Lilia Zaharieva and Sam Claver
At 24 and 17, Lilia Zaharieva and Sam Claver are examples of community leadership in action.
Lilia is the creator of insideOUT – a group providing support to youth between the ages of 13-18 who have a parent with a mental illness.
Having a parent with a mental illness herself, Lilia recognized the need for a safe place for youth to talk and learn about mental illness and take away some of the stigma associated with this issue.
Speaking at the recent City of Victoria Youth Council’s leadership and action summit Lilia inspired youth in the audience and reminded us of youth’s amazing capacity for innovation and change.
Creating social change and innovation, she reminded us, is sort of like a ‘bacon cinnamon roll’- by putting unexpected things together we can create something new and delicious, and that is more than the sum of its parts!
Samantha came to Canada as a political refugee in 2007 from her home country, the Philippines. Adjusting to life in Canada was hard, she admits, but she started to feel more at home here when she started getting more involved with the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society(VIRCS).
Since then she has been involved in two theatre projects, called ‘Where is Home’ and ‘My Forbidden Disorder-’, with VIRCS. ‘Where is Home’ documents the immigration experiences of newcomer youth, while My Forbidden Disorder tackles the challenging issue of homophobia.
Sam has also been active in working with Project Respect- to bring youth perspectives to the issue of sexualized violence. Speaking at the Summit, she said of her community involvement, “even though it might seem like you are doing something minor, it is never a bad idea to do something you are passionate about.”
Lilia and Sam recently shared the Representative of Children and Youth’s 2011 Youth Leadership Award and are reminders that youth are citizens and leaders today.