Queen’s student receives Pathy Fellowship

Prishni Seyone receives up to $40,000 for Starts With Youth organization 

Starts With Youth was founded in 2020.

This article was updated on April 6, 2021.

Prishni Seyone, ArtSci ’20, was chosen to be a part of this year’s Pathy Fellowship cohort. She plans to use the funding to turn her non-profit, Starts with Youth, into a full-time job.

With up to 12 people selected from universities across Canada to receive the Pathy Fellowship each year, the recipients each receive up to $40,000 in funding. This funding is intended to go toward living expenses, travel, and initial costs for their projects. 

“Starts with Youth was founded a little bit over a year ago and we just came up on our one-year anniversary,” Seyone said in an interview with The Journal. 

Starts with Youth was founded at Queen’s by Seyone and her friends, Josh Saltzman, Jasper Haighton, Daphna Roytblat, Natasha Barich, Sydney Boyne, and Dayna Goren. 

The organization aims to raise awareness and develop educational resources related to childhood trauma and its intergenerational effects on those involved. Its mission is to foster a community that no longer shies away from conversation about abuse and builds a path toward healing, according to Seyone. 

“It came from my own experiences with trauma and from my volunteer and work experiences,” Seyone said. 

After noticing the pattern of the spread of childhood and specific family violence trauma, Seyone said it spreads into people’s lives and results in instances of re-victimization. 

The idea came to fruition after Seyone sent a Facebook message to her friends with an idea for a blog. 

“I have wonderful, wonderful friends, and they were very pivotal in this journey,” she said.  “We had a launch party in my living room, got a Costco cake, and started [the organization] as a hybrid between a blog and a Queen’s club.”

“As we started this conversation, I realized just how much of a gap there is and how much stigma there is.”

Healing is a rollercoaster journey, Seyone said.

“I don’t want to paint this false image that we are okay, [when] the reality with trauma and trauma recovery is that it affects you and cuts you very deeply,” she said. “You never know when you’re triggered.”

Through their work in previous years, the Starts With Youth team has been able to conduct many international and national interviews to add to the website. 

Some interviewees include Dr. Richard Krugman, Professor Vassilia Binensztok, and Queen’s student Mariam Atnasious. These articles highlight resources and personal struggles and answer questions the reader may have. 

Seyone said her proudest accomplishment with Starts With Youth is developing an alternative learning practicum for teachers. The program allows students pursuing their teaching degree to complete a practicum with the organization and become a trauma-informed teacher.  

In a follow-up email to The Journal, Seyone said this alternative practicum placement was driven by two placement students this year, Daphna Roytblat and Kamila Klemensowicz.

"It was them who played a major role in developing the structure, content, and results of the placement, and I more so acted as a supervisor," she wrote.

Fellows of the Pathy Fellowship will attend training in Nova Scotia for three weeks in June. They’ll then be stationed back in their communities to continue implementing their projects.

Seyone also said there's a Queen's chapter of Starts with Youth, which is currently hiring for the 2021-22 year.

"The Queen’s Chapter are a group of wonderful first to fifth year students all working to directly raise awareness about abuse and trauma on campus, and to create safe spaces for survivors." 

Seyone plans to continue her work in Toronto over the course of the next year.

“I am so grateful to have received [a Pathy Fellowship], and Starts With Youth is an amazing organization that will create significant and lasting change in this world.”

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