Welcoming our new OYEC members!

This past month, we welcomed a new cohort of members to the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee. New and returning members attended the annual retreat at City Hall to meet one another, learn more about OYEC and set new priorities for the 2019/2020 year. 

OYEC began in 2012 as a result of a Youth Summit held by the City and Mayor Jim Watson to better determine how the city could improve for the youth population. The summit was attended by dozens of youth who wanted to have their opinions heard. As a result, OYEC a partnership with the City of Ottawa and Youth Ottawa was formed to engage and amplify the voices of diverse communities of youth in Ottawa, in action and through representation.

Fast forward 7 years... OYEC has achieved some amazing milestones! Just a few of their past accomplishments include:

Mayor for a Day

  1. The creation and launch of the Mayor for a Day program. High school youth shadow the Mayor for a day.

Affordable Transportation

2. Consulted with OC Transpo to have transportation included in the cost of more events/festivals; co-hosted an event to advocate for the Equi-pass (low-income bus pass)

Sexual Health Education

3. Creation of a Sexual Health Summit to be held this coming November.


The retreat was well-received by the 20 members in attendance. The group revisited the priorities of the 2019/2020 year which included economic growth and diversification, integrated transportation, thriving communities, environmental stewardship, sustainable infrastructure and a thriving workforce. They also attended an anti-oppression workshop by equity-based facilitator Muna Mohamed in order to educate members on issues of oppression and diversity to encourage sensitive, respectful and informed communication. Other sessions throughout the day included, “building healthier relationships”, “strengthening relationships with the land, with Indigenous youth”, and “how to organize for municipal equity”. Members were able to reflect on the work of OYEC alongside their own goals for the year ahead, then begin joining subcommittees devoted to these issues.

OYEC's Impact Report

To read more on OYEC’s accomplishment view our latest IMPACT REPORT

Meet the new members up close!

“I care passionately about ensuring Ottawa is a city where people feel happy, safe and empowered. I’ve moved back to Ottawa after two years living abroad and can’t wait to use my skills and experience as a young person to give back to the community.” 

Chloe is most excited to connect with other passionate youth and contribute to the city that she loves. Interesting fact: Chloe loves to travel and has visited over 30 countries! 

Chloe Halpenny

New Member

“ I am most excited to hear the ideas of all the other passionate youth and seeing their ideas come to fruition.”

Safiyah is a returning member to OYEC. She joined because she wanted to continue doing the amazing work that OYEC did last year. As a youth, she wants her voice to be heard, taken seriously and create positive change.


Safiyah Marhnouj


I look forward to getting involved in a setting that allows me to express my opinions and voice.” Mayeen (right) is  a new member to OYEC. She joined because she wanted to be a part of a youth-oriented organization that allows her to take action on intiatives she believes are important. 

Sanjeevani (left) is a returning member, and joined OYEC because she wanted an opportunity to be able to represent younger youth voices and have a platform to be able to launch her ideas. “I am most excited to finally launch ‘Councillors in Civics’ program this school year.”

Sanjeevani Kumar & Mayeen Ayoub

new and returning member

“I am passionate about making change that I want to see rather than waiting for someone else to do it.” Harriet is a returning member to OYEC, she is most excited to launch the Sexual Health Summit this November and is looking forward to meeting more passionate people to create a collaborative effort towards change. 

Interesting fact: Amongst a ton of things, Harriet works for Empower (Her) Network nonprofit as a social media coordinator and is going to the world cheerleading championships in 2020.

Harriet Fisher

returning member

“Je veux aussi assurer que la voix des jeunes de la ville d’Ottawa, soit entendues à la table politique de l’hôtel de ville d’Ottawa. Angelica (right) is a returning member for a 3rd term and is very passionate about youth civic engagement and youth empowerment. Fun fact: Angelica is a first-degree Taekwando black belt!

Sherry Wang (left) is returning to OYEC for the 5th year. She joined because she wants to implement actionable change to issues that youth care about in the city.

Sherry Wang & Angelica Kalubiaka

returning members

Are we seeing doubles?? You guessed it! They’re twins, the powerhouse Tommy and Lewis Han are returning members to OYEC.

Tommy joined OYEC because he wants to make Ottawa a city where youth feel that they are valued stakeholders. He is specifically interested in launching affordable and accessible recreational programs for low-income youth in Ottawa. His weakness? Maple Walnut Cake!

Lewis Han joined OYEC because he wants to advocate for affordable services and programs for low-income families. 

Tommy and Lewis Han

returning members

I joined OYEC not only to gain experience but to try and make such an intimidating institution more human and more willing to help those it has previously oppressed.” 

Ganaaboute is a returning member to OYEC and is most excited for the Sexual Health Summit, to see the turnout and impact it makes. Interesting Fact? He is one of the two student trustees at the OCDSB. 

Ganaaboute Gagne

returning member

Judy Rwentambo is a returning OYEC member. She has done extensive work on the Racialized Youth subcommittee, particularly in the realm of Black youth and the Ottawa police; creating resources and continuing dialogue pertaining to combat anti-Black racism, policing of Black youth, and systemic racism. She is a passionate advocate for youth justice and empowerment!


Judy Rwentambo

returning member

“I joined OYEC because I want to make a difference in my community. As a high school student who has seen and experienced how municipal issues have effected youth, I’ve come to learn that youth engagement and representation at the municipal level are extremely important. OYEC gives us a platform to continuously make Ottawa a more youth-friendly community.”

Jane is a returning member to OYEC and is looking forward to seeing the team’s hard work and dedication pay off while expanding who and what she knows about the city.

Jane Yao

Returning member

Anjali is a new member to OYEC and is passionate about human capability, intergenerational relationships, mental health illness and wellness and youth activism. She is most excited to learn from experts, professionals, and other driven youth on how to create sustainable and scalable impact!

“I am an inspiring social entrepreneur, I started a social enterprise in 2019 called Createpreneur. I am the first generation in my family to go to University.”

Anjali Ramburn

new member

Terence Dsouza is one of OYEC’s newest members! Having moved here recently from Mississauga, where he did extensive student organizing around numerous issues within the Peele District School Board, Terence is new to Ottawa and ready to apply his experience and passion for youth empowerment. 

Terence Dzousa

new member

Amongst our new and returning members, OYEC has an active alumni team that includes members, Tatheer Ali, Widad Damou, Jennifer Constance, Fatima Sanogo, Elisa Soto-Danseco, Emily Taylor and Hope Ace. 

OYEC is still actively recruiting Francophone members. We also welcome and prioritize members for our Indigenous youth subcommittee. Please be in touch: [email protected]