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ART SHOWCASE

Artist, Poet, and aspiring Author, Alishba expresses her passion in writing through soft and vulnerable poems of personal experiences, feminism, world issues, and mental health. She actively takes part in promoting these concepts through programs and events like Youth Lead, Empowher Peel, community open mics, school-hosted shows and Alishba’s Art Showcase for Teens 2020.

Moreover, she has published countless compelling and motivational poems in Canadian Anthology books and websites; Island Tides by the Poetry Institute of Canada and Perspectives by Polar Expressions are two of her earliest successes, starting at age 10. Alishba is currently dedicating her time to write a poetry book, set to be released in her Postsecondary years. Through her art, she aspires to create a world full of hope, compassion, and love. Her long devoted passion in writing unravels itself on her Instagram page @parispoetryy. Readers often find themselves making a home out of her heart!

The Art Showcase for Youth Artists is a virtual event based for youth artists between the ages of 13-18 showcasing their artwork whether it be writing, illustrating or photography. The event also features special guest speakers relative to the art industry whom share their journey with art to the audience.

This project was a collaboration with the members of Youth LEaD, a program run under a non-profit organization called, TCET (The Centre for Education and Training).

EMP FITNESS PROJECT

This "Do it with me" program was designed to help facilitate those unable to go to the gym, need a workout buddy or just want to feel strong and healthier in quarantine. Our team of trainers were motivated to help push our viewers along their fitness journey. The ethos of the program was that there is health at every size, a strong body is connected to a strong mind. Our goal was to post tips for healthy eating, homemade smoothie recipes and more! We wanted to create an environment virtually where we can support each other and motivate each other during the Summer. Our workouts ranged from high to low intensity and focused on different muscle groups. It is was important we explain the purpose of certain moves, the impact it has on different areas of the body and demonstrate the correct form. Moreover, during sessions it was important to explain why we are doing this and how in the long run working out can mitigate diseases and disorders because the main goal was to set preventative measures in the long run!

Moreover, when we created EMP Fitness we were aware of the physical and social barriers that were presented during the pandemic. For instance, we quickly realized that youth and adults were not getting nearly as much exercise as they did before COVID-19, we also observed that while our community wanted to become active it was difficult for them to independently commit to a workout schedule. We also learned that many youth were losing their motivation to be socially active.The question became where do we create a (virtual) space for youth to feel like they belong and how do we keep them socially and physically active during these peculiar times? We were able to address these questions and concerns by creating weekly exercises on Instagram Live which were led by Poojan, Anjali, Kadia and Linda. Collectively, we established a routine by scheduling community workout sessions on Monday’s and Friday’s. Our fitness team did not only endorse a healthy lifestyle but we encouraged each other to try our best.

Our instructors' unique personalities allowed our viewers to laugh while they were working out- whether it was through Kadia’s Warrior scream stretches, Poojan’s clever one liner remarks during her workouts, or Linda’s passion to teach our community how to dance regardless if they hold the confidence to do so. We were able to connect with our community during a time where human interaction was limited. What is more, EMP Fitness made a statement to incorporate healthy dietary snacks into our workout plans; Anjali provided us with fresh and affordable tips on how to combine fruits and vegetables into a healthy snack. For instance, her Girl Green Smoothie contained a variety of ingredients that contained antioxidants with a rich source of vitamins. In the end, EMP Fitness was a program that was vital for our current (and future) environment because we enforced routine and discipline, encouraged biological health but most importantly we stayed connected each and every week.

POLICY AND BY-LAW COMMITTEE

There are a lot of people in the community who have the drive to serve and work towards a bigger purpose through the formation of small non-profit organizations. These organizations have 5 to 15 people working towards a common goal of community service and are not formally equipped to have a written procedure to do things in place. This is where we saw a gap to have some policies in place which are easy to understand, follow, and get back to, when there are any doubts. Having formal customized policies duly vetted by a lawyer would involve a lot of cost, which might not be best suitable for these very small non-profits still in its transitioning phase. We would address this gap by formulating template policies in general and specific to the pandemic which can be used by such organizations.

Now, the value of community service and social responsibility has been highlighted more than ever due to the pandemic. New non-profit organizations are being formed or there are ideas that need a direction and a vital document for an incorporated organization is its By-Laws. This is the initiative our team took to form a template by-law which can be used by these organizations also incorporating the amendments to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act made by Bill C-25.

The members of EmpowHer formed a group to work towards this. The proud team members are Sharan Khela, Laraib Ashfaq, Jessica Bajaj, Sidrah Jamil, Manmeet Multani, Aanchal Bajaj. The project is being led by Anjali Chauhan, who is a Foreign-trained Lawyer and a Corporate Governance Professional. She has the drive to provide Pro Bono services during this pandemic. She will be guiding the team members and making this a learning experience for all through her expertise. The proposed policies that the team would work upon include, but not limited to, Employee and Customer Safety Policy during COVID-19, Diversity and Inclusion, Returns, and refunds policy during COVID-19, Privacy Policy, Online Events Policy and Anti-Harassment Policy.

THE PEEL SCIENCE & LITERACY FREE CAMP

We are excited to announce the launch of the Virtual FREE online Peel Science and Literacy Camp (PSLC) running at the end of the August for six sessions (August 17, August 19, August 21, August 24, August 26, August, 28) with each session from 2:30-4:00PM. During the pandemic, there is a niche that needs to be filled. Usually, children go to summer camps, however, due to social distancing, childcare and summer camps are not widely available and will not be running as usual. This program will be developed with the hopes of filling that need for both parents and children. Camps are often the highlight of the summer for most children as they help develop their interpersonal, communication and confidence! We are launching Camp PSLC for children for FREE in middle school! Sessions will be curated to help children create a social circle and actively help them increase their knowledge. The camp will help children gain mentors and transition to school more confidently in September. Our activity filled at-home camp for August will be around the theme of science, scientific documentaries, online game learning, kahoot activities, theme days, potential speakers and more! A calendar outlining each day in detail will be sent to all parents after you sign up at aimashafiq@tcet.com.

Starting from the end of September to November, there will be free online drop in homework help for reading, math, science, english sessions weekly to help children gain assistance in courses they may struggle with, facilitated by University students and upper year highschool students. More details on this will be sent out in September.

To sign up for the Virtual Summer Camp, please e-mail aimashafiq@tcet.com. This opportunity can help children remain socially and academically active and prepared for their next year of study.

THE FRENCH CAFE

The French Cafe is a great opportunity for youth to engage with and socialize with youth close to their ages again without having to break social distancing measures or put any members of their families at risk! It is aimed at the same communities that Vision focuses on, and our program will also be 100% free!

We are hoping to bridge the gap between the opportunities that French immersion kids get in terms of practicing listening to and speaking French, and the core French taught in public schools. We will be playing interactive games and getting the participants used to speaking and hearing French. We also have a big surprise for the students during the final session! Each participant will additionally receive an achievement certificate indicating their estimated level of French-based on the CEFRL.

The dates for the cafe will be August 18, 20, 22, 24,26, and 28 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM!

280 MASKS FOR THE URBAN INDIGENOUS

Initially, after watching the news, I didn't hear much regarding the changes being made to help Indigenous peoples during the pandemic. Since I had taken a class on Aboriginal issues in Canada during this past year, I started looking through the Government of Canada website, to realize changes being made only helped homeless and Aboriginal people in highly congested areas. Since these individuals cannot afford the transportation costs to move to these communities, they cannot benefit from these services. Without the right safety equipment, we are all in danger during this pandemic. This led to me having a conversation with my mom about the steps that the government should be taking to help these people in need, resulting in the idea of mask donations coming up.

After making a budget for the amount of materials it would take me to make 300 masks, I submitted a proposal to the Rising Youth Grant for $250. Once the grant was approved my brother, mom and I made 280 masks, which were donated to the Anishnabwe Health office in Toronto. These masks will be given to any clients in need who come to their office and will be given to any homeless and less fortunate people on the streets of Toronto.

The Rising Youth Grant was what helped fund this project. However, my main inspiration was driven by my prior understanding of a "Current Aboriginal Issues in Canada" class. With help from my teacher, we decided to donate these masks to the Anishnabwe Health office in Toronto, a doctor's office for indigenous peoples in Toronto. All medicines are of the earth and with elders - no pharmaceuticals. From here on, my brother, mom and I started our journey to make these masks to help in keeping everybody safe during this time.

THE COMMUNITY SMILES PROJECT

Focus on the impact that children face during the Covid-19 pandemic has not been brought to the attention of many people. The Community Smiles Project was created to address this issue, where children can receive a birthday care package if their birthdays fall within the pandemic months. This act of kindness addresses the fact that physical distancing policies and financial constraints make it difficult for children to celebrate and understand why it is important to social distance. Venika, Jasmin, and Megan have worked together to coordinate gifts, deliveries, and promote this project throughout the summer.

Care Packages for the Homeless Community - Hygiene Drive

United For Justice is a youth council that was created by 6 individuals who are passionate about social reform in Brampton. During these difficult times with the spread of COVID-19, it was easy to see how this pandemic had affected everyone around us. However, it has been even more devastating for youth and people who may be residentially or financially challenged, creating an added stress to other worries. Hygiene is an important and basic practice, and it is essential for us to take care of ourselves and especially stay clean and healthy in times like this. With all the stress of this added pandemic, basic hygiene shouldn’t be a worry and shelters should have easy access to these products. Recognizing this issue and with the support of United For Justice, I was able to apply for a $750 grant from Rising Youth and we were able to start the Care Packages for the Homeless Community initiative.

This initiative is a hygiene drive where using the funds we have received and donations we collect, we will be buying products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc, and creating care packages which will be donated to Salvation Army Queen Youth Shelter. With the coronavirus taking its toll on the world and the mental and physical health of many, we hope to take a possible stress away from the worries of many who may need it. Proper hygiene is also said to help maintain better health as keeping your body clean helps prevent illness and infection from bacteria or viruses. Being clean also helps with mental health as it causes improved moods, reduced anxiety, more self confidence, and clearer thinking. With our $750 and additional $500 we are planning to raise, we have been able to create over 50 packages which we will be donating soon!