If you could rule Toronto, what are some things you would change, create or omit? Would you make an amusement park right outside your house or change stereotypes about your neighbourhood? It’s said again and again that the youth are the leaders of the future, but one conference makes them the leaders of today. 

Street Voices was at the If I Ruled TO conference, hosted by Toronto Community Housing, last weekend which took place at Toronto City Hall. Youth between the ages of 16 to 29 participated in workshops, networked with different Toronto communities and organizations, and enjoyed food and entertainment by Toronto artists like Matthias Haze, spoken word artist. 

Special guest, Toronto Mayor John Tory was also there to speak to the youth and take their questions on various topics and issues in the city. 

The workshops that youth could choose to attend in the first half of the afternoon were: Youth Violence Prevention, If I Ruled T.O, Monetizing Your Talents and Selfie Syndrome. 

After lunch, youth could choose to attend one of the following workshops: Youth Violence Prevention, Financial Literacy Bootcamp, Beyond Viral and Radical Self-Care. 

Street Voices founder Joel Zola, was one of the four panelists for the Monetizing Your Talents workshop alongside Alysha Brilla, Toronto Songwriter and Music Producer; Matthew Romeo, Toronto DJ; and Christina Cheng, Creative Producer. 

Many participants in the workshop asked the panelists how they started their career and became successful doing what they love. Each panelists shared some wise words about staying true to yourself, the importance of constant networking inside and outside the desired industry, and never losing hope.

To wrap up the event, all youth in attendance were entered into a raffle draw. Prizes included sports equipment, smart watches, cameras, and clothing apparel. The entire day was filled with inspiring organizations, creatives, influencers and change-makers. It was an event filled with discussion in order to be active about change tomorrow. 

So, what would you do if you ruled T.O? 

Joel Zola