Participants gather at Studio 89 Dec 21, 2017, for PCYI’s Winterfest event.

On the evening of December 21, PCYI’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) hosted WinterFest, a youth social, open mic and clothing drive, at Studio 89. Tobi Ajibolade, PCYI’s Youth Engagement Coordinator elaborates,

The purpose of the ‘Winterfest’ Social was to bring awareness to youth homelessness, by engaging the community through various art forms and putting action behind their words with a ‘new & used’ clothing drive. We were able to collect over 100 items of clothing, from warm socks to winter jackets and donate it to a non-profit operating in the Peel Region called “Straight to the Streets”. During a time of increased commercialism, it was refreshing to be able to give back to our neighbours.

Below are some reflections from Youth Advisory Council members who took part and assisted with the planning:

Some of the clothing donated to the Winterfest clothing drive.

The social we ran at Studio89 was something I instantly fell in love with. Coming into it, I must say I was a bit stressed because of school and due dates (I had a math test the next day), and that day had not been the best day for me. Despite that I was determined to make something out of it – whatever that may be. 

I genuinely love to talk – I talk a lot to ANYONE, and when I am given the chance to talk passionately about something I believe in, I never

fail to seize the opportunity. This social really touched me and I only wish I got to stay for the entire thing. I thrive as an individual when I am surrounded with like-minded people who have similar passions because that is not something I always get to share with my friends. I believe that spoken word is the unsaid words of society that only seem to be acceptable when said with evident passion and I saw that through several of the performances. Some of the things said truly did touch me (the one performer who talked about Christmas and what the actual meaning of it is. Although I don’t celebrate Christmas, I do have other religious events in which I do agree that we sometimes forget the initial meaning of why we celebrate it). When I got to sit down with other performers who I have never even met before, it’s like an instant click that we have despite the age gap. I was able to talk to them and reciprocate similar passions. I do wish that my performance was a bit stronger, but I was happy with what I put out. 

I still am relatively new to the Council and don’t know a lot of the members very well, so this gave me the opportunity to get to know the people who did show up a bit better – it was a nice way to bond and I would definitely love to continue to know them better. The clothing drive brought back a lot of good memories because when I was in middle school, my school was down the road from a Value Village and after my family’s spring cleaning we had a lot of clothing to donate, so I took action and created a school wide clothing mountain that was very successful. My goal was to have every student carry a grocery size bag of clothing as we did the school wide walk and we exceeded that goal both years. It felt nice to give back to people who were less fortunate because what seems to be small on my behalf, can be huge for someone else. 

Isra Amsdr

Isra is a grade 10 student in Peel and a member of the PCYI Youth Advisory Council. She calls herself a lifelong learner who is passionate about equality and ensuring that everyone has the right to free speech and education. Isra enjoys writing, public speaking, literary arts and visual arts.


Members of the PCYI Youth Advisory Council at Winterfest.

I would say that I had a fun and different experience at Studio 89. The atmosphere was pretty cool and I never knew about Studio 89 so it was nice to check out a place that does good for the community. The performances were pretty cool – from Isra (a member of the YAC) to the motivational speaker. It was different and it gave quite a few people a chance to see some talent from people in their community. I thought the clothing drive was very cool. I had clothes that I wanted to donate for a while. It was convenient that there was a clothing drive at this event. That way people can come to this event and drop off some clothes for donation at the same time.

Walid Nawaz

Walid works as an electronic technician. He enjoys public speaking, self-development, biking, video games, weightlifting and spending time with friends. Walid’s goals include  travelling the world and giving a Ted Talk. He has been on the Youth Advisory Council since September 2015.

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