Two Dawson students honoured with Lt-Gov. Youth Medal
For their commitment to making their corner of the world a better place, graduating students Joseph Anali Kapita and Kiana Lalavi received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Youth Medal.
“Joseph co-founded an organization named One to One,” said Billi-Jo Poirier, on leave from the Campus Life and Leadership Team, who nominated Joseph. “The organization enables immigrants to help each other in different ways using mechanisms to improve the social, economic, physical, and psychological challenges through the integration process. They offer free spaces to create advocacy for people experiencing racism. Their workshops are aimed to empower children, youth, and adults teaching them skills to cope with racism and reduce stress and trauma.”
Developing support for others in same situation
“The organization strives to build bridges with community partners for a cultural positive impact and to eradicate the negative practices about cultural beliefs in society. These workshops are a response to the systemic racism and gender-based violence that many immigrant communities are going through. I admire Joseph’s passion of taking his own experiences and developing support for others that may face similar situations.”
Joseph, a student in the Community, Recreation and Leadership Training Program, had done an internship with the CLL team. He encourages “others to continue pursuing their dreams and pushing the boundaries of what they can achieve. Embrace challenges, learn from failures, and never stop exploring their interests.”
This medal means “my efforts have had a tangible and positive effect on others. It acknowledges my ability to translate academic knowledge into practical solutions and my capacity to inspire and motivate others to contribute to their communities. Therefore, being awarded a medal for scholarity and community engagement is a recognition of my academic achievements and my dedication to making a meaningful impact on society. It is an acknowledgment of my hard work, passion, and commitment to both personal growth and the betterment of my community.”
What Joseph appreciated at Dawson
Joseph appreciated his time at Dawson: “Dawson College provided opportunities for intellectual growth and personal development. I had access to a wide range of subjects, courses, and extracurricular activities that allowed me to explore my interests, broaden my horizons, and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The acquisition of knowledge and the ability to apply it in various contexts can be incredibly empowering.”
Joseph plans to attend Concordia in the fall to pursue a Bachelor’s in Recreation and Leisure.
Extraordinary contributions to Dawson community
The other recipient is Kiana Lalavi, a student in the Law, Society and Justice Profile of the Social Science Program. She was nominated by two different teachers for her extraordinary contributions to the Dawson community.
Kiana is “incredible at mobilizing and inspiring her peers and her community into action in various ways,” said Kim Simard, faculty member in Cinema │Communications, in her nomination. “It has been an honour to have her in my class, and subsequently as an active member of the Creative Collective for Change, where she developed creative campaigns to spread awareness about police brutality in marginalized communities. In her role as Vice President of External Affairs at the Dawson Student Union, Kiana has made an impact engaging the student body and the larger community on issues such as climate action, spreading awareness and leading a vigil for those ﬁghting in the Iranian revolution, and working to eradicate poverty.”
“She has also made sure students were informed during the Quebec election this past fall by coordinating a team of volunteers. Beyond that, Kiana has worked with the Indigenous community lobbying for an expansion of the First Peoples’ Centre and has been involved with many initiatives in collaboration with McGill and Concordia.”
Taking her agency seriously
“A student who takes her agency very seriously, Ms. Lalavi is the ﬁrst to get involved, working hard for a more just and peaceful world, that she has said can only come by working together. As a chair in CASAQ, the Coalition of Anglophone Student Associations of Quebec, she has led an intercollegiate donation campaign with Marianopolis and Champlain, to help homeless and low-income community members. I am not sure when she sleeps, but when she does it is clear she dreams of engaging communities in acts of social change.”
Kiana feels really lucky and grateful for the support from the Dawson community. “I am so grateful for my community here in the Law, Society, and Justice program, at the DSU, and at the Creative Collective for Change for all the encouragement and support they have given me along the way,” she said.
Kiana’s message to peers: get involved
“I’d like to encourage all of my peers to get involved in the community, at Dawson and wherever else life takes them. It is the best way to meet friends and mentors, discover new passions, and give back in a meaningful way! And for those who are still unsure of their future, it is a great way to try different types of jobs and ﬁnd what you’re passionate about.”
“I think Dawson is a beautiful community. Everyone dresses and acts differently, yet there is no judgement. To everyone still at Dawson reading this, cherish your time here, it is one of kind and will fly you by if you don’t take the time to appreciate it and fully immerse yourself in it.
“So, join a club, meet new people, be weird, dress however you want, try out new hobbies and sports because here you have the freedom to do this in a welcoming and supportive community.”
Kiana will be studying law in the fall at the Université de Montréal.