2020 Constantine-Yorkville Virtual Run
2020 Constantine-Yorkville
Virtual Run
September 19th, 2020 (or 26th if raining)
GEM Voices

Become a Youth Do-er

Written By
Vanessa, GEM Alumna
January 16, 2023

Pilot a glider. Buy a lottery ticket. Get a driver’s license. These are all of the things I will be able to do when I turn 16.

It’s these little freedoms that make growing up exhilarating. When I turned 15, I began my Amazon search for a glider in preparation for my 16th birthday. As I reflected on turning 16, I came to realize was that I am more than just a teenager. I have opinions on politics, I’ve purchased coffee with my own money, I do laundry, I have ambitions, and I have hands to make them possible. What’s to stop me from breaking the world record for eating the most hot dogs in a minute or finding a cure for diabetes?

I expected my passion to find me after university, because of the idea that a conventional path leads to conventional happiness.

However, if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past 12 months, it’s that pushing the boundaries in what I’m capable of and how I touch the lives of others is the best feeling ever.

As a teenager, I’ve tried to be an active “do-er”. In this blog, I wanted to share a few things my community and experiences have taught me about being a youth activist and do-er.


Many of my friends and family believed that the only way I could succeed as a student was by focusing on my grades. I recognize the dedication good grades show, but I’ve come to see that I am more than just a student at school. I’m a student everywhere. My real world experiences are an extension to my education, not an afterthought. As I took on passion projects, from starting Eye Hope Canada (a not-for-profit dedicated to the fight against childhood eye cancer) to running a STEM showcase, I came to realize that it’s not about resume building but passion building. Future careers aren’t built around the need to repeat facts from a textbook, but being able to apply skills and create something meaningful. Gaining these experiences helped me find my passion: solving problems using STEM. Ultimately, these experiences gave me perspective on what my role is as “Vanessa.”


For many, myself included, the challenge is transforming our passion into something tangible. Something my SHAD program director said was “Ideas aren’t UFOs. They don’t fall from the sky.” Passions are directed by the need to solve problems; it’s just a matter a fixating on one and solving it. This moment came to me when I realized that even though I loved STEM, I didn’t know what STEM looked like in the real-world. My solution? I sent emails to 60 labs asking for a chance to gain research experience. Despite believing that no one would reply, I found an amazing teacher who believed in my skills and helped me flourish. I’ve spent the past summer learning more about biomedical engineering and fetal MRI. It was the best summer ever. Ideas aren’t UFOs and they don’t just fall from the sky. They require you to meticulously plan and scale the “impossible” down to something feasible.

Critical Thinking Skills

Starting Eye Hope Canada, taking part in research, or anything I’ve ever done where I had to think larger than myself has changed the way I ask questions forever. When the EHC team and I started brainstorming fundraising events, I realized very quickly that it wasn’t as easy as saying “let’s run a campaign and poof!” Part of being a leader is taking the initiative to break down the nitty gritty and think cohesively. Will the donations provide financial support or driving services to appointments? Will it provide long-term support? Critical thinking skills go beyond getting the action done, but how can we do the action better. Does it mean asking my team questions instead of waiting for them to ask me, or spending an extra hour making weekly meeting materials? Critical thinking skills are developed when solving real world problems, and you can’t get more real world than when helping your community.

These three life skills were taught to me because I created these opportunities for myself. Be an active doer. Join a club at your school, start a club at your school, read science articles in your free time, or put that idea floating in your head into action. The possibilities are endless. My accomplishments aren’t Nobel Laureate worthy, but it’s not about how “big” the accomplishments are, but whether or not you can look back and be proud of them. Be bigger than your high-school self because an unconventional path can lead to unconventional success.

Good luck!

Support #TeamGEM at this year’s Yorkville Virtual Run!

This year, the Yorkville Run will be held virtually from September 13th to September 27th, 2020. Below are the different ways you can participate and support us this year.

1) REGISTER TO Run or Walk with #TEAMGEM

Together, from the safety and comfort of our own neighbourhoods (or anywhere you choose, as long as it abides social distancing rules) we will be RUNNING or WALKING for #TeamGEM on September 19th, 2020 (or on September 26th if it’s raining).

Click here to register

All registered participants will receive a Premium Race Kit and customized Starter's Medal.

To prove your participation, you must do one of the following:

  • Record your run by using our custom Starter's Medal and/or a GPS App such as STRAVA, ASICS RUN KEEPER, or NIKE PLUS and submit your time and a photo of your time to your Race Roster profile.
  • Post a selfie/run photo or video taken during or after your run on Facebook or Instagram and follow @YorkvilleRun and tag ​#TeamGEM, #YorkvilleRun, and #Constantine5K. There are several partner prizes to be won!

We have a roster of GEMgirls who would like to run for #TeamGEM. Donate now to help them register!

3) Donate to a #teamGEM runner

If you can't make it, you can also support a #TEAMGEM runner.

Dates to Remember
Tuesday, September 8th
to Saturday, September 12th, 2020
Race Kit Pick-up. Participants will be notified via email where in Yorkville you can pick up your race kit.
Sunday, September 13th, 2020
at 9:00 AM
Virtual Event Kick-Off. Join the Constantine Yorkville Run’s Virtual Event Kick-Off by tuning into Facebook & Instagram Live.
Saturday, September 19th, 2020
Run or walk anytime, anywhere for #TeamGEM!
Saturday, September 26th, 2020
#TeamGEM's back up day should weather prevent the run on the 19th.
Saturday, September 26th, 2020
at 5:00 PM
Winners of the Constantine-Yorkville Run’s fundraising prizes will be determined.
Sunday, September 27th, 2020
at 9:00 AM
Join the Constantine-Yorkville Run’s Virtual Event Closing Ceremony by tuning into Facebook & Instagram Live. Hear from our partners and share in the run's exciting fundraising achievement! Fundraising prizes will also be rewarded.

Your support at the Constantine-Yorkville Run this year will raise awareness and funds for the GEM program, which directly impacts young women in our communities and gives them the skills and tools they need to succeed.

Thank you for supporting mentorship!

Questions? Contact us at info@girlsementorship.com


Share your participation and support on social media! You can retweet/share GEM’s run postings or use our branded material for the run.

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