Jodee Fok Wing Tung
With the help of Toronto City Councillor Anthony Perruzza, the Bronze Visioneers visited the Toronto City Hall and participated in a mock council debate activity on 10th August 2019. Franco Ng, who worked as an assistant of a city councillor, introduced to the Visioneers the history, management structure and daily operation of the City Hall, as well as sharing with them the jobs and responsibilities of a city councillor. Franco believed that it is possible for anybody to make changes in their city. He encouraged the Visioneers to voice out their opinion and raised their enthusiasm in taking part in political events.
Apart from visiting the City Hall, the Visioneers had an experience being a city councillor to give a speech and vote, enhancing their understanding on the decision-making process in the council. The topic for the debate was whether laneway housing scheme should be implemented. The Visioneers were free to choose a stance and developed their own arguments. At the same time, Franco and other counsellors took the role of the mayor and public members. Not only did they ask questions regarding the arguments made by each Visioneer, they also ensured that the council meeting was held solemnly and smoothly. The Visioneers were able to consider the issue from various perspectives, for instance, property price, privacy issues, legal status of laneway housing and possible effects on corresponding neighbourhoods. Also, they were able to answer most of the questions asked by the public members and make an argument backed up with research and statistics.
In this mock council debate, more than 2 hours were spent in discussing the motion. In reality, councillors are facing mounting pressure as they need to deal with different opinions and proposals from the public of 44 districts. It is believed that after experiencing this mock council debate, the Visioneers had a better understanding on the jobs of the council and realized that political participation is one of the major ways to make changes in the community. It is hoped that they will get involved in more political events in the future and bring new blood to the political sector.
Founded in 2001, Vision Youth Leadership Program is a non-profit organization that aims to help youths develop life skills, nurture their social skills, and prepare them for a successful future. Different from the traditional teaching approaches which educate them mainly through academic knowledge, Vision Youth emphasizes on exploring the potential of our participants, enhancing their social skills and organizing outdoor activities which allow them to stay close to nature. Furthermore, Vision Youth provides a good learning experience for the participants, ensuring their communication skills, public speaking skills, leadership skills, interpersonal skills, collaboration skills and self-confidence can be strengthened. It is also our goal that students would understand and love nature better and that their social and political awareness, and personal responsibility can be raised after taking part in our program.
For more information about Vision Youth Leadership Program, please visit our website at www.visionyouth.ca, or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/visionyouth/, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us at 416-800-4040.
For more information about our past activities, feel free to visit our bloghttp://www.visionyouthblog.blogspot.ca/. Blog posts in both Chinese and English version are available for readers.