Name: Areej Ansari
Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Areej Ansari, I am in Grade 11 and I currently attend Oakridge Secondary School. I am someone who loves to explore all the different aspects that exist in the world! From the literary devices in creative writing, to the artistry seen in mathematics, as well as the captivating science behind the human brain to simply the way humans react. Now aside from all this, I should mention that I simply adore cats and I love poetry so much that I won a Student Achievement Award for Creative Writing in both 2014 and 2015.
Why do you want to be a Youth Councillor?
I would like to be a youth councillor because I believe it is important to help serve and better our community here in London. Student organizations such as the Muslim Students’ Association of Oakridge and helping run our fundraising dinner to help Syrians and other initiatives such as Social Justice have taught me the value of community within our society and how important it is to be involved, in order to constantly help our city improve for the better. If I am to be elected for this position I will strive towards improving London in all necessary aspects.
Tell us about three community issues you find important:
1) Poverty: To begin, the most alarming issue present in London as of now are poverty rates. As years are passing by, more and more people are being affected by poverty, and it is important to address this issue head on and move forward by planning to resolve and help improve the current situations. Most of these incidences where lower incomes are noticed are located in central London, and areas connected to it. From the lower income group, 19.1% have felt, and still feel vulnerable and limited to resources, as a result from their financial situation, and therefore it is important to continue working on this issue.
2) The Syrian Refugee Crisis: The second issue that is relatively newer than the aforementioned one is the Syrian refugee crisis. With Canada being one of the few countries who actually have accepted those fleeing from war, it is important to help serve and better the environment for all those who are new to Canada. There is no better way to help than by starting locally. Many families who have fled are in need of support, both morally and financially in order to help them adjust to the environment in London. It is a given that the London community can invest more time into helping those who are in need, and this is yet another issue that has potential to be minimized.
3) Mental Health: Finally, the issue that I am most passionate and is not spoken about as much as it should be in Ward 8 is mental health awareness in the youth. Over the years, technology has taken over, with both positive and negative implications, however it is our duty to help minimize the negativity that comes along with it. Twenty percent of the youth between the ages of 12 to 19 face depression and during this time period, the chances of suicide increases by twenty times. It is important for everyone to be aware of the power of mental health issues, in order to help end the stigma, and to help everyone in the community have easier access to resources. Ultimately raising awareness can be the source to saving a life, or simply helping others do the same.
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