10/17/2011 10:42 am ET Updated Dec 17, 2011

What Is Opportunities ?

Opportunities is a female empowerment project for girls age 11 to 14, whose cultural or personal backgrounds prevent them from participating in social as well as educational events.

Burnaby is home to a diverse population of cultural and religious views as it receives an influx of more than one-third of all government-sponsored refugees to Canada. As a result, many families and in particular, newly landed immigrant families, may disapprove of their daughters attending social gatherings because they are uncomfortable with the new environment, or their culture disapproves of a girl's involvement with events outside of family ones. Due to this issue, Immigrant Society Services of British Columbia identifies that there is a need for a program for girls.

The objective for this program is to provide the girls with a day full of creative activities led by inspiration women from a variety of different

work focuses. The guest speakers will have the opportunity to educate the girls on their particular career as well as provide them with a hands-on activity that relates to their occupation. Our program allows girls to explore opportunities that they may otherwise be prevented from exploring. We believe that education is power but sharing is empowering. In addition, girls are not the problem -- they are the solution.

Opportunities has been held since 2009. The event occurs once a month for duration of six months (from January to June) for free of charge. Our goal is to unlock their potential and to provide the girls with fun activities that allow them to explore their interests in a safe environment that parents can trust. Our event is available for twenty girls from age 11-14 with 10 female youth volunteers.

Each session follows these career domains:

January: Self-Esteem and Inner Beauty
(Model, hair designer, yoga instructor)

February: Science and Business
(Chemist, accountant, teacher)

March: Human Services
(Police officer, firefighter, lawyer)

April: Arts and Media
(Brooch maker, hip hop dancer, photographer)

May: Year End Celebration with Families
(Each participant will get a certificate of completion)

Opportunities has been fortunate as it has been featured at the United Nations Youth Assembly (January 2011) at the UN Headquarters New York City, the British Council Global Changemakers' Asia Youth Summit (July 2011) in Delhi and Google Zeitgeist Americas (September 2011) in Paradise Valley, Arizona.