After seven years taking in the west coast, Cat has recently made a home for herself in Calgary. Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, she spent her days dancing, drawing, painting, challenging assumptions and contemplating a better world.
These interests initially drew Cat to Victoria, BC where she studied Political Science and Applied Ethics at UVic; however, it was the sense of community and examples of strength surrounding her that compelled her to stay. This time informed her enthusiasm for community development and the pursuit of more just, loving and sustainable ways of being. Through her work and involvement in the community, she has strived to support efforts that bridge individual experiences with injustice to social, political and economic policies and barriers that impact society, and organize collaboratively to achieve meaningful systemic change.
Cat currently works at the YWCA of Calgary as Coordinator, Quality Assurance, supporting the agency’s service programs in evaluating and communicating the impact of their work. Previously, she has held positions as an outreach organizer, leadership development facilitator, server and bartender. Her pass times continue to include painting, drawing and reading; although, Cat spends most of her time these days with her exploring the offerings of her new home.
Barend is passionate about building a sustainable society that does not rely on fossil fuels and that promotes healthy, sustainable life-styles. He understands that the problems we face in society are multi-dimensional. With the Earth’s population surpassing 7 billion people, 1/3 of these people living in poverty and growing, and the world un-able to control present rates of consumption, there exist very obvious reasons to drive change.
Barend realizes change through his work with Engineers Without Borders in the Corporate Engagement Team; coordinating the Urban Energy Diet Challenge as part of the Energy Diet Challenge Program in partnership with Canadian Geographic and Shell Canada; and promoting the bicycle as a primary mode of transport in Calgary through the Tour de Nuit Society.
Taking a leap from Calgary to Africa, The Run to End Poverty is Barend’s biggest investment in energy yet. The run is aimed to engage with the active running community in Calgary, linking international development, fundraising and behaviour change in one exciting event. Barend looks forward to leading this event through to a second successful year.
In his spare time, nothing comes close to the feeling of awe and adventure in the great outdoors. Hiking, backpacking, cycling (and bike touring), rock, ice climbing, ski touring… you name it, he does it. Barend is a trip leader with the Alpine Club of Canada and thoroughly enjoys sharing his experiences outside.
Barend is excited to work with all of the NextUp participants to make this world a better place starting with local initiatives that drive global change.
Kyle is a newcomer to Calgary, moving to the big city from Edmonton at the beginning of 2011. Social worker, yogi, feminist, activist, and mother – there are many hats Kyle wears and tears, labels they reject and accept, and social constructs Kyle bends and breaks.
Kyle attended the Social Work Program at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton in 2009, and is currently working towards a certification in traditional Himalayan style yoga through Sunshine Yoga Academy in Calgary. In Fall 2012, Kyle will return to Edmonton to continue working on her social work degree, and be closer to family.
Through Kyle's experiences in volunteering with a variety of organizations specifically directed towards working with at-risk women and populations, kyle has become passionately involved in the process of women helping women, promoting the idea of acceptance and celebration of sexual health and human sexuality, and the importance of creating space with in these conversations for the development of intergenerational learning.
Kyle‘s guiding principle in life comes through a positive piece of graffiti Kyle spotted in the downtown core that suggested, “be optimistic it feels better”. Kyle parallels this inspirational muse to the words of one of their personal idols who passionately stated, “Optimism is better than despair”. She believes positive thinking leads to positive action, which in turn, leads to positive and progressive change – socially, environmentally, and economically.
Vivian was born and raised in Edmonton and has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta. Attracted to the idea of studying abroad, she majored in International Business and did an exchange to Guadalajara, Mexico. After graduating, Vivian pursued her passion for a shoeless lifestyle with beachfront shacks and non-stop reggae by embarking on several backpacking adventures through Western Europe, Central America, and Southeast Asia. Her love for travel landed her a job for Hostelling International where she helped spread the importance of travel and the knowledge of responsible tourism. She also spent a year teaching English in rural public schools in South Korea where she perfected the art of charades. Wanting to learn more about sustainable tourism, she lived for several months in Cochabamba, Bolivia volunteering for a grassroots NGO working on “dual tourism” projects. She currently works as the Fund Development Officer at the Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre of Calgary. Although life can get pretty busy, Vivian always makes time for friends, family, yoga, snowboarding, camping, and daydreaming.
In early 2010 Travis completed his Bachelors of Applied Policy Studies from Mount Royal University; this degree focuses on the disciplines of Economic Theory, Political Science, and the study of Public Policy theory. Through the course of his undergraduate education Travis constantly sought ways to utilize the skills learned in the classroom by seeking opportunities both through volunteerism and paid employment. Over the past four years Travis has had the opportunity to perform research on senior’s healthcare for the Parkland Institute, be employed by the Economics Society of Calgary as an event planner, sit as the New Professionals Representative for IPAC (Institute of Public Administration of Canada) Calgary, serve as chairperson and treasurer of his condominium board, and run and successfully win and serve as President of the Students’ Association at his University. Each of these experiences have given Travis insight and focus in the area of Governance and the Fiduciary and social responsibility of elected leadership; his passion is within these areas as he seeks to demystify these arenas so that more citizens and emerging leaders may participate more freely and confidently within the political sphere.
Tim spent his formative years playing basketball. When his height maxed out at 5’6, his basketball career abruptly ended, he finally read a book, and began to think about social issues.
Tim he convinced his parents to allow him to attend a school in Sweden. It was here that he first witnessed a fully functioning Social Welfare state: not a crazy left wing idea, but an effective, fair, and a just society where leisure, arts, and enjoying life were valued.
Tim reluctantly returned to Calgary, but spent summers coaching basketball camps in Alaska, Montana, and Idaho – using basketball as a tool to teach diverse youth to recognize their potential for success, express their creativity, and work together for a common goal.
During the last year of his Kinesiology degree at the University of Calgary, Tim realized he hated Kinesiology but was too close to convocating to justify quitting. It was at this time he also fell in love. Two years later he got married and left for Taiwan. Three years after that, Tim and his wife returned reluctantly to Calgary once again, with a really cute dog and a passion for social change.
He currently works at the Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre of Calgary. He has the biggest office in the building, though it is also the file room. He coaches a high school basketball team with ‘lots of potential.’
Son Edworthy is a community activist practicing in a variety of mediums such as office administration, public art, gardening, radical queer organizing, self-publishing and bicycle maintenance. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Son has roots where the prairies meet the mountains. They have a passion for creating and sustaining vital spaces where people can come together for synergistic social-change work. As a co-founder of Anchor Archive Zine Library, Inkstorm Screenprinting Collective and Roberts Street Social Centre, they enjoy initiating collaborative projects, planting seeds and helping them grow. Son completed a Bachelor of Community Design through the School of Urban Planning at Dalhousie University with an honours thesis exploring the social and environmental benefits of Community Gardening in Halifax. Son has worked as a trail guide in the Yukon, horse wrangler in BC, and in Halifax as a prep cook, film technician, trail mapper, support worker with persons with disabilities, art workshop facilitator with marginalized youth and women in prison, and co-founded a worker’s cooperative landscaping company. Insatiable curiosity and eclectic work experience has diversified Son's skill-set and strengthened their sense of purpose: to resist planetary collapse by supporting cultural and biological diversity.
Affectionately known as Chicken, Froot, or Pecosita (Little Freckled One), Selena’s adventures to date has been as diverse as her aliases. Selena’s international experience includes work as a community Archaeologist in Peru working to foster sustainable cultural communities, as well as assisting groups of students and youth on exchanges to both Peru and Mexico.
In her current role as Northeast Program Coordinator for the YMCA Youth Achievement Program, Selena has put her passion for inclusive communities to work. As a Certified Immigration Practitioner, Selena is passionate about refugee and immigrant rights and capacity building for Calgary’s young newcomers. She is a guiding committee member of Social and Community Responsibility through Education, Art, and Music (S.C.R.E.A.M.), which equips local high school students to take action for environmental and social justice in their own communities. She is also a strong advocate for Canada’s social responsibility to provide a safe and welcome home to the oppressed and persecuted, no matter where they are from.
Selena is greatly motivated by her ever encouraging husband Nathan and plays mama to the cutest dog you could ever imagine. Seriously – the cutest. In what little free time she has (thank-you, Next Up!), Selena can also be found learning to hoop dance, eating tacos, or listening to Stuart McLean – probably all at the same time.
Robyn Luff is an, educator, ecologist, music lover, yoga enthusiast and life long learner. She grew up on Vancouver Island, constantly awed by the beauty of nature around her, though also constantly upset at all the rain. She completed her undergrad in Biology at the University of Victoria, and immediately headed south to sunnier climes. She spent two years in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, where she taught a self-designed curriculum at a bilingual elementary school. Her time in Costa Rica helped her to discover the transformative nature of education, and lead her to apply to the Master of Teaching Program at the University of Calgary. During the program, Robyn became increasingly interested in the shifting paradigms of education- from a linear, industrial model to a more cooperative, constructivist one. She believes that education is one of the most inspiring and vital ways to create social change. Robyn’s life is also strongly intertwined with water- she has worked with the Alberta Wilderness Association, Trout Unlimited Canada, and other community organizations to raise awareness of water issues through education. Robyn is presently a NDP member of the Alberta Provincial Legislature. She very pleased to call Calgary home, and is excited and optimistic about the prospects for social change in our city.
Born and raised in Calgary Alberta, Philip is impressed with the beauty and vibrancy of his city. Since helping to organize demonstrations against the G8 summit in nearby Kananaskis in 2002, he has grown to appreciate the power of people to affect change and to determine their own futures. Philip cut his teeth as an activist working with Food Not Bombs, a youth based anti-poverty organization. In 2006 Philip joined the now closed Haymarket Cafe, a worker-owned cooperative which operated as an Anarchist bookstore, Infoshop, cafe, and social space for music and art in the heart of the city. Philip has been a member of the Calgary Anarchist Bookfair committee for 8 years which continues to offer key insights into how and why people organize themselves for collective self-betterment.
As a recent graduate of Development Studies from the University of Calgary, he is currently exploring what community development can look like in a city like Calgary. A strong supporter of the Arusha Centre, a grassroots environmental and social justice organization, he continues work towards creating a sustainable and progressive community in Calgary.
Philip has never been as hopeful or felt as capable working in Calgary as he is now. Philip loves his city is staying in put!