Five Active Youth
BTCEA is constantly being inspired by youth recognizing and embracing their ability to create meaningful change in their communities. We feel honoured to support youth in their successes and inspire more students to recognize their own ability to contribute, shift, or lead on environmental/social issues during their time in school and beyond. Below are stories of five students who we’ve worked with that are making ripples of change in their communities.
Abhayjeet Singh Sachal, grade 10 student, Seaquam Secondary School
Abhay was first supported by BTCEA in 2009 when he joined the Delta Youth Sustainability Network that BTCEA co-created to inspire youth to pursue green projects and connect and collaborate with students across a school district. After taking part in an Arctic expedition with a group of youth in 2016 and seeing first-hand the challenges posed to Inuit youth by climate change and isolation, Abhay formed Break The Divide, an initiative to connect youth in the Arctic with young people in BC through video calls. The initiative aims to increase awareness of mental health issues and provide support for youth in Arctic and Southern communities, and is currently expanding its work internationally. Abhay is currently partnering with BTCEA to apply for grants to support his initiative and will be a Climate Action Champion facilitator in 2018. Abhay is an inspiring leader to both youth and adults in the Delta District and we are honoured to support his success.
Aaron Leung, second-year student, SFU
Aaron started with BTCEA when he was a grade 9 student at Killarney Secondary, using the SLS curriculum in a couple of his classes, and being part of the various Environment Club projects BTCEA has supported throughout the years. Since then he has been studying for his bachelor degree in global environmental systems at SFU and involved in a range of sustainability initiatives such as: 1) co-organizing the inaugural sustainability conference for the Vancouver School Board; 2) co-founding the City Hub Initiative to provide young people with the resources and space to pursue sustainability projects; and 3) working as the Junior Facilitator for Youth4Action with Metro Vancouver. Aaron also sits on a number of advisory committees, such as BTCEA’s Advisory Team and the City of Vancouver Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee. We are thrilled to continue collaborating with Aaron and finding opportunities to support each other.
Abnash Bassi, grade 11 student, Seaquam Secondary School
As a member of the leadership team at her school, Abnash is already demonstrating strong changemaker qualities. Abnash and her peers use BTCEA’s SLS resources to inspire and structure lesson plans for teachers, even offering to assist with teaching. Abnash is also a part of the Young Reporter for the Environment (YRE) program, where she investigates solutions to local environmental issues and documents her thoughts through videography, photography or writing. In September 2017, Abnash attended the World Environmental Education Conference in Vancouver, where she was chosen to participate on the closing conference panel about how to get youth involved with environmental issues. Abnash will also be a Climate Action facilitator for BTCEA in 2018.
Mike Delano, Grade 12, St. George's Senior School
Last school year, Mike contacted BTCEA and asked us to facilitate a Waste Watchers audit at his school, taking responsibility for helping to organize the waste audit and recruit student volunteers. Following the results of the audit, which highlighted the problem areas in the school’s waste system, Mike devised some ideas to tackle this. Working with St George’s Global Stewardship team, Mike has already re-labelled the waste stations around the school to allow for clarity when disposing waste, and conducted an audit of the delivery food coming into the school to find out how much of it is being wasted. He is planning more projects to be carried out in 2018, such as presenting his findings to the principal next month and hosting a Zero Waste week at his school in January.
Madeleine Barois, former student, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School
After attending BTCEA’s first youth symposium hosted by BTCEA in 2009, Madeleine and two of her friends were inspired to start an environment club at their school called Viva Verde, offering students the chance to discuss environmental issues and their role as young people in creating a greener future, as well as providing volunteering opportunities. Following on from this success, Madeleine and a friend founded a community program called Trail Troupers, where young children between the ages of 5 and 12 are given environmental education by high school students through guided ecology walks in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. The student teachers themselves are mentored by expert ecologists and biologists, allowing them to absorb and pass on the knowledge, and increase inter-generational connection.