YAM: social action for the young & young at heart

by Adelaide Z  |  May 2, 2011

Speechless, proud and deeply moved is how I left Youth Action Montreal’s Living Your Legacy conference.  The line-up of speakers the Youth Action Montreal team presented at the event was truly amazing.  It was a day of great Canadians, and some of whom were from Montreal. They had Craig Kielburger from Free the Children and Me to We, David Suzuki, Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, Stephen Lewis, Co-Founder and Co-Director of AIDS-Free World, Gabriel Bran Lopez, Founder, Youth Fusion, and Kristina Partsinevelos, 5 days for the Homeless, to name a few.

David Suzuki


They all spoke on different global issues that are all linked to one another.

Several Vigilantes were in attendance.  A few of us were fortunate enough to attend a cocktail afterwards where we had the pleasure of speaking with some of the amazing speakers about their missions.  We had the pleasure of meeting Kristina Partsinevelos from 5 days for the Homeless.  Her talk was so inspiring and we were just chomping at the bit to be able to speak with her. She told us more about her experience of being homeless for 5 days and how she was still going to work 3 out of those 5 days.  Now, keep in mind that the participants who committed to the full 5 days, as she did, did not eat unless they were offered food, did not shower for 5 days and slept outside in the cold no matter the weather. Because it was on a busy street corner right in the middle of downtown, they did not get much sleep either.

She told us about how they found cardboard boxes to sleep on and their thrill at finding a one dozen egg carton. They would all take turns passing around the egg carton and place it under the cardboard box while they slept so it would be more comfortable.  She said it didn’t really change much in terms of comfort, but just the thought of it was comforting. This may be the reality on any given night for a homeless person – picking up anything they can find that may make their living situation just a little better.

After talking to her and seeing her passion, she had us sold on participating somehow and in some way in next year’s 5 Days for the Homeless.  Who knows, maybe I’ll do it for one night – we’ll see.

The take away from all of this is that we can all make a difference.  Craig Kielburger said if you are unable to make a financial contribution or to give up your time, then contribute by being socially conscious consumers.  There are many ways in which we can be socially conscious.  We can try to stay clear of companies that endorse child labour, buy local, organic foods and organic clothing, etc. We all make purchases every day or almost every day and if we just invest a little bit of time in educating ourselves on the products we buy and making conscious choices of which companies and products we want to support, we can all make an impact on the world.  If each and every one of us did this in our daily lives, imagine the impact that could have on our world!

You can check out the full Twitter recap: www.twitter.com/vigilantfutures or see more pictures on the Vigilant Futures Flickr page.

Craig Kielburger at YAM 2011


Tags: , , , , , , ,