The following MYAC 2019/20 update was provided to City Council on June 23, 2020.
The 2019/2020 Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee would like to take this opportunity to update the Mayor and Council about the projects and activities that took place throughout the year. Despite a very different end to the MYAC year due to the pandemic, we feel that we were still able to accomplish a lot.
Leadership and Annual Plan
As the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, our mandate is to provide a voice for the youth in Niagara Falls while advising council of important issues for the city’s younger population and to encourage facilities and programs to enhance the quality of life, health and well-being of the youth in our community.
At the beginning of each year the new MYAC team participates in Leadership Day to to learn about roles and responsibilities as committee members, to get to know each other and build a team, and to take an active role in an annual planning process. This year we were able to hold this special day at City Hall and participate in team-building activities to identify our strengths as a group.
MYAC operates with three sub committees: Giving Back, Just for Fun, and Youth Voice. Each Sub Committee has a slightly different focus which allows each individual to contribute based on their strengths and also offers additional leadership opportunities for our members.
Regular MYAC meetings take place once per month and sub committees report and receive feedback from the team as a whole.
The following summarizes the activities and events that were planned for the year. In some cases, the plans were not implemented.
MYAC (ALL MEMBERS)
- Project SHARE Christmas Basket Program: Following our annual tradition, MYAC once again was able to sponsor a family this year and were happy to donate some essentials and gifts for this family during the Christmas season.
- Community Clean Sweep: The Mayor’s Youth was involved in cleaning our adopted street on October 5th which covered from Oakes Park to Portage Rd. As this was an early event, we were able to get to each other better and spend time together. Typically we would have also participated in a spring cleanup event.
- Federal Election Project: With the help of First Vote, a non-profit organization at Brock University, we promoted the Student Town Hall which was hosted at Brock on October 1st with various slideshows and merchandise. We also implemented a variety of learning opportunities at the five high schools.
- Community Outreach Kitchen: As a group, we attended the Outreach Kitchen twice this year where we served meals to individuals during winter and spring
- Wheelchair Basketball Practice Team: Unfortunately due to the pandemic, this event was cancelled.
- City of Niagara Falls Youth Volunteer of the Year Award: MYAC had the opportunity to select a youth resident that displayed a true commitment to the community through volunteering. This year, the award was given to Bianca Marcella, a MYAC alumnus.
- Jim Mitchinson Scholarship: MYAC is proud to present this scholarship in Jim Mitchinson’s honour to a member of the youth that has demonstrated leadership and involvement in the community. This year, the scholarship was awarded to Pranav Parakh, a grade 12 student from A.N. Myer Secondary School.
The Youth Voice subcommittee is an outlet that allows MYAC to provide a voice and advocate for youth and create events catered to students that explore important topics such as education, transportation and employment in Niagara.
2019 Niagara Student Summit: A very successful Summit was hosted on October 17, 2019 at Brock University. MYAC hosted approximately 250 high school students from high schools across the Niagara Region at this “by youth for youth” outside of the classroom learning opportunity. We are grateful for the support of Brock University, the DSBN, and the NCDSB for all of their support and to our sponsors Enbridge Gas, Niagara Peninsula Energy, and Walker Industries.
- Youth Forum: A youth forum was planned to take place at the MacBain Community Centre to gather input from youth about what is important to them. Unfortunately, due to the Emergency Orders the Youth Forum was cancelled.
- 2020 Niagara Student Summit: Planning was well underway for the 2020 Niagara Student Summit that was to take place in October. A decision was made to not host an in-person Summit and after much discussion the team decided to plan a Virtual Youth Forum.
- 2020 Virtual Youth Forum: Planning is underway to host a Virtual Youth Forum with hopes to attract high school students to provide input regarding their current concerns as well as their need for resources and opportunities.
MYAC’s Giving Back sub-committee is dedicated to contributing time into our community and paying it forward through volunteerism, fundraising and monetary donations.
Red Roof Christmas Party: This holiday season, our Giving Back subcommittee attended and organized a Christmas Party with children at Red Roof. Activities included gingerbread making, holiday card decorating, button-making, bowling and more.
- Mother Earth Day: An important initiative that Giving Back took on this year was helping to plan the Mother Earth Day event, which has been postponed to May 29th, 2021. We decided to contribute goat yoga and a MYAC information booth, which will allow attendees to win prizes if they correctly answer environmental trivia.
- Skate Nights: MYAC held two skate nights this year at the Gale Centre (Oct 26 & Feb 1). Teenagers were invited to freely skate on the rink in exchange for a donation or a canned good for Project Share’s fundraiser. We included an activities room filled with board games and snacks for those who did not bring skates.
JUST FOR FUN
The Just for Fun Sub Committee focuses on providing opportunities for youth from across Niagara Falls to get together and have fun. Often events involve showcasing the many talents and skills of our fellow students.
- Coffee House: A Coffee house was planned to take place in the spring with Ruth’s Chris/Yuk Yuk’s agreeing to provide the venue to us. This family friendly event provides an opportunity to showcase talent and for students from all high schools to get together in a social setting. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 we were unable to host this event.
- School-A-Palooza: School-A-Palooza is a student favourite that brings together the five local high schools for a friendly competition. This year a new Pre-Palooza event was planned to take place at the Boys & Girls Club. This event was intended to allow for greater individual participation and encourage students to stay active. Unfortunately, this event was also cancelled.
- Promposal Contest: A promposal contest was planned and cancelled. Last year, the promposal contest was a great way to share many fun and creative promposals on social media with lots of great prizes.
We would like to recognize and thank our annual sponsors: Niagara Falls Rotary Club and Ruth’s Chris. As well as our Niagara Student Sponsors: Enbridge Gas Inc, Niagara Peninsula Energy, and Walker Industries. As well as our new event specific sponsors Niagara Recycling and Niagara University.
Despite the unfortunate end to our year, MYAC was successful in implementing some great events and contributing to the community through volunteerism. We look forward to continuing our work and cannot wait for 2020/2021.
We would like to take this time to thank the Mayor and Council for continually supporting our efforts and specifically for Councillor Strange for attending our meetings and providing input and support.
Shreeya Patel and Waheebah Ahmed, 2019/2020 MYAC Co-Chairs