08 Sep Meet YCI’s new Climate Action Youth Ambassadors

Together, we’re engaging GTHA communities and beyond to take action for our planet


Youth Challenge International (YCI) is excited to introduce our new Climate Action Youth Ambassadors! Ambassadors are program alumni and proud members of YCI’s Climate Action Network who encourage and inspire community climate action in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). By sharing their experience through YCI’s climate programs, Climate Action Youth Ambassadors highlight the skills and experiences participants will gain and promote youth-led action for climate and social change.

YCI brings together hundreds of young people, partners and mentors in the GTHA passionate about taking action for the environment to drive community-based climate solutions through our Innovate MY Future and the Youth Climate Leadership Programs. Innovate MY Future is an 8-month program that allows youth, aged 16-24, to collaborate in local teams to tackle climate issues and design community-based projects to make an impact. The 6-month Youth Climate Leadership Program offers young people aged 19-25 the opportunity to grow leadership skills and enhance their careers while engaging their communities in climate change action.

Read on to learn more about each Climate Action Youth Ambassador and their experience with YCI’s climate programs!

Hrithik Sharma

As a third-year student studying Integrated Business and Humanities at McMaster University, Hrithik recognizes the value of the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. As such, he aims to only pursue extra-curricular activities and work that leaves a positive impact on society. This steadfast focus on making the world a better place led him to participate in YCI’s Innovate MY Future program and lead his own climate change case competition known as Climaco with his team Green Linings. Aside from debating and competing in cross-university case competitions, he continues to learn and engage in social impact initiatives by managing the marketing for organizations like Enactus McMaster and participating in challenges hosted by organizations like XPRIZE Canada. Hrithik truly believes that better is always possible and that it’s our responsibility to ensure we are actively moving towards a better, more sustainable and equitable world. Alongside his work, he aims to read and consume media that relates to his goal of making the world a better place for all its inhabitants – people, plants and animals.

“The biggest setback I’ve always had with making change is finding the ‘right idea’ or the ‘right people’ to fight for justice. However, the issue is that there is no perfect idea, team or time to begin – justice is needed now and we all have to take part in fighting for it. Youth Challenge International’s climate programs give you the stepping-stone you need to begin making your ideas a reality. From workshops that broaden your perspective, to the invaluable mentorship and funding opportunities, YCI provides you the support you need to make an impact and learn while doing so. You’ll not only become lifelong friends with like-minded people with the purpose of making this world a better place, you’ll become part of a family and journey that’s bigger than yourself.”

Rosemary Andres

Rosemary graduated from Humber College with a Diploma of Hospitality – Events Management. Throughout her career in events and sustainability, she has completed a diverse range of youth-led environmental events, such as a conference to teach youth about the polar regions and a trade show to spread awareness on climate change. Through YCI’s Innovate MY Future program, she created a zero-waste workshop in Toronto (Kensington) with her team Get Reused To It. She then completed YCI’s Youth Climate Leadership Program and founded Glimmer of Events to create more community events that inspire youth on environmental topics. Rosemary believes in the power of youth to be climate leaders for future generations and her passion is to inspire, educate and connect young people on the importance of sustainability. In her personal life, Rosemary is interested in social entrepreneurship, conscious living and learning about minimizing waste consumption.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of positive change in my community and Youth Challenge International had the programs where I could achieve my goal. I saw the opportunity to learn more about sustainability topics and decided to apply. It was the best experience I ever had! I met other like-minded youth across the GTHA, networked with subject matter experts, learned about design thinking and created a project that is close to home. Now that I’ve completed the program, I believe I’m better equipped to pursue my goal of starting my social enterprise with the connections I’ve made during my time with YCI.”

Saskia Hambali

As a previous participant of the Innovate MY Future program with Green Power Vaughan, Saskia is excited to be a YCI Climate Action Youth Ambassador. She looks forward to using the experience she has developed through the program to help other youth grow their skills through YCI’s climate programs. She is very grateful to be part of the amazing Youth Ambassador team and can’t wait to inspire more community climate action!

“Completing YCI’s Innovate MY Future program has taught me a lot about what really goes on behind the scenes of project development and trying to create change in your own community. I originally joined the program because I needed to complete my volunteer hour graduation requirement, but participating in such an amazing and educative program has taught me essential skills, such as outreach and networking, that will be crucial when going into post-secondary. I got to learn the concepts of design thinking as well as how to plan and report progress in a professional matter. As a high school student, these kinds of experiences are not often given to us but YCI’s [climate action] programs specifically target youth to help students gain skills and learn how to take charge in an impactful way to change societal problems.”

Laura Casciaro

Laura is former participant of the Innovate MY Future program, a member of Secure the Food Mississauga (SFM) and a recent Business Management graduate from Ryerson University. She began participating in climate action after taking a course on food systems, sparking her interest in food security and inspiring her to create an indoor gardening program for SFM’s climate action project. She is passionate about living a sustainable, low-waste lifestyle and she enjoys volunteering in her community and learning more about the impact of climate change on agriculture.

“I joined the Innovate MY Future program because I wanted to make a difference in my community and the program provided an opportunity to get involved in local climate action. Together with a team of youth, I designed an indoor gardening program which developed my leadership and interpersonal skills. YCI provided us with the tools and resources to launch our climate project successfully and the workshops furthered my knowledge of climate change, design thinking and project management. The [Innovate MY Future] program makes it possible for any youth to take climate action in their city.”

To join our Climate Action Network of 375+ youth across the GTHA, grow skills for your career, and make an impact in your community, visit youthclimateaction.ca.