To begin this story I think it important to tell the story of our meet-up to write this biography. On Friday, October 24th 2011 Melissa came and met me at Aden Bowman where we commenced our discussion. I had no idea what to ask her, but knew this couldn’t be a traditional biography. Sure she is 21 years old, her family is Malaysian-Chinese, she is from Saskatoon, speaks four languages some better than others, and may or may not love long walks on the beach. None of those things really tell us who she is. Our discussion began at about 3:45 and did not end until 6:00. Yes, we talked for over 2 hrs, but I think that in itself tells something about who Melissa is. She is the kind of person you can sit down with and just talk to for hours. I learned a lot about her life, who she is, where she’s been, and where she’s going. Her first experience with activism began in high school where she began working with WAM (“We Are Many”), a youth group dedicated to environmental justice and sustainability; a group that she is still a part of today. Initially she volunteered for self-gratifying reasons, but this changed as she grew as an individual. After high school she did a 10 month exchange in Japan that opened her eyes to the world around her, and the connections that exist. As a result she enrolled in international studies and loves it. My experience chatting with Melissa was splendid she is a wonderful, sincere person who truly cares about the work she is doing. She said something very insightful to me during our meeting. By only volunteering absent mindfully or by only studying a subject in University it is impossible to gain real understanding regarding what is going on in our world. True understanding can only be accomplished by truly, full-heartedly getting involved.
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