Next Up Calgary 2012-2013

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The crew:

Aisha Zaman, Amy Spark, Burgess Power, Denis Thibeault, Jodi Lammimna, Jolene Hunter, Kate Letizia, Kristin Marquardt, Kristina Larkin, Ryan Webber, Sarah Winstanley, Trish Elgersma







Aisha Zaman

Aisha is a dedicated and slightly nerdy activist who is very enthusiastic about changing the course of her social justice journey from international affairs to local concerns this year. After graduating with her B.A this June, Aisha has become increasingly interested in local social and environmental justice. Her journey began when she travelled to Pakistan for her gap year following high school. For the first time, Aisha realized the importance of constitutionally entrenched rights for citizens and women’s equality rights. Believing strongly in the mutual relationship between laws, and social attitude and behaviour, Aisha enrolled in Law and Society at the University of Calgary. For four years she kept herself busy by being an active member of the campus community through leadership positions in UNICEF on Campus and the Western Muslim as well as by being a Peer Mentor for the Communication and Cultures Co-Curricular Peer Mentoring Program. Her two year term as UNICEF on Campus’s Vice President allowed for Aisha to develop a strong interest in children’s rights. Her coursework has greatly influenced her to accept that she is a liberal feminist. Both of these influences combined have shaped Aisha’s future ambition of working within Canada’s legal sector. Using this year to prepare herself for the real world, Aisha is currently expanding her local volunteer work, dabbling in online blogs, applying for law school, and of course baking for sanity.

Burgess Power

Conceived by green uniformed parks lovers in a Newfoundland national park; the epic of a Canadian man begins to unfold. Unnamed and growing at a zygotic speed he journeyed with his mother six thousand kilometers west to enter the world in Field, British Columbia. When a few rocks tumbled down a nearby peak and attracted attention, Burgess Langshaw Power received his name. Surviving in the Canadian Rockies environment necessitated an adrenalin and nature addiction; mountain biking Western Canada’s trails became his passion thus creating a character filled with excitement and empathy that he’s hoping to spread around the world.
Recently he studied on the waves and trails of New Zealand, concentrating on the scientific research of falcons and enjoying the All Black’s rugby club Maori traditions. Through harrowing and fly-bitten excursions to Central America he’s become a welcome volunteer and friend of coffee farmers. He consciously purchases green coffee beans from farmers he has encountered personally. He roasts and grinds the ethically sourced coffee himself and fosters its enjoyment in good company.

Currently he is studying Science, Technology and Society at the University of Calgary because . . . he is “not done yet”. He plans to pursue a PhD, possibly in Environmental Management or Public Policy. Although well into his 20’s he has managed to maintain the humor of a fifteen year old, the relationship skills of a four year old and the writing skills of a forty year old. He has refined his tastes for a good beer or wine over home cooked meals (who wants to eat out when you are a better chef!) and appropriated the humility that only a well-aimed wasp sting can imbue. Burgess aspires to continue the family legacy of working in “the context of parks”. His plans are to spread his positive personal doctrine to anyone willing to listen.

Denis Thibeault

Denis Thibeault: a man of wealth (ish) and taste. Born an only child in Sudbury Ontario, he has since become a citizen of the world, fondly recalling memorable visits to Seattle, Greenland, and the most foreign of all: Newfoundland. A true Scotsman of the Armstrong Clan at his heart, he enjoys celtic folk and rock, and shows it while sporting one of his Kilts. He also prides himself in his Franco-Canadian heritage, speaking and swearing in full-blown frenglish often enough to not be named “Dennis”. He makes his journeys through Canada assertively driving to various sporting destinations, particularly for the sake of ice climbing. As a day job, Denis was as a Senior Youth Corrections Officer in the arctic, but switched back to his true passion, Wilderness Therapy. Of an evening, you may find him enjoying a fine pizza (It has all four food groups!) or if he is feeling classy, a fine Panzerotti, along with a fine Maudit dark Unibrou beer or the less chic Labatt Cinquante. While certainly a man of the times, he is truly proud that his cell phone can contact people without any apps and does not take pictures, leaving him a stalwart defender of the finer things in life.

Jolene Hunter

Jolene Hunter, born and raised in Calgary, AB, is an aspiring gardener, bread baker, and an avid cyclist. In the best of summer days she can be found canning applesauce, pickling vegetables, baking, bicycle touring through new cities, and camping in the Rocky Mountains. The biggest journeys that have shaped her in the past decade have been finishing a joint degree in Kinesiology and International Indigenous Studies and the cross-cultural, cross-class experiences had in traveling to other countries and working in the downtown core of Calgary with families experiencing homelessness. Having participated in two immersion-living programs through One World Global Education, she has been influenced to look at the world through the eyes of many from different walks of life. Spending time in nature has always been a fundamental aspect to her understanding of relationships with herself, others, and the earth. Thus, finding ways to use old stuff and turn it into new stuff is a venue of artistic exploration which she seeks as a creative outlet. Her passion is to work in Canada to seek the decolonization of Canadian policy towards First Nation’s peoples and the unraveling of stereotypes and racism within her own communities. As long as she has her partner Chad, her family, the trees, the stars to gaze and warm weather every once in a while, joy will be found.

Kate Letizia

Kate Letizia is a native Calgarian, western Canadian and global citizen who is on a lifelong journey to generate positive change for marginalized people and communities throughout the world. An ardent champion for sustainability, her last few adventures focused on urban economic development and resource management, where she uncovered a deep passion for making things of substance out of things discarded. This passion manifested in a study on recycling microenterprises in Amazonian Peru and their effect on improved economic security, physical health and quality of life for the staff. After that Kate found herself in Northern Philippines, implementing community-based solid waste management programs and working to increase environmental engagement amongst women and youth. Since the conclusion of these adventures, Kate has become devoted to reframing waste and dignifying non-conventional forms of employment. As a result, she plans to start-up an inclusive and economically viable urban environmental enterprise in Calgary that will address poverty and social exclusion through an inclusive, participant-controlled social enterprise based on collecting and selling refundable bottles and cans. Beyond that hoop-dream, Kate currently makes a living working at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, helping to implement a city-wide, homeless management information system. In her spare time she enjoys tearing up the Rockies on her 14-year old snowboard, quiet evenings with pals at the Kensington pub and filling her home with papier-mâché hearts (she’ll make you one if you ask nicely…)

Kristin Marqardt

Kristin’s big love is the environment (next to her husband Nic). As the youngest of four children she was practically raised by the family dog while her parents were busy running after her three older, spirited brothers. Although other cultures always fascinated her she didn’t get far after high school; exactly 60km from her parents’ home she pursued a degree in media studies and marketing. She also worked as a journalist throughout her studies portraying people in a way they couldn’t see themselves. She also volunteered for the students’ association where she met her husband (you can only talk about school for so long).

But honestly, the exciting times began after school when she gave into her curiosity to explore other countries. (It didn’t take much persuasion, they had her with Calgary lying “at the foot of the Rocky Mountains”.) Culture shock and the first unemployment tested her love for Canada but the progressive and collaborative spirit of Calgary’s non-profit community was stronger. Today, Kristin practically lives in the Old Y Centre building. She promotes active and healthy transportation as coordinator of the national Commuter Challenge and is the president of the board of the CommunityWise Resource Centre. She lives out her passion for the environment as chair of the Sierra Club Chinook Group and truly enjoys the challenge of rebuilding the group after a two-year hibernation.

Outside of the Old Y Centre Kristin enjoys hiking in the mountains, running, cycling, container gardening and exploring more of Canada. Listening to other people’s stories still puts her under a spell. She dreams about becoming a psychologist, starting a community practice with nature-based therapy that helps people to overcome or live with mental illness.

Kristina Larkin

Kristina Larkin was born and raised in Fort McMurray. After 18 years of running around the Boreal Forest and traveling with her family and friends, she had the chance to adventure to Mexico as a Rotary Youth Exchange student. She spent a year living with wonderful Mexican families, learning Spanish and falling in love with the feeling of community you get from traveling, eating with giant extended families, and from coming home (wherever that home is). Once back in Canada, she stayed involved with Rotary International, learning about international and local issues and raising money and awareness for issues facing her local and global community. She was able to find the support to do this with the Rotaract Club at the University of Lethbridge where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences and a Bachelor of Education. Kristina also found a great community at the Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group (LPIRG) where she sat as a board member, and now currently works as administrative coordinator. In her spare time, Kristina cooks delicious vegetarian food and runs through the Lethbridge Coulees. Through her work with Rotaract, LPIRG, a 4 month education practicum in Belize and an increasing amount of time spent around dinner tables, she has deepened her love for working to build community, and has gained an interest in food justice and indigenous language education. She has big dreams about learning more languages, eating delicious food around the world and finding a place to live where she can grow vegetables and sunflowers with her partner and friends.

Ryan Webber

If you are looking to track down Ryan, more often than not, you can find him exploring one of Alberta’s rivers in his canoe. Ryan has a deep-seeded sense of adventure and passion for connecting people with wilderness places. Recently, he graduated from Memorial University, Newfoundland where his research focused on the ethic of risk-taking.



Sarah Winstanley

Sarah Winstanley dreams of a world that is non-hierarchal and safe for everyone, where anyone can walk at any time of day without fear or threat of harm. If you asked her what her occupation is, she’d probably say social worker, but she thinks of herself mostly as a part of the Women’s Centre where she works (either that or it is a part of her). She loves the way the centre not only works to meet eh basic needs of women, but that they also address the systemic need for change in order to sustainable meet those needs in the future. Sarah grew up in Calgary. This is her community, but it took her a trip to Central America to realize it. She loves to travel, but this is her home. This is where she has a voice. This is where she can really speak to the issues affecting her life, where she can support other Calgarians on the issues affecting their lives. She originally wanted to be a writer, but decided that it involved too much time alone with her thoughts and not enough time connecting with people, so she applied to study Social Work at the University of Calgary and ended up studying herself – her biases, the privilege she carries around, and her unfair access to resources due to a combination of things she did not earn. It made her angry and uncomfortable, and now she refuses to shut up about the unfairness of it all. She was drawn to a practicum at the women’s centre because of a (at the time) passing interest in feminism and passion for community organizing, and found out that the two are deeply linked. Sarah loves reading. She loves Virginia Woolf and Jonathan Safran Foer. She hates income inequality and classism, and hates domestic violence. She wants to do her masters of social work around gender issues and youth programming, and loves to dance to 90s hip hop and people watch. She loves challenges. She wants to learn to listen and question more effectively, rock climb and blow bubbles with bubble gum.


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