stop to the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

3) Diversity and Inclusiveness: Canada is known to be a country to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism. However, with recent and ongoing political issues happening across the world, there has been a growing tension around the topic of inclusiveness and diversity. Furthermore, because of previous assaults and hate crimes in London, such as the woman in a hijab being assaulted by another woman in a superstore, or a man downtown being assaulted because he was an Arab, this is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed. Hate crimes are rising in Canada, and this is an important issue to Ward 12 because many people within Ward 12, unfortunately see themselves as a possible target. Education and more public initiatives on the importance of diversity, Canadian values, and speaking out when you see this happening need to be implemented.

Name: Raghad El Niwairi

Tell us a bit about yourself: 

I am a fifteen-year old secondary student with an aspiration to live great. Great has a variety of different meanings to me; eating a picnic of cheese and grapes with a baguette near the Palace of Versailles; spending a cool day on the beach until the sun sets and the stars start gleaming; leaving a fruitful conversation with meaningful thoughts ensuing; rollerblading through downhill roads in housing complexes; binge-watching a sensational TV series in one night; or spending a night reading a book. My yearning to live great in all ways (grand or small) basically sums up who I am.

Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?

I want to be a youth Councillor because my goal prior to serving on last year’s council was to find different ways to become more involved in my community and serve it using my position as a Councillor, and I now hope to use the experiences and connections I have gained during then to achieve those goals. I also hope to use my position as Councillor to assure those who are often not given the chance to voice their opinions and thoughts that I will try my absolute best to make them heard and to honour their views and stories.

Identify three community issues you find important:

I have many many goals that I hope to achieve during my term should I be elected, or at least start on during my term. My top three goals are the following: to do better by our city and the land we as Londoners are living on by protecting its environmental health, to find ways to make leadership, community and city events more accessible and well-known to young people in my city, and to ease the struggles of other young people of colour in the city.

One of the most important things to me about living in Canada is recognizing that I stand on stolen land and the land of Indigenous Peoples. As an immigrant, I think it is vital and one of the only ways to show my respect of that by acknowledging that fact, asking Indigenous People of London how best I can show my support for them and their community and making sure that I limit the ruin that I create on this land. The last one I hope to specifically do by implementing many different structures and programs to help reduce the pollution of the city by a lot. I would like to help my specific community of the White Oaks Area also do better in the case of the environment of this territory.

I find that there are many, many, many different leadership events, different kinds of classes on cooking, computer studies, and other interesting skill sets, and community networking events in London. But the issue is that not many young people know about or hear about these events until it is too late. I want to find ways to use different social media platforms, community centres and other places to advertise those kind of events because of all they have to offer to young people. I hope to simply find more useful means of encouraging youth to these beneficial events so that they are not any missing out on any possible life-changing experiences.

Finally, I hope to use my platform as LYAC member to find ways to make schools and communities more accommodating and accepting of people of colour. There is so much oppression and so many struggles that people of colour face during their regular lives and even more that students of colour face during school. It is constant and it carries a big burden on the lives of people of colour, especially students of colour. I hope to find ways teaming with a community-based organization to work with our school boards, and city committees to ease those struggles and hopefully diminish the overwhelming weight they cause on people.

image11.jpgName: Elif Beyatli

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am an enthusiastic, energetic and motivated individual who enjoys spending time bettering my well being and character as well as influencing others who surround me. I am a team player, I enjoy sports, and feel that giving back to my community would allow me to show my gratitude to what they have shown me.

Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?

As mentioned earlier, I would love to give back to my community as it has made a huge impact on my character growing up. I personally was involved with youth groups and activities with the London Youth Councils from the ages of 11-16, these groups and activities have shaped me into the person I am today and I realise now how influential these leaders are to the younger demographic. To be that influential leader for other adolescents would be a privilege and to make a difference around the London community would be an opportunity of a lifetime.

Identify three community issues you find important:

1) Barriers for Newcomers: I feel in my community that self confidence lacks in many youth around my neighbourhood/ward, especially those who are new immigrants or refugees. With newcomers entering the society its hard for many to accept them openly when there are communication barriers and other cultural differences.

2) Youth Deviancy: Another issue that I would like to address would be youth being involved in deviant activity, things such as vandalism, theft, substance abuse. All these issues are more regularly practised then what is expressed publicly, as youth they should not resort to theses activities as entertainment or coping methods for stress/anxiety/depression.

3) Bullying: Lastly, bullying is another issue that has my interest that needs to be addressed as well. There are many youth that do indirect bullying and feel that because its not outright direct bullying that it doesn’t make them a bully. Helping youth be more tolerant and accepting towards one another will be beneficial for the community.

You can find Elif on:

*Click here to see the map of Ward 12