Budyanee De Zoysa

Budyanee is an active member of over five different Budyanee de Zoysayouth groups and initiatives in Kingston. She is always looking for ways to play her part in improving our community. Her engagement and advocacy for Kingston youth began shortly after she arrived, December 2015. Budyanee was approached by a member of the Limestone District School Board to be a Keynote Speaker for the “Dare to Stand Out: Youth Diversity Conference”. This was her first time speaking about her experiences coming to Canada in front of a large audience of youth. She was amazed by how responsive, appreciative, and respectful everyone was, this encouraged her to continue being involved in the Kingston community.

From this Budyanee became involved with Peace Quest, then the Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA) youth group and Pathways for Children and Youth. The ISKA youth group has played a huge role in her feeling welcome in Kingston. Through attending youth group she has been able to experience many diverse cultures. This also createda drive in her to expand her knowledge and began learning more languages; she would love to be able to assist as a translator for the group.

Just this year Budyanee added to her growing list of youth initiatives by becoming a successful candidate for Sophie Kiwala’s MPP Youth Council. This makes her one of approximately ten youth that discuss youth issues related to provincial parliament and bring them directly to Sophie Kiwala.

Something Budyanee hopes to work on moving forwarding is addressing racism in Kingston, specifically socio-political aspects of racism. She is currently in a working group that aims to ending structural racism in Kingston, as of now this group is doing research to learn more about the experiences of racialized youth in Kingston.

Youth Spotlight: Holy Cross Student Wellness Team

The Holy Cross Student Wellness Team works tirelessly throughout the school year to both promote health as well as enhance the wellbeing of its students and staff at HCCSS. The Wellness Team meets every month to plan various initiatives that centre around the messages of FUEL, CHILL, CHAT & PLAY. Holy Cross promotes FUEL-ing up with  healthy food through ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ where team members prepare and serve hundreds of servings of fruits and vegetables for staff and students free of charge! CHILL days promote relaxation and stress reduction through interacting with therapy dogs, massage therapists, and yoga instructors. The students also understand the importance of a supportive community within the school and host CHAT days, during which the cafeteria is transformed into a cafe with live music, students have access to a photo booth, free refreshments, and a ball pit to jump into with friends! Finally, PLAY is encouraged by being active in their open and non-competitive athletic events on ‘Fit Fridays’. The team also works diligently to plan and deliver a full week of healthy living activities during its annual Wellness Week.

Overall, The Wellness Team has had a huge success by focusing on the positive and encouraging everyone at HCCSS to make healthier choices. All members of the Holy Cross Wellness Team are deserving of this recognitions for their diligent efforts aimed at making Holy Cross a healthier and happier place to be!

To learn more about KFL&A Public Health visit their website www.kflaph.ca 

Youth Spotlight: Daniel Amaral from GameFace

Daniel is a 20-year-old youth participant in the City of Kingston’s GameFace program. Since being a part of GameFace, Daniel has transformed from a very quiet and shy participant, to a very vocal and involved youth with lots to say! He is passionate about Kingston and what our city has to offer people like him. Ever since Daniel decided to join GameFace,  he has become an ambassador for other youth. He is very enthusiastic about being a part of the various meetings and events. His role within GameFace when volunteering  consists of letting participants into the building, setting up the gaming systems, handing out snacks, and other helpful tasks.

We are happy to have him both as a participant and a reliable, helpful and friendly volunteer!

To learn more about GameFace, visit www.cityofkingston.com