Smyrna has been a part of the HairStory team as an Amplifier since 2017. She has a mission to connect and unite young people together to create the changes we wish to see in this world. She is action oriented, committed to the healthy development of Black children and youth of the province, and will continue to do this work as long as the issues persist. She hopes to work alongside a mass of young people who wish to see better outcomes for their peers. She believes in strength-based approaches and hopes to see others around her enact change by doing what they are great at.
Parallel to her passion for advocacy, youth engagement and community development, Smyrna is also an avid event planner, having planned events as diverse as weddings, baby showers, and youth gatherings, including Passion 2 Action - an event that brought together Black youth to look at historical change-makers in the Black community and lessons for the future.
She is currently a student at Ryerson University studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Oppression. She is also the current president of the United Black Students Ryerson.
In 2015 Richard joined the HairStory dialogue sessions and since then has devoted his time to the initiative in various ways. As a Youth Participant, Advisor, CYC Practicum Student, and Amplifier Richard has gained perspective of how the work is done and stands ready to uphold the many contributions that Black young people have made over the seven years since the project’s inception.
With his education grounded in Child and Youth Care, Richard has a youth first mentality when making decisions. He finds fulfilment in the moments when youth are affecting change through their bravery to believe in their value, their purpose, and their ability to impact the world - to make change rooted in love.
Has been a dedicated member of the HairStory Project for 2 years, he began his journey as a Placement Student Youth Amplifier through Sheridan College while enrolled in the Child and Youth Practitioner Program. Based off of his hard work and motivation to improve the community, by the time Kishaun graduated, he was an invested member of the HairStory Project and was given an opportunity to become a full-time Youth Amplifier through the Ontario Child Advocate.
As a Child and Youth Worker, Kishaun became an advocate for youth dealing with mental health issues. As a member of HairStory, he strived to better the mental health care systems for youth by conducting presentations across Ontario and bringing awareness to the issues surrounding mental health.
The work that has been done through HairStory has inspired Kishaun and his team to create a not-for-profit organization to give Black youth in the community a platform to speak on their issues and create change.