Jenna was born and raised in southeastern Saskatchewan where she grew up farming, hunting, and fishing with her family. During her final year of high school she had the opportunity to travel to both the Arctic and Antarctica with Students on Ice. It was during these experiences that Jenna realized her passion for environmental and social justice wasn’t just a part of her life it was who she was.
She chose to study a BSc in Environmental Science at UBC. During her degree she started many organizations that focused on local food and food security as well as sustainability and climate change. Through various experiences she became passionate about focusing on environmental issues through a social justice lens. She has lived and worked in Saskatchewan, BC, Yukon, Nunavut, Peru and Tanzania and she is excited to be in Saskatoon working in the renewable energy field.
When she’s not installing solar panels or organizing creative climate actions, you can find Jenna outdoors. She loves hiking, cycling, backpacking, camping, skiing and bringing others to enjoy nature with her. When it snows she struggles between choosing a good book and a warm fire, or convincing her not-so-adventurous friends to choose winter camping instead!
Growing up, Katie spent most of her time at school or at church. Both of these places continue to play a large and influential part in Katie’s life. Katie is a proud member of The United Church of Canada and her passion for social justice and activism is deeply rooted in her faith. She truly believes that Jesus was a radical and a revolutionary who not only lived with extreme compassion and empathy, but also sought justice and equity for all. Katie’s involvement with the church has taken her to many different places and has allowed her to meet many different people – she believes that the first step to breaking down barriers of injustice is learning about and opening ourselves up to the stories of others. Within the church, Katie works with groups of youth and young adults and has found a passion for youth engagement and involvement in social justice issues. After completing a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Regina, Katie entered the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan and recently graduated with her B.Ed. She is now exploring teaching as a career and is interested in the intersection of mainstream education and social justice work. Often referred to as a ‘professional student’ by those closest to her, it is unlikely that Katie will ever leave school or learning behind.
When Katie is not hanging out with groups of youth and young adults, she can be found with her head in a book, spending too much time watching crime shows or laughing loudly. She is a firm believer in the transformative power of a road trip, is fascinated with the moon and stars and is most proud that her best friends are beautiful children who call her Auntie.
Mandy (Yatong in Chinese) is a community builder, caring and philosophical individual who believes in creating and reshaping both her own world and the world at large. She has been very active in the Saskatoon Chinese community, and she has been a host of a heritage language radio program at CFCR for 8 years. Her recent passion has been around anti-racism and anti-oppression while her job as the Coordinator of Stakeholder Engagement involves a wide array of community building subjects at United Way Saskatoon and Area. She was trained in regional and urban planning and endeavors to think in holistic ways, in finding solutions to bring about better public good so that everyone has the possibility to thrive. She is also an active mental health peer support worker, she sees the power vested within each individual, as well as the effectiveness and importance of self-care through meditation and mindfulness practices. She’s shy at times but has great laugh and loves to be around people, especially honored to be among this year’s Next-Upers!
Nicole Barrington is a recent grad from the University of Saskatchewan, where she majored in Religion and Culture with a focus on ecology, gender, and art.
Nicole has co-organized various events at her hometown university to engage the public in contemporary issues in religion. She is also a radio DJ at CFCR, a visual artist, and a public sector employee. Nicole hopes to further her education in environmental anthropology as a grad student, exploring the social effects of resource development and Indigenous-settler relationship.
Nicole is currently creating a graphic novel about the supernatural, and also just walking around and thinking.
Juliana was born and educated in Brazil, where she graduated in Psychology and obtained a Master’s Degree in Education. From an early age she became interested in social justice issues, working extensively in the slums of Sao Paulo. She focused on empowering the children and youth and providing opportunities to leave their life of drugs and violence.
She moved to Canada in December 2012 and since then has been dedicated to assisting immigrants and refugees settle in the city of Saskatoon. She started volunteering with the International Women of Saskatoon and has since become a permanent addition to their staff as the Community Capacity Building Coordinator.
Juliana is always smiling and believes that a beautiful smile cure any suffering. She also thinks that the two greatest things in life are chocolate and hugs. She really misses the hugs of friends who still live in Brazil and it is always open to a hug from anyone. She is really honoured to participate in the 2015-2016 Next Up program and hopes to learn from others and their experiences.
Craig Frank Edes studied both Acting for Stage & Screen at Capilano University and Aboriginal Focus Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Craig spent the earlier parts of his youth as a member of the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth Youth Council, assessing grant applications for cultural programming off reserve. He also spent the latter part of his youth as a Youth Worker at the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre in Houston, British Columbia, and as an outdoor scrutineer and foot canvasser for the NDP in Saskatoon West.
Craig has been performing a Hip Hop and a Sacred Space Workshop as one half of Native Hip Hop Duo, Mob Bounce; his Hip Hop group focuses on social issues around culture and on environmental issues around water and land commodification.
Franny loves outdoor and environmental education and currently spends a lot of her time pursuing that. You can often find her adventuring with a group of high school students, all over the province, with Saskatoon Public Schools. She also relishes moments spent with her little family: a daughter, a dog, and a dear love. She’s excited about learning how to reduce her own ecological footprint and working with others towards reducing theirs too. She likes the idea of treading lightly and intentionally on this Earth. In her spare time, Franny loves to be active and play sports, she stays up too late playing board games with friends, and she enjoys teaching yoga to beginners.
Leif Jensen is an activist interested in social change, particularly in ways that benefit prisoners, homeless persons, those with mental illness, and workers. He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English and Political Studies, focusing on decolonial theory. He went on to complete his Juris Doctor in 2014, and became a lawyer in 2015.
Leif has been involved with several organizations which promote social justice, including Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City (CLASSIC), the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Lookout Emergency Aid Society, Amnesty International, Solidarity with those in Solitary, and the Canadian Journal of Poverty Law.
Leif makes great scones, decent hash browns, and perpetually disappointing chilli. His biggest regret is choosing the wrong ice cream after climbing Table Mountain in Cape Town. If you ask him about Chumbawamba he will rant about them for a very tedious 10 minutes, though you will leave with a new appreciation for their art.
Davida Bentham is a Mennonite and activist from Saskatoon, Treaty 6 territory. She enjoys knitting, shredding the slopes at Lake Louise, and working to build a more progressive society. Davida has been involved in and is passionate about environmental, immigration, and Indigenous rights/reconciliation movements. She has a bachelors degree in Northern Studies and Environmental Assessment, a Masters in Sustainable Environmental Management, and has recently started Law School at the University of Saskatchewan.
Davida has learned much about our planet, and herself, while visiting Norway, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Costa Rica, and others. She believes that not upholding the treaty relationship, inequality, and climate change (to name a few) are hindering our entire community. She also acknowledges, and is inspired by, the work of activists who have come before her, and hopes she can add to their rich contributions.
When Davida isn’t rabble rousing you can find her eating Rollkuchen, thinking about pacifism in the contemporary context, or dreaming of a more utilized public transit system.
Shereen Kukha-Bryson is a person of the prairies and the mountains. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – on Treaty 6 territory – she feels most connected to the land when she is under an expansive and expressive sky. She is also, however, rooted within the mountainous home of her father in Iraqi Kurdistan, a place rich with family narratives and histories. Her Saskatchewan-Kurdish experiences have greatly shaped her engagement in diverse cultural world views and have kindled her passion for learning more about multi-vocal cultural relationships.
With the support and teachings from a number of mentors, Shereen is currently working in school gardening initiatives, which explore cultural relationships and food security. Children's and youth's enthusiasm for and knowledge of engaging with plants greatly inspires and energizes Shereen. She hopes to continue co-creating learning gardens, which are culturally inclusive, with educators and young people across her communities.
When Shereen is not walking with a jaunty step in minus-30 weather, she can be found drinking gallons of coffee or poring over fantasy novels with great gusto. She is very honoured to participate in the 2015-2016 Next Up program!