A new national youth-led initiative is recognizing young people across Canada who are contributing to the continued progress of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The inaugural Canada SDG Youth Awards were presented on March 2nd at the kick-off of Together|Ensemble, Canada’s national conference on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Transition Space is one of only two initiatives recognized under the “Community Health and Wellbeing” category, acknowledging ventures that promote mental or physical wellbeing through health equity. The Transition Space team is made up of six University of Waterloo young alumni, Sarah Berdowski (BES ‘21), Charlotte Jane Ogalesco (BSc ’21), Lindsay Krahn (BSc '21), William Nippard (BCS ‘18), Caleb Williams (MDEI ‘20) and Mary Allysa Misola (BGBDA ‘21). The team first met as students while attending a Discovery Lab hosted by GreenHouse in September 2019. Their team joined the Workplace Innovation Program and were partnered with KidsAbility, a local childhood development centre. The idea for Transition Space came from the knowledge that people struggled to transition from the centralized pediatric disability services into the decentralized adult disability support system in Ontario.
1 in 10 Canadian youth have a disability, which adds a layer of complexity to the already challenging transition to adulthood. Transition Space is an online platform that presents relevant resources on topics that are important to understand during this transition, including independent living, financial planning and healthcare services. While originally described as a bridge between the youth and adult systems, Transition Space is a valuable resource for all adults navigating Ontario’s disability services.
While Transition Space started out as a passion project, the team agreed that they would continue to develop and launch their platform after graduation. Today, the youth team dedicates time to their venture on top of their full-time careers and studies. Co-founder, Caleb Williams, says receiving a Canada SDG Youth Award has given the team a definite morale boost and encouraged them to continue working on Transition Space despite the additional challenges that the pandemic has introduced.
The Canada SDG Youth Award recognizes the strong and inclusive leadership of the team and the transformative change that Transition Space will bring to the communities it is addressing. Congratulations, Sarah, Charlotte Jane, Lindsay, William, Mary Allysa and Caleb!
“To solve a community problem, you have to be able to empathize. Once you can put yourself in the shoes of your users, you can go a long way in crafting a solution that will have a sustainable impact on society”
Do you have an idea to advance the progress of the SDGs? GreenHouse is currently recruiting for our next cohorts of inspiring innovators. Apply today.