Ghanaian and Canadian Connection Through Education
Liz Pfisterer is no stranger to pivoting. Before starting at University of Waterloo, she planned to study kinesiology, but after volunteering and working with vulnerable populations, she “did a 180” and enrolled in social development studies and psychology.
This past summer, she came to GreenHouse with ideas developed while working with at-risk youth in the welfare system and group homes. Recognizing the complexity of this issue, Liz started Meet Me Where I’m At, a venture with a multi-pronged approach to the complexity of this issue. Her initial plan was to develop empathy curriculum and offer better self-care for frontline workers in group homes.
It’s been really helpful to be at GreenHouse, especially with others who also are interested in working with you,” she says. “We support one another and have good dialogue. We also benefit from access to good resources.
One of those resources was a poster Liz saw at GreenHouse this fall, inviting Canadian women entrepreneurs to Ghana to participate in the Uniterra and WUSC Women in Entrepreneurship Seminar which brought together women entrepreneurs from Canada and Ghana.
As part of the seminar in Ghana, Liz visited a youth support organization called Street Children Empowerment. During that visit, a partnership developed that has brought new focus to her venture.
Liz says, “Meet Me Where I’m At has shifted to an education-based online platform that will offer a variety of module-based courses for frontline professionals working with youth in at-risk situations.” Another significant component of this platform will allow unemployed Canadian youth with criminal backgrounds to connect with employers and other service providers.
The meeting with Street Children Empowerment has brought a unique cross-cultural education component to Liz’s work, too. She has been invited to return to Ghana this summer to work with Street Children Empowerment to develop a dual cultural curriculum – Ghanaian and Canadian – which will include content on everything from trauma to healthy manhood, to consent and healthy sexuality. This curriculum will then be used in a support circle for men in Accra, Ghana, with the goal of preventing and reducing sexual harassment and unhealthy sexual relationships in the community.
Liz is excited about this new direction and partnership.
This approach has the opportunity to reach more people. That’s what gets me amped – meeting youth where they are at in different cultures, and learning from others about how best to support them.
GreenHouse alum wins national challenge
Marlena Books which was founded by Rachel Thompson while she was a GreenHouse social innovator recently took first place in the AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge and receives $75K in cash and in-kind support to help advance the development of a dementia friendly reading app.
More accolades for GreenHouse alum Christina Hassan
Christina Hassan founded social enterprise FullSoul Canada while she was a GreenHouse student to help improve outcomes in maternity wards in Uganda.
Earlier this fall, she along with her husband and FullSoul partner Hyder was named one of Calgary's top 40 under 40 by Avenue Magazine.
Soon after learning about the 40 under 40 selection Christina also found out that she would be honoured along with five other young innovators by Rotary International during Rotary Day at the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya.
Congratulations Rachel and Christina!