This post is a part of a series that highlights the 2016/2017 recipients of the Youth in Action (YIA) grants.
In March we sat down with the leadership team of the Proactivity project to discuss their motivations, backgrounds, the project, and their upcoming event.
Overview of the Project
The project is founded under the Girls Empowerment Movement (GEM), which is a community based organization founded in 2013 that aims to provide empowerment opportunities to youth throughout the Peel Region.
Traditionally GEM has hosted a series of small events. However, this year, we have decided to hold a singular culminated into the Proactivity project, which will be a one day conference designed to empower today’s youth to have career aspirations not governed by their gender. This project will feature a series of workshops and keynote speakers.
Why do you think the project was needed?
We feel the Proactivity Project is needed to raise awareness for gender issues, with a focus on learning to identify gender discrimination in the workplace. In order to foster such skills, we aim to provide further education on what “gender” is and what the term itself encompasses. We hope to create such a discussion in an environment that expands to all genders in order to involve as many perspectives to this project.
Through this, we aim to be proactive in assisting today’s youth in becoming educated on the issue of gender discrimination, helping them identify the issue and finding ways to prevent these issues from hindering their career aspirations. As well as educating the youth on issues involving gender, we also aim to enhance and develop essential career-oriented skills such as interpersonal skills, networking skills and financial literacy skills.
About the founders
The five founders of the Proactivity Project are Nikita Chauhan (York University), Melanie Cheddi (University of Toronto - St. George), Yasmin Dini (York University), Harman Bains (University of Toronto - Mississauga) and Chian Robinson (St. Lawrence College). The team consists of long standing members of the organization as well as first timers.
All members credit their shared interest in women empowerment and passion for enhancing the capabilities of youth within the community to the formation of the project. You can learn more about the project and its members here.
What are some details around the upcoming event?
The event will be held on Sunday, May 6, 2017 at the Davis Campus of Sheridan College and will start at 10 a.m. The day will feature a number of workshops along with keynote speakers. The topics covered will be issues in careers involving gender, developing interpersonal skills, networking skills, and financial literacy skills.
You can find more information on our facebook event page or our website. If you wish to sign up, you can also access the registration form here. Additional links for the event and overall project are provided below.
What are some of your goals for this year and beyond?
Our short term goal is to expand our membership to include members of other genders. This is important for us to get everyone’s input on gender issues and empowerment. Our goal with this is to continue making key partnerships in the community and spread awareness regarding our organization and its mission.
Our long term goal is to be a positive force in our community. We hope we are able to have a lasting impact that will consist of youth who are now aware of important issues that they will be facing in the work force. We aim for the participants to take away important life skills that they will definitely be able to apply in real life settings and to reach youth in a way the current schooling system is failing to do so. We hope that through treating them as adults and having mature conversations that we are able to build their confidence, discuss and tackle societal issues regarding gender, and enhance their array of skills for many years to come.
Thoughts on working with United Way of Peel Region?
We are incredibly excited to be working with YLC and United Way of Peel Region for the fourth consecutive year! This year we are looking forward to collaborating with and learning from other Youth in Action Grant recipients as this is a new addition to the requirements of the grant. This will provide our team an opportunity to not only increase our presence within the community, but to also network with like-minded individuals who are driven to create a change within our communities. We hope that together we can raise awareness for our causes, and thus create a stronger and longer lasting impact. We are also looking forward to gaining knowledge and experience from our mentor, Julia Di Lena.
About the Youth in Action Grants
Youth in Action Grants are a one-time grant opportunity focused on youth-led projects that offer creative youth-initiated ideas to address community issues in Peel Region. Youth and/or groups of youth between the ages of 14 and 24 are eligible to apply for this grant. Requests can be made for up to $2,000 per project.
In 2016, $15,000 was funded by United Way of Peel Region and distributed to 10 youth-led projects through this granting opportunity.