As part of her volunteer work with the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity, Elaine Tran and her team hosted a series of activities on November 20 for National Child Day. 

A champion for children’s rights

November 25, 2019 | Society

When I think of my own childhood, I remember being entangled in my parents’ divorce, parenting my brother for a period of time, coping with abuse and trying to figure out what my options were under the law. I was forced to grow up a bit faster than I should have, and I think that makes me appreciate how important it is to just be a kid. 

I was 13 years old when I started volunteering at the city’s Green Shack programs. I got to spend every day of the next four summers with children, and I learned a lot. It taught me about the complexities of being a child and some of the difficult realities and injustices children face. I learned about leadership and it was the first time I ever really thought about children’s rights. That children have a right to play. A right to relax. A right to feel safe. A right to speak out for themselves – to have opinions and to make choices.

It wasn’t until last year when I decided to take the Champions of Diversity and Equity training that I realized those rights – and others – were actually part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Learning more and realizing that the rights of so many children all over the world – and right in our backyard – aren’t being fulfilled was emotional. It made me realize how important it is for children to know their rights. It made me think that maybe I would have spoken out for myself a bit more as a child if I had known about them. It made me see how important it is for adults to speak up on behalf of children.

And it reignited my passion to be one of those adults.

– Elaine, Bachelor of Arts (sociology) student and Champions of Diversity and Equity (C.O.D.E.) volunteer



Our children have something important to say. Will we listen?

When adults fail to recognize children's capacity for real, complex thinking, we risk missing out on their incredible potential, says Dr. Tricia Lirette.

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