We had an incredible opportunity last night here at SHAD Lakehead to tackle a real world problem and have our voices heard. We were given an issue that the government is grappling with - how to get youth more involved in meaningful volunteer work - and had the opportunity to provide insight based on our experience.
As part of this special opportunity, we were visited by the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour; Tim Jackson, President and CEO of SHAD; Dr. Andrew Dean, Vice President, Reseach and Innovation, Lakehead University; and an esteemed panel of judges.
Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu joined SHAD President Tim Jackson, Lakehead University’s Vice President Research and Innovation Andrew Dean and SHAD 2017 students at a special event last evening at Lakehead University.
We completed three challenges both individually and in small groups to improve our confidence, creativity and public speaking skills. Each group competed in a marketing challenge to encourage more young people in Canada to volunteer.
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said, “it is a lack of awareness of available service opportunities – not apathy – that prevents many youth from volunteering their time. Some young people want to participate, but have never been asked.”
Being given a real world issue like this that the government is trying to solve was both inspiring and exciting and before long ideas were flying around the room.
Lakehead University’s Vice President Research and Innovation Andrew Dean
Yesenia Cheekinew, SHAD Lakehead student
We discussed using social media like Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms to better connect youth to these opportunities and to showcase youth already involved and to inspire others. We talked about having a passport where youth could highlight their volunteer experience and perhaps be given credit for it in a formal way that would then gain valuable and coveted work experience. And those were just a few of the ideas.
Collaborating with fellow SHADs provided insight into the thoughts and opinions of students from all walks of life across our entire country and allowed our groups to fully expand on the issue at hand. Throughout the evening, we not only learned to perform under pressure both individually and as a team but we also received extremely valuable advice and feedback from each of the excellent judges.
We made Minister Hajdu an honourary SHAD Fellow!
The SHAD program is all about stepping out of our comfort zones and into our roles as the leaders of today and this event helped each SHAD Lakehead student do just that. Thank you once again to our wonderful guests for providing us with the unique chance to display the abilities we've gained at SHAD so far and for giving us the incentive to dream big while creating solutions for youth, by youth.