Chyler Sewell gives back to community

News Feb 05, 2019 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

Chyler Sewell is proud of her Indigenous heritage and she loves to write and give back to her community.

The 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Westmount high school will be among the youths honoured at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association Junior Citizen Awards in Toronto on March 18.

“I do appreciate the recognition,” Sewell said during a recent chat at the Hamilton Community Food Centre on the west Mountain, where her mother Danielle Boissoneau works as the community action co-ordinator.

She was nominated for the award by Heryka Miranda, a food skills co-ordinator at the CFC.

“Chyler's open-mindedness and eagerness to learn and put into practice a variety of food, gardening, advocacy and community action leadership skills is remarkable,” she said. “Her cross-cultural skills and willingness to help others, whether that be prepping or cleaning up or leading a group of very energetic children, is always met with positivity and humility. Chyler’s friendly and welcoming demeanour is always appreciated and has served to make people feel safe and accepted.”

 

Westmount teachers William Holmes and Jeff Pattison supported the teen’s nomination.

A modest young person, Sewell said she was surprised to hear she had been nominated despite her impressive resume of community work.

Two years ago, she joined the after-school Kids Club at the community food centre where she helped lead a group of students who learned basic food preparation and cooking skills.

Sewell said the program taught her much more than how to prepare food.

“I became more comfortable in a leadership position,” she said.

Her leadership skills are also well known at Westmount, where Sewell is a prominent member of and recruiter for the Eco Ninjas, an after-school club of students who care deeply about the environment.

The Ninjas have been promoting a variety of green initiatives, getting involved in a school pollinator garden, looking after the composting and recycling needs of the student body, and advocating for solar panels.

Sewell is proud of her Anishinabek heritage and last April was among 16 students who took part in an exchange program between Hamilton and Pangnirtung, an Inuit community on Baffin Island.

“The exchange was a way of (building) relations between native communities, which I thought was really cool because I had never been on a plane before or gone out of Ontario,” she said.

Sewell said she noticed right away how expensive food was in the community and how important hunting is to that community’s way of life.

“They are able to speak their own language (Inuktitut) fluently and they are even taught it in school,” she said.

Sewell said the best part of the exchange was getting a better handle on what community means. “The idea that community isn’t just around where you live, but it can be all over.”

The youth is looking to further explore her Indigenous heritage through story-telling and creative writing.

Her goal is to study creative writing at the University of New Brunswick and one day write a bestselling novel.

Sewell is particularly interested in writing fantasy, magical or folk stories from an Indigenous point-of-view.

Her story Indian Tacos won a prize at the recent Neighbour to Neighbour Centre-Community Food Centre's Food for Thought writing contest (it can be found at n2ncentre.com).

She has also begun working on a story about a character who saves the world with a little help from what she calls a “mischief maker” which, Sewell noted, in Indigenous culture are often coyotes and ravens.

“I’m really proud of her,” said Boissoneau, who is a single mom to Chyler and her four younger siblings.

Boissoneau said she is especially proud that her daughter can openly boast and pursue her Anishinabek roots, something she said that as a youth in Sault Ste. Marie she was never encouraged to do.

Besides writing, Sewell last year played house league lacrosse with the Hamilton Bengals under-17 boys team.

“I found it came a lot easier to me than I thought it would,” Sewell said. “My mom says it’s because it’s in our blood.”

Chyler Sewell gives back to community

Anishinabek youth an OCNA junior citizen award winner

News Feb 05, 2019 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

Chyler Sewell is proud of her Indigenous heritage and she loves to write and give back to her community.

The 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Westmount high school will be among the youths honoured at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association Junior Citizen Awards in Toronto on March 18.

“I do appreciate the recognition,” Sewell said during a recent chat at the Hamilton Community Food Centre on the west Mountain, where her mother Danielle Boissoneau works as the community action co-ordinator.

She was nominated for the award by Heryka Miranda, a food skills co-ordinator at the CFC.

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“Chyler's open-mindedness and eagerness to learn and put into practice a variety of food, gardening, advocacy and community action leadership skills is remarkable,” she said. “Her cross-cultural skills and willingness to help others, whether that be prepping or cleaning up or leading a group of very energetic children, is always met with positivity and humility. Chyler’s friendly and welcoming demeanour is always appreciated and has served to make people feel safe and accepted.”

 

Westmount teachers William Holmes and Jeff Pattison supported the teen’s nomination.

A modest young person, Sewell said she was surprised to hear she had been nominated despite her impressive resume of community work.

Two years ago, she joined the after-school Kids Club at the community food centre where she helped lead a group of students who learned basic food preparation and cooking skills.

Sewell said the program taught her much more than how to prepare food.

“I became more comfortable in a leadership position,” she said.

Her leadership skills are also well known at Westmount, where Sewell is a prominent member of and recruiter for the Eco Ninjas, an after-school club of students who care deeply about the environment.

The Ninjas have been promoting a variety of green initiatives, getting involved in a school pollinator garden, looking after the composting and recycling needs of the student body, and advocating for solar panels.

Sewell is proud of her Anishinabek heritage and last April was among 16 students who took part in an exchange program between Hamilton and Pangnirtung, an Inuit community on Baffin Island.

“The exchange was a way of (building) relations between native communities, which I thought was really cool because I had never been on a plane before or gone out of Ontario,” she said.

Sewell said she noticed right away how expensive food was in the community and how important hunting is to that community’s way of life.

“They are able to speak their own language (Inuktitut) fluently and they are even taught it in school,” she said.

Sewell said the best part of the exchange was getting a better handle on what community means. “The idea that community isn’t just around where you live, but it can be all over.”

The youth is looking to further explore her Indigenous heritage through story-telling and creative writing.

Her goal is to study creative writing at the University of New Brunswick and one day write a bestselling novel.

Sewell is particularly interested in writing fantasy, magical or folk stories from an Indigenous point-of-view.

Her story Indian Tacos won a prize at the recent Neighbour to Neighbour Centre-Community Food Centre's Food for Thought writing contest (it can be found at n2ncentre.com).

She has also begun working on a story about a character who saves the world with a little help from what she calls a “mischief maker” which, Sewell noted, in Indigenous culture are often coyotes and ravens.

“I’m really proud of her,” said Boissoneau, who is a single mom to Chyler and her four younger siblings.

Boissoneau said she is especially proud that her daughter can openly boast and pursue her Anishinabek roots, something she said that as a youth in Sault Ste. Marie she was never encouraged to do.

Besides writing, Sewell last year played house league lacrosse with the Hamilton Bengals under-17 boys team.

“I found it came a lot easier to me than I thought it would,” Sewell said. “My mom says it’s because it’s in our blood.”

Chyler Sewell gives back to community

Anishinabek youth an OCNA junior citizen award winner

News Feb 05, 2019 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

Chyler Sewell is proud of her Indigenous heritage and she loves to write and give back to her community.

The 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Westmount high school will be among the youths honoured at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association Junior Citizen Awards in Toronto on March 18.

“I do appreciate the recognition,” Sewell said during a recent chat at the Hamilton Community Food Centre on the west Mountain, where her mother Danielle Boissoneau works as the community action co-ordinator.

She was nominated for the award by Heryka Miranda, a food skills co-ordinator at the CFC.

Related Content

“Chyler's open-mindedness and eagerness to learn and put into practice a variety of food, gardening, advocacy and community action leadership skills is remarkable,” she said. “Her cross-cultural skills and willingness to help others, whether that be prepping or cleaning up or leading a group of very energetic children, is always met with positivity and humility. Chyler’s friendly and welcoming demeanour is always appreciated and has served to make people feel safe and accepted.”

 

Westmount teachers William Holmes and Jeff Pattison supported the teen’s nomination.

A modest young person, Sewell said she was surprised to hear she had been nominated despite her impressive resume of community work.

Two years ago, she joined the after-school Kids Club at the community food centre where she helped lead a group of students who learned basic food preparation and cooking skills.

Sewell said the program taught her much more than how to prepare food.

“I became more comfortable in a leadership position,” she said.

Her leadership skills are also well known at Westmount, where Sewell is a prominent member of and recruiter for the Eco Ninjas, an after-school club of students who care deeply about the environment.

The Ninjas have been promoting a variety of green initiatives, getting involved in a school pollinator garden, looking after the composting and recycling needs of the student body, and advocating for solar panels.

Sewell is proud of her Anishinabek heritage and last April was among 16 students who took part in an exchange program between Hamilton and Pangnirtung, an Inuit community on Baffin Island.

“The exchange was a way of (building) relations between native communities, which I thought was really cool because I had never been on a plane before or gone out of Ontario,” she said.

Sewell said she noticed right away how expensive food was in the community and how important hunting is to that community’s way of life.

“They are able to speak their own language (Inuktitut) fluently and they are even taught it in school,” she said.

Sewell said the best part of the exchange was getting a better handle on what community means. “The idea that community isn’t just around where you live, but it can be all over.”

The youth is looking to further explore her Indigenous heritage through story-telling and creative writing.

Her goal is to study creative writing at the University of New Brunswick and one day write a bestselling novel.

Sewell is particularly interested in writing fantasy, magical or folk stories from an Indigenous point-of-view.

Her story Indian Tacos won a prize at the recent Neighbour to Neighbour Centre-Community Food Centre's Food for Thought writing contest (it can be found at n2ncentre.com).

She has also begun working on a story about a character who saves the world with a little help from what she calls a “mischief maker” which, Sewell noted, in Indigenous culture are often coyotes and ravens.

“I’m really proud of her,” said Boissoneau, who is a single mom to Chyler and her four younger siblings.

Boissoneau said she is especially proud that her daughter can openly boast and pursue her Anishinabek roots, something she said that as a youth in Sault Ste. Marie she was never encouraged to do.

Besides writing, Sewell last year played house league lacrosse with the Hamilton Bengals under-17 boys team.

“I found it came a lot easier to me than I thought it would,” Sewell said. “My mom says it’s because it’s in our blood.”