In 1998 Kevin co-founded Check Your Head an organization that has worked with over 40,000 young people to get involved in global justice issues. He served as the Executive Director of CYH until 2009. In 2004 he co-founded Get Your Vote On – a campaign that registered 20,000 new voters for the 2005 provincial election in BC. He’s dabbled in municipal politics where he served as Vancouver School Board (VSB) Trustee. While on the VSB he drafted one of Canada’s strongest policies protecting students from advertising in schools, worked to increase student involvement in the VSB’s processes and helped develop sustainability related processes.
In 2005 he began working on what would become Next Up and coordinated the first two years of the BC program from 2007-2009. Since May 2009 he has been dividing his time between the VSB where he’s currently the Coordinator for Sustainability and in building Next Up across Western Canada.
ps – He loves his rooftop garden and his blue bike.
Andrea Curtis, Program Coordinator // Next Up BC
Since riding West from the Prairies in 2005, Andrea has been making waves on the West Coast in Vancouver as a community organizer and event producer. Hailing from a background in art making and arts organizing she has since fueled her passion for culture into a vehicle for social change and environmental stewardship. Andrea is a proud and active Next Up Alumni member. After completing the program in Spring of 2009, she joined the organizing team to assist in seeking out, supporting and unifying young, progressive leaders with the Next Up program. Aside from her work now as Next Up BC Coordinator, Andrea is Co-Director of creative project management company Transformation Projects. Andrea brings her experience in community engagement, creative strategy, leadership and facilitation to Next Up. For her Next Up has become more than a passion and experiment in providing tools and networks to our next leaders — It’s an ever expanding family and an investment in our collective future.
Lindsay Ruth Hunt, Program Coordinator // Next Up Edmonton
Lindsay Ruth Hunt is a theatre practitioner, critical educator, community development worker and all round agitator. She is passionate about the role of arts in activism and social justice projects and believes that critical education and art can provide a necessary means to intervene in troubling social and environmental realities that we are presently faced with. In her work she aims to engage with communities working toward social change, to transform social structures in a manner that improves the capacity of individuals, communities and society at large. She envisions and works with arts as a tool for promoting such change, advocating for a more equitable and just society through a creative means. Her practice has been focused on the use of Theatre of the Oppressed but more recently is branching out to multiple modes of community engagement…all in the hopes of educating, inspiring, provoking and promoting social justice.
Her background includes a BFA specializing in theatre and development, an M.Ed. taking a critical look at the present day education system and the potential for popular education and arts, and she is presently working on a PhD investigating the role of community performance as a tool to intervene and challenge our relationship to consumer culture.
She is excited to be a member of the Next Up team and truly believes that we are at a critical moment in time and Next Up is a necessary forum to foster and develop the leaders that our communities need.
Mike Byerley, Program Coordinator // Next Up Calgary
Sentiment without Action is the ruin of the Soul
- Edward Abbey
After 14 years as a petroleum geologist Mike left the industry to take responsibility for his own actions on climate and environmental change. In addition to coordinating the Calgary program for Next Up, he is also the Community Liaison Coordinator for Amazon Watch, a NGO that supports the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon in defending their rights and environment. As Liaison Mike collaborates with Indigenous people in Canada and the Amazon to develop solidarity and mutual support networks that support Indigenous self-determination and ecological integrity. Mike has been car free since 2010 and is an avid cyclist, balcony gardener and sometime event producer. He is a volunteer board member for several non-profit organisations.
Tracey Mitchell has been active in social and environmental justice work since she was 13 years old and is enthusiastic about engaging youth, which she does in her work as Saskatchewan Coordinator for Next Up. Passionate about self-care & community care, Tracey has worked and volunteered in various capacities in the mental health community. Tracey has also facilitated organizational development processes for about five years, such as visioning and strategic planning.Tracey has a BA in History and Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan and a variety of training in facilitation and evaluation methods. She has also worked on municipal, provincial and federal election campaigns as a campaign manager and get-out-the-vote organizer.
Tracey is a board member with the Council of Canadians and a Leadership Fellow with the Broadbent Institute. She has written for various publications including Briarpatch Magazine and the book and website Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution. In 2005, Tracey received the Vagina Warrior Award from the cast of the Vagina Monologues for her work with the Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and in the same year, was awarded the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal. Traceyloves nerdy board games and lives in Treaty 6 territory in Saskatoon with her partner, Ryan, and their turtle, Ironclaw.
Max FineDay is nêhiyaw (Cree) from Sweetgrass First Nation and was recently re-elected as the President of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union representing 17,000 undergraduate students. In 2009 he was part of the first cohort of the Saskatoon NextUp Leadership Program, which focuses on activist training as well as social and environmental justice; Max is currently the co-cordinator of “Next Up: First Nations, Metis & Inuit Youth in Action” which will focus on Youth Indigenous Activist Training & Leadership development.
Max’s advocacy work focuses on both student and First Nations movements and he finds inspiration within them. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan and has also studied at the University of Nordland in Bodø, Norway.
When Max isn’t rabble-rousing you can find him learning nêhiyawewin (Cree language), tweeting, and laughing at his own jokes.
Kari-Dawn Wuttunee is a young Cree woman from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Treaty Six Territory who now resides in Saskatoon . Kari currently works with the Saskatoon Health Region as the Aboriginal Community Developer with Primary Health – in this role Kari is able to advocate for Aboriginal wellness and health while working in teams of health professionals and providers.
She has been spending her time passionately advocating for young women within her community, tackling issues such as reproductive health, anto-racism and anti-oppressive systematic policies. This work has opened up the platform for Kari-dawn to attend youth forums and gathering to provide insight and support of young Indigenous women providing a framework of understanding through anti-racism views.
She is currently a youth regional director for the Native Women’s Association of Canada and represents youth for the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women’s Circle Corporation. Through her experience within her community and volunteer work with National Aboriginal Organizations, it became apparent that neo-colonialism and racism often govern the decisions of Indigenous peoples rights. This has sparked a fire that burns in Kari-Dawn, as she works towards facilitating change, and restructuring at different levels of governing systems.
Sam Ponting, Program Coordinator // Next Up Ottawa
Hailing from southern Ontario, Sam moved to Ottawa in 2005 to pursue her undergrad at the University of Ottawa. Her major introduction to social movements began on campus, where her disdain for militarism led her to join the Student Coalition Against War. As an anti-war organizer, Sam has worked extensively with a variety of community partners to build up public pressure against harmful Canadian foreign policy.
While pursuing a master’s degree in political economy at Carleton University, Sam worked as Co-Chief Steward of CUPE local 4600, and promoted workers’ rights and labour solidarity among Carleton’s campus community.
Passionate about Indie media, Sam sits on the editorial board of RankandFile.ca, a site committed to providing Canadian labour news and analysis from a critical perspective.
A lover of all things nature, Sam likes hiking, camping, and biking (while still working up the stamina to hit her tires to the plentiful Ottawa snow). In her down time, she seeks out different creative outlets, including guitar and creative writing.
She thinks Ottawa is an excellent new site to build the Next Up program, and she’s excited to join the team at such an important stage in its expansion. She’s looking forward to further explore the passion and talent she’s witnessed resonate within the city.
Seth Klein, Co-founder & Instructor with Next Up
Seth was hired to open the CCPA’s BC Office in 1996. Under his direction it has become a prominent and widely respected source of public policy research and commentary. Seth’s research deals primarily with welfare policy, poverty, inequality and economic security. A social activist for over 20 years and a former teacher, Seth holds a BA in international relations, a BEd from the University of Toronto and an MA in political science from Simon Fraser University. Seth is a founding board member with the Vancouver-based Centre for Native Policy and Research. He is also co-chair of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, an advisory board member for the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance, a board member of the Canada Without Poverty Advocacy Network, and an advisor and instructor for Next Up, a leadership program for young people committed to social and environmental justice. Seth has been listed by Vancouver Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful people in the city, and by Homemakers Magazine among the “60 men we love.” He does not know how he ended up on either list, but he humbly accepts the latter.