Help Make Malvern Part of the North-East Transit Plan!

The Transportation Working Group of the ‪#‎1LoveMalvern‬ network is asking residents in Malvern and other communities to write and tweet our elected representatives asking for improved transit to come north of the 401 to serve north-east Scarborough. Check out the campaign website with detailed plans on how The Mayor’s office can improve their existed plans for rapid transit below! ‪#‎topoli‬ ‪#‎TorontoTransit‬ ‪#‎TTC‬

Visit to learn how you can help!


Regular updates on Facebook

Are you interested in keeping up with news that’s important for Malvern? Follow MY ROOTS on facebook! Our latest post is about former MY ROOTS Outstanding Student of the Season and You-tuber Lilly Singh AKA Superwoman.

Bell Box Mural Project Malvern

Bell Box Mural Project reaches Malvern

Since 2009, guest painters across southern Ontario have been able to decorate Bell Canada utility boxes – known for their dull, brown appearance – with colourful artwork. This year, Malvern residents will now get the chance.

This is a two-part workshop series for emerging artists who are interested in learning more about designing and painting a Bell Box Mural. Free of cost. Registration is required. Click here to learn more about how you can participate!


Post High School Workshop

On August 24, 2013 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. MY ROOTS will be hosting a “Post High School Workshop” for all youth in the community. This workshop is geared towards helping youth who have a goal, dream or passion and would like to begin thinking about the path towards achieving it.

This FREE workshop will be hosted by community leaders who were once in the same position as you just a few years ago. Following the speakers, this workshop will focus on how you can translate your story in a way that is meaningful and relevant to you using the tools of writing (i.e. scholarships, job applications, college essays etc)

So why should you attend?

  • Meet others in the community in similar positions
  • Enjoy a FREE lunch
  • Develop the skills you need to write about your story, your community, and your experience on a scholarship application, university/college application, or resume
  • Have the opportunity to WIN FREE RAPTORS tickets for a game in the fall

Pre-register now by emailing your name to!


Media Workshop

MY ROOTS Media Workshop

Educating Future Writers 

By Ramya Sugamar
Community Submission 

On April 27, 2013 MY ROOTS hosted a media workshop at the Malvern Family Resource Centre. The workshop aimed to help youth in the community learn more about media and the various aspects and avenues available in the field.

The guest speakers who presented the workshop included Amanda Robinson, a radio and print journalism professional, Kamiesha Horne-Simmons a student studying broadcast journalism at Durham College, Kiyah Welsh a York University graduate and Denise Balkissoon a multiple magazine award winning freelance journalist.

According to Arkimsha Nagulendran, a grade 12 student from Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School, “the guest speakers were in my opinion the highlight of the workshop.”

Robinson led a workshop on interviewing skills and offered students an idea of how to ask in depth questions to obtain more information. According to Robinson, there is no such thing as asking stupid questions and she gave an example of how it is acceptable to ask a person how to spell their name. She explains that the worst mistake a writer can do is spell a person’s name incorrectly.

She also shared that when conducting an interview it is best to approach it as if you were going to have a conversation with the person and “be curious, listen, and allow for pauses.” Robinson encouraged participants to do research on the issue or topic before heading into an interview.

The participants in the workshop learned how to apply the skills she taught through mock scenarios that were provided. Some of the scenarios were books stolen from the library, a person who was shot, and discrimination. The participants came up with questions that they could ask to witnesses, people affected, and/or the police. In the discrimination scenario participants created questions such as: “how is the company viewed in the public eye?” and “what is the race, gender and age of the individuals that are affected?”

Kiyah Welsh and Kamiesha Horne-Simmons presented a session about broadcast journalism. They taught several broadcast rules. The first rule is to read out what you are going to present out loud so that it makes sense. They explained that reporters get a limited amount of time to explain the story and that time should not be wasted by mentioning unnecessary words or facts. Participants also got to learn how to summarize very informative articles to a script they would say on television in thirty seconds.

Krystal Sukhu, Grade 12 student from Mother Teresa stated “I really enjoyed it [the presentation] to be honest and I learned a lot about the media.”

Within the “Journalism 101” session Balkissoon gave a revealing presentation of the media. She discussed that the media informs us of what is happening around us and how it influences our opinions about certain topics. She explained the importance of deadlines to the industry. News organizations compete to get the story out first. Now that the world is more connected by the Internet, news reports have to be released within minutes.

Another issue within the media that Balkissoon addressed was bias. She showed a video clip from a neutral source. That video clip was from CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) and was about the recent building collapse in Bangladesh. She said that it was neutral because there were opinions from several people such as University professors, business analysts, reporters, victims and their loved ones. She explained that hearing several perspectives instead of one will allow you to hear more information and obtain a clearer understanding of what the story is.

As the workshop came to a close, Elizabeth Zeppa, grade 12 student from Mother Teresa mentioned “it was very well organized and developed. It was a great opportunity for young writers and I hope there’s another.”


Volunteer with MY ROOTS!

MY ROOTS began as the first Ashoka Canada Youth Venture team, providing the organization with seed funding. MY ROOTS has also received numerous accolades including the Top 20 Under 20 award to its founder and the Louise Russo Violence Prevention Award given in recognition of youth who reduce violence in their communities through respect, responsibility, and leadership.

Reporting to the Managing Director, MY ROOTS volunteer community reporters will be a part of a dynamic team that is passionate about making a difference in the community as well as voicing the opinions of young leaders.

Volunteer Community Reporter Description:
MY ROOTS is looking for an inquisitive, enthusiastic, organized and determined writer interested in contributing articles to or our printed publication. This is an opportunity to:

• Play an active role in your community and earn volunteer hours
• Get to your community better
• Meet interesting people who are committed to make change within the community
• Attend unique events happening around Toronto and interview young leders
• Master the skill of interviewing and build a portfolio of published work
• Receive mentorship and guidance from experienced writers and editors
• Gain the necessary skills to pursue further education or a career in writing, editing, communications, and journalism
• Meet and work with other young people wanting to make change in their community.
All writers will receive a $50.00 honorarium for a minimum of 3 contributions to the website or print publication of MY ROOTS.


• Write articles and stories about people living in Malvern and Scarborough doing exceptional and inspirational things.
• Cover events that would be interesting to young people in Scarborough.
• Interview people around the community for these stories.
• Work with the Managing Director of MY ROOTS twice a month to edit your work.
• Pitch story ideas quarterly to the Managing Director

It would also be an asset if you have experience using a digital camera and editing photographs.

Apply now by emailing a sample of your writing (an essay from school is fine!) along with a brief description about how you found out about MY ROOTS and why you want to be involved to Malvern.youth.roots [at] gmail [dot] com

Writing Contest Submission

Writing Contest Officially Closed!

The MY ROOTS writing contest has officially closed. Thank you for your submissions. Our judges look forward to reading your work and we will be in touch with writers in the coming weeks regarding results.

Stay tuned!

MY ROOTS Writing Contest

Call for Writing Contest Submissions!

$500 in cash prizes to win!

Have you noticed a problem in the community? Do you have an idea to solve that problem? Do you want to be a community changemaker and share your vision with others?

If you are 21 years or younger we are currently seeking submissions for our annual writing contest. It’s simple: Describe a problem that is hurting the community and articulate your solution. Be creative and  share your perspective.

Send your submission in word format to with your name, age, the title of your submission and the name of the school you currently attend.

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT: February 15th, 2013.

Prizes vary depending on your age category. See below for full contest details.

Rules: 1. Three prizes will be awarded for each age category and up to $100 dollars can be awarded to one contestant. 2. Writers between the ages of 19-21 years old must write a minimum 2000 words. Writers between the ages of 14-18 years old must write a minimum of 1000 words. Writers 13 years of age and under have a minimum of 500 words. 3. Contestants must show proof of their age upon request. 4. All entries must be attached to an email as a Microsoft word document and include a title for the submission. 5. Winners will be announced in late February and published in the next edition of MY ROOTS. 6. Contestants may be asked for proof of age. 7. All submissions may be published on and in the quarterly print publication. 8. Prize money will be distributed in cash. 9. Winners will be asked to attend an event in Malvern to be awarded a certificate and prize. 10. The submission must be written by the contestant.
MY ROOTS Writing Contest
Mariam Aslam, resident of Scarborough.

Reflecting on Violence in the Community

By:Mariam Aslam
Community Submission

Joshua Yasay, one of the victims of the shooting that took place in Danzig, attended elementary school with my younger sister.  Although I did not know him personally, I was connected to him through his older sister, Janelle, a friend at the same public school. Learning about his death was an immense shock and quickly became too close to home and real for me.

After his death, I connected with both of his older sister’s to give my condolences and share my devastation about this tragedy. Attempting to make sense and find closure of such a tremendous loss to Joshua’s family and the community, I attended his funeral, which was a graceful yet extremely emotional event.  I was overcome with such grief and cried uncontrollably the entire time.

Although I had no connection to Shyanne Charles, the other victim of the shooting, I share my sincerest love and prayers to the families, friends and those that like myself, who are not directly connected, but still impacted by these senseless shootings.

As I reflect about the stigma associated with the east end of Toronto, I often wonder what we, as a community, can do to improve the well-being and quality of life of those that have and continue to be affected by issues related to violence, crime and unfortunately, death.

I am aware that there are many complex and interrelated issues that shape the realities of those living in different neighbourhoods, and therefore, more than one strategy, program, service etc. needs to be implemented to improve the various circumstances at hand.

Although I am still trying to work through these losses and the narratives that have unfolded after the violence, I would like for us -individually and collectively- not to reinforce any negativity about Danzig as a community and to be mindful of those living in Danzig are hurting and will continue to do so as they work through the events of July 16th that have changed their lives forever.

[Editor's note: More reflection pieces and discussion on the current issues related to violence in and surrounding  our community will be published in the Fall 2012 edition of MY ROOTS.]


Scholarships 101

Scholarships 101: The Opportunities, Achievements, and Lifetime Successes You Never Knew About

By Erica Lenti
Community Submission

If you are currently a senior high school student, you have probably heard it numerous times already; with a university or college education comes academic demands, a civic responsibility and a hefty tuition bill to pay. Fortunately, scholarships are made widely available to students all across Canada, and offer not only financial aid but the opportunity to change your life positively.

Simply put, undergraduate scholarships are monetary awards, given to students who have accomplished outstanding achievements, to help fund the ever-growing expenses of a post-secondary education. They are awarded to students based mainly on academic success and community involvement. Most large universities – like the University of Toronto, for instance and national banks such as TD Canada Trust, Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank offer scholarships, often in large sums, to eligible students. Other smaller scholarships are offered at smaller universities, often outside of Toronto as well.

While scholarships do benefit students as they first enter university, they also create lifetime opportunities in both future educational and professional career endeavors.

For Scarborough resident Hasina Daya, receiving scholarships completely changed her educational experience. A recipient of five awards, including the TD Canada Trust Scholarship and Isabel Kerr Girl Guides Ontario Scholarship, Hasina is currently studying abroad in England. She hopes to graduate as a double major in Global Development Studies and Political Science. When Hasina was ready to graduate high school, her family did not have the financial means to afford university, so she turned to scholarships for help.

“I learned about the awards and scholarships through lots of research… I just tried to learn as much about what was out there as possible,” she explained.

Hasina believed that she did not have the grades to receive many high-profile awards so she used her community involvement to apply to more leadership-based scholarships. She was a very active member of her school community, acted as an ambassador of her student body, and she headed several clubs and activities. She also kept busy as a volunteer at her local mosque, working part-time, and joining the Girl Guides of Canada.

Since receiving the awards, Hasina has experienced several opportunities that have benefited her future prospects. As a recipient of the TD Canada Trust Scholarship, Hasina had the opportunity to work at a bank this summer to gain employment experience.

“It taught me so much about managing my money,” she says. “It was a fabulous experience.”

Likewise, she was able to meet Queen Elizabeth II at her Celebration of Service for the Girl Guides of Canada Isabel Kerr Scholarship event. She explained that the Girl Guides of Canada helped to encourage her ambition to become a human rights lawyer.

Sivaniya Subramanieapillai, also a 2009/2010 recipient of the TD Canada Scholarship, came to learn about the award through her school community.

“I wanted to apply for this scholarship so that I could become a role model to other students in the community who feel restrained to do anything because of the circumstances that they may have,” she says.

As a founder of the Teen Youth Club and an avid volunteer in her Scarborough community, Sivaniya began her high school years like most students; she only intended on volunteering in her community to complete her mandatory 40 hours. It was when she began getting involved that she realized the impact she made on her community.

Since receiving the scholarship, Sivaniya explains that the most beneficial opportunity she has received from it is the network of friends she now has. She has met nineteen other students who, just like her, want to make a difference in their community.

“I am lucky because I have a network of friends from all over the country!”

While both Hasina and Sivaniya were successful in receiving awards based on their community involvement, it is important to explore other scholarship opportunities that pertain to your own individual skills. These scholarships are not often on as large of a scale as national awards, like the TD Canada Trust Scholarship, but they still make a great start in the financial aid of your education. They also target your interests for access to greater opportunities in your future.

For instance, there are sports scholarships, such as the Front Row Sports Award, for students who want to further explore careers in physical education; and there are music scholarships, like the Keith and Ross MacMillan Scholarship, for those interested in a future of music. In most cases, these are the scholarships that are specific to your future careers, prospects and studies.

Interest-specific scholarships can be found through resources like and, where opportunities are sent to you based specifically on the elements of your profile, including your grades and programs of interest.

As the road toward college, university, or the next phase in your life becomes shorter, it becomes crucial to begin exploring scholarship opportunities.

Hasina advises current seniors to apply to as many scholarships as possible because you never know just what opportunities they have in store for you.

Sivaniya, on the other hand, reminds students to be passionate about what they do. She advises not to volunteer just to receive scholarships, but to love what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.

“Passion and a drive to make a change in the community should be the driving force for your actions,” she says.

Whatever your situation, it is important to keep your eyes open and find the awards that are right for you.

With a bit of hard work and perseverance, scholarships can deliver an abundance of opportunities to you, just as they did for Sivaniya and Hasina. Be weary and do not limit yourself – there are plenty of life-altering opportunities in scholarship programs and awards that are just waiting for the perfect student. And who knows? Maybe that perfect student is you.

Erica Lenti is a 17 year old student currently attending Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School. She is a passionate writer with hopes of pursuing journalism in the future.