International Youth Day 2018: meet Amina, our youth Ambassador
Back in 2011, a young and energetic girl named Amina came by the new Breakfast Club Canada office to celebrate our expansion in Western Canada. She had been volunteering at her school’s breakfast program at Lord Strathcona in Vancouver and found out BCC also organized Leadership Camps for youth. She wanted to go so badly, she created a video showing how, at barely 10-year-old, she was a leader in the making. Amina got to go to her first Leadership Camp that year. It would be the start of a great friendship between her and Breakfast Club Canada.
Great leaders share many qualities and traits of character: ambition, selflessness, determination, the ability to respect and care for others, work hard and as a team. When we got to know Amina over the production of this video we found that she embodied many of these qualities. She jumped on the occasion to help out at her school by volunteering as a Breakfast Buddy. What motivated her? ‘Breakfast is an important part of the day… You can’t think if you didn’t have breakfast’, told us the young girl.
Despite her young age, she was determined to get involved in making her community a better place, because ‘taking care of each other is important’. Between her volunteer work and school, Amina also found the time to take dance and acting lessons. Our entire team was blown away by her energy and ambition.
Over the years, our favorite Ambassador attended one more Leadership Camp, this time as a Junior Leader. She helped the younger kids have a positive and constructive camp experience, and as needed, she would share some advice with them: ‘I would tell them ‘don’t be afraid to be yourself and to try new things and learn from other people’’. Her favorite part about the camps? ‘I loved the activities around team building, it’s important to work together’.
Amina is just shy of 15 years old today, and a few months ago, we caught up with her at her local park to produce this new video. She was all grown up and was now an accomplished musician and singer. We discussed why Breakfast Club Canada’s programs were so important: ‘it’s a lot more than putting breakfast on the table. It’s more about having a safe place to go to in your community. It doesn’t matter why you need breakfast (…) all that matters is that you are there’. She was so right, especially as it relates to the ‘safe place’.
‘Safe Spaces For Youth’ also happens to be the theme of this year’s 19th International Youth Day, celebrated today by the United Nations. They define ‘safe spaces’ as inclusive places where youth “can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and freely express themselves.’’ It is critical to us that our breakfast programs are accessible, safe and universal. By offering students from coast to coast a ‘safe space’ to go to every school morning and the nutrition they need to learn in class, we believe we can help change their future for the better.
For Amina, we have no doubt the future looks bright. This young leader, part of the largest youth population ever on our planet, has all the tools she needs to succeed. She’s an inspiration to us to continue working until all Canadian children have access to a healthy breakfast before class.