“[Lily] Yang graduated from the program’s first cohort in 2013. One of her first projects concerned the creation of a gathering place for Chinese seniors. Yang had noticed that programming gaps coupled with a lack of dedicated meeting spaces often left seniors isolated in their communities. She approached her local Fleetwood library branch about booking a room on a weekly basis where seniors could play chess and music and meet new friends. Yang was amazed when 30 seniors showed up for the first meetup and, four years on, it still runs nearly every week.”
“Kyla Bains once lived on the streets as a high-risk teen and is now dedicated to advocating for those who are struggling. She completed the course last year. ‘I’m passionate about improving resources for homeless youth, and having our youth’s voices heard,’ says Kyla. ‘I joined CLIC to learn how I could use my experience to gain more support within my community.’”
“People are my passion. I believe if we build more caring, trusting and committed connections to each other than the whole neighborhood becomes stronger day by day. People have so many amazing gifts to share.”
“It’s important for me to give back to my community because it gives me a sense of belonging,” Leejoo says. “In a big world like this, it’s very easy to feel like a drop of water in an ocean but contributing to this ocean gives you a chance to meet new people and explore different corners.”
Find out more about what Leejoo is up to in the interview below!
“Through this class I gained confidence about leadership. I now understand leadership can be anywhere: work, school, home, you name it. […] It was awesome to see the ideas other participants were having and the visions they were seeing. I was not as confident at the beginning of the program, but now I know what I can and should do.”
We wanted to profile some former CLIC participants and find out what they were up to. We were lucky to catch up with Leejoo, who when he isn’t in class at SFU is volunteering with a number of different local organisations, or leading his own. We asked him to reflect on his CLIC experience.
Who are you?
I am now a student at Simon Fraser University, and I took CLIC when I was in high school. I was born in Kamloops, but grew up in Surrey. I’m involved in Local Development Group, Vancouver Foundation, Village Surrey, City of Surrey, Canadian Blood Services and others. I enjoy challenging hikes, exploring the far corners of Great Vancouver and trying out new food.
What did CLIC mean to you?
I learnt more about understanding different perspectives, leadership and making connections. The experience was challenging at first, sitting in a classroom full of adults was a first time experience – but eventually I realized everyone was in different stages in their life, therefore being the youngest there didn’t feel too bad. As I got more comfortable, I expressed my opinions more and ultimately represented the youth community. It felt good.
What stood out for you?
Can’t really pinpoint just one thing, but currently I enjoy going through life and doing my volunteer activities and once awhile stopping to realize, “Oh that’s what Dr. Burke meant by this!” Also the people are great, everyone has a common goal of wanting to give back.
What are you up to now?
I recently came back from Ottawa. I was celebrating Canada Day through a program called Canada 150 & Me. Through this I was able to join Canada 150 National Youth Forum where in a group I was able to present an issue in front of the Governor General, check out the City of Ottawa, perform on the Canada Day stage in Ottawa and volunteer in Quebec and Ontario.
I’m currently leading a non-profit group to inspire students to take part in their community. With this group, we have initiated two gardens, one Little Free Library, an annual Summer Block Party and two Human Library events.
I’m also working on a business idea and challenging myself to make it a reality.