mindyourmind volunteer Oline, 22, is going into her final year undergraduate studies in English at the University of Western Ontario. She has been volunteering with mindyourmind for about a year.
To start, I was surprised when informed that London Ontario is the only city celebrating International Youth Day in all of Canada. I am sure that many will agree that celebrating youth across the globe can only reap benefits for the future of our world. I am so happy to be involved in the process of creating a great event that celebrates the many talents of our youth (dancing, singing, drumming, and beatboxing just to name a few). This is my first time being involved and after becoming familiar with the process I hope that each year gets bigger, better and ultimately influences other cities in Canada to join and celebrate the formative years of our citizens (the youth!).
Accepting videos from anyone betweem the ages of 14-25, mindyourmind is encouraging youth across the globe to share their story, energy, and spirit. Our weekly meetings which started back in June really set the precedent for the big day (Sunday, August 12th). We always begin with an “ice breaker” for example: “You’re stranded on a desert island, you look from side to side and you see no trace of land for miles. Who knows how long it might take before the odd plane may fly above your head and spot you, it doesn’t look promising. It’s just you, the sand, one coconut tree, and the hum of “Call Me Maybe” which is constantly stuck in your head. Now that you’re here there’s one magic food, and one magic drink that can be whatever you want it to be. What is it?” – And as you can tell, they are very creative ice breakers (thanks Max for entertaining us)! After a lot of laughter and open comments, our meetings consist of brainstorming ideas to ultimately make the event the best experience possible. Who better to organize international youth day than the youth? The volunteers I work with range from ages 16-25 (?) and I like that everyone has an opportunity to chip in their ideas because it really is an open, friendly and accepting environment.
I like that there is no hierarchy based on age and experience. Everyone’s opinion is heard and valued. None of the volunteers are there because they have to be, we are all there because we want to be and that makes all the difference. At our first meeting, we discussed headliners for the event and came to a general agreement that Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli (famous break dancer) would make an inspiring and motivational special guest. Over the weeks, it was awesome to see ideas turn into reality; after a few meetings we were informed that Luca responded to us / mindyourmind and wanted to be involved in this great cause. Ultimately, being involved is a great confidence booster because as the meetings progressed we were being informed that we were getting more and more sponsors for the event. It’s great to be a part of a team where we’re welcomed, listened, and our feedback actually contributes to the outcome of something.
-by Oline (IYD Street Team)