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This Coquitlam teen will be advising the B.C. government on youth issues in 2022

Alexandra Mandewo, a Grade 12 student at Pinetree Secondary, has been appointed to the new StrongerBC Young Leaders Council. 
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Alexandra Mandewo has been appointed to the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council. 

A Coquitlam teen has been appointed to a provincial youth council that is expected to influence B.C. government policy in the new year.

Alexandra Mandewo, a Grade 12 student at Pinetree Secondary, told the Tri-City News she’s thrilled at the appointment to the new StrongerBC Young Leaders Council. 

“I was beyond excited. I know it was a very competitive process,” said Mandewo.

“There were over 250 people who applied; I was thrilled to be one of the 18 who made it.”

Mandewo, who was born in Oklahoma and has Zimbabwean roots, said she is passionate about diversity and inclusion, and advocates for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour).

Her experience includes her role as vice-president of her school's anti-racism club and as the co-founder of Future Women Leaders, a mentorship program for female students of colour.

Mandewo said she will bring youth issues to the attention of the B.C. government, which she will gather through her interactions as co-chair of the Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam Youth Council, her school and extra-curricular activities.

Mandewo is also a provincial high-performance tennis player.

The new youth council will be chaired by Brittny Anderson, the premier's special adviser on youth. 

Council participants will discuss issues such as education, employment, income, mental health and the environment. 

Mandewo said the key issues she hopes to bring to the attention of the provincial government include concerns relating to racism, youth mental health and the recent flooding in the Lower Mainland.

Council members will serve one-year terms with the option to remain on the council for up to three terms. The first meeting is planned for spring 2022 and will be held quarterly.

"I'm glad to see the diversity of our province reflected in the membership of our first StrongerBC Young Leaders Council," stated Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, in a press release. 

"The pandemic has exposed inequalities that we can't ignore. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work with the council to tackle the pressing issues they care about, including building an economy that works for more British Columbians in every corner of our province.”