roots of a plant growing

Hello,

We are finally here. Welcome to the fourth and last issue of Volume 1 of Youth Mind.

In some ways, I can’t believe we made it this far. After all, we’re a grassroots magazine that heavily relies on funding for us to create our quarterly issues.

But in other ways, I’m not entirely surprised. I have a wonderful executive director, Sheri Adekola, who is passionate about our work, and always manages to find a way possible to make our publication thrive. I have a wonderful team of editors, reporters and social media coordinators, who are just as passionate when it comes to our work. Throughout the past year, we’ve slowly but steadily built a dedicated group of followers who eagerly read our issues the moment they’re available online.

I’m fully aware that not many magazines like ours have the same opportunities as we do, because the support that is here at Youth Mind as well as our loyal readers, are truly incomparable.

Which is why it makes it all the more difficult to say that I’m stepping down as managing editor.

Youth Mind, in a way, was both my child and my parent. Through the collaboration of a wonderful team, we created this publication from scratch. A lot of love and hard work was put into making this publication and letting it grow.

At the same time, this publication taught me so much. From a journalistic standpoint, it taught me to further reflect on what’s happening around me. It taught me the nature of our news industry in Canada (Spoiler alert! It needs to improve). From a professional standpoint, it taught me the the value of having a team that was just as enthusiastic of serving the community with our stories. From a personal standpoint, it taught me the beauty of creating some long-lasting bonds with people, even if you never met them in person (thanks COVID-19).

Youth Mind helped me so much that it ended up landing me other journalism opportunities that I couldn’t refuse.

And so, I’m leaving the nest that I created. Frankly, I’m sad. I wonder if I will ever have as wholesome of an experience as I did here. I also understand that it is time to move on. I won’t take the past year for granted and I will apply what I’ve learned to the upcoming work that’s in store for me.

I’m also excited to announce that our new managing editor is Emma Siegel, who was the contributing editor for this summer issue. I can say with confidence that Youth Mind is in good hands. Emma understands the vision of this publication. I cannot wait to see what she does with the Fall 2021 issue!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading this issue, which focuses on travel. The team and I started working on this issue at the end of 2020. We weren’t entirely sure if traveling would be a possibility or an ethical thing to do at this time. One thing was certain however — the pandemic changed the way we will look at traveling. It also gave us the time to think about how we would travel, once it was safe to do so. We wanted to create this issue to serve you, dear readers, for when that time comes.

We cover a variety of stories in this issue, such as voluntourism, what to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted overseas, and the privilege of being able-bodied while traveling. We also have a lot more personal stories in this issue, where contributors shared what they learned about navigating borders during a long-distance relationship, solo-traveling, and going abroad for internships.

As I’m coming to the end of this letter, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. I’m taken back to the first letter I wrote for our inaugural issue back in 2020. Everything seemed so uncertain then, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, one year later, we’re starting to see a flicker. People seem to have some hope. We’ve definitely come a long way.

I want to remind you, dear readers, that it is a privilege to come this far. I urge you to use this situation and to use this sense of hope to help those who aren’t in a similar position as us. That’s truly the only way we can survive.

And so, it’s time to go. Being Youth Mind’s managing editor has been a gratifying experience that I know I will carry with me for a very long time. Thank you always for your continued support. I hope you continue to love this magazine as much as I do.

Big thanks especially goes to: Sheri Adekola, Miranda Alexeichienko, Emily English, Asfa Shaikh, Barbara Guerrero, Hira Ahsan, Haeley DiRisio, Sophie Lin, Lior Kozai, Rameesha Qazi, Lea Clarin, Emma Siegel, Dana Hall, Amy Fournier, Kathleen Charlebois, Amy Fournier, Victoria Kanagarayar, our columnists, and our readers.

It also focuses a lot on social issues happening in Ontario, Canada, and around the world, as well as personal pieces from writers who took action in something they believed to be worthwhile.

Sincerely

Ramona

P.S. Now that I won’t have access to the editor email address, you can keep up with me on Twitter, (@ramonaletiao)! I’ll be sharing the stories that I’m currently working on on that platform.

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