Back for another year, Markham Expo celebrated the accomplishments of youth and their constant activism in the community.
The day-long event, on May 5, was organized by the Mayor’s Youth Council and took place at the Markham Village Community Centre. With more than 65 booths at this year’s event, each organization offered youth a wide range of opportunities to further immerse themselves in the community.
According to Julia Ip, Youth Council co-chair, the event took one entire school year for the 25-member council to organize.
“From our stage to the mini games that kids can play, to all the community booths and merchandisers here today, it’s been a huge group effort with the different committees we have working on all the different aspects of Markham Expo,” she said.
This year’s event included the annual Expo Factor singing and band competition and the Step to It dance competition. To showcase youth talent even further, an art exhibit showcased the paintings and drawings of local students. New this year, a fashion show gave participants the opportunity to challenge their creativity and design an article of clothing on the spot. Other new activities included a car show and Markham merchandise booth.
Jennifer Chen, Youth Council co-chair, says the council “strives to be a representative of the youth fabric in Markham.”
“With Markham Expo, we really want to give youth the opportunity to explore different things and find different councils that they want to join,” she said. “It’s a really fun way to get exposure to different involvement opportunities and Markham Expo really just celebrates what youth have accomplished.”
In addition to the different booths and activities, Mayor Frank Scarpitti announced the winners of this year’s Mayor’s Youth Award. Every year, three students from Grades 7 to 12 are recognized for their leadership and involvement in community affairs. This year, the recipients are Gloria Huang, Effiea Pomiah and Joey Chan.
“I’ve been doing band at school, I was the founder of the wellness council at my school, I’ve been on student council and this year I was actually the co-president of an organization called Operation Med School Toronto,” said Chan, recipient for the grade 11 and 12 category. “It’s so great to give back to the community and it just feels amazing to win this award.”
Scarpitti says the Markham Expo showcases the endless efforts of youth when it comes to engaging and supporting others in the community.
“As mayor, there isn’t a week that doesn’t go by where I am not impressed with the contributions that young people make in our community,” he said. “Often people will say they’re the leaders of tomorrow, but I say they’re the leaders of today. They’re showing that leadership through improving the environment, helping those that are less fortunate, raising money for causes around the world and, I think very importantly, supporting other youth and that is something that makes me very proud.”
Visit markhamyouth.com for details on other Youth Council initiatives.
(Header photo: Mayor Frank Scarpitti and the Markham Youth Council present Effiea Pomiah, Joey Chan and Gloria Huang with the Mayor’s Youth Award.)