Youth Central is celebrating its 25 anniversary by profiling 25 of its alumni throughout the years. To help in this mission, Youth Are Awesome (YAA), a program of Youth Central, is helping by interviewing and writing articles about the alumni.
Nazifa Rahman, is the next featured alumnus in Youth Central’s alumni series. She began her four-year journey with Youth Central in 2011. She was a prominent leader in the Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) program and on the Youth of Distinction Award (YODA) steering committee.
Nazifa recalls Youth Central as being “a separate support system… a home away from home,” recalling the “thousands of feel good moments of accomplishments” while volunteering with Youth Central. Nazifa remembers helping interview candidates for the YODA ceremony being special.
“The fact that a youth committee gets to select other youth that deserve recognition for their amazing contribution to society that wouldn’t necessary get some,” Nazifa explains. “I love the categories of the awards because they tend to be a little unconventional, like perseverance and peer-support, rather than something you would see typically get a lot of light, i.e. academic awards.
“I have always been someone who wanted to get involved in the community and [volunteer] for a greater cause that would make an impact. Youth Central was a perfect fit for me because they empowered youth to feel like they [could] accomplish anything… while [providing] the youth with any of the tools needed to achieve those dreams.”
Nazifa is now in her third year of a Bachelor of Science program at the University of Calgary. She volunteers with the Let’s Talk Science Club at her university, which helps other students in discovering and pursuing their passions by inspiring them to explore the world of science as a leader. She also volunteers as a Triage Peer at the University of Calgary. She is the first point of contact for anyone coming into the office about services such as booking appointments, as well as guiding them in a direction that meets their career goals.
“Youth Central shaped the person I am today, in so many ways I will forever be grateful. I have a sense of self-worth, confidence, and passion for what I believe in. I feel empowered as an individual to make a greater impact in life because youth CAN make a difference, you just need a clear vision and determination.”
An admirable example of how Nazifa establishes her clear vision every day is by writing in her Five Minute Journal. “I write about what I am grateful for and what would make today great,” Nazifa says. “It just helps put me in a positive mindset for the rest of the day.” She also surrounds herself with what she loves by working at Sephora as a Colour Artist, embracing creativity while helping other women feel confident and beautiful.
Nazifa offers one piece of advice to youth and it is to: