After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

passionTOaction: Five young women get passionate about sustainability

The passionTOaction team.

 Five months ago, Jennifer McRae, 26, a recent graduate from Simon Fraser University, approached the Passion Foundation about an idea to engage young women in understanding the vast spectrum of sustainability through story telling, dialogue and experiential learning.
McRae completed the Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue program at SFU. It provided an out-of-the-box learning opportunity and life-changing experience that she wanted to share with other young women.
In fall of 2010, she worked with Passion Foundation to develop the program, called passionToaction (p2a). In early 2011, a call was put out to high school girls from across the Metro Vancouver area, including a write up on Walking the Talk BC.
Through her network, Jennifer was able to engage a group of dynamic women who are passionate about sustainability to come on board and provide workshops for the p2a participants.
Munisha Tumato
, Paola Qualizza, Samantha Lefort, Sarah Stoner, Victoria Hoodson and Deanna Rogers will be working with McRae during the pilot project, bringing with them their unique expertise and enthusiasm.

In April, five young, energetic go-getters were accepted into the program.
Hannah Crisp and Marie-Claire Massicote from New Westminster Secondary School, Patricia Angkiriwang from Crofton House, Laura Finkler from Kitsilano Secondary and Kelsey Dennison from Rockridge Secondary are five young women who are already making a difference in their communities. All are in Grade 11 and are mapping out their futures and the future of our world.
Their passions are vast -- from water, fossil fuels and waste reduction to deforestation, food security and youth empowerment.
“I am also interested in ways to encourage and empower youth to make more environmentally friendly decisions in their lives so that our generation gets in the routine of helping and not harming our environment”, said Marie-Claire Massicote.
While the program was originally conceived of as an introduction to sustainability, "when we saw the calibre of these young women, we had to rework it to best support them”, said McRae. The program is now focused on capacity-building workshops, designed to give these budding change agents the tools and community roots they need to continue their already inspiring social change work. 
Over the next three months, the young women will be meet with McRae in a classroom setting donated by Gordon Youth Search House, as well as other community venues, including field trips in the community.
The participants also have an opportunity to work with Lori Petryk, of Healthy Living by Lori, on a series called Good for You, Good for the Earth, thanks to a grant received from Youth4Sustainability. The girls will have an opportunity to work in producing the segments, creating an active social media presence and promote awareness in their schools.
In addition, Mark Vonesch of Reel Youth has offered to provide a three-day film training program for the young women involved and 10 of their friends to assist in creating a short film to support their missions.
We’ll be covering their journey growth and stories in the months to come.

More in The Gender Files

Ghosts of Violence Ballet Comes to Vancouver

The Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada is bringing its Ghosts of Violence ballet to Vancouver in early December.

Designer Lisa Bohn shares tips on success and on giving to community

Bring your sketchbook everywhere. Catalogue anything and everything that inspires you. Write down your ideas and never think that just because you are done school means you stop learning.

Book review: Feminism For Real

This year's must-read is Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Copy of Feminism, edited by Jessica Yee, founder of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network.
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.