Tamika’s family moved to Canada from Nepal when she was 12 years old. It was a difficult transition for her — she felt isolated as she learned English. When she joined the YSM Youth Council, she found a community, began to thrive and even became 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 reached 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.
In 2015, she began studying Engineering at the University of Toronto.
Community means much more than a shared postal code. It means a sense of belonging with a web of connected relationships that impacts our health, sense of value and our ability to thrive and realize our goals. Yet, according to a 2015 Angus Reid survey on Belonging, this sense of community is in a rapid decline. This decline is uniquely challenging in YSM’s Regent Park, Moss Park and St. James Town communities because they are comprised of people who are already isolated or marginalized in our society due to cultural, economic, or social barriers. In fact, Regent Park and St. James Town are among the 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas defined by the City of Toronto in 2014 that fall behind and require special attention.
The people in these communities have many gifts to offer but often 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. Instead, they begin to believe there is no way out.