Fraser Valley youth join inaugural provincial leadership council

December 13, 2021 at 9:40 am  BC, News, Politics

Three young local leaders have been named to the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council and will provide direct and ongoing feedback to government on priorities and policies that matter to youth.

Andrew Millage, 19, from Abbotsford, and Malia Mercado, 16, and Yi Nuo (Emmy) Wang, 16, both from Maple Ridge, were appointed to the 18-member council. The inaugural council received more than 250 applications.

“We know that young people have their finger on the pulse of future issues, and that’s why it’s so important to give them opportunities to connect with government,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “Congratulations to Malia and Yi Nuo from Maple Ridge, and to the council members across the province. I can’t wait to see what the future looks like when passionate and engaged people like you are at the wheel!”

Mercado is a first-generation Filipino-Canadian secondary school student interested in supporting people who have experienced domestic violence and mental-health issues. She led her school’s participation in the Moose Hide Campaign, which challenges men and boys to stand up against violence toward women and children. 

Wang is co-founder and co-president of her secondary school’s Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) chapter and publicity manager for her student council. She is passionate about raising awareness on mental health, anti-discrimination, gender equity, and truth and reconciliation.

Born and raised in Abbotsford, Millage is passionate about the benefit of the arts as a teaching method, and volunteerism to help make a more resilient, safe and supportive community. He is a strong advocate for addressing the mental-health, addiction and social inequities that contribute to the opioid crisis.

“I’m looking forward to this opportunity a great deal. It’s important to me that youth voices are considered by the government, as it is up to us as young Canadians to decide what our communities look like for younger generations,” said Millage. “With the recent weather events in Abbotsford, I feel it is easy to overlook the youth affected by the flood and evacuations, and I would like to be able to bring forward the concerns that young people hold.”

The council will be chaired by Brittny Anderson, the premier’s special adviser on youth. They will discuss issues that matter most to young people in areas such as education, employment, income, mental health and the environment. Issues affecting the Fraser Valley will also be brought forward to the council table.

“I’m looking forward to working with these remarkable young people to hear first-hand what is needed in the Fraser Valley to help improve their lives and opportunities,” said Anderson. “These young leaders represent some of the most community-minded young people in our province. Their input will make a difference for their peers and communities, now and for generations to come.”

Council members will serve one-year terms with the option to remain on the council for up to three terms. The first meeting is planned for spring 2022 and will be held quarterly.

“I’m glad to see the diversity of our province reflected in the membership of our first StrongerBC Young Leaders Council,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “The pandemic has exposed inequalities that we can’t ignore. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work with the council to tackle the pressing issues they care about, including building an economy that works for more British Columbians in every corner of our province.”

The StrongerBC Young Leaders Council supports the B.C. government’s commitment to an inclusive, innovative and sustainable economic recovery for everyone who lives in B.C.

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