Hi, my name is Noah Haaland, I’m going into the seventh grade at Shanty Bay Public School and for the last two years I have had an opportunity to take part in a program called Change Agents.
When participating in Change Agents you pick an issue you are passionate about that is included in the UN Global Goals, and try to make positive change either in your community or worldwide.
The issue I was concerned about was food insecurity in Simcoe County. Food insecurity is an insecure access to a sufficient amount of healthy food due to a lack of money.
My goal was to raise awareness of this issue by working with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to make videos talking about my concerns; my first year video was presented to Barrie City Council and Simcoe County Council last year. This video is also currently on YouTube.
In my second year of Change Agents I went to the Tottenham “Our Town” Food Bank and wrote a reflection so people can know what it is like inside of that food bank. I also wrote an editorial which talks about how food banks are currently needed, but if we advocate for longer term solutions to food insecurity their need will be reduced. Later in the year I made another video with the same messaging. To keep everything organized and in one place I made a website where you can find all my writing and videos: www.stopfoodinsecurity.blogspot.com.
To raise awareness for the Change Agent Program participants were taken to many different events to showcase our work. A few of the events that I attended were: the PUSH Ignite Your Learning Educator Conference at Innisdale Secondary School in Barrie (we presented our projects to many teachers from across the board and took them through our process), The Singing In The Rain Outdoor Educator Conference (where we talked to educators about our project and made an abstract art piece to symbolize an important issue), the Simcoe Climate Change Action conference at the Holly Rec Center (in conjunction with the David Suzuki Foundation where we gave a speech about the program), and finally, an Oro Medonte Council Special Recognition Meeting (where some of the Change Agents were recognized by the Oro Medonte Council and MPP Doug Downey on behalf of The Government of Ontario).
I hope that my project has raised enough awareness in my community that it has had an impact and inspired others to take action. If you are concerned about this issue please take time to speak to a family member, friend or local politicians about this issue. I would like to say thank you to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, my teachers and principal at Shanty Bay Public School and my parents because I couldn’t have done my project without their continuous support. Hopefully reading about me and many other Change Agents will inspire you to try to make a difference as well!