“I am an Islander with heritage from Scottish and Irish people. I identify as a boy. I am an ally of LGBTQ2S+ people. I like learning about human rights. I am concerned about climate change and how it will affect children today and in the future. I am very interested in children’s mental health rights because adults sometimes think less of children’s mental health and ignore it just because they are a child. “
“I am interested in basic human needs for children like food and water and shelter and safe places and safe people.” “I think children should be more educated about politics in the school system so people can understand it earlier at a younger age when your brain is still developing.”
“Children’s voices need to be heard because in mental health, they don’t get help if no one listens.”
My name is Joelle and I am thirteen. My first language is English but I learned French at a very young age so I know both languages equally. I think I provide good insight into the Francophone community. I go to École Francois-Buote. I am part of the LGBTQ2+ community. During the last year I have done a lot more art and I have become a more creative person. Because of my teaching at Dance Umbrella, I have learned how to better understand small children and what they need.
I offer a different point of view and a diversity of ideas. Keeping the youth of our community safe is a very important thing to me. I think going to a French school gives me a unique perspective on the somewhat unfair distribution of funds between French and English schools. As part of the LGBTQ2+ community, I am but one letter of the acronym but I have many close friends of diverse parts of said acronym. These close friends give me the chance to see the world from many different perspectives. Some perspectives accepting and some not so fortunate. I also have experience with adoption services. I was not adopted but my mother was. I went through the entire process of discovering her birth family along with her. She was adopted back when the church would take your newborn child if you weren’t married.
I believe that equality is very important and all youth should be treated fairly and protected from harm outside of their control. They should also be helped and taught to protect themselves from things within their control. If they are not protected as they should be, there will be serious mental and physical drawbacks due to that. We need to do the best we can to protect all the youth of our province so that those potential drawbacks don't happen. Because if they do they could lead to serious mental illnesses in the future.
Founding Member 2020-2022
I’m a 16 year-old girl going into grade 11 at Bluefield High school. I was born in PEI but have moved back and forth from here to Saskatchewan my entire life. I may not be an outstanding person but I can definitely tell you my qualities that put me aside from others. I am also going to talk about things I'm interested in and accomplishments I have done. I am a very outspoken person who likes to prove a point and I don’t settle for any less. I am always trying to have my voice heard in as many ways as I can. I would drop anything to help someone in need and I like to put a smile on peoples faces even if I don’t feel it myself. In my spare time, I try to learn new things and volunteer at multiple spots. If you don’t already know, I like to talk lots and ask lots of questions. Some may say I’m an overachiever, but I cherish it.
I like to involve myself in sports; the teams I’ve been on are badminton, track and field, power lifting and I am also interested in getting into rugby. Aside from sports, I also like to read lots of good books, do crafts, spend time with friends, garden/plant, and to make gifts. I love looking at art but can’t do it worth my life. I also like swimming, kayaking, camping, and doing lots of fishing. I am also a big cooking and baking geek. My favourite hobby is traveling and exploring. So far, I’ve been everywhere in Canada, except five places. My current goal is to explore the Island more than I have; I am doing a restaurant journey with my friends this summer. Last but not least, I love buying sunglasses. Everywhere I go, you’ll find me buying a new pair.
I may not believe it, but I am very proud of all the accomplishments and volunteer work that I have done. Sometimes I’m a bit harsh on myself and sell myself short. Now is my chance to be proud of the work I’ve done. I have been involved in lots of volunteer work over the past couple of years including the annual Mikinduri fundraiser, leadership at school events, peer helper with elementary students, brunch at North Rustico Lions Club, tree planting for watershed group, Thanksgiving dinner at South Rustico Lions Club, a "mini library" community service project, Rustico rink canteen, student council member and participant in multiple leadership events.
Some of my accomplishments would be getting my bronze Duke of Edinburgh award (currently working on silver), getting bronze in my first provincial power lifting meet this year, having the chance to meet our Lieutenant Governor and being personally invited to her garden party. This year, I was supposed to attend the Skills PEI Competition event for culinary but wasn’t able to attend due to COVID-19. Lastly, I just received the culinary arts award through the art coffee house award ceremony that Bluefield throws every year.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I have a fraternal twin sister who is the total opposite of me. And no, having a twin isn’t always fun, it has its ups and downs.
Lastly, I can now say that I am a proud member of the Child and Youth Advisory Committee of the PEI Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and can’t wait to see what this committee has to offer.
Founding Member 2020-2022
Hi, my name is Shauna Bjornson. I am a 16 year-old fraternal twin girl and currently in grade 10 at Bluefield High School. I was born on Prince Edward Island and have lived between here and Saskatchewan. Growing up, I have always liked drawing and tend to do it on my own time. I’ve enjoyed soccer and basketball but haven’t played on any sports teams. I’ve always been a huge mama's girl ever since, literally, day one. My dad wasn’t always in my life, but I still love him.
I attended pre-K and kindergarten in Saskatchewan before moving back here for grades one to three. After grade 3, we moved back to Saskatchewan, and it wasn’t until after grade 5 that we moved back to PEI. I’m happy to say we have been here since.
In grade 8, I got my first every job! It was so exciting and kind of scary, but I still love my job to this day. I work at the North Rustico Food Market which is obviously in the great community of North Rustico. I also have the opportunity to work on accounting every now and then in the community. In grade 9, I started designing my very own clothing line as a project and really hope to continue with it as a side job later in life. After high school, I really want to be a lawyer or an accountant. I have gone through so many job idea switches in my head growing up; now I'm finally sort of settled.
I absolutely love animals and always wanted to become a vet but later on realized I wouldn’t be able to face some of the struggles that come with the job. I then switched to wanting to be an actress. I really wanted to attend the Vancouver Film School. I soon changed my career again to what it is now. I have been wanting to be a lawyer for a couple of years now and it wasn’t until I started working on accounting that I thought it could be the job for me. I’m taking law courses and accounting courses next year to really see what I may like more, but I still don’t know.
Currently, I’m just heading through high school with ideas in my head but I want to keep my options open in case I change my mind again. Being in school a lot of kids focus on getting noticed and getting awards, but I was never really someone who was in school for those reasons. I always focused on and still focus on my future career and setting myself up for that. Of course, I may not have awards in track or powerlifting like my sister, but I do try my best to get the best grades I can. I really want to get good grades and attend college or university and take my learning further. If I chose to be a lawyer it would be a complete dream come true if I could attend law school at Dalhousie University. I absolutely love the school of Dalhousie and have been obsessed with it for the longest time. I really loved that it was in Halifax because that is where I wanted to live for so many years, but I am okay with staying and living on PEI. If I were to become an accountant I have no clue where I would attend and I’m not sure if Dalhousie also provides accounting classes as well but it’s something I could look for and hope for. My life has been a complete roller coaster, but I am so grateful to be where I am today.
Founding Member 2020-2022
My name is Sarah Lucy Knockwood and I am 15 years-old. I am one of the Indigenous youth in Scotchfort. I have a loving family and two dogs.
My life has been a roller coaster of emotions and adventures. I passed elementary school and went on to high school. There, I had some trouble and failed grade 9, but didn't give up. Instead, I transferred to the Montessori school and worked hard to do better. I am not one to give up. I love to try new things as well.
I love arts and crafts and am currently trying to start a business to sell my paintings.
I am always looking for ways to make a difference, be it by helping out others or hoping to make people smile. I joined the committee for the experience in political things but also to make a difference. I like to give my honest opinion. I hope to make more friends in the future.
Hi, my name is Miyako Kenny, and I am currently 13 years old. I was born in Japan in 2007, after 4 years I moved to Jakarta, Indonesia due to my father's employment. After 2 years of living in Indonesia and attending the Jakarta International School, I moved to Ontario, Canada for only 8 months before officially moving to Long Island, New York. After living in Long island for 3 years, I finally moved to Prince Edward Island! I have 2 siblings (an older sister, and a younger brother) and as well as 3 dogs; a black pug (Storm), a chocolate lab (Charlotte, named after Charlottetown), and a Japanese chin (Tono) who is the newest member of our family. My mother is Japanese, and my father is half Canadian and half Australian. Making me half Japanese and 1 quarter Canadian and 1 quarter Australian.
Since I was very young I have always loved anything to do with music and arts. I attended a lot of dance classes while living in New York, and came across the viola thanks to my school orchestra. Unfortunately I have not taken any dance classes since leaving New York, but I have gladly continued the viola. I am so so grateful I stuck with it even in the toughest situations and it has helped form me into the person I am today. It helps me release all the feelings I have trapped inside of me. I also love to bullet journal and paint as well. It helps me use my creativity and make something special out of it. I also recently started golf as well. Before I started golf I was a bit nervous and to be honest not the most excited, but once I started it and kept an open mind, I learned to love it very quickly. I am very glad I started golf!
Lately I have been VERY interested in Criminology. I have been fascinated by topics such as criminal minds and law. When I eventually go to university, I currently want to go to Sophia University located in Japan. I want to get a psychology degree and a PhD in criminology.
When it comes to advocacy priorities, from my experience in middle school, there have been various cases of cyberbullying and loss of self esteem due to the "norm" of the school or the students which should be addressed. Children only at the ages 11-14+ have been pressured to follow the trends, fit in, date, and presumably get bad grades, because if you don't you're labeled nerd, brainiac, teacher's pet, and so on. This goes for both genders as well. Children and teens shouldn't be embarrassed to say "I love you" to their parents when they leave for school, or wear bright/vibrant colours, or want to be identified differently from their sexuality, gender, or pronoun. But, society brainwashed teens across the world into thinking you can't be different and unique, and choose your own story.
In order to fix this, from my point of view is to share each other's stories, and learn from each other coming from a girl, boy, and lgbtq+ member to share the struggles they've had in topics such as social media. I think this will help because I am certain there will be students and teens who relate and understand how they feel and try to slowly understand how everyone wants the same thing, to be accepted for who you are and not what society wants.
MIA GRACE (RETIRED)
I live in Kinkora and attend KRHS. I am currently in grade eleven and will be turning seventeen this summer. I am the second youngest child in a family of seven children and I also have four younger nephews. Family has always been a really important part of my life, and growing up in a large family group has allowed me to see first-hand some of the challenges and rewards that youth on PEI may experience.
At the current time I am working as a volunteer at Venture Stables as working with horses and animals has always been my passion. I also enjoying working with the students at Venture and was able to recently work as a mentor and leader at their March Break camp. Prior to that, I completed my co-op placement there and also had an opportunity to work with the home-schooled kids and other students who attended Venture on a weekly basis. This led me to make the decision that after I complete high school I hope to apply to Holland College to attend the Child and Youth Care Worker diploma program.
I have good friends at high school who are in foster care. This has really opened my eyes to what it may be like for kids who don’t come from a stable home environment. I am known at school as someone who is trustworthy and who is a good listener and kids at school and the barn come to talk to me on a regular basis. In addition to this, I have friends who have identified themselves as either transgendered or lesbian and I feel very comfortable being able to spend time with them without being able to totally relate to their personal experiences. I think it may sometimes be hard for them to feel accepted by everyone within society, especially when they are trying to figure things out for themselves, but I think they automatically know I am nonjudgmental and accepting of differences.
This may also be from my own personal experience as someone who has dyslexia. The typical school system which is based so closely on reading to learn and showing what you know through writing it is challenging for someone with dyslexia. Some of my siblings also have dyslexia so learning challenges are a struggle that I feel very connected to.
Furthermore, I have witnessed substance abuse and know how devastating this can be to children and their parents. I also believe that this is a big problem on PEI today. Related to this is my experience with the criminal justice system, supporting a youth who had engagement with law enforcement. I have learned about the connections between learning disabilities, mental health and addictions and how this often leads to trouble with the law. I would bet that many of the youth involved with the youth justice system today also have undiagnosed learning challenges and may suffer from problems with mental health and addictions.
On the brighter side, I get excited about volunteering and community involvement and have always participated in community events here in Kinkora. I am hoping to put my name forward in the next municipal election since I think it’s really important for youth to have a voice in municipal government as well. I have attended Council meetings for years and have gained knowledge about how meetings run, how decisions are made, and how important it is to stand up for what you believe in.
Finally, I have also had the opportunity to volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and feel that my sense of empathy and ways of reading people have helped me get along with the student that I was paired up with. I hope that what I have learned as a BBBS volunteer would also be useful for the Child and Youth Advocacy Committee of the PEI Office of the Child and Youth Advocate.
Founding Member 2020 - 2021
I was born in 2008 and spent the first nine years of my life living in England in a small town called Helsby in the county of Cheshire, north-west of England. I moved to PEI in December 2017 because of my father's work. When we moved here, we wanted to try lots of new things and experiences, so as a family we have got involved in a lot of sports and tried classically Canadian activities, like dog sledding, archery and snowboarding. I joined a karate club and am taking part in basketball and a mountain biking club. Before Covid-19, I was working towards getting my bronze medallion lifeguard certification. I like to keep really busy and I really enjoy reading in my spare time. I have a dog called Annie who is a miniature Schnauzer and she’s five years old. I like to have her lying near me while I read.
I spent about a year and a half at the Montessori School of Charlottetown, but since September 2019 I have been attending the Grace Christian School (GCS). They are very different schools both to each other and compared to my school in England. Trying lots of different schools gives me a good view of how people have very different lifestyles. Whilst at GCS, I took part in the Christmas production in a lead role which involved singing solos. This was nerve wracking but I’m glad I did it and apparently, I did ok! In the future I am looking forward to going to university. I have no idea what I want to do as a career yet, but I am thinking hard about it.
Since we moved to Canada, we have done lots of travelling as a family and I enjoy that. Other places in the world I would like to visit are Australia, Mexico and various places in the USA and Europe.
Being involved in this committee is really interesting. I hope as a British immigrant to Canada, I can bring an interesting new point of view to the work we are doing together.
Founding Member 2020 - 2021
My name is Jade Ward and I am currently 20 years old.
I have been in foster care for as long as I can remember. However, I am proud to say that I have found my forever home. I moved in with my family in 2012. I have a younger brother and sister.
I love my family and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.
I am an early childhood educator. However, before that I was seeking a career in either art or theater. I love art. I love painting and sketching. I was accepted into MacKenzie Art College but ultimately decided on Holland College for my Early Childhood Education.
I've entered (and won) several art competitions, with a first in four competitions and bronze in some others. Figure skating was my passion and I still very much love it. To this day, figure skating is a big part of who I am and has shaped me into the person I am today.
I am proud of who I have become.
Founding Member 2020
Hello! My name is June Horne and as of 2020 I am 11 years-old. I was born in Kitchener, Ontario and moved to Prince Edward Island when I was four. I am an only child, but I have a dog named Macintosh, who is like a little brother. I am a grade 7 student at Stonepark Intermediate School. I live in a small house in a rural area with a forest behind it, and in my spare time I enjoy going outside and feeding all of the squirrels and birds that live on our property.
Speaking of spare time, I have lots of hobbies! I like to Bullet Journal, needle felt, sew, read (I'm a bit of a bookworm), bake, cook, and I especially love theater! I have done countless unprofessional productions, and for the past two years I have been a member of the cast in Anne of Green Gables- The MusicalTM at Confederation Centre of the Arts. I also love to travel with my family. Together, we have been to Paris, NYC, Vancouver, Montreal, Newfoundland, Toronto, and this past February we went on a MEGA Vacation for my Birthday to Orlando! It was a trip I had waited my whole life for.
CHILD AND YOUTH TABLE
Participating on the Child and Youth Table for the past few months has changed my life. I feel like my voice is being heard and I look forward to discussing my values at meetings, which I will talk more about later. I think every individual at this table is amazing and smart. I look forward to getting to know them better over the years.
Oh man! This will be a long paragraph! I care about many issues in the world; I could go on and on forever, so I will only list three: I think everyone should have the same rights - EVERYONE. It does not matter if you are black, white, female, male, Asian, Canadian, identify with the LGBTQ+ community, child or adult, everyone should be treated fairly. I think this a major issue right now, and it needs to be fixed. Another issue I care about is feminine rights! As a female, I strongly disagree with sexisim and I see violations against feminine Rights everyday. Going back to what I said before, everyone should be treated equally. I also care about climate change, and I actually made a huge project about this topic last year. I really think that politicians are not taking this issue seriously and we need to do something. I feel that because I am a youth, and because the government isn't doing much I have to take charge. This is a serious issue. This is real. This has to stop NOW. One last topic I will talk about is LGBTQ+ rights. My grandfather was gay when it was illegal, so this topic means a lot to me personally. I believe no matter your sexuality, you are unique and beautiful.
I hope to pursue a career in the arts, specifically theater. It is my dream to be accepted at Sheridan College. I plan to continue acting for five to ten more years, and then go to a university to get a fine arts degree. In my later life I would like to do more directing and stage managing to understand the Arts and how it works. Why theater you ask? I love it. I have made so many friends through theater, and they all changed my life.
When I'm on stage, all of my problems and fears melt away. Nothing else matters."
Thank you for taking the time to read about me and my life. Have a good day.
Founding Member 2020
I am Maggie and 19 years-old. I’ve been in foster care my whole life.
I just got accepted into the Child and Youth Care Worker program at Holland College. My plan is to start working with group homes and then youth correctional facilities.
Becoming a youth worker is incredibly important to me.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to fix the way the rules are done in foster care and help people who are struggling - the same way I was.
Founding Member 2020 - 2021
I believe that kids who grow up in the right environment and are surrounded by supportive people can excel immensely. That may be a teacher, a family member or anyone they can trust and connect with in a positive way.
Hello! My name is Payge Kowaleski. I am a 17 year-old female and live in Charlottetown. I was born at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown and grew up in the Cornwall / Meadowbank area, Brookfield and Charlottetown. I come from a big family of seven siblings including myself. I moved a bit when I was younger, but I always stayed in the Queens county area where I attended the Bluefield family of schools.
When I was younger I went camping a lot and enjoyed time at Canoe Cove camps. I always loved being in the outdoors and around friends. Through my school years, I enjoyed being in cross country running, attending after-school activities and participated in the Confederation Center of Arts Youth Choir. I also performed a few times on the Confederation stage! I have found myself more interested in singing these past few years and have taken vocal lessons. Last year, I was in a youth talent show and sang during Old Home Week festivities. These past few years, dance has been a positive outlet for all of my emotions. I have also learned that I have a passion for art and enjoy drawing, colouring and painting. I started painting to express myself and my emotions and love it. I feel as though I can put any colors on my canvas and it's like when I pick up my brush, it just knows what to do!
My mindset is “pay it forward" - even just little simple things can make someone's day. It’s the thought that really counts.
When I am older, I would love to have a career working with children and youth. I love children and growing up I was around younger siblings all of the time. I have also volunteered with after-school programs, daycares and as a babysitter. Children inspire me so much to be who I am - to be creative and to use my imagination.
Growing up, I struggled with mental health problems. It was hard, but I always had several people around to support me and be there for me. I would like to repay their kindness and help other people.