Through Youths Eyes: The Importance of Youth and Civic Engagement

Through Youths Eyes: The Importance of Youth and Civic Engagement

While young Canadians have become increasingly involved in politics, there is still a dearth of participation when comparing the voter turnout amongst 18 to 24-year-olds to those of other age groups. According to Elections Canada, there was an increase of 18.3 percentage points between the 2011 and 2015 federal elections in voter turnout for this demographic. However, the 65 to 74 range continued to prevail as the largest contributors to the polls. This same year, now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Liberal candidate who had placed quite a focus on marketing himself on social media, was elected into office…


Through Youth’s Eyes: Pleased to meet you, allow us to introduce ourselves

Through Youth’s Eyes: Pleased to meet you, allow us to introduce ourselves

The dilemma of every budding generation- such as mine- is feeling voiceless in comparison to the older and more established members of society. Fortunately, as technology has developed over the past few decades, it has become possible and increasingly efficient to communicate our thoughts and opinions online. For this, us millennials and Gen Z’ers are grateful.  Let’s Get Together has always aimed to bring together families and communities while bridging a generational gap. One of the most effective manners in which to instigate change is to simply share and appreciate one another’s perspectives.

There is no shortage of impassioned youth who would appreciate a platform for content they’ve created surrounding issues and topics that interest them. This is precisely why Let’s Get Together has developed a youth-focused and youth-led initiative called Through Youth’s Eyes (TYE) in order to provide a stage to such youth. The mission of TYE is to encourage youth across Ontario to speak up and share their perspectives on issues that affect their education, family, well-being and community through an open, inclusive and respected platform that helps amplify their voice within the greater community. TYE will act as a means for young people to share their respectful criticisms, solutions, and ideas with those willing to listen.


As of now, the TYE team has determined that we will be electronically publishing submissions on a biweekly basis (a collection of multiple pieces issued once every two weeks). The content will be available right here on Let’s Get Together’s website. We accept various forms of content submissions from poetry to photography provided the submission can be displayed on our chosen platform and is meaningful in that it sends a message with regards to a clear topic.

How can I contribute?

We’ll be doing callouts on a regular basis through Let’s Get Together’s social media accounts in which we’ll ask for youth across Ontario to drum up their best work and submit it to for editions of TYE. Keep an eye out for new posts! We will also have a submission button at

What is TYE looking for in terms of submissions?

We want you to express yourselves using TYE’s Guiding Principles of respect, empathy, collaboration, the spirit of life-long learning, fairness, inclusion and equity. As mentioned previously, we appreciate and encourage a wide variety of content in terms of form. We don’t want anyone to feel as though they’re in a creative box.

Your options include but are not limited to…

  • Articles
  • Photography
  • Poetry
  • Blogs
  • Quotes
  • Opinion Pieces
  • Interviews
  • Paragraphs

While polishing your pieces please also consider Let’s Get Together’s values as a “handbook” of sorts. These values are to put people first, that anything is possible, to be empowered, to foster collaboration and compassion, and to be innovative and revolutionary.


Our mission reiterated and broken down

  • To provide youth across Ontario a platform to share their thoughts on topics that affect their education, family, well-being and community.
  • To provide experiential learning opportunities for youth interested in journalism, photography, social media, communications.
  • To create mentorship opportunities for youth through our cross-student mentorship model (graduate, post-secondary, secondary and elementary).
  • To allow youth to engage in discussions to further explore and find possible solutions on issues that affect them.
  • To provide youth with the opportunity to invest in their community as they recognize the implications of current issues towards their future.
  • To encourage young writers, thinkers and creators to look at controversial topics from all angles and argue their opinion in a respectable manner.


It’s been lovely speaking with you and we can’t wait to get to know you better!

 The Through Youth’s Eyes team


Optimism: Can we learn to be ‘Sunny’?

Optimism: Can we learn to be ‘Sunny’?

Originally posted on Bhavya’s blog Living Simply and Simply Living designed to help people deal with their everyday stress and anxieties. She’s looking forward to working with Let’s Get Together! to strengthen the voices of youth through the role of Youth Ambassador. Welcome Bhavya!

As you may have read in my previous blog post, defensive pessimism is a strategy with a lot of potential for those prone to certain levels of anxiety. However, dispositional optimism still holds a lot more traditional advantages to its name; lower rates of depression, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, and protection from the common cold to name a few. Companies want to employ positive workers who’ll increase efficiency and add to a healthy work environment over more downcast ones. The benefits of being an optimist in today’s world are ubiquitous. They might as well sell it in a bottle. Profits would be astronomical. ‘The B Positive Serum, the smallest dose will do’.

It doesn’t seem fair that pessimists are more liable to a plethora of mental and physical illnesses. So why are some people predisposed to think in a positive fashion while others think in a negative one? Can we change our tendencies to those of an optimist’s rather than a pessimist’s?

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman explains and highlights the differences between optimists and pessimists by way of Explanatory Style. This rationale can be used to give some insight into the learned helplessness model (Overmier & Seligman, 1967). Some throw their hands in the air and accept defeat easily when faced with an insurmountable challenge while others choose to persist nevertheless. Those who bow out would be labelled as pessimists while those who endure are likely optimists. Our explanatory style is second nature, a default influenced by past experiences that brings us to anticipate similar events in the future a certain way.

Seligman nicely outlines the differences between the two outlooks in his bestselling publication, ‘Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life’.

” The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault.
The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case. “

Positive Explanatory style and Negative Explanatory style induce different behaviours to a certain outcome or situation on three key points; temporary vs permanent, specific vs pervasive, and external control vs internal control. Does the individual believe that the same event or a similar one will not be subject to change or that it will potentially evolve? Do they hold a general contributing factor responsible for the end result or a specific one? Do they credit themselves with the outcome or an independent force?

Prior to writing this blog and doing a bit of research on explanatory style I took a quiz created by Stanford University students. They had adapted a short test of 48 questions from Seligman’s book that I thought was fun and gave me some understanding of my ‘default setting’. Click here to take the quiz for yourself.

In essence, when a wanted outcome develops, an optimist responds to permanence, pervasiveness, and internal control while a pessimist looks towards temporariness, specificity,  and external control and vice versa. Say a sunny person and a cloudy one both received ninety-eights on their English tests. The former would feel energized under the assumption that they’ll continue to earn such marks, the affirmation that they’re good at English, and that their mark was a direct result of their hard work. The latter would believe that this high-ninety was incidental and not likely to repeat itself, that their success was attributed to their understanding of the individual test subject, and that the questions asked were simply extremely easy.

It seems cruel to be forced under the seemingly constant cloud of doom and gloom that is dispositional pessimism. To fall victim to the learned helplessness model and as a result  perhaps succumb to depression. Research suggests that psychological interventions can increase optimism (Malouff & Schoutte, 2016). Dr. Martin Seligman includes a cognitive therapy method known as the ABC’s in his book.
A – Adversity – The problem/situation encountered
B – Beliefs – What you think about the problem/situation

C – Consequences – How you face the problem/situation

Using the above acronym you record a problem you’ve encountered in your daily life, your thoughts surrounding it, and how you reacted to the problem. Seligman also advises those wishing to transition from pessimism to optimism to either distract themselves when pessimistic thoughts make an unwanted appearance or dispute these thoughts. He writes that the technique of disputing them proves to be more helpful in the future. This is because successfully disputed beliefs are less likely to recur.

Of course these strategies can only be implemented if someone is aware of their inclination to think negatively. Pessimists tend to discredit victory, beat themselves up over failure, give in to the helplessness model, and generally see the worst in themselves and others driving them to exhibit selfish and jealous traits. Don’t label yourself as an awful person if any of the previously mentioned criteria applies to you. That’s all in accordance with your default setting. It’s up to you to flip the switch from negative to positive.

Bhavya Tandon, Student
Youth Ambassador with Let’s Get Together!


Bhavya is a high school student with an interest in the sciences, psychology and sociology in particular. She is an advocate for mental health and writes a blog called Living Simply and Simply Living. She’s looking forward to working with Let’s Get Together! to strengthen the voices of youth through the role of Youth Ambassador. A young person with a passion for writing; LGT gives her the opportunity to reach more people with her blog.