Where we are: I’ve spent too many years watching the students in my classes consider making other cities their home because they don’t see a future for themselves here. It is time to reverse that trend.
CBC released a report in February 2020 describing the phenomenon I am seeing every year. “This may come as a revelation to some Calgarians, but young people who have left Calgary say they're not surprised by the trend. They see little opportunity in the city they grew up in. Jobs are hard to come by, careers even harder.”
Where we can go: Cities are inherited. What was built was left for us. What we build is what we leave behind for the next generation. That is why I am committed to building a city that we can be proud to leave our children. Our youth know exactly what type of world they would like to inherit and I commit to engage them, listen to their stories, and empower them to be city builders. I’ve spent years investing in our next generation, I want to see that investment take root here in Calgary.
The most important aspect of being a teacher, especially a high school teacher, is building relationships with your students. They are capable, intelligent, critical thinkers who are entering a changing world. If you really want to prepare our youth for the world waiting for them–hear what they have to say, ask them what they want, and help them build it. When the relationships you’ve developed are authentic, caring, and respectful, they’ll tell you what matters to them. The city that young Calgarians want will change and grow, so we need to listen, here’s what my students have told me:
Social: They want to live in a city; where diverse cultures are embraced across our city; where we are done giving excuses for not addressing the legacies left behind from the oppressive systems that linger still; that has a vibrant arts and culture scene, an exciting nightlife, festivals and events, and somewhere to thrive. They want to live in a city where they are included as city builders.
Economical: They want to be able to enter into a diverse workforce that offers many opportunities for success across multiple industries. They want to live in a city that has world class post-secondary institutions that are supported, connected, and a part of the fabric of their city as a means of embracing innovation. They want to live in a city that is accessible, affordable, and full of opportunities.
Environmental: They want a city that understands the true cost of the climate crisis and is willing to fight against it. To be the truly resilient and sustainable city they imagine, we must protect their future by protecting the place they will call home.
- Immediately implement a Ward Youth Council that will incorporate a capstone project for young people to pitch their ideas about what type of city they want to live in.
- Support Post-Secondary Institutions in a “Vote Anywhere” policy that reduces barriers to young people and marginalized communities in their pursuit of civic participation.
- Partner with the CBE (Calgary Board of Education), CSSD (Calgary Catholic School District), and private institutions to create a more open feedback and dialogue loop to inform youth and support enriched civic engagement.
- Support the creation of a locally developed secondary high school course that will address TRC Call to Action 62.i: to develop curriculum for school-aged children
- Work with the Calgary Youth Employment Centre and local organizations to create a culturally-responsive education and employment support program aimed at uplifting young people facing barriers to education and employment.
- Invest in the expansion of Calgary’s entertainment districts to create more spaces and opportunities for young people to engage with Calgary.
- Ensure Calgary’s investment in Arts & Culture is competitive with other major Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.