by Vizlumin Cabrera (Published in Pilipino Express December 1-15)
|Lyn Roshan Dalit receiving her award, autumn 2020|
I’d like to start this article with a message of gratitude to the members of ANAK. Thank you, thank you, thank you. To say that 2020 was a challenging year would be a gross understatement. The entire world and its global economies have been brought to almost a standstill, and all over the world people have dramatically adjusted their lives to flatten the curve and keep the COVID-19 global pandemic at bay.
Here at ANAK Inc., we have had to regroup and try new ways of reaching our youth. Most of our outreach went online. Although we were unsure of how it would be received, being able to reach youth over platforms like Zoom and Google Meet allowed us to reach a wider group of people thus allowing our network of Filipino-Canadian youth, organizations, and allies alike to grow exponentially. We worked with Action Dignity’s Youth Place and Fiesta Filipino’s Youth Empowerment Program in Calgary to check-in on some of the youth and discuss mental wellness. We collaborated with Bahaghari in Calgary, Rise Tribe in Toronto, and UGAT in Edmonton to put together the Anti-Racism Forum for Filipinx Canadians. Our biggest collaboration to date was done in joining the Kapti-Bisig Youth Network, a national network of Filipino youth and student led organizations. Through this network, we combined our efforts to create a national survey that would help identify the needs of Filipino-Canadian youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our organization decided that this year’s annual ANAK Liwayway Scholarship for Leadership Excellence would explore topics pertaining to mental health. We asked applicants to examine how open dialogue about mental wellness, in family and in community, impacts the way Filipinos engage globally, especially in light of world events. Kyla Russella M. Soriano (J. H. Bruns Collegiate) and Lyn Roshan Dalit (Sisler High School) each received a $500 scholarship for their post-secondary studies, with honourable mentions also awarded to Lea Darlyn Lopez Martin (Sisler High School) and Yuan Jairus Mistas Garcia (Miles Macdonell Collegiate). Congrats to all of the award recipients and to all of the graduates that we met during this process. You all have a bright future ahead of you.
If there’s anything that 2020 has taught us, it is that building a strong community helps to make us strong as individuals. We are Kapwa. The care that we show to each other during these unprecedented times will be what ensures our survival.
Vizlumin Cabrera is the Director of Development for ANAK. Visit www.anak.ca to learn more about ANAK programs, opportunities, and ways you can get involved or support youth. You can also find us on Instagram @anakwinnipeg or Facebook @ANAK.ca