April 24th to 30th is National Volunteer Week. We have some incredible volunteers in MAR that we are so thankful for. We could not do this without them! So many great organizations rely on the generous time, skill, and financial support from volunteers. And it's not just for adults! This year we are putting the spotlight on the kids. Here are five young Canadian activists to keep your eyes on. Share with your kids the great things these five are doing to inspire them to find a cause they want to support. We have included our MAR Global Kids downloadable PDF activity on volunteering to help you foster their volunteering spirit.
Young Canadian Activists to Keep Your Eyes On
From climate change action to challenging social inequalities, young people are demanding action and taking charge. They are organizing marches, walkouts, protests, campaigns, leading nonprofits, lobbying governments, and challenging norms in every aspect of society.
Here are 5 youths that will inspire you and your kiddos to get involved with the causes you care about.
17, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory
Autumn was just eight years old when she started advocating for clean water in Indigenous communities in Canada and around the world. Since then, she has earned national headlines for confronting Justin Trudeau about the Trans Mountain pipeline and for speaking at the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. She is also the Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation.
At 16 Larissa launched a fundraiser to start a library at Let Us Shine Academy in Ghana, and contribute to the Kainai Reserve Public Library in her home province. She now applies anti-racism and Indigenous research to renewable energy policy and program development in Canada, while advocating for Indigenous leadership and anti-racism in the global energy sector.
17, Nova Scotia
At age 11 Stella discovered the river near her home was very contaminated and that 600 sewage pipes were illegally dumping in the river. She posted her results on Facebook, reaching policymakers from all three levels of government who jointly pledged 15.7 million dollars to clean up the river. She is currently sharing her message around the world to teach other young people how to test waterways and get involved in clean water work.
18, British Columbia
Katia has worked and volunteered for local environmental and social justice organizations, including the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, Dogwood Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association Cowichan Valley Branch, and the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians. She currently works part time as Communications Officer for the UVic Sustainability Project (UVSP).
Savi joined Climate Justice Toronto in 2019 and has used it as an opportunity to canvas, attend protests, build workshops and gain confidence in her outreach skills. Savi says taking part in the global climate movement has changed her. “My work in activism has allowed me to become more secure in my identity, and I now have something in my life that I feel really proud to be a part of.”
MAR Global Kids "Volunteer Week" Activity
This month we are spotlighting the rewarding experience of volunteering and “being the change you want to see in the world”. It is important for kids of all ages to feel they have agency and can contribute. Helping them to build the skills of empathy, giving, reciprocity, and community care are building blocks to being effective advocates.
Below is some information you can share with the kids in your life and an activity to help them gain volunteer experience. While encouraging them to participate is wonderful, pressuring them to volunteer, or volunteer for something they don’t want to, will have adverse effects. If they choose a cause that seems silly to you, so long as it is not harmful, we recommend you support their choice. Again, this is an opportunity for them to practice their own agency and support the people and missions they care about. We look forward to hearing about the ways the kids chose to be the change.
Kate Ortwein Global Kids Coordinator
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