London

Upstart non-profit hoping to distribute kits to London's homeless youth

Seeing a need and wanting to help in whatever way she could, a young Western University student has started a project she hopes will make life for London's underprivileged youth slightly easier.

Lois Mang-Benza started the non-profit when she was in high school

Lois Mang-Benza has started the non-profit Jeuns Pionniers, hoping to inspire youth and adults to create social change. (Supplied by Lois Mang-Benza)

Seeing a need and wanting to help in whatever way she could, a young Western University student has started a project she hopes will make life for London's underprivileged youth slightly easier. 

Loïs Mang-Benza started the non-profit Jeuns Pionniers (Young Pionners) when she was still in high school, at École secondaire Gabriel-Dumont here in London. 

This month, the non profit, made up of high school and university students, is selling kits of essentials such as razors, face masks, toothbrushes and toothpaste. They will be distributed to homeless youth in London through Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU). 

"We aspire to inspire youth in the community to talk about social issues that matter to them and from that, incite action for the betterment of the community," said Mang-Benza, who is studying visual arts but hopes to turn that into a double-major with an Ivey School of Business degree. 

"A lot of times, I've seen my peers complain about issues, but the next step is to take action. Be the change you want to see in the world." 

The kits are selling for $45 and $60 each (the more expensive ones include a t-shirt and blanket) and will be put together once the money is raised. 

Steve Cordes, the executive director of YOU, called Mang-Benza's project "a great offer of support." 

The young woman hopes the non-profit's mission resonates with others. 

"The community is so important and I want to inspire adults to look at us as the new, stronger generation that does care about what is happening in the world."

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