After four incredible years as the Executive Director at Check Your Head, the time has come for me to move on.
It has been four years of profound personal and professional growth and transformation that was mirrored by the evolution of the whole organization.
Check is a twenty-year-old organization that holds space for youth to come together in learning and acting in a way that works for them. Through workshops in schools and communities, public events, building youth capacity and supporting their actions, the organization is a fertile ground for nurturing youth leaders. I came to it as yet another young person working my way through figuring out my place in an increasingly complex and perplexing world, wanting to do not only good but actually address systemic issues underlying the many challenges we are facing as a society and as a species. While my perception for the world being on fire hasn’t changed much, I leave with more hope and courage than ever before.
I now understand that the resilience in the face of the many overwhelming crises of our time comes from recognizing interbeing. Not only our individual and collective liberations are interconnected and interdependent, but we are also growing and evolving together to tackle the problems created by the old systems and the mindsets that produced them while building new systems and structures that are emerging as a way to uphold and nurture our collective existence in a good way. We are living in the age of great transformation. And thanks to Check, today I feel much better equipped to be leading that transformation.
Like so many other young people who come through Check, I matured in my activism and in my leadership. I found my path to wholeness as a human being through the messy, complex, beautiful, relational work. I believe in individual leadership that is diverse in its quality and expression, emergent, adaptive, shared and used to lift each other up. Leadership that is about personal power with, not over, and that is about us, rather than about me. Leadership that is about love as the public expression of justice. I believe this is the kind of leadership that is needed in the world. Over the years I witnessed young people coming to Check with curiosity and desire for a better world. Seeing them stepping into their power with a deep sense of responsibility for how they use it has been one of the most profound change-making experiences of my life.
I am grateful for everyone who witnessed, supported and challenged me on my journey with Check. The growth, the friendships and the lessons are invaluable and will stay with me for life. The meaning of the word ‘community’ is different for me today because of all of you, and that’s what gives me confidence as I embark on to exploring other avenues where I can share my gifts and learnings.
Today Check is a strong, leaderful and vibrant organization which radiates love and hope for a better future for all of us. I am thrilled to see who gets called to step up and co-write the next chapter of its story with an incredible board, staff and volunteer team.
In love and solidarity,
A Note from the Check Your Head Co-Chairs
Anastasia’s thoughtful service leadership as Executive Director of Check Your Head since 2015, through years of significant challenges and opportunities, sees our organization in a strong position today. She has learned and grown with the organization throughout this time, serving as an incredible mentor, advocate, and leader for Check Your Head and for youth in the process.
Each year, Check Your Head educates, empowers, and activates nearly 2,000 youth aged 15-25 to become the leaders in social, economic, and environmental justice movements in their lives and communities. Since our launch in 1999, the organization has engaged with more than 70,000 youth, and delivered programming in communities across Vancouver. We are known for our popular peer-led interactive workshops in high schools and community spaces. We also create programming reflective of pressing and pertinent issues to youth today. Three current projects include The Food Justice Project — involving migrant, racialized and Indigenous youth in experiential learning about food justice and food sovereignty; Youth Building A New Economy — partnering youth with local organizations in economic justice initiatives, learning innovative solutions to poverty and income inequality, and meeting with representatives from the City and Province to discuss youth-inclusive policy; and Check-Up! — a partnered program that sees youth involved in public health care advocacy supporting youth concerns, such as mental wellness. These programs have evolved to remain responsive to the times and the changing needs of our youth, and though they are quite different from our programming of 20 years ago, our vision holds true: that youth are leading and active in social, economic and environmental justice movements.
As a learning organisation now in our 20th year, we understand deeply that change is essential to growth. While we are sad to see Anastasia’s time at Check as Executive Director come to an end, we are curious and excited to see what lays ahead for her. We want to express our deep gratitude to and for her; not only for doing the work, but doing so in her unique way — infused with a deep commitment to the values of equity and justice, and a tremendous outpouring of personal energy and passion. Her creativity, tenacity, generosity, and drive has helped shepherd Check to the stable, innovating, and energetic place it is today. The capacities and capabilities of our team of staff, facilitators, and volunteers is a testament to Anastasia’s empowering leadership style. We have the utmost confidence in them as we seek a new member to join us and help take our plans and vision to the next level.
As we begin the search for Check Your Head’s next Executive Director to continue leading the work, it is an exciting time for affirmation and renewal within our organisation, and an opportunity to review our own values, processes, structures, and relationships to ensure we are walking our talk. We are built on a foundation of trust and collaboration, reflection, systems-thinking and systems-challenging.
More details on our aspirations for our new teammate and the application process to come May 14, 2019. For immediate questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
Humaira Hamid & Sarah Coates
Board Chairs, Check Your Head
P.S. We’re throwing a party, you are invited! Join us on Thursday June 20, 2019 to celebrate 20 years of Check Your Head and the people who make our work possible. More details and tickets for purchase here.