• By: OLM Staff

One Ottawa Teen’s Life-Changing Experience with Youth to Sea 

The landscape of positive change being pushed by youth across Canada has a new stand-out story in Youran, a 17-year-old recent permanent resident. Currently mastering English, Youran has not only embraced her new home but emerged as an outstanding resident in her community. As an environmental advocate, she is a testament to the transformative power of passion, determination, and community engagement.

Youran’s inspiring journey lies in her involvement with the Ocean Wise youth program, Youth to Sea. Youth to Sea is a transformative ten-month program engaging 140 teens aged 15-18 in Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax. The hands-on initiative focuses on developing problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills through learning journeys, workshops, placements, and ocean service projects. The program aims to equip participants to become ambassadors for the ocean.

Partially funded by the Canada Service Corps through the Government of Canada, Youth to Sea is a holistic Ocean Wise initiative fostering environmental stewardship.

What started as a mere affiliation transformed into a life-altering experience, shaping Youran into an advocate with a mission. Her commitment to the organization is evident in her compelling letter of support for the Promo Science Grant. It demonstrates her dedication to advancing the group’s cause of cleaning up and saving the ocean.

Youran’s brainchild is the “Ocean Guard Quest,” a planned community event designed to cater to youth audiences and serve as a vehicle to educate and raise awareness about critical ocean issues. Through intricately hand-drawn maps of Britannia Park and Beach, Youran crafted thematic stations addressing pressing topics such as oil drilling, marine engineering, rising sea temperatures, overfishing, habitat destruction, and plastic pollution.

Each station doesn’t simply showcase a problem; it is a call to action. Participants engaged in a shoreline cleanup for plastic pollution, created posters proposing solutions for overfishing, tackled quizzes on rising sea temperatures, and more. Youran’s innovative approach didn’t stop at the planning phase—she successfully pitched her project to the Eco Club at Colonel By Secondary School and rallied support from other Youth to Sea participants. The event took place with the enthusiastic participation of 10 teens, all of whom not only learned about ocean issues but also actively contributed to creating a healthier ocean within their communities.

Youran’s efforts have become a catalyst for positive change, sparking awareness and inspiring action within her community. Her story is not just about individual accomplishment; it is a beacon, shining a light on the potential within each person to make a meaningful impact on their surroundings and the environment.

What adds significance to Youran’s journey is her personal growth. Initially unfamiliar with the intricacies of Canadian post-secondary education, she is now navigating the academic landscape and pursuing a degree related to the environment. This academic pursuit is fueled by Youran’s transformative experiences with Youth to Sea in Ottawa.

Youran’s story is not just about one youth’s triumph but a narrative of collective empowerment and community engagement. Her journey exemplifies the potential of individuals to become catalysts for change, steering communities towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

Each person has the power to contribute positively to their community and the world at large.

HEADER IMAGE: Ottawa students who participated in Ocean Wise’s Youth to Sea program.

About Ocean Wise:

Ocean Wise is a global conservation organization with a mission to protect and restore the world’s ocean. Focusing on education, research, and direct-action conservation, Ocean Wise inspires and equips youth, citizens, businesses, and governments to take proactive measures. Initiatives include shoreline cleanup, sustainable seafood, seaforestation, the WhaleReport app, and plastic reduction. To learn more, visit ocean.org.