Six years ago Tamika’s family moved to Canada from Nepal; she was 12 at the time. It was a difficult transition for her as she had to learn English. She quickly found herself quite isolated. Four years ago, Tamika joined the YSM Youth Council, where she found community and began to thrive. For the last two years she has been a part of the executive team, first as the Secretary, and then as Co-Chair.
When planning the annual community clean-up in St. James Town, Tamika decided to reach out to other community youth organizations to expand the impact of the event, and build stronger community relationships. Her outstanding leadership led to her winning the 2014 St. James Town Change Makers Award.
She is now in her first year at the University of Toronto, studying Engineering.
Community is so much more than a shared postal code. It is sense of belonging, with a web of connected relationships that impacts our health, sense of value and very importantly – our ability to thrive and realize our goals. Yet, community is on a rapid decline. A 2015 Agnus Reid survey on Belonging found that our experiences of community has been declining since the 1960’s. This is uniquely challenging in the communities that YSM supports (currently Regent Park, Moss Park and St. James Town) because they are comprised of people who are further isolated or marginalized in our society due to cultural, economic, or social barriers. Regent Park and St. James Town are part of the 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas defined by the City of Toronto in 2014 that fall behind and require special attention. These communities are comprised of people who have many gifts to offer the community but cannot find an avenue to contribute. This is a tragic loss for all of us as the potential to build healthy thriving communities sits idle in people until they become frustrated, disillusioned and ultimately apathetic as they begin to believe there is no way out.