A Scarborough resident her entire life, Niloja Jalanthiran is giving back to Highland Creek community through an initiative focused on child literacy and creativity, designed to foster social and intellectual skills.
The initiative provides daily tutoring in local libraries. One on one sessions maximize attention on each individual, so every child feels comfortable expressing themselves. Niloja hopes to contribute to students’ critical thinking and confidence in expressing their opinions, while also educating adults on the best ways to appreciate what young people have to say.
She points out that children are not so influenced by biases; they develop opinions based on the facts as they know them. She doesn’t want their views to be seen as childish, but just as worthy of consideration as an adult’s. If a child’s view is dismissed, Niloja says they may feel they are not valued. They could see themselves as unimportant, and this could prevent them from openly sharing their voice later in life.
“My inspiration comes from observing the skill of children and their very analytical opinions.”
For the past four years, Niloja has been a volunteer reading tutor with the Leading to Reading initiative at the Toronto Public Library. She has also been involved with R.I.S.E.– a Scarborough organization aimed at finding creative outlets for teens struggling to cope with the stressors of life.
Niloja is passionate about self-expression and she loves Scarborough for mirroring these values.
“I see my future here in Scarborough, a community where individuality prevails. An opportunity for the little voices to be heard.”