The 2016 EPCitizen nominees (Under 18)
Under 18 Age Category
Total nominations: 14
1. Edward Tian of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Kevin Vuong
As one of the voices for the Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC), the official youth advisory body to Toronto City Council, Edward represents over 330,000 young Torontonians. He has been a champion for youth engagement and does so by not just advocating for space, but also by educating, informing, and providing young people with the forum for meaningful engagement.
Edward designed youth workshops such as “Welcome to City Hall Day” and managed the communications with likeminded organizations for the TYC. As he spent more time with the TYC, he observed a gap in youth involvement in designing our City and Public Spaces. This led him to create Envision City.
With Envision City, Edward is exposing his peers at UofT Schools and students at other schools across Toronto to the urban issues by engaging them in real-world city planning challenges and giving them the opportunity to design, develop, and present a solution to decision-makers. This all alongside personal interests such as music where he is an event organizer for Music Without Borders, which raised $15,000 last year for Doctors without Borders.
2. Jed Sears of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Jennifer Hollett
When an 11 year old knocks on your door to speak about an election campaign, most people aren’t sure what to think. Is he the son of the candidate? Did his parents put him up to this? No, it’s Jed Sears, a pint-sized everyday political citizen. I first met Jed on my federal election campaign last year. He was one of our top volunteers, doing everything from door knocking to fundraising to getting out the vote. Most impressive is his love for policy and debate (don’t even get him started on omnibus bills). Now 12 years old, this year he’s worked on Chris Moise and Erica Shiner’s Toronto District School Board by-elections and is currently volunteering on Neethan Shan’s campaign in Scarborough-Rouge River. While too young to be an official party member, he attended this year’s federal NDP convention in Edmonton. He also attends every Toronto city council meeting, is active with Model United Nations, and is in a french immersion school where he co-organized Student Vote. I’m honoured to call him a friend and colleague.
3. Emma Mogus of Oakville, Ontario was separately nominated by Wes Prankard, Maria Engracia, and Stephanie Zubcic
I met Emma and her sister Julia in 2012 shortly after they founded Books with No Bounds. They have shipped over 115,000 books to First Nations and aboriginal kids around the world. Their impact is global.
Emma is a fierce advocate for First Nation kids, arguing that First Nation kids should not receive a sub-standard education just because they are First Nations. Racial discrimination is wrong, and if Emma has her way, it will end in our lifetime.
Books With No Bounds believes that every child deserves the opportunity to read and should have access to an enormous supply of books. By providing sorely needed reading material and other learning tools, Books With No Bounds refreshes the shelves of school libraries, community groups and organizations, and ensures children and teens have access to good books, regardless of where they live.
Books With No Bounds distributes books and other learning tools to students of all ages and strives to promote literacy, cultural sensitivity, and friendship… one book at a time.
I have had the privilege of hearing Emma speak on several occasions, passionately challenging audiences to take action against racial discrimination. She has both challenged and inspired me personally to do more, and I know she has had the same effect on so many others.
That, I believe, is what makes Emma an excellent candidate for an Everyday Political Citizen. She not only is involved in making the world a much better place; she inspires others to do the same — Wes Prankard
Emma Mogus is a 17 year old courageous young woman who cofounded the largest volunteer- youth-led literacy projects for indigenous youth in Canada, known as Books With No Bounds. Since the age of 12 Emma has dedicated countless hours to improving literacy and access to education for marginalized children living in remote First Nations reserves. She has not only demonstrated exemplary perseverance in advancing low literacy rates among youth living in remote communities, she has worked tirelessly to address the inequalities facing her ‘brothers and sisters’ in the north through walks, letter-writing campaigns and as emcee and child-rights activist for the World’s Children’s Prize in Sweden. Her track record of leadership, fearlessness and ingenuity has proven there are ‘NO BOUNDS’ to what youth can do. Working alongside hundreds of volunteers Emma has provided over 200,000 educational resources to kids in need… no small feat for such a kind-hearted youth. — Maria Engracia
Emma Mogus is the Co-Founder of #BooksWithNoBounds campaign and Children Reading for Children’s Global Ambassador for Literacy & Education. Over the past five years, Emma has become a world leader for the rights of children. The World Child’s Prize (the Nobel Prize for children) has awarded her the prestigious twice so far for her child rights advocacy. With #BooksWithNoBounds, Emma has sent 115,000 books and 50,000 school supplies to underfunded children around the world. In Canada, her unswerving commitment to improve Indigenous children’s rights has been tremendous. She’s travelled to remote First Nations communities to delivery books, learn about their dreams and challenges accessing quality education.The ability to communicate — to read and write — is absolutely essential for full civic engagement and lies at the heart of democracy. Emma understands this very well and is taking action every day to strengthen democracy. The world needs more young leaders like Emma Mogus. — Stephanie Zubcic
4. Miriam Vahed of Mississauga, Ontario was nominated by Seher Shafiq
Marium is a superstar! She joined The Canadian-Muslim Vote (TCMV) team earlier this year through a secondment from the North American Spiritual Revival (thanks NASR!). At TCMV, Marium’s biggest achievement was helping organize the inaugural Eid Dinner which saw 750+ guests attend. Marium helped with the social media promotion of the Eid Dinner, organized logistics, volunteers, helped to write/edit the event programme, and helped with setup. Marium was also liaising with several Member of Parliament offices to secure politician attendance. Her success in all of these areas ensured that the Eid Dinner became a platform for citizens and politicians to engage with each other, which we all know strengthens our democracy. Marium’s professionalism, enthusiasm, and excellent communication skills make her a gem on The Canadian-Muslim Vote team…and she is only 17! We are so grateful that Marium joined TCMV through the NASR partnership and can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
5. Kakeka ThunderSky of Winnipeg, Manitoba was nominated by Raven-Dominique Gobeil
2015 is a year that Kakeka ThundeSky should like to forget. The year started with the death of her father and concluded with the death of her mother. Instead of dwelling in sadeness, Kakeka has chosen to try and improve the lives of those around her. Kakeka’s volunteer work includes organizing backpack and clothing drives for Siloam Mission and the Salvation Army. Since 2012, Kakeka has spent the last week before Christmas delivering Christmas hampers with the Winnipeg Christmas Cheer Board to families who might not otherwise be able to celebrate Christmas. She also enjoys volunteering with Got Bannock?. This past June, Kakeka graduated from Churchill High School. She was involved in a variety of student groups, including Aboriginal Leadership, Student Leadership, Women’s Health and Wellness — which aims to educate peers on important issues like the stigma of mental health and body imagine, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and Residential Schools peer eduction. Kakeka is currently enrolled at the University of Winnipeg, Faculty of Education, major in English, minor of indigenous studies with hopes of one day working in an Indigenous school division.
6. Gwyneth Richardson of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Nikki Stuart:
Gwyneth is one of the few people I have met that is able to really talk about mental health and why it matters. For years, she has been working with Jack.org, recently becoming one of the heads of the chapter at her school. She’s someone who is so passionate about mental health advocacy that you can feel it, and that’s something that isn’t found everyday. Her work with mental health has led her to become an advocate on platforms such as CBC radio, where she’s been able to get the message that mental health matters to a broader audience. Gwyn makes such an impact in everything she does because she approaches it with such an undeniable force and gets things done, she never takes no for an answer. Through her advocacy, she’s been able to bring the issue of mental health the the broader political spectrum by bringing it to the forefront of the minds in her community. Her community is so lucky to have her to speak out through social media about issues that really impact youth of today.
7. Diane Huang of Markham, Ontario was nominated by Paul Xu:
Since her grade 9 year, Diane has been actively involved as a leader in her community through volunteering with Canadian Cancer Society, a team lead of Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Heart and Stroke foundation initiatives. In 2014, Diane recognized the lack of support and resources that was provided to youth artists within their communities. As one of Canada’s World Vision youth ambassadors, Diane combined her passion for world equality through her charitable works and her love for all arts, to establish her Not-for-Profit organization: Creativity Through Arts, providing a platform and opportunities for youths to showcase their talents while advocating for basic rights in third world countries through fundraisers and events. Diane’s CTA journey was featured at WeDay in a documentary for 20,000 leaders live and her interview with Demi Lovato and Nina Dobrev premiered on CTV and MTV. To date, CTA has positively impacted community members with 900 active volunteers, long-term partnerships with businesses and municipalities, over 18000 social media reach weekly, and been recognized with provincial and national awards.
8. Maisyn Sock of Eskasoni First Nation, Nova Scotia was nominated by Gwyneth Richardson:
Maisyn is one of the most driven and determined people I have ever met. Maisyn is not afraid to educate others and speak her mind, which is something I really respect. She strives to educate others surrounding indigenous issues including past events, current issues and discrimination. Maisyn strives for the betterment of her community as well as indigenous people across the country and is striving to start a conversation that has been left in the dark for far too long. Every time I talk to Maisyn, she inspires me to learn more about Canada’s history and even provides me with amazing resources. I am so honoured to know someone as phenomenal as her and I know that in the future she will continue to inspire others to create a better and more united Canada.
9. Milena Carrasco of Burnaby, British Columbia was nominated by Jannika Nyberg:
Milena is a courageous student leader, a 17 year old with a passion for social justice. Milena exemplifies an everyday citizen because of her leadership with the Democracy Project, a student led group that seeks to reform their system of student representation.
Milena is driven by the belief that schools, just like democracies must be shaped by the voices it serves. Because she is articulate, and enigmatic she is a natural leader. Her warmth, and genuine passion to build bridges sets her apart. Her work to reform her school district’s student governance system has had an enormous impact on her school’s electoral system and the student body culture. More broadly, the work her and the Democracy Project (a student group) are working on to create Burnaby’s first student trustee policy has strengthened student voice in Burnaby by creating more mechanisms for students to make decisions on their education and learning.
10. Nupur Krishnan of Newmarket, Ontario was nominated by Joshua Armstrong:
Epic. Nupur Krishnan stands out from a typical senior high school student. She strives to use her enthusiasm for helping her community by volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Society of York Region, fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society, and organizing Pickering College’s student volunteer bulletin board to provide opportunities for her peers to follow her lead to actively participate in their community. Nupur, furthermore, has shown initiative in the Deaf Community for four years by taking sign language courses through Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka. By volunteering at the Bob Rumball Camp of the Deaf, she realized there was a gap in resources and services for Deaf and Hard-of-Heaering individuals. This knowledge spurred her to apply to the United Way for funding, which she received and used to create a “home alone” course tailored to the needs of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing youth. With the funding, Nupur created a workshop in both English and American Sign Language in partnership with Seconds Save Lives. Moreover, she created a a video about Text-911 to improve public safety by educating the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community in American Sign Language and English.
Nupur’s commitment to multiple volunteer organizations and her lead-by-example attitude has inspired other students in the Pickering College school community to make a difference by volunteering. Nupur inspires students involved in her school’s Global Leadership Program which integrates community-minded thinking into the classroom with a thesis-like “Captstone Project” in which students advocate for and create social change. Nupur is a shining example for her peers of how caring and volunteering can change lives in one’s local community.
The example of active citizenship Nupur sets enriches our democracy by engaging youth in the Newmarket region. Nupur shows our leaders of tomorrow that their contribution to a better future starts now, as our youth gain the experience and confidence to tackle the tough problems the future holds. Nupur shows Canadian youth democracy is alive and well; she deserves to be considered for recognition as an Everyday Political Citizen.
11. Aiman Naeem of Fort McMurray, Alberta was nominated by Christine Tulk:
Aiman demonstrates all the characteristics of an involved, active, and concerned citizen. Aiman graduated from Westwood High School as a Westwood Scholar and the recipient of the Chris Ryan/Terry Conroy Humanitarian Award this past year. Throughout her time with us, Aiman was heavily involved in the school and community.
Aiman was an active and committed student at Westwood. She was involved in Student Council as a general member and in the executive as an events coordinator. She was member of Colours, Westwood’s Multicultural Awareness Group and a member of SWAT. SWAT is the Student Wellness and Action Team that were responsible for promoting mental health and awareness within the school. Aiman was also the lead person on our Yearbook Committee where she was photographer, page editor and cover designer.
Aiman is extremely committed to helping others and promoting equality for all women. She is the founder and president of Artists Against Poverty, a charitable group that focuses on raising awareness for poverty by hosting a fine arts festival. This group has continued in the city through Aiman’s support and direction. She was a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth, providing a political voice for teens in the community. Aiman was also a member of the Junior Achievement Company Program and the EnviroMentor’s program where she worked with younger students in the community. She has participated in the Oil Sands Rotary Music Festival, Skills Canada, Encounters with Canada, and has volunteered in many community events. Aiman is a published writer.
I believe Aiman is an excellent candidate for the Everyday Political Citizen.
12. Bri Gardner of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Aliya Bhatia:
If an Everyday Political Citizen is able to effortlessly be funny, cool, brilliant and find time to conduct research on some of the most tenacious issues in our city and world, then Bri Gardner is your person. Bri finds the time to both talk about gender inclusivity and diversity while at the same time make friends with you. Bri is also the Transit Lead for the Toronto Youth Cabinet and has tirelessly spearheaded and conducted research on TTC ridership, youth engagement, and ways in which to make the TTC more accessible and inclusive. In addition, Bri was a participant of TYC Innovate where members of the Cabinet were asked to come and shape our constitution, and was an integral part of the planning for TYC Summit: our annual skillbuilding gathering of youth who are dedicated to municipal and civic engagement. Outside of the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Bri is a member of the South Etobicoke Youth Assembly and has effortlessly given a deputation at the July TTC Board Meeting with less then a week’s notice. Bri is a good person and a great Everyday Political Citizen.
13. Vivian Le of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Jean Boampong:
Vivian Le is an Everyday Political Citizen because of her dedication to young women and girls right to express themselves through the arts. She is an active member of her community, and this is most evident through her involvement in the Village Bloggurls Program, a weekly girls’ media literacy and mentorship program. After being a mentee, Vivian became a mentor and now facilitates workshops and leads discussions. She works really hard to help youth imagine a more equitable future. Vivian drew a comic and co-wrote a piece about unfair dress codes targeting girls for the “Re-Imagining the Future” zine, created a digital story about performance anxiety and led a workshop on body image and self-esteem. Most recently, she became a Youth Arts Action! Animator to bring more of the arts to the Lawrence Heights communities. At only 15 years old, Vivian Le is a shining example of a community leader.
14. Samantha Ling of Toronto, Ontario was nominated by Aikeda Sayram:
When the words “student leader” come to mind, Samantha and her drive to amplify the voices of others automatically come to mind. She acts as Ward 3 Councillor and Director of Economic Infrastructure on the City Youth Council of Toronto representing youth voices on a municipal scale. Furthermore, Samantha is one of 25 members on the Premier’s Council of Youth Opportunities where she advises the Ontario Minister of Youth Services and aims to improve provincial programming for over 250 000 Ontarian youth.
Internationally, Samantha has represented Canada at the United Nations Youth Assembly amongst 400 delegates from around the world. She is a passionate entrepreneur and is using her international experience to operate Societees, a sustainable clothing company that donates 25% of its profits towards global development.
Samantha consistently represents the values of public service through volunteering Kiwanis International, as a lieutenant governor for Eastern Canada Key Club. Samantha truly embodies compassion and dedication and will continue to impact the lives of others for years to come.