I had the pleasure of meeting Elyssa at Take Action Camp during the summer of 2017. Elyssa was at camp participating in the Arts and Activism stream, two things Elyssa is incredibly passionate about. Anyone know meets Elyssa knows that she is an ambitious and eager advocate for Education, Mental Health and Gender Equality. She is the type of person who expresses her passion in everything she does, and isn't afraid to speak her mind. She believes she has a message to share, and is not afraid to share it. At Take Action Camp, Elyssa had the chance to develop her action plans. Elyssa’s; a website focusing on Education and Equality. Her blog was developed as a way to give youth a voice she thinks is lacking. Her website, StoriesforChange.ca, (click on the link to go directly to the website!) urges youth to send in stories, pictures, poems, art, or anything to express yourself, Since Elyssa has all this passion inside her, she has to find a way to express it. Elyssa is an amazing writer, and she has an amazing voice to share. At Take Action Camp, I heard the very first spoken word poem that brought me to tears, Her Letter to her Education System. (watch below!) On her website she has shared more poetry, including a moving spoken word on International Women's Day.
Elyssa started her journey of advocacy in Grade 7, when she noticed that there was a lack of passion in her community. Like so many other youth in the world; Elyssa has experienced a lack of encouragement. She found it so hard to have such a big voice in a world that didn’t have the ears to listen. Although Elyssa understands these barriers, she also works to break down these barriers so others don’t have to face them. She has been involved in many opportunities since a young age that aims to bring change to the world, including Girl guides of Canada. She has been involved in Guides since she was 5, and now is a volunteer with Brownies. in 2018, she was the winner of the Making a Difference Girl Greatness Award for her work as an advocate!
One other organization that has changed Elyssa's life is Plan International Canada. She was accepted into the Speaker's Bureau in the fall of 2017, where she attends monthly meetings with other youth to discuss Gender Equality. This has lead from multiple opportunities, such as attending the Art of Leadership conference with Malala, attending EqualityTalks twice with Michelle Obama and Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, and attending the Y7 as a youth delegate! She also has the opportunity to give a speech about changing our words to a Gender Transformative Approach!
I am proud to have a friend like Elyssa, and I am so excited to see her succeed in the future, all the way from Student Council, Broadway, and the UN.