Nov. 2, 2020Print | PDF
Wilfrid Laurier University Master of Social Work student Victoria Woghiren has long advocated for underprivileged youth in her hometown of Hamilton, Ont.
During her undergraduate studies, Woghiren sat on McMaster University’s Crown Ward Educational Championship team to help youth from foster care succeed in college and university. After graduation, she began her career supporting children and youth at the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton.
A new opportunity has come Woghiren’s way – one that will allow her to broaden her impact and help youth across Ontario.
Woghiren has been appointed to the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity. The newly formed council advises the premier and the minister of children, community and social services on issues such as employment, skills training and the education needs of youth, especially those facing multiple barriers. The group will also recommend long-term strategies to assist youth adversely impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The council is working hard to address the obstacles and disparities faced by marginalized youth, especially those heightened by the pandemic. It’s very timely work and we’re getting things done.”
Woghiren is one of 20 members selected to the council, which includes representation from youth ages 18 to 29 and adults from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education and government services. Each member serves a three-year term on a part-time basis.
“I am honoured to be part of such an empowered, passionate and intelligent group of people,” says Woghiren. “The council is working hard to address the obstacles and disparities faced by marginalized youth, especially those heightened by the pandemic. It’s very timely work and we’re getting things done.”
The council began working virtually in August and is collaborating in sub-groups to address specific challenges. Woghiren’s group is involved with Ontario’s Black Youth Action Plan, which works toward eliminating systemic, race-based disparities by increasing opportunities for Black children, youth and families across the province.
“We are recommending tools and supports to help Black and diverse communities thrive and bringing different voices to the table,” says Woghiren. “It feels good to be involved in something so significant.”
Woghiren plans to complete her graduate thesis on the lived experiences of individuals in Ontario’s child welfare system under the supervision of Associate Professor of Social Work Nancy Freymond.
“Being stripped of opportunity is a larger theme that continues to emerge,” says Woghiren. “But I think we are on the precipice of change. I want to work hard to be a part of that change and see it happen.”