Youth Leadership Expo 2016

Written by: Joelle

The 4th annual Youth Leadership Expo took place on May 10th at Daniels Spectrum after 6 months of meetings and lots of hard work! Volunteers arrived bright and early at 8:30 AM and we waited expectantly for the students to arrive.

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This year we welcomed 200 grade 7 and 8 students across the GTA to discuss ideas of leadership and community involvement. Students were divided into three groups and rotated amongst 30 minute sessions under the direction of our amazing high school facilitators from Harbord Collegiate Institute. Each group had the opportunity to listen to Christal Earle, who is an entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. She shared her personal life stories in order to drive the point home that we have the ability to overcome challenges and make a difference in the world using the skills that we already have.

Students also participated in interactive activities with their peers, where they discussed what leadership means to them and how these traits could be implemented within the context of their own lives. Special thanks goes to Heidi Ludwick for preparing the high school facilitators in being able to lead these activities.

The Marketplace for Social Change was the third session that students participated in. Ten community partners set up tables and talked to students about the work their organizations’ work and ways to get involved. The community partners focused on a variety of different topics – mental health, arts and music, volunteering overseas and helping youth gain new skills. New to the Expo this year, were talented youth artists from VIBE who performed as students were rotating through sessions. We had a dancer, hip-hop artist and a spoken work artist who engaged the students with their artistic talents!

By 12:30pm, our volunteers were in the green room in having lunch and the students were on their way back to school. This year’s Youth Leadership Expo was smaller, but more intimate and gave us the opportunity to connect with students more personally. Colleen Bowker created amazing supplementary materials to encourage students to reflect about what they learned during the day. Another great feature created this year is an online forum where students can connect with one another to discuss volunteer opportunities or ask questions that might have come up after the Expo. We’re excited to see the discussions and feedback from the students that attended the event.

Thank you to all the volunteers, community partners and entertainment that helped make the day a huge success. Special thanks should also go to Heidi Ludwick, Colleen Bowker and Joelle Ferreira for organizing the event.

We hope to see you all next year!


Personal Branding Career Panel

On April 5 Rotaract Club of Toronto and the University Club of Toronto Rotaract came together for their first ever career panel. The topic was on ‘Personal Branding’, and we were lucky enough to get three wonderful professionals on the panel: Rafia Kanji, Maria Shibaeva, and Susan Hunter. The format was simple, it included half an hour of prepared questions to ask the panels and then we opened the floor up to the questions from the attends. I was amazed at the in depth questions that the audience had for the panelist, and even more amazed at the details answers that the panelists gave. Afterwards many of the participants of the event stuck around to network with one another. It was great to see the impact that Rotaract’s professional development team can create when we come together. Even a couple of weeks after the event, the panelist have still been getting feedback. We look forward to working together in future endeavours.

Apply to the Youth Civic Leadership Awards!

2016 YCLA Application Final

Young people are our future!!!
How many times has this wellworn phrase been used to express the possibility of things to come? We believe that young people in this City are not only our future, they are our present.
Youth in the City of Toronto show civic leadership in many ways across all sectors of our society. We believe if we wish these young people to continue their leadership with compassion, creativity and tenacity, we must acknowledge and celebrate their many accomplishments.

Rotary and Rotaract would like you to join in this celebration. Are you a young person who has made a contribution to the community in which you live? Do you know of someone who deserves recognition for the leadership they show? Please help to encourage civic leadership in our City by recommending this individual for a Youth Civic Leadership Award.

Award Requirements We are looking for young leaders that:
 Demonstrate outstanding leadership in their school and/or community

 Are in activities and initiatives that create positive community impact

 Have the ability to engage others to accomplish agreed objectives

 Actively get involved in school and community extracurricular activities

 Are in grade 10, 11 or 12 during the 2015-2016 school year

 Live or attend school in the City of Toronto

Apply here: 2016 YCLA Application Final

Rotaract Club of Toronto Donates $7,500 to SKETCH

The Rotaract Club of Toronto is happy to announce that The Gatsby Speakeasy fundraiser at The National Club on Friday, February 26, 2016 has raised $7,500 for SKETCH!!!

On Tuesday, March 22, 2016, the Rotaract Club of Toronto President, Sarah Hui, presented the cheque to Dale Roy, Marketing & Communications Associate at SKETCH.

Here are some words from Dale:

“SKETCH is honoured to be supported by the Rotaract Club of Toronto, but there’s a particular giddiness we feel, however, when vibrant, creative young people do the fundraising. The Gatsby Speakeasy was action-packed with dazzling costumes, the gravity-defying Charleston, and hits spanning the decades–all brought to life by positive, life-affirming hosts and guests. SKETCH tips its straw boater to our city’s Rotaract!”

Rotaract Club of Toronto Presents: The Gatsby Speakeasy

By: Sarah Hui

On Friday, February 26, 2016 the Rotaract Club of Toronto had their annual fundraiser, this year’s theme was The Gatsby Speakeasy where the proceeds would be going to Sketch.

The event was held at The National Club on Bay Street in downtown Toronto. There were over 200 tickets sold and a number of performances.


The MCs for the night was Avaah Blackwell and Sterling Carter who hyped up the crowd and kept the energy flowing between performances. The first perfromance of the evening was a David Bowie Tribute Band. David Bowie supported arts based organizations targeted towards youth which is similar to what Sketch stands for.


Next we kicked it up a notch and had two dancers from BeesKnees teach individual and partner swing dancing. The dance floor was full of people trying out some moves from the roaring 20s.


This was followed by a speech from the President of the Rotaract Club of Toronto, Sarah Hui, along with the Past-President of the Rotaract Club of Toronto, Neisely Eugene. Anytime an event is planned, the scariest thing is that nobody would show up, this was luckily not the case and the Rotaract Club of Toronto was very thankful to everyone who attended the event and contributed towards the success of the evening.


Next we had Dale Roy, Marketing and Creative Communications Coordinator from Sketch give a couple words. He mentioned the importance of Sketch as it creates opportunities for young people ages 16 to 29 living on the margins. Through the program at Sketch they experience the transformative power of the arts; to build leadership and economic self-sufficiency in the arts; and to cultivate social and environmental change through the arts.


Finally, Charmie Deller, singer/songwriter from Sketch performed. She is a Haitian born artist currently living in the cities west-end, who began singing at the age of nine. She is self-taught and plays guitar, piano, drums and harmonica.The night started off honouring the roaring 20s in line with the Gatsby theme but transitioned to an energic and fun Top40s mix later on in the night.

There were other highlights including:

  • an area where photos were being taken
  • 3 tier-cake from Mimsicle Cakes
  • for our silent auction and raffle, there were some great items including Cole Hann Wallet, Coach Wallet, Wine, Arbonne Beauty Basket, Archery District Vouchers, Escape Games Canada Giftcard, Toys from Spinmaster, One Round of Golf from Mississauga Golf and Country Club, Argos Tickets, Chocolate Basket, Mary Kay Gift Bag, Zaya Oils Gift Bag, Paintings, Macaron Making Class, Jewlery and other wonderful items
  • platters of food
  • people dressed up in their Gatsby inspired outfits full of pearls, feathers and beautiful jewlery



Finally, this could not have been possible without the hard work of The Gatsby Speakeasy Committee which comprised of Sarah Hui, Neisely Eugene, Katherine Kirkpatrick-Wahl, Aislynn Austin, Sterling Carter, Avaah Blackwell, Earlyn Etienne, Adam Edris, Mark Hui and Jasmine Lin.

Also, on the night of the event, all of this wouldn’t be possible without the help of the amazing members of the Rotaract Club of Toronto who donated their time and volunteered at the event.


[Photos will be posted here in the coming days]

Rotaractors Get Together to Prepare for The Gatsby Speakeasy

Rotaractors got together to watch The Great Gatsby to take inspiration of the styles, dresses and party scene in anticipation for The Gatsby Speakeasy taking place on Friday, February 26 at 8pm ( The Gatsby Speakeasy is the Rotaract Club of Toronto’s Annual Fundraiser that will benefit SKETCH.

Rotaractors came together with the focus to create beautiful headpieces the would go along with their outfits for the party in about two weeks time. In the photo on the bottom left, you can see all the supplies which comprised of headbands, ribbons, elastics, beads, pearls, feathers, glitter, etc. In the photo on the bottom right, you can see the completed piece of two headpieces.


Rotaract Club of Toronto Presents : The Gatsby Speakeasy

The Rotaract Club of Toronto Presents: The Gatsby Speakeasy on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 8pm. The event will take place inside The National Club. The National Club was founded in 1874, and it’s an exclusive clubhouse built in 1907 located at 303 Bay St. It is a designated historic site, next to the Trump Hotel in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. The event will offer a party that is genuine to its era, and would certainly reflect Jay Gatsby’s lavish 1920’s party style.

Proceeds of this event will go to SKETCH which was founded in 1996 in Toronto by Phyllis Novak, with a core group of street-involved young people. It originating in the Queen Street West and is now located at 180 Shaw Street.

SKETCH is a community arts initiative with 7,500 square feet of creative space. They have studios dedicated to visual arts, movement and theatre, industrial arts, enviro and culinary arts, screen-printing, ceramics, music recording, and more.

Buy your tickets here:

Gatsby Speakeasy Poster.jpg

Twitter: @TorontoRotaract