Working different angles – together

Students come to GreenHouse aware that, as much as they might like to, they can’t fix all the problems in the world, but sometimes they dare to hope that they might solve one problem.

Head shot of BrendanThe challenge comes, according to GreenHouse Program Manager and Startup Coach Brendan Wylie-Toal, when they dig into the problem and begin to realize that even this area of passion is too big, that what they do will leave a lot of other work undone, or perhaps even cause new issues to arise.

This fall, however, three GreenHouse students faced this less than most. When it came time to present their ideas to their peers to validate their initial concepts, something interesting happened.

First, Rachel Thorburn presented her idea about helping young people identify their need for mental health support. She recognized this could create a bottleneck in the system by creating more demand for services. Immediately after Rachel finished, Le-Tien Duong made her presentation: about helping people waiting for mental health services access alternative treatments. Finally, on the same day, Olivia Hickey presented her idea, about supporting First Nations people in the health system in ways that validated traditional medicine.

head shot of Rachel  Head shot of Li  head shot of Olivia

From the left: Rachel Thorburn, Le-Tien Duong and Olivia Hickey

GreenHouse uses the eight indicators of the Canadian Index for Well-being to group similar projects — and these three separate projects clearly could be clustered together. Rachel, Le-Tien and Olivia began working together, along with the support of Wylie-Toal and peer mentor Bailee Walls, whose project on emotional intelligence made her a natural fit as a mentor.

Rachel, who had long focused on mental health, says,

“I had never met people with similar passions so it has been really rewarding to meet and work with people who are concerned about similar things. It also means we can give each other really good feedback.”

group shot of the GreenHouse Cohort

A group shot of the Fall 2017 GreenHouse cohort

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