Denae Pellerin grounds her social justice work in her Catholic faith and education. As such, she has volunteered for Development and Peace, the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada, on campaigns addressing a range of issues including bottled water, locally sourced food, and human rights abuses around Canadian-owned foreign mines. She has also contributed to the Poverty Costs campaign here in Saskatoon, volunteered with Canadian Blood Services, CHEP and the Open Door Society, and was a Les and Irene Dube Service and Justice Project Scholar at St. Thomas More College.
Today, she is a third-year student at the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in Psychology and working through her first year pre-social work. Motivated by love and her undying belief that every person has been given infinite irreplaceable value, Denae has become deeply passionate about childhood development and ensuring that children have the means to develop and maintain a healthy, positive self-image. Thus, she is currently employed with Boys and Girls Clubs Saskatoon and Community Living Association Saskatoon.
In the future, Denae hopes to continue connecting local communities with their global counterparts as she seeks a place in community development or community-based non-profits that will empower and give voice to those whose dignity is not upheld in our society. Passionate about issues surrounding poverty, women and children, Denae is joyfully approaching Next Up with the hopes of being humbled, and equipped to learn tactile ways of meeting the needs and desires of her local community.
Michayla van de Velde is a Dutch-Canadian Métis woman who currently lives in Saskatoon. Michayla has been involved in community work since elementary school and is a board member of the Saskatoon Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council. She has also worked with the Saskatoon SPCA and Evan Hardy Collegiate’s charity and culture committees. She is most proud of her work with Evan Hardy’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance, of which she was a founding member. Michayla is interested in gender and LGBTQ+ politics, and is currently working towards a degree in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. She enjoys knitting, drinking tea and photography.
Kari-Dawn Wuttunee is a young Cree woman from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Treaty Six Territory who now resides in Saskatoon. She has been spending her time passionately advocating for young women within her community, tackling issues such as HIV, harm reduction strategies, poverty and violence prevention. This work has opened up the platform for Kari-dawn to speak at Saskatoon community gatherings and Canada’s Safe Schools conferences involving topics of decolonization and anti-racism methods.
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.
Max FineDay was born and raised in the Nutana neighbourhood of Saskatoon, and is a citizen of Sweetgrass First Nation.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and has also studied in the Arctic Circle at the University of Nordland in Bodø, Norway.
Max has worked in student advocacy, national politics, and most recently as a leader in the not-for-profit sector.
He has contributed to the Globe and Mail, CBC, Briarpatch, Academica, and is regularly asked to comment on reconciliation, youth, and Indigenous issues.
When Max isn’t rabble-rousing you can find him learning nêhiyawewin (Cree language), tweeting, and laughing at his own jokes.
With the belief we are at a point where tides can truly change for the better, Yuki is a revolutionary icon in the making. Yuki consistently emerges as a leader at whatever she endeavors and as a Japanese-Canadian she brings a needed lens of diversity to everything she approaches. Intersectionality rules the world view of this wise being. She embraces the opportunities to increase understanding of social interactions across cultural, ethnic, gender and class boundaries and is dedicated to strengthening cohesion and support.
Yuki received her B.A. Honours in Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan in 2012. While obtaining her degree, she participated in North2North student exchange at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She is currently employed with the FASD Support Network of Saskatchewan, where she strengthens the community, parents, and people living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder by coordinating and facilitating training sessions on support strategies. Previously, she was involved in researching student alcohol use patterns and made recommendations for implementing a student-led binge drinking prevention campaign on campus. Some of her experiences include being involved with the Saskatoon Women’s Community Coalition, International Student and Study Abroad Centre, USSU Women’s Centre, and Aboriginal, Rural, and Remote Health Group.
Yuki is trained in classical ballet, plays several instruments to varying degrees of success, and loves photography in all forms. Mention owls within her earshot you’ll be sure to hear about her passion for saving the magnificent creatures
Suzy Zimmer is a passionate woman with a social activist background. Her activist work began in 2000 when she got involved with Solidarity Works, a youth activism/ labour movement program with the SFL and CLC. Through this program she spent two weeks working with the Council of Canadians. The next two summers she helped with the coordination and facilitation of Solidarity Works. Suzy also facilitated an SFL youth conference, and attempted to start a union at Earls.
Suzy graduated from the U of S’ College of Physiotherapy in 2005, and has since worked as a physiotherapist in Saskatoon. While in school Suzy remained active by organizing other physiotherapy students to support striking healthcare workers, as well as through raising issues of racism and poverty in her classes and interactions with classmates. Her current focus in working towards environmental and social justice is trying to live her life in an eco-sensitive way and encouraging others to do the same.
Suzy is excited for NextUp and the opportunity to be reintegrated into Saskatoon’s activist community with likeminded people. She is excited to promote social justice in our community and contribute to the fight towards greater equality.
Sasha Hanson Pastran was born in Nicaragua to a Canadian mother and Nicaraguan father but has spent most of her life in Saskatoon. Sasha is a student at the University of Saskatchewan and is in her last year of an honors degree in International Studies – Latin American Studies Stream. She is passionate about social justice issues, community development, peace and sustainability. At 21 years of age Sasha is already an experienced leader and activist in her community. Her volunteer activities both at home and abroad with the Global Youth Assembly, Rights Action, 350.org, Oxfam Canada, Canada World Youth, the Sierra Youth Coalition, the Saskatchewan Intercultural Association, the Saskatoon Peace Coalition, and the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (to name a only a few) show Sasha’s commitment to community building and social change.
Sasha is a passionate supporter of the co-operative model for equitable and sustainable development locally and globally. This past summer Sasha participated in the Canadian Cooperative Association’s You-LEAD program in Ghana. Sasha would like to take what she learned from her experience in Ghana and apply it in a Canadian context. For example, she would like to implement the model of Youth Savings Clubs in Saskatoon schools.
Although Sasha is a busy leader in her community, she still finds time to share her Latin American culture. At the 2011 Saskatoon Folk Fest, as a member of the band Sabor a Salsa, she played piano and synthesizer for a large audience. She has also found time to tutor Spanish language students at the University of Saskatchewan.
Sarina Gersher is a 24 year old passionate about sustainability, water security, climate change, environmental and social justice, and community capacity building. This spring, she completed her BSc Honours in Land Use and Environmental Studies with minors in Geographic Information Systems and Physical Geography, and soon after landed her current job as a GIS Analyst and Mapping Technician at the Meewasin Valley Authority. She is also involved in the Saskatchewan Environmental Society as a member of the Eco Book Club and the climate change committee. Outside of her environmental work, she is vice president of Hillel, the Jewish students’ association, volunteers at AIDS Saskatoon, and loves soccer, reading, and board games. She draws on her family as a great source of inspiration and support in all of her activities. Her global perspective has been shaped through her extensive travels all over the world, including a term abroad in Denmark and jaunts throughout Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Northern Europe. She is excited to start Next Up, engage in a community of inspiring people, and find more ways to put her impressive knowledge base into action!
Leah Solheim is currently living in El Salvador, finishing up some promotional work with The CIS El Salvador and helping women’s small businesses and running a fair trade store. She is also a Public Admin student online at the University of Victoria. When not working or studying, she can be found enjoying the outdoors hiking or at the beach or learning how to cook. She also spends lots of time finding small but satisfying ways to rebel against almost anything.
She owned business (a pizzeria) and has worked on different small business management contracts. These experiences give her have helped her learn about economic empowerment and self esteem, hoping to share what she has learned.