Love Vancouver inspires young female leaders

Seeing everything that people were doing to sustain the health of our planet really made me feel inspired to continue what I'm doing knowing that others around me are doing so much more to help the planet!

Vancouver recently held its first Love Vancouver Festival, a festival of green art, music and lifestyles. Over 6,000 people people gathered at the Olympic Village to take part in the event.

With the support of Vanessa Violini, the Passion Foundation's  passionTOaction girl team were donated a table and given an opportunity to show a performance to share their passions about sustainbility. The four passionTOaction young women who participated, along with their dedicated volunteer coordindator, Jennifer McRae, who called their experience "inspiring."

Participant Marie-Claire Massicotte was also moved by the event. 

"Seeing everything that people were doing to sustain the health of our planet really made me feel inspired to continue what I'm doing, knowing that others around me are doing so much more to help the planet," she said.

Massicotte said she thought that it was important for her group to participate in this festival, as it allowed them to show what their program was about and gain support from the public. "At one point, a woman came to our booth, and asked us what we did," she recalled.

"When we told her that passionTOaction was created to give girls the tools and education to become environmental activists in their communities, she was extremely excited. She was thrilled to see that there were programs that support for girls to accomplish their goals and become leaders in their community."

The young women put together a table that had two panels where people could take a piece of recycled paper and add what it was that created passion in their lives when it came to sustainability and what action they would take around their sustainable passion.

"It was a bright, gorgeous day to get out and meet some amazing people. Participating in the festival was a great opportunity for us to connect with the public," she said. 

"I had an amazing time hanging out at the festival," said Patricia, 17. "Festivals like these prove that it's possible to have a fun, exciting event and have it responsible, sustainable, and ethical as well."

This was the young women's first interaction with the public  their program. Every week, they have been meeting for three to four hours to discuss hot topics on sustainability, learn from mentors, and take workshops to hone in on their passions.

Hannah Crisp, 17, said: "Participation in the Love Vancouver Festival gave me hope and inspiration. I often feel isolated when I’m at school because I may be the only one in an entire class who is so engaged in environmental matters. I often get told that I’m crazy for caring so much, and I hear way too often that there is no hope for our planet."

"I hear way too many fellow students -- and even teachers -- who would rather not know where their food is package or the wage of the farmer who harvested their fruit," she said, adding that in the social environment of high schools, it is often "easier to ignore than it is to care" about the planet.

She said that at the Love Vancouver Festival, she felt surrounded by like-minded people who are passionate about pouring their efforts into everyday actions that lead to a better world. 

"This sort of positive environment gives courage to activists, especially young women, who feel alone and powerless in the face of social justice issues," she said.

When the community presents opportunities for young women to engage in their passions we see remarkable change in their confidence. This is evident in their continued enthusiasm to give back to the the communities and help the world.

For more information on how you can support the continuing of the passionTOaction program in Vancouver please email [email protected]

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.