I am a nomadic, pansexual, polyamorous community leader on a Mission for Human Transformation. Throughout my life, since I was just a baby, I had various health issues, which got worse when I hit puberty. I was a high-functioning anxious person, dedicated athlete, enthusiastic and stellar student, and partying became the perfect way to let go and be free. Alcohol allowed me to be less shy, and was usually shared with good friends and good music. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, especially because I was still managing to perform in all aspects of my life…until one day I couldn’t do anything. The effect of substance abuse was insidious, because what was developing within me was a chronic invisible illness, which Western medicine labels as ‘fibromyalgia’, a condition that is deeply-rooted in one’s nervous system and therefore initiates widespread, diverse and pervasive symptoms. Grow Still was born within my spiritual awakening, which unsurprisingly coincided with the beginning of my path to healing holistically through alternative medicine. Listening to my body, seeking professional help within the community (instead of following the chaotic maze of the quebec healthcare system), and committing to sobriety are just a few of the elements that colour the direction and values of the organization. I feel blessed to be alive and so grateful for the cards I was dealt, because they allowed me to find balance and purpose at a time when humanity really needs emerging adults to be Awake, empowered, and responsible for their own health and happiness in order to shift global consciousness.
Where you can find my art:
My playlists can be found on Apple music as Jazzi. They are special to me because they are the soundtrack of my life for the past 5 years, sort of like a musical journal. There is one, sometimes two, for every season. I don’t make them with a specific intention, mood or genre in mind – they simply reflect the vibe I was in and the music I was discovering and which was calling to me. Listen on shuffle and enjoy the journey!
Apple Music: Jazzi
My favourite song right now: Me x 7 by Alicia Keys ft. Tierra Whack
Artist & Facilitator
I’m from a small town near montreal. I did a lot of odd jobs growing up. From cheese-making to clothing, passing in car parts (for a bit too long). My primary passion was cooking and through that, I sharpened my skill and my taste. I’ve always been drawing and doing theatre. After a quite cegep i became an assistant-director for my old theatre troupe and I’ve coached many students and this was my first taste of the joy of seeing people grow. After that I moved to Montreal with friends and worked in many types of kitchens to finally settle in a little pizzeria while I finished my studies. I’ve started to paint two years ago and I’ve always frowned upon paint before but I had too many ideas and it is faster to create. I like to say that I dabble in every kind of art. Even if I don’t like an art form I’ll study it to know why. My mindset is to offer reflection and make better questions to look at a problem.
I’m used to existing between strong characters and I’ve learned to have a strong gentleness but robust love. In the last year I discovered I’m really good at helping people with small illnesses or imbalances. Thought that i’ve learn herbalism and start to sell my own mix and a lot of other projects to come.
Where you can find my art:
Daniel is a physiotherapist and entrepreneur: “I’ve grown my team at Physiothérapie universelle and we’ve helped a large group of people improve their quality of life by increasing their physical capacities and personal autonomy. I’ve been interested in self-development for a long time and I’ve been volunteering for three years as a coach at the Landmark forum — a self-expression and leadership program that encourages leadership qualities in our participants. In this role, I had a similar idea for a project with objectives to give tools to young adults to take action, to help organize themselves, and to improve their communication with others, so they can realize their personal and professional dreams. I’ve been searching for a team to build my project and I had the privilege of meeting Jasmine and observing the similarities between our mutual goals. Seeing Jasmine’s leadership and what she has already accomplished with Grow, I’m proud to be her mentor. I want her project to grow because emerging adults really need this kind of support.”
Co-founderHead of Research & Workshops,
I am someone that never truly felt like they belonged anywhere. I had to find a place within myself to belong. I come from a mixed ethnic background. I did not have a community or a supportive biological family when I left the Youth Protection System at 18 years old. As an emerging adult I had to figure everything out on my own. I did not have access or knowledge about many resources. I have faced many obstacles that only made me more resilient and appreciate life and those around me. Much of my healing came from inside myself and from two women who I consider my mother and my little sister. They are my support system. I built my life from the ground up, and I did with the sweat and tears of my own perseverance. I created my own family. Grow Still is another family that I also built but this time I had an amazing partner in crime, Jasmine. At this point in my life, I truly understand how having loving people in one’s life is what makes all the difference. With this significant respect for a sense of community, I want Grow Still to empower emerging adults to feel as though this is a safe space to explore themselves, learn how holistic health is vital for their healing process, implement positive development practices, create self-care goals for themselves, connect to other community resources and any other guidance that we can give them to prepare them for their journey in adulthood. Above all I want to normalize conversations about trauma, resilience, mental health and other topics that are stigmatized in our western society. My objectives when I co-founded Grow Still and still today is to do my best to help guide others through their struggles and listen to what they need. My own journey and traumas facilitate my drive and passion for researching, designing, and facilitating programs to support this age group. I have been building my vision since I was 20 years old and as co-founder of Grow Still I am so humbled that I have found a team of like-minded individuals who also have the same vision. This journey has been such an amazing learning opportunity because each member including myself have multiple roles at Grow Still, and we support each other in these roles. Together we can create a shift in our reality and the reality of others. Hopefully leaving this world a better place than what we found it in. Currently Vanessa concentrates her efforts in Co-Managing the Grow Still Team and the Research and Design aspects of Grow Still projects. She has recently completed her Youth/Case Work Graduate program 2021.
Where you can find my art: I love taking photos and writing. I combined these artistic expressions to tell my story on my Instagram page: @exercise.compassion. I am currently experimenting and learning with these artistic expressions. I am very new at this. I want my page to empower those to normalize conversations about trauma and mental health.
My favourite song right now: Power ft Stormzy – Little Mix (Dedicated to my forever ladies who made me who I am today)
Hey I’m Nithu! I have a DEC in Accounting and Management technologies and I am currently studying Human Relations at Concordia which gives me the tools necessary to assist in bookkeeping and management of finances at Grow still while keeping a humanistic approach. Additionally, I have been working at Stanford Properties Group also in bookkeeping and management, which supplements my knowledge with real life experience. I was attracted to Grow still by the fact that they help young adults that are in a similar situation as I was a couple of years ago. I relate to some of the struggles that individuals in these ages go through and I would like to help them in any way possible. On top of this, the organization was founded by alumnus from the major that I am currently pursuing in university; therefore, I feel a special connection to this organization. I believe that by being a part of Grow still, not only will I be obtaining experience, enhancing my current knowledge, and acquiring new skills, but I will be doing so while having a positive impact on society at the same time.
What art form would you like to develop in the future? I would love to get back to breakdancing, a joy of my youth that slipped away as adult responsibilities took over.
My favourite song right now: Tokyo Drifting, by Glass Animals
Creative Content Designer
Hey! I’m Aislinn, content creator, writer and illustrator. Working alongside Grow has been a unique experience- allowing me to use my talents to bring community vision to life. My favourite thing about Grow is the people: a fresh breath of air with a cool and caring crew. Like harmony flowing through a river, this journey is a 5 star boat cruise!
Human Relations Manager
Hi, I’m Veronika, I am 29 years old and I’ve been in Montreal for 20 years, after emigrating from Minsk, Belarus. I began playing violin at the age of 6 at the Minsk Music Conservatory. I continued studying music in Montreal privately at first, and then moved on to studying at the Montreal Music Conservatory as well as McGill Schulich School of Music. I am currently a member of Orchestre Nouvelle Generation and I play with several ensembles such as La Pieta and Kleztory. I also sub with Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke, Sinfonia, Nova Scotia Symphony as well as L’orchestre Symphonique de Quebec. I am in my last year of a Bachelor degree at Concordia University in Human Relations, Family Sciences Specialization. I have worked as an on-call psychosocial intervention worker at Logifem and currently work as an intervention worker at YWCA. I met co-founder Jasmine at Logifem where we discovered our common values and interests. I was able to hear about the project at its earlier stages and I was excited by the idea of being a part of such a wonderful service. I began following their one-on-one program with Vanessa, whom I also happened to know from classes at Concordia, and now I have been on the team for about a year and I love it.
Where you can find my art:
I have a trio with 2 other musicians who are talented and amazing people. We are called Nu Trio Music and we have performed at dance events, weddings and concerts.Facebook: nutriomusic
My favourite song right now: The Songwriter, by Father John Misty
Namaskar! I was born and raised in Mumbai, India and moved out at an early age. After spending several years overseas and some unplanned events later I moved to Canada in 2020 during a lockdown. I’m a software developer at PTC, an Artificial Intelligence company based in Boston. It allows me to develop my analytical and creative skills. To complement my technical job, I work with CFIC and Ashtanga Yoga Montreal. AYM gave me a sense of community as a newcomer in Canada and provided me a space to continue my Yoga and Dhyaan practice so I could work on my physical and mental self.
It is my pleasure to join Grow Still because I can relate with its mission and identify with the team members. Being an emerging adult, it’s difficult to navigate through life and I think Grow Still is providing a valuable service backed up by well thought out principles and carefully planned workshops. I especially want to reach out to young adults who are also newcomers in Canada, like me, so we can support each other and contribute to the communities we have chosen to be a part of.
Where you can find my art:
I am awful with social media (even my mom had an Instagram account before me) but I have recently started recording myself playing music. You can find the less embarrassing stuff on Instagram and SoundCloud.Instagram: @rohitriffs
My favorite song right now: The Chant, by Gojira
Content-Writer & Facilitator
still I grow (a poem)
Shakira, Shaquiera, Same name, 2 very different people. One of them acclaimed. The other feelin a bit of place in her own domain. A struggle to maintain…
Born in the city. Childhood melodies tinged with a melancholy ring. Be safe, don’t do that, These fields are gonna swallow you. Travelled to the country. Different context but teen melodies had the same sting. Be safe, don’t do that, These fields are gon’ devour you
Don’t give them your power, continue to bewitch. Now Switch. Tell me how it feels, To be somebody else. Now switch, Code switch. Am I even real? An imposter performing in this endless reel. Someone please… Tell me who I have to be? To get some reciprocity
They attach the word “ugly” to my complexion. “You’re pretty for a black girl” they tell me. “Smart for a black girl” much to my teacher’s delight. “bright”, “strong”, “exceptional”, “bisexual”, “Black”, “fast”, “angry”, “loud”, “underclass”. Must surpass. So many different labels, don’t know which one to believe. I can’t breathe. Tired woman, always in a fright, ready to take flight. Questioning everything like the greats that came before me. I wonder why we take from our women? Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
Losing my mind on a tiny error. No, no, no, no,
Can’t be mediocre. Over and over, they tell me “no”, “don’t go”, “don’t grow”
But everything inside me screams No, no, no, no. Don’t lose who you are.
No need to hide your scars. It’s okay not to be okay. Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart. Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising
Nowadays adult melodies are confusing. But I’m not losing. Gratitude is a must. Family, friends, and mentors are what I trust. When I look at where I’m coming from, I know I’m blessed. Still a bit stressed. But It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day. And with the more I know, I’m feeling it in my soul. Something is changing. The future is out of my control but still, I grow.
Spotify: Still I Grow
Where you can find my art: When I began writing my bio I noticed how important music has been throughout my life. Not only is music one of my absolute favourite hobbies, it’s also an important tool I use to help me process my emotions and our world at large. I decided to take lyrics from some of my favourite songs to help write the above poem about my life. This includes music that speaks a bit to my Black Indo-Caribbean heritage, helps me process, makes me happy and keeps me motivated. The playlist with all the songs included in my poem can be found here.
Have fun listening, I hope you enjoy the journey! Can you figure out which lyrics came from each song?