2022 Submissions

Illustration by Vidhi Desai

The voices of many Canadians have been heard throughout this pandemic: health professionals, scientists, politicians, media personalities and private citizens. Yet, there is one group whose stories have not been told, and whose perspectives have not been sought – our youth. This despite the fact that they will be forced to deal with the long-term and lasting consequences of the pandemic.

For the second year of In Their Own Wordsthis four-part multi-media series highlights how the pandemic has affected youth from various communities. Future installments of the series will be released on Dec. 27, 30 and Jan. 3.

Tina Liu

Zee Goerzen

By: Aarnav Singhal

by Yousef Mousavi

Moving forward

In Their Own Words
by Vaneeza Dilnawaz

There’s always more than one side to a story

In Their Own Words
by Sean Chen

An abnormal normal

In Their Own Words
by Ridhwanlai Badmos

Remain hopeful, no matter what

In Their Own Words
by Rayyan Dabbous

The pandemic didn’t pit young versus old – people did

In Their Own Words
by Phoenix Scout

Hiding away

In Their Own Words
by Odin McDonald

Lockdown charge

In Their Own Words
by Natascia Ciancibello

Instability’s greatest comfort

In Their Own Words
by Leisha Toory

The warm fabric of unity

In Their Own Words
by Janessa Trahan

A high-schooler’s life during the pandemic’s beginning

In Their Own Words
by Helena Xu

In Helena’s Rant: Still a page unturned in my books

In Their Own Words
by Hayden Johnston

Peer pressure

In Their Own Words

Ro Tolentino

Saylah Strnad

by Cam Kochut

Disability and the pandemic

In Their Own Words
by Bethany Pyle

A Pandemic Erupted; My Twenties Interrupted

In Their Own Words
by Arushi Nath

The Masked Scales: A NASA winner

In Their Own Words
by Angela Tsai

Online learning: A pandemic special?

In Their Own Words
by Ami Shah

The Art of the Eggless

In Their Own Words
by Alessia Iafano

Social distance

In Their Own Words
by Aidan Kelland

The learning pod

In Their Own Words
by Cierrah Smith

B.R.A.I.D.S: Beautiful. Rooted. Artistic. Inspired. Do. Style

In Their Own Words
by Ysabelle Tumaneng

My Salvation

In Their Own Words

Taylor Webb

Jennifer Ni

Fort Richmond Collegiate

by Amelia Thompson

It was the year 2020…

In Their Own Words
by Andy Zhang-Ren

Amateur time-travelling

In Their Own Words
by Aysha Martin

Waking memories

In Their Own Words
by Bee Cooper


In Their Own Words
by Charlotte Blissitt

A good way to heal

In Their Own Words
by Chloe Fabalena

Making the most of each day

In Their Own Words

Illustration by Riyaana Montmorency

by Mojann Zibapour

Do Svidaniya

In Their Own Words
by Precious Alabi


In Their Own Words
by Paige Wallace

My experience during the pandemic

In Their Own Words
by Sania Sami

Infected Sugar Cookies

In Their Own Words
by Srushhti Trivedi

Finding home in myself

In Their Own Words
by Tianna Gao

What the pandemic has taught me

In Their Own Words

Jason Wolbert

University of Manitoba – Fourth Year Student
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Illustration by Breanna

Priscilla Ojomu

University of Alberta – Fourth Year Student
Edmonton, Alberta

My digital artwork collage, Faces of Youth during COVID-19,is a reflection on the stories told through the lived experiences of Diverse Canadian Youth during the pandemic. My creative work portrays ACB (African, Caribbean, Black) youth with flowers and other elements to highlight their beauty, uniqueness, diversity, joy, and resilience amidst great adversity. By displaying some of the hashtags alongside the portraits, I aim to show how youth connected with social issues that affected them and others during the pandemic through digital activism. It’s important to me that marginalized youth in Canada can develop their voices, build their confidence, and connect with movements that help them make a positive impact on their communities.

by Rowan Ferrie

Without Shame

In Their Own Words
by Stella Fairman

Annoyed and tired … but prepared

In Their Own Words
by Tasha Lee

I’ve Been Graduating

In Their Own Words
by Ris V. Rose


In Their Own Words
by Nazneen

The importance of caring for others

In Their Own Words

We need support to get back on track

In Their Own Words
by Muaad Seiyad

Finding joy in the little things

In Their Own Words
by Maryam Mohammad Samir

One step at a time

In Their Own Words

Isabella Lagasse

St. John, Newfoundland

The tide shall rise again

In Their Own Words
by Isra Amsdr

Outgrowing the growing pains

In Their Own Words
by Aikam Kanwar

Unsafe, hopeless, scared and angry

In Their Own Words
by Amir Said

Pandemic Positivity

In Their Own Words
by Anisha Dhillon

Making the best of a bad situation

In Their Own Words
by Clara Lachman

An open letter: Please support our youth in rewriting our narrative

In Their Own Words

Illustration by Alvina Cheng

by Jocelyn Wong


In Their Own Words

They said

In Their Own Words
by Ravana Smith

Lost Things

In Their Own Words
by Lydia C. Rehman

The pandemic tales – striving through despair

In Their Own Words

Fear of that life inside a bubble

In Their Own Words
by Carmen Cheung

The Coexistence of Gratitude and Grief

In Their Own Words

Jody Ni

Fort Richmond Collegiate – Grade 11
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Lucia Richman

Rosedale Heights School of the Arts – Grade 9
Toronto, Ontario

Sabrina Guzman Skotnitsky

University of Victoria – First year Master’s Student
Victoria, British Columbia

The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic was the worst year of my life. I graduated university from my small one-bedroom apartment, unemployed, anxious, isolated, scared and angry. The connections to climate change, capitalism and colonialism were clear — all these crises were interconnected and hitting us all at once. I didn’t know what my future looked like, economically, socially or ecologically – but I knew somehow that I needed to take responsibility for how it panned out.

A heart-wrenching move across the country, four remote jobs, a COVID-19 quarantine, and multiple deaths in the family later, I found myself returning to university as a graduate student. Again I feel anxious and scared, but mostly awkward and inadequate. How can I help others when I don’t even know how to help myself?

After all that I’ve been through, that the entire world has been through, I should be hopeful for a better future. And still I worry that the worst is yet to come.
And I will spend the rest of my life fighting.


by Rebecca Kempe

The little things

In Their Own Words
by Sparsh Charaya

A message of appreciation

In Their Own Words
by Julia Smith

Fill in the funding gaps

In Their Own Words
by Claris Lam

Sick Days, everything is fine, quarantined fear

In Their Own Words
by Davis Bird

My COVID Experience

In Their Own Words
by Ibrahim Birkawi

Reflection of the effects of the pandemic

In Their Own Words

Surprise COVID baby

In Their Own Words

2021 Submissions

Illustration by Stephanie Aleluya

In Their Own Words
by Umayangga Yogalingam

Academics, researchers, educators and politicians have all voiced their opinions and observations about how the pandemic has wreaked havoc on children and youths’ health and well-being. Missing from the conversation? The kids.

In Their Own Words
by Stacie Smith

Preparing to graduate from Dalhousie University last spring was an extremely stressful time of uncertainty for me; classes were switched online quickly and the fear of not being able to graduate on time was a reality.

In Their Own Words
by Mathankki Ramasamy

Food insecurity among post-secondary students is not new, nor has it been caused by the pandemic. Rather, it has been a severe issue in Canada for quite a while. The image of the starving student has, in fact, been romanticized for decades.

Canadian Youth COVID-19 Experiences


Grade 9
Airdrie, Alberta

Gavin Sanness

Grade 12

Mackenzie Cooper

Grade 10

Mackenzie Campbell (they/them)

Treaty Six Territory, Saskatchewan


In Their Own Words
by Keren Vince

Who knew I would miss the simple smile of a stranger walking by me at the grocery store. Who knew I would miss that snarky side-eye by a random person judging me as I walked past them at the mall. Who knew I would miss those little kids who would stick their tongues out at me and giggle. I didn’t.

In Their Own Words
by Sean Chen

While news reports blared the newest case counts and the lives lost, I was trying to gain traction in the ever-deteriorating and demanding world of online learning. From “you’re muted” to “sorry, my wifi cut out,” I realized that this was the new “normal.” With no recovery in sight, I realized the things I missed the most, were the ones I cherished the least.

In Their Own Words
by Olivia Barbosa

I now look back at COVID and look at it in a more positive light. I reconnected with some old friends of mine that I would've never stayed in contact with, my mental health improved and I learned a lot about myself. I now appreciate the little things a lot more.

Katie Yu

Inuksuk High School – Grade 10, Iqaluit, Nunavut

In Their Own Words
by Nivriti Bajwa

Spring’s the season, but grey’s the hue, / It feels like animals trapped in a zoo! / Stuck in our homes just like glue, / We shall live through history, who knew?

In Their Own Words
by Mackenzie Campbell

It’s been over 500 days since I held someone and not just someone; anyone / this world filled with change / and I'm having a hard time catching up / faces behind masks hiding away from the pain of our reality yet we grow older / grow bolder / and grow in our separate ways without growing apart


Anne Jiao

In Their Own Words
by Meena

I took this time to realize what self-care actually is. From the beginning of the pandemic all the way until September 2020, I grew as a person. Being away from people allowed me to focus on myself. Since I barely had anything to do, I picked up a handful of different hobbies, which before I could never see myself doing.

In Their Own Words
by Chloe Fabalena

When asking adults about the best years of their lives, I bet they don't bring up their marks in chemistry, but the memories, mistakes and friends they made during the times they weren’t studying for that upcoming trig 2 test. The best years of their lives are the years that me and my fellow seniors will never get back.

In Their Own Words
by Craig Kazakoff

Because we are into two years of this pandemic and I'm so on the verge of losing my cool I can't contain it any longer and I bet you would all agree with me because you want this all to end.

In Their Own Words
by Gabriel Dobson

While COVID has progressed we have had the need to wear masks to slow or prevent the spread of COVID. The good thing about this is that while wearing a mask no one expects me to show emotions so I can just sit there in silence.

Madalina Oprea

Citadel High School – Grade 12, Halifax, Nova Scotia


Gurneet Dhami

Mount Saint Vincent University - Masters of Nutrition, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Project Lead, Creative Director – Lia Mattacchione

Project Co-Lead – Umayangga Yogalingam

For media inquiries about this project please contact Stacie Smith at [email protected].