Ward 6

Name: Shuo Zhang

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m a Chinese international student studying Food and Nutrition program in Brescia.

Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?

Gain work experience.

Identify three community issues you find important:

1) Immigration and employment: Language is a big barrier to get a job, however it does not meaning tha candidates are not able to do the job.

2) Hunger and unbalanced diet: Obesity is common in western countries.

3) Poverty. Although Canada is a developed country some people still suffer from poverty.

*Click here to see a map of Ward 6

reza.jpgName: Reza Naqvi

Tell us a bit about yourself:

Hey everyone! My name is Reza and I’m in my 3rd-year at Western, studying biology. I’ve not always lived in London, but going to high school and then university here has given me a first-hand appreciation of this city and the kindness and generosity of the people living here. Throughout my life, I have not been very engaged in politics. I was never aware of the role young people could take part in shaping the policies and decisions that affect them. LYAC gives us an opportunity to change this. So, as councillor, I will faithfully advocate for London’s youth and strive to make a positive impact in this city.

Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?

At Western I’ve been a Mentor and Coordinator for the biology mentorship program for 2 years. I’ve found that I love mentoring and taking part in efforts that give back to the Western community. Through this process, I have also grown as a person. I wish to take this a step further and do my part in giving back to the larger London community. I want to make our city stronger by making sure that the voices of the young people of this city are heard. That they have opportunities through which they can engage in the system. I want to be a youth councillor because it provides a platform for young people like myself to contribute in making meaningful change.

Identify three community issues you find important:

1) Youth homelessness: I’ve been very lucky to be born in a home with parents who love and care for me. This is a gift that I’ve often taken for granted. Through high school and university, I’ve had the privilege to meet some incredible people who have suffered through extreme adversity to get where they are. At an age where my biggest concerns were how I was going to improve my grade 12 calculus, these people would be figuring out where they could find a warm place to sleep at night. Raising awareness and starting initiatives that can help young people suffering from homelessness is something I wish to make sure LYAC makes a part of its agenda.

2) Mental health: At Western, I know many students struggling with a variety of different issues, personal and academic. I have seen the strain that struggling alone and without help imposes on them. Western focuses on mental well-being of its students, as does Fanshawe. But many people are still too scared, too ashamed to seek help. They fall through the cracks of the system, sometimes drop out of school and stop caring about their lives. I want to ensure that we continuously make our systems better so less and less people have to suffer alone. Mental health has come a long way. But we must ensure that we do not become complacent about this issue. This is an issue that affects my ward, as many students from western live in this area.

3) Political engagement: Young people often get accused of political apathy, of not raising our concerns. However, this accusation, albeit true, stems from the fact that young people are rarely given roles of responsibility in shaping the policies that affect them. The LYAC is an amazing step towards getting young people more involved in politics. It will be my goal as a LYAC councillor to help provide such opportunities for young people. Changing the system into one that better encourages youth participation will not happen overnight. More importantly it will not happen with inaction. Change occurs when people stand up for issues they believe in, when young people such as ourselves stand up and make noise. Change occurs when we demand that things be made better, and that our society does not regress. I wish to join LYAC with this vision, that we continuously improve, and provide the young people of London with the resources they need to achieve their potential.

IMG_20161028_112849.jpgName: Soomin Lee

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Soomin Lee I am currently a third year student studying environmental science at Western University. I was born in Seoul, South Korea and my family and I immigrated to Ottawa, Canada when I was 7 years old. I spent most of my life in Ottawa and came to love my new country.

I always had a strong interest in the sciences as I enjoy learning how our world functions in our everyday lives. My goal is to put my knowledge to work with others and solve our growing concerns over climate change.

Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?

As a person with many interests, one of my favorite topics to engage in are on-going social issues. I have been invited to one LYAC council sessions by a friend and really enjoyed the topics we engaged in (tuition fees). I also happen to run discussion groups with international students on my extra time and engage in topics relating to social issues. It is important to point out these problems and discuss them in an open environment as it brings awareness to the issue and from that point; potentials solutions could be derived

Identify three community issues you find important:

1) Recycling: London should improve their recycling facilities by promoting and locating more recycling sites. In addition, if people do not recycle properly, it would just cost taxpayers more money in the future to organize the misplaced garbage to their correct sorting.

In my area, junk and unwanted debris are commonly found on the ground; ruining our environment. There are many student residents in my ward and many tend to throw garbage anywhere. More awareness of this issue is needed to encourage residents to keep our environment clean

Refusing to recycle properly and littering affects our environment and planet. Continuing to engage in this practice will further use up our limited landfills and damage local ecosystems around us for example animals can hurt themselves eating garbage. Protecting the environment is difficult as it poses no immediate threats but once the threshold is breached, our community can suffer dire consequences in the future.

2) Unemployment: According to statistics, London has a high unemployment rate compared relative to areas in Southern Ontario. This is due to the lack of an educated population. Research has shown, the best method out of poverty and unemployment is developing an educated, research based population.

London is by no means a small town, as it is the tenth largest city in Canada. In addition, by hosting a renowned world university; Western University. There is definitely potential for the London community to grow. More research facilities and scientific labs can be implemented in London to attract residents in pursuing higher education. London must become more urbanized and host greater opportunities in tertiary and quaternary employment to reduce the unemployment rate.

3) Public Transit: Lastly, I believe to become a better city, London must invest in a better public transportation system. Recent news show LTC may be invested in the BRT system. This would be step forward in London becoming a better developed city. Having a faster and more coordinated transportation system would mean residents would be more willing to take a bus than to drive, saving money on purchasing vehicles. Furthermore, less cars would result in less greenhouse emissions, keeping London’s carbon footprint lower.

Residents in my ward would greatly benefit from this proposed idea as many off-campus students rely on a reliable transportation system to attend university and London residents can commute to important areas like downtown much more reliably.

20170412_1744541.jpgName: Eman Muzzammil 

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m a Grade 10 student at London Central Secondary School. Despite not being born in London and only moving here recently, I have grown to love this city because the people here have always made it feel like home. I’m an avid reader and a useless fact repository. I’m interested in science, business, and history. I am part of clubs like DECA, Model UN, Reach For The Top, and the Multicultural club at my school. When I’m not studying, I’m volunteering at various community organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the London Public Library, singing along to my favourite songs (off-key, of course!), and filling up my sketchbooks. I love to solve problems and try new things.

Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?

The voices of the youth often go unheard because we are considered too young, and, therefore, inexperienced. I disagree with this view because I think that the youth can offer insight into problems that are often overlooked by adults. By being a youth councilor, I can help give back to the community that has given so much to me. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the same person without this welcoming community and I will do my best in improving London, especially for the youth. Not only that, but I will also get to work with like-minded individuals whom I can learn from.

Identify three community issues you find important:

1) Transportation/ London Transit Commission: As someone who has to take the bus pretty much every day, I think our transit system could use some work. Many youth and adults alike rely on the LTC to get around, so it’s important that the LTC is accessible and affordable. I’m very happy that they’ve made it free for everyone under 12! Now, for more extensive routes and more hours! In Ward 6, there is an overwhelming number of university students on the buses. Often times during the morning hours, there isn’t even space to stand in the bus I take, much less seats available. As a councillor, I would work toward having the buses run for more hours and cover more distance. Also, I would love to take people’s suggestions on how to improve the LTC and also their thoughts on the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit).

2) Immigration and Inclusion: My family and I immigrated to Canada about 2.5 years ago and have grown to love it since then. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same experience. Moving to a new country can be frustrating and very confusing. Be it financial reasons or emotional ones, immigrants face many challenges. As a youth counsilor, I would create opportunities for the young immigrants in London, be it free English lessons from youth volunteers or helping immigrant teenagers find summer jobs. Immigrants should also be provided an inclusive environment so they can thrive and be a part of our society.

3) Volunteer Opportunities: From my observations, many of my peers are unaware of the many volunteer opportunities available to them. I know a few students stressing over their 40 mandatory hours of community involvement in Grade 12. This problem can be easily solved by presenting the youth with opportunities through posters, newsletters, Facebook posts, or announcements at school! Volunteering should be considered a great way to establish friendships, learn new skills, and most importantly, help out your community. By creating this mindset in our youth, we can ensure a stronger sense of community in London. Also, volunteering experience can help get a job which many young people are desperate for. Making job searches easier and preparing the youth for job interviews would be my goal.