Youth can make a difference!

Craig Kielburger addresses the audience at the Be a Hero awards ceremony.

Several talented Halton youth were recognized at an awards ceremony recently for our annual Be a Hero contest.  The awards ceremony for Be a Hero was held on November 21, 2012 and included Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children and Me to We.  Craig‘s message that “one youth can make a world of difference” nicely complemented the impressive contest submissions that were displayed around the room.  In Halton, our youth are making a difference and their contest submissions demonstrated they understood the importance of affordable housing and how it impacts people in our community.

In Halton, like many other communities in Ontario and Canada, we are building affordable housing units to ensure that individuals and families have access to safe and stable homes. A healthy community requires a range of housing options that meet the needs of all incomes and stages of life.  Youth, single adults, families, seniors, people with disabilities and recent immigrants all face challenges finding housing they can afford. The needs can be hard to see but they do exist. Housing is a complex issue that requires the support and involvement of government, the non-profit sector, the private sector and people in our community.

The top prize for this year’s contest was awarded to a class from Assumption Secondary School in Burlington for a YouTube video entitled “Home.” The class receives $1000 for their submission.  The additional prizes were awarded as follows:

  • 2nd Place – Cheryl Joseph from Iroquois Ridge High School (Oakville) for her poem “The Hard Way” ($500)
  • 3rd Place – Kylie Pinder from Nelson High School (Burlington) for her 3D model display “Everyone Deserves a Home” ($250)
  • 4th Place – Mayuri Mahendran from Iroquois Ridge High School (Oakville) for the book “A Place to Call Home” ($100)
  • 5th Place – A group of students from Craig Kielburger Secondary School (Milton) for their YouTube video about a youth struggling to find a home (Andrew Annis, Stephen Groulx-Mustafa, Sarah MacKay and Celena MacMaster) ($100)
  • Be a Hero Spirit Award – Iroquois Ridge High School for the highest number of participants in the contest

I congratulate all the contest participants for helping to raise awareness about the importance of affordable housing in Halton. Halton Region is committed through the Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan to providing housing supports to address the needs of low income residents in Halton.  To learn more about this and Halton Region’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy visit   To view my video blog about affordable and assisted housing, visit

YouTube videos submitted to this year’s contest are posted on the Be a Hero YouTube channel which can be accessed through

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”