ELLY CHOI canada & korea, 17
project: SOCIAL JUSTICE 35
basic human NEEDS: EDUCATION, Safety, shelter
Theme Song: "How to Save a Life" by The Fray
While volunteering at a homeless shelter in a neighboring city, Elly discovered that one of her peers was forced into homelessness. She had been rejected from the foster care system, and since Elly’s city of Langley, British Columbia has no safe space for homeless individuals under 19 years old, her peer had to travel outside city borders to find shelter. Elly co-founded Social Justice 35 to improve social services and housing arrangements for homeless youth, and campaign to build a youth shelter in Langley. Social Justice 35 has provided services and housing to more than 200 homeless youth, and their events aim to spread awareness about youth homelessness and reduce stigmatization. Their Conversation Café generated conversation among more than 120 community members, and convinced municipal governments to initiate plans in collaboration with Social Justice 35 to build Langley’s youth shelter. To further raise awareness and offer resources, Elly created Social Justice 35’s website and blog. In addition to their online content, they have presented to governmental institutions and more than 3,500 individuals on their cause. After recently raising more than $20,000 with a successful fundraising concert, Social Justice 35 will officially open Langley’s youth homeless shelter in June 2017. Beyond this milestone, she hopes to grow their initiative into additional cities across British Columbia without adequate youth homeless services, and in the future, throughout all of Canada.