The teen behind the June 1 Youth Rally Against Budget Cuts started a non-profit four years ago. Abdeslam Boubia is a Grade 12 Lord Byng student who launched Rising Above Poverty when he was in Grade 9.
The idea was born after a visit to his homeland of Algeria. “I saw the effects that poverty was having on youth over there and the lack of education and resources they had, so I got a bunch of friends and we started collecting sports equipment to send over there every time I went,” he said. “It kind of snowballed.”
The non-profit’s goal is to create a basic standard of living for orphans and youth in Third World countries. It’s raised more than $3,500 since its inception.
Boubia gets help from three close friends when necessary–Celina Vincent from Fraser Heights secondary in Surrey, Brian Hui and Rachel Ha from Eric Hamber and Quinn Mell-Cobb from Lord Byng. They visit schools to talk to students about leadership and the importance of taking action on social justice. “We try to educate kids about the ways they can make change and the ways they can make their voices heard,” he said.
The group has also hooked up with a woman behind an organization called Hearts in Action. She has provided them with an online platform that enables them to connect with youth around the world for discussions, debates and forums on subjects including AIDS, women’s rights and poverty.
Boubia immigrated to Vancouver with his family in 1999. Although he graduates in a few weeks, he’s concerned about public education, especially since he has three younger brothers–one in Grade 11, another in Grade 2 and the youngest only three months old. “These cuts have been happening since 2000 and they’re just getting worse and worse every year,” he said.
The Youth Rally Against Budget Cuts takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. June 1 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Boubia expects more than 600 students to show up along with parents and trustees.
“We’re trying to get the Liberals to see the damage they are doing in hopes of them giving us funding back,” Boubia said. “We also want the media to show the images of the youth movement that is taking place so that we can shake some sense into the Liberals.”
Demonstrators are being asked to wear blue, which represents unity and team work in many cultures around the world, according to Boubia. He thinks the rally will send a message to the provincial government.
“I’m going to be honest, we may not get our money back for education but it will scare the hell out of Gordon Campbell and [education minister] Margaret MacDiarmid and we’ll show them that once we rally together and make our voice heard, we’re a voice to be reckoned with,” he said.
Boubia plans to take a year off after high school to travel and work in Africa, including Algeria, Uganda and Rwanda, before returning to study political science and journalism at Langara College.
Jermaine Griggs (25yrs old) is a minister, musician, entrepreneur, and public speaker. Having grown up in the inner city of Long Beach with just his mom and sister, he always envisioned life on the other side of the tracks. At the tender age of 16, he decided to focus on his passion and started Hear and Play Music, an instructional music company specializing in teaching piano by ear. With only $70, he bought the name HearandPlay.com and launched the company that would not only change his life but hundreds of thousands of musicians around the world through his books, dvds, software and training courses.
Eight years later, over 2 million aspiring musicians download his online lessons every year and over 200,000 loyal students receive his regular newsletters. Having seen the site grow from a few students a month into an international musician “hub,” helping millions of people (both free and paid) is nothing short of amazing — and constantly reminds Jermaine of his humble beginnings. He knows what it feels like to be on both sides of the track and also shares his story with entrepreneurs all over the world regularly.
He is married to his high school sweetheart of ten years and has a 2-year old daughter named Jadyn. He is a graduate of University of California, Irvine, and currently resides in Orange County. He employs a team of 10 both locally and remotely and continues to expand as more passionate musicians find out about the site.
As a former student of Bishops’ College Colombo, who is currently studying at Colombo International School (CIS), Sarah is passionate about healthcare and believes that affordable and reliable healthcare is a basic need and a right in a truly sustainable society. Her entry into community service and activism began as a 12 year old raising funds to provide medical equipment to tsunami affected schools in the East. That was just the beginning; from there on life has been a rollercoaster ride for Sarah and triumphs have been plenty. As an all rounder Sarah has achieved success both academically and as well as socially as an activist and a catalyst who strives to create a positive change in the society.
At first glance Sarah Jameel looks just like an ordinary 18 year old girl. She is bubbly, energetic, and talkative, and according to her mother is obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy. But the similarities end there and once we start chatting it really didn’t take much effort to realize how special she is. Sarah is a realist and a go getter who has spent most of her teenage life as a youth activist. Young as she is, Sarah is the kind of young woman who is determined to step into the real world and take a stand for the betterment of society. Her courage and determination fuels her passion to put herself out there and make that change some of us only dream of doing, so it really doesn’t come as a surprise that Sarah has just returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where she represented the voice of youth as a Global Changemaker.