Over the years, the Toronto Multicultural Youth Council has impacted the lives of 15 sponsored children. Photo courtesy of Karen Ng.
Karen Ng, 27, didn’t set out to become a leader or to start a charity, but when a magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit Sichuan, China in 2008, she knew she wanted to help.
“We managed to raise $8000,” says Karen who was a grade 11 student at Markville Secondary School at the time.
Inspired by their success, Karen and her classmates decided they wanted to keep doing meaningful, impactful things. They reached out to students from other high schools who also wanted to make a difference, and the Toronto Multicultural Youth Council
was born – an organization of youth, for youth, by youth.
“I wanted our council members to know that young people can do things,” says Karen.
For four years the group organized events to raise funds for various causes, but something was missing.
The broad scope of their fundraising energies left the group wondering at their efforts and looking for purpose.
Then Karen remembered World Vision. She knew the work they did with children around the world. World Vision was reputable, and the council could see where the money was going.
“I couldn't sponsor a kid on my own, so getting these students together, through collective effort I knew we could sponsor a child,” says Karen, who by then was in her third year of university.
The council immediately began sponsoring two children
, but it didn’t stop there.
“Over the years we've impacted 15 kids,” says Karen. “It's so rewarding to think of all the hard work, all the events, it meant something.”
In November 2018, Karen shared on Instagram how working together with other youth through the Toronto Multicultural Youth Council allowed her to co-sponsor 15 children through World Vision since 2012.
In a recent Instagram post, Karen wrote, “When I login to check up on these children, they serve as a cognizant reminder of how so little from me can do so much in changing the trajectory of someone else’s life. For one cup of coffee to become an opportunity for a child to attend school, have access to clean water, shelter, and a chance at a better life makes my life a little more meaningful. Small acts of generosity create the opportunity for great ripples.”
Today, the council sponsors five children around the world, and for Karen the reward is two-fold: seeing the children grow and reach their potential, and watching the community come together under a shared vision.
Karen’s passion for youth capacity building and collective action is evident.
“We can do more when we work together,” says Karen. “It motivates our members to do more, and it gives us hope to see so many people who care and want to get involved.”
Participation in the council has helped many of its youth members to develop a range of leadership and organizing skills.
For Karen, she says the experience has shaped who she is.
“It's taught me so much,” says Karen. “It helped me learn the philosophy of asking. People are willing to help if you're willing to ask. It opens doors.”
Karen is part of a world-shaping movement that knows no boundaries. Through the Toronto Multicultural Youth Council, Karen and fellow youth council members recognize that justice requires action and have chosen child sponsorship as the best way to make the world a better place for the most vulnerable children.