My Experience as a Youth Ambassador for the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County | Multicultural Council of Windsor & Essex County

Multicultural Council of Windsor & Essex County

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My Experience as a Youth Ambassador for the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County

By: Olivia Stanco

When I was a young girl, I felt much different from my friends. I thought it made me weird that my family spoke Polish and our go-to music genre to listen to was Disco Polo. I hated it, I thought that being different and unique was “lame” and “not cool.” It was not until I got older and got more involved with the community that I started to appreciate my heritage, and my interest of learning about others grew too. It all started when I joined the Tatry Dance Ensemble within the Polish community. I had been a Polish folk dancer for years, and I loved it. I loved being able to share my traditions with others who would come to our village during carousel season. However, when I found out that the Multicultural Council was hiring youth ambassadors, I was eager to apply. As a member of the Multicultural Council, I would not be limited to only sharing my heritage with those who came to our village, instead, I could be actively sharing it with the community.

Fortunately, I was chosen to be a youth ambassador, representing the Polish community. I cannot begin to explain the joy and excitement I felt when I received the news. I was given the opportunity to find ways that would result in youth becoming interested in learning about all the different cultures. Of course, there was no way I could accomplish all of this on my own, I was lucky enough to work with some of the most intelligent and inspiring young people. As a team, we all shared the common goal of wanting to get more youth involved in appreciating our differences and allowing them to bring us closer together as a community.

As a member, not only was I able to teach people about my traditions, but I got to learn about others. I was able to work closely with individuals who celebrated different holidays, listened to different music, ate different foods, spoke different languages, and so many other attributes that differentiated us. If younger me had been able to be a part of this experience, she would have had a completely alternative mindset.

If younger me had the chance to learn about different cultures, she would have recognized that being different is a great thing, an amazing thing. She would appreciate that what makes you different from someone else is what makes you stand out from the rest of society. She would have learned that the way she grew up, and the traditions that were instilled into her, would end up being an extremely useful tool for the community. This tool would create diversity, which would be used to build an inclusive society that provides equal opportunities for all. If the little girl that I used to be and every other young person was taught about the importance of diversity, we would live in a loving and peaceful community.

My biggest accomplishment this last year as a youth ambassador for the Multicultural Council has been within myself. By learning about the cultures of others, I was able to understand the beauty and harmony that is accompanied with it. The true meaning of diversity is not just having a society of people with various ethnical backgrounds, it is about understanding their traditions so that everyone feels included. I aspire to continue to share the importance of diversity with all young people, so they do not have to feel embarrassed about who they are, or where they come from, like I did. I will be eternally grateful for this opportunity, and I encourage anyone and everyone to learn about the cultural backgrounds of others around them.


Olivia Stanco

Youth Ambassador