Last year, Kayley and Kyle (Wear Your Label co-founders) attended the Jack Summit (at the time, Unleash the Noise!) as facilitators. They were in the handful of people travelling from Atlantic Canada for
Canada's only student-led national mental health innovation summit (aka the coolest, most inspiring experience ever). It was actually at this event that they pitched Wear Your Label for one of the first times to student leaders across the country. At the time, it was a side project in university that they thought would make a wicked campaign... fast forward a year, and they're heading back as speakers for the event!
This year, two of Wear Your Label's Community Champion's are also headed to the Jack Summit as facilitators. Christine Jamieson and Aladdin Sidahmed both attended Jack Summit last year as delegates, and were so moved by the event that they applied again to facilitate. Wear Your Label is so proud to sponsor these two in their fundraising efforts to attend the summit. (Their personal fundraising links can be found at the bottom of the post). Christine & Aladdin share their experiences at Jack Summit and their hopes for this year:
You both attended the Jack Summit last year as delegates. Who/what encouraged you to apply?
A: I had a feeling of wanting to help change things, but didn't know what role I could play when I just have my experiences. Luckily, a friend had posted (Jack Summit) on Facebook... I chose to take a leap of faith, and applied to be a delegate.
What was the highlight of the summit for you?
C: A lot of the time when you are doing advocacy work it feels like you are just slowly chipping away at this massive mountain. When I went to the Jack summit last year it reminded me that there are so many people working towards the same goal; making mental health part of every day conversation and making care for mental health accessible without the stigma. In a way, it validated everything that I've been working so hard at for the past few years.
A: The number of friends I made at the event, and at the fact that it was at the Summit that I got to meet and know Dexter (another Community Champion, and mental health advocate).
Why were you motivated to go back as a facilitator?
C: I had such an amazing experience last year as a delegate and found the facilitators inspiring that immediately after the conference I thought 'Yup, I'm going back'.
A: I want to give back to an organization that has been has been my springboard into the mental health advocacy field. I want to meet new individuals who are passionate about mental health, and see what their stories are about. And maybe, just maybe, I could get to play the role to someone at the summit that Dexter played for me.
What is something you hope to bring to the summit? Something you hope to take away?
A: I hope to bring the good qualities that I see in myself, and that others see in me. I hope to make new friends, beautiful memories, and progress in my journey towards becoming the best me I can be.
Why are organizations like Jack Summit and Wear Your Label important to you? Important to mental health in general?
A: Jack.org and WYL are testaments to the role that youth can play in the mental health movement. Growing up, we somehow come to believe that it is only the old and powerful who can truly change a society. That we youngins are just foolish dreamers. And you know what? They are partly right. We do dream big. We do want to push past what was previously defined as successful change. Through organizations like Jack.org and WYL, youth can learn of the power within themselves. The power to be trailblazers, to be a force of positive change.