Since graduating from high school, Jordan has discovered an interest in permaculture, holistic medicine, alternative solutions to basic needs, and human-potential-based radical mental health movements such as The Icarus Project.
Over the past three years, he has been searching intensively for meaningful connections between these burgeoning passions and his life experience. This journey has led him to the Process Work Institute in Portland Oregon, The Haven on Coastal BC and now to NextUp Calgary. From these experiences, Jordan has learned to continuously strive to look toward the root of disturbance, whether in his own life or in his environment, as a direct source of potential. He currently works with the United Church as a group facilitator for High School and University Students using his life experience to be a guide and encourage others to seek their own deep truths.
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, as part of a large family, including three younger sisters, Jesse can be described in three words: harmonious, knowledgeable, and awesome.
Jesse is intimidatingly academically inclined, having obtained two Bachelor degrees in both Science and Nursing, and is well underway to completing her third, a Bachelor of Arts in Social & Cultural Anthropology at the University of Calgary. Jesse currently works as a cardiac ICU nurse, volunteers with the Arthritis Society, and is interested in holistic approaches to healthcare.
Most recent travels took Jesse to a small South African town where she had an eye-opening experience volunteering with wildlife and members of the surrounding community. Gaining a new perspective and re-prioritizing her life, Jesse returned highly concerned with issues surrounding oppression, poverty, materialism, and power dynamics that pervade our society. She hopes one day to attend medical school and assist marginalized populations with their navigation through our healthcare system.
Her passions in life include music, travel, the outdoors, and LGBTQQIAASP equality. When asked what she would change in the world, Jesse says equality across the board for all living entities, with the decimation of wage disparity at the top of her list.
Originally from Berlin, Germany Friederike came to Calgary via Peterborough, ON where she completed a double major in “International Development Studies” and “International Political Economy” at Trent University. This will be her sixth year in Canada and she is still excited to find differences between the two countries and watch herself slowly become a fusion of the two.
In her current job with an Aboriginal-owned consulting group she documents the history and uses of land by a particular nation in their territory. Friederike is impressed by the respectful and sustainable relationship many traditional societies have with the land. She first experienced this during a three month long learning/research project in the Northwest Territories and incorporated this realization in a concluding research proposal about the influence the built city structure has on city dwellers’ relationship to land and nature.
Friederike is interested in learning about ways to improve cities to lessen their impact on the environment and build conscious and active communities within them. Another desire is to work in the Global South to learn from and collaborate with local organizations to curb rapid, uncontrolled urbanization and install city structures for a dignified and sustainable future.
Some of her previous experiences include working on Project Neutral, a Toronto-based initiative aiming to transition neighbourhoods to carbon neutral and an internship with UNESCO where she helped organize events for the International Poetry Festival in Granada, Spain.
Friederike much enjoys travelling, photography, languages, socializing and tea. Having only been in Calgary for 2 months as of November 2013 Friederike is excited to find a community in Next Up which hopefully even persists after the program ends.
Erin Shumlich is not your average bookworm. In addition to her love of books and writing, this badass hockey-playing feminist challenges the status quo and brings new ideas to life with her passion and charisma. A native Calgarian, Erin’s academic journey has taken many twists and turns, which have enabled her to travel the world and combine learning with meaningful work. With a stint as Editor-in-Chief for the Gauntlet under her belt, she has also travelled across Asia and Australia. Most recently, Erin lived in Seoul, Korea, where she studied at Korea University. Erin is back in Calgary finishing up her honours degree in psychology and English at the University of Calgary, and she is already planning her next move. Her feminist perspective, cross-cultural appreciation, and sense of justice have led Erin to pursue a graduate degree in psychology that targets prevention and the root causes of pressing social issues in the fall of 2014.
Beyond education, Erin has built a unique outlook from her experiences and adventures. Through her life-long engagement with hockey, Erin has developed a rich definition of community. To her, sports are an important opportunity for community building. Within this frame of community, Erin embeds the values of equity, empowerment, and widespread inclusion. Community is not distinct from our environment; rather, Erin believes the two are deeply interconnected. Erin looks to build a world where our relationship with the environment is based on care, not resource entitlement. Through Next Up, Erin is busy exploring the ways that social and environmental issues are entwined and how she can build communities that can work within this complexity and take these issues head-on.
Erika wants to see inside the shape of basic human interactions, the way we relate to our surroundings, the curve in the fundamental cyclic nature of things, the patterns of growth and change. Furthermore, she wants this process to be conversational, engaging and a means of community involvement. Erika is keen to explore the interactions of and intersections between socio-cultual and environmental inequities, and how these manifest as social determinants, informing health and health related behaviors. Currently in her second year in the BHSc Health and Society program at the U of C with a concentration in Anthropology, Erika aspires for a career as a physician and medical anthropologist.
Erika is also passionate about the arts. Visual arts are an important for Erika and provide a unique platform through which she processes the world and shares her political, social justice and environmental views with a broader audience.
On Carla’s first big trip, she decided to backpack through Europe. Bold for an 18-year-old who hadn’t even seen downtown Calgary, but nothing crazy. That was, until she met a very inspirational woman who told her to travel somewhere “different”. On a whim, Carla decided to make the trek to Egypt, and she was immediately hooked on the world. Carla was not accustomed to talking about social and environmental issues, but after that first trip and all those that followed, her eyes were forever opened. This has led Carla to her current job at the YMCA working on community outreach and global initiatives, volunteering at the Sunnyside Community Association, the Next Up program, and now even considering becoming an all-season cyclist! Carla is passionate about holistic nutrition and is frustrated by the lack of proper nourishment in our world. She believes Next Up will help her learn the skills needed to spread awareness, turn ideas into action, and make the world a more just place. A self-described coffee snob and proud Sunnysider, she highly recommends black Americanos from Vendome or The Roasterie! If you don’t catch her over a cuppa joe, catch her in the mountains, at a yoga class, volunteering at Folk Fest, or cooking a deliciously alternative vegetarian meal. Carla is having the time of her life, and she’s simply excited for everything the future holds!
Edmonton native Ryan Williams is a musician and teacher. He holds a diploma in music composition from MacEwan University, and bachelor’s degree in sociology and from Simon Fraser University. He has lived in Edmonton for most of his life, with time spent in Metro Vancouver, and a short time in France.
With a background in performing arts and critical theory, Ryan works to challenge the underlying cultural assumptions that support damaging social structures. He regards the Canadian state as essentially colonial and capitalist, betraying it’s stated ideals of democracy and plurality to destroy nature and people in the relentless pursuit of corporate profit. Ryan believes that the only way to even begin a radical transformation in how we live together on earth is to encourage others with open arms to explore different ways of thinking and being.
A guiding theme for Ryan has been synthesis, be it of academic disciplines, artistic sensibilities, or cultural affectations. His interests lie in the intersections between capitalism, colonialism, sexuality, spirituality, art, addiction, and mental health.
Heather is a registered social worker who works in the area of child protection and high-risk youth. She is a strong advocate for ensuring the resources are available to ensure that all youth have access to supported education, and housing.
Heather is currently engaged with her union AUPE and Local 006 as the chapter 14 chair. Through this role she continues to ensure a safe and equitable workplace for all 850 members in her chapter.
She also enjoys the music and festivals around Edmonton and has been a coordinator at the Edmonton Folk Festival for the last 5 years and a volunteer for 10. Heather is looking forward to the upcoming year at Next Up and putting her learning into practice.
Dan Scratch is a social studies teacher at Inner-City High School in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a social justice advocate and believes that education can be used as a tool to empower youth to become critically engaged citizens who use their power to transform their lives and the world around them.
Dan’s teaching practice is grounded in critical and reality pedagogy, which basically means you’ll see him and his students using the elements of hip hop, social media, and democracy to create meaningful dialogue and learning.
Dan has a Masters of Education from Mount Saint Vincent University and an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Windsor. In his spare time, Dan writes volunteer research articles focusing on various social justice issues and then chills out with his awesome cats!
Alec Stratford is pumped to be apart of the Next Up community. He is originally from Halifax Nova Scotia and has lived in Edmonton for the past two years. Currently Alec is social worker with the City of Edmonton’s Neighbourhood Empowerment Team, teaches social work at Grant MacEwan University and is serving his first term as a council member on the Alberta College of Social Workers.
Alec has a passion and dedication for community development and believes that engaged informed communities can lead too the broader social, political and economic changes that are needed to create a more equal and just society.
He also has a passion for international development and has previously completed an internship with the Aga Khan Foundation in Tanzania where he worked with local community groups on community based participatory education policy research.