BY HARNOOR GILL
Grade 11 student
Christ The King Catholic Secondary
A Canadian charity known as Plan Canada provided me with the opportunity to attend a youth journalist workshop at the head office in Toronto. It was a unique opportunity for myself as a youth journalist and I was delighted to be able to come to an event where I could improve my writing skills. Before I start to recite my terrific experience with Plan, here’s some brief history about them. Plan Canada is essentially a global movement for change and it has been empowering millions of people to help support social justice for children in developing countries across the globe. This amazing organization was founded in 1937 and happens to be one of the world’s oldest as well as largest international development agencies that are helping to bring an end to poverty. Although it was a commute for me, I still enjoyed being able to listen to the speaker’s thoughts on journalism today and relating those key points to my own experience.
The workshop consisted of speakers of different backgrounds in life and spoke about interesting points in journalism. The three speakers that came out to this workshop were Jeff Gunn, who is a Toronto-based freelance guitarist, Kourosh Houshmand, who is the founder of a non-profit known as Solar for Life, and Abigail Brown, who is the senior media and public relations manager at Plan Canada. It was interesting to see that each of these people had one thing in common: it was the passion to seek change, which also happens to comply with Plan Canada’s vision. It was awesome to see how the passion to play guitar led Jeff into pursuing exciting endeavours in life such as touring the globe with the singer Emmanuel Jal. A former student trustee for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Kourosh talked about speaking out on the issues affecting students in the TDSB. He inspired local students to speak out by developing a Student Hub in the Toronto Star. Abigail from Plan Canada itself showcased how her passion for volunteering and writing led her through many organizations but Plan Canada stood out for her because of the vision that it has in supporting children and people in developing nations.
Being a journalist myself, I am proud to also be an official Plan Canada youth journalist. Attending this workshop has influenced me to speak about key points that I have heard. As a writer you should always be proud of what you have written and never allow yourself to be undermined by harsh criticism from high-end publications. If you have ever tried publishing your work, you must know that it is quite difficult to get anything out. However, as a writer, one should never give up in the endless attempts of getting a piece of writing published. Always try to think from a reader’s point of view on why your writing should be published and how it meets a reader’s expectations. Most importantly, be unlimited in your writing and always try to write about a subject keeping in mind the time of its proposed publication. Although I follow most of these guidelines, I am amazed to see how much my horizons have really opened since I first started writing.
I can honestly say that I have been amazed by the content that was brought from this workshop and it certainly inspired individuals who attended to pursue a career in journalism. Even as a youth journalist, I have been inspired to take on the various paths of reaching out other than traditional writing such as vlogging. This happens to be a form of speaking out through a video perspective and through Internet sources such as YouTube; vlogging makes the impossible possible. On a further note, this workshop has allowed me to realize that our time is in fact limited and it is our duty as humans to make a lasting impact with a positive force.
Remember, it is our time to be the change around us and it is through our efforts that the future will appreciate the positive impacts of our hard work today.