NYCH’s twice-annual Leadership and Community Engagement training offers in-depth lessons on the structure of government, field trips to City Hall and Queen’s Park, and a practicum project based on a civic issue of their choice. In 2016, the spring cohort garnered over 20,000 signatures on a petition supporting their cause: basic income for all Canadians. We asked two of the petition's leaders, Reza and Feroza, to share why they chose the issue of basic income and what they gained from the leadership training.
Which issue does your community project address? And why is it important to you?
Reza: The intent of our petition is to advocate for a basic income policy that can work with existing income security programs to help people live a more dignified life. We came up with this idea when, as a part of the class exercise, we used a "2x2 Matrix" to prioritize activities that we thought of as urgent and important..
Out of all, we deemed basic income to be the one with both the highest urgency and most importance. This was due to our belief that our existing income security system in place has become ineffective when it comes to helping people afford life’s basic necessities – food, housing, and other general expenses.
Feroza: For me, I am motivated to pursue a Basic Income Agenda, because there are 5 million people currently living in poverty here in Canada. In particular, 1.3 million children. Yes, the government speaks of the middle class and the recent Canada Child Benefit that lifted 300,000 children out of poverty, but what are they doing for the 1.3 million who still experience poverty?
What did you gain from the Leadership & Community Engagement Training that helped you develop your community project?
Reza: In relation to our decision to choose basic income as our main priority, we feel that NYCH’s LCE training was valuable first, because it taught us how to plan, organize, and raise awareness and support for our issue within both the community and political system.
Each of us also brought different experiences and ideas to the training and this not only enriched all of our experience but contributed to our group’s results after the training ended. We felt that the mentorship pedagogy of our facilitator, Beatriz Alas, allowed us to excel, learn the material effectively, and make the leadership training sessions meaningful and satisfying. Furthermore, we felt that we were mentored by someone who saw themselves on the same level as us and who was equally ambitious to learn from our knowledge and experiences as she was in sharing hers.
The resources that NYCH has provided along with Beatriz’s continued guidance and mentorship have been key to our group’s success since the end of the training. We are confident that with this continued support, we can continue to grow, break new boundaries, and establish ourselves as a vibrant community group.
Where can people get more information about your project, and how can they support you?
Reza: We are looking for people to help us out with a variety of duties and responsibilities including media, policy analysis, or just as active members. We can be reached at email@example.com, and if you haven’t yet, we ask that you check (and sign!) our petition: https://www.change.org/p/jean-yves-duclos-parl-gc-ca-a-basic-income-in-canada
NYCH's Leadership & Community Engagement Training is an intensive training that aims to provide basic knowledge and tools for participants to strengthen their leadership capacity, enhance civic literacy and practice leading a community engagement project.
The training has two components: 48 hours of in-class instruction, and 35 hours of a practicum component, where participants work in small groups to plan, research, and carry out a community engagement project on an issue that concerns them.
If you would like to learn more or register for the Fall 2016 session, please fill out an online application.
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