21 Feb Youth Central’s 3rd Alumni: Kevin Capuno
Kevin Capuno is our third alumnus to be celebrated for Youth Central’s 25th Anniversary. Kevin was a volunteer on the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) in 2011 and the following year joined the staff as a Team Lead on projects.
“I had these ideas for contributing to the community but not necessarily an outlet to do so,” Kevin says. “When I heard about MYC, it was so intriguing because you’d have the ability to talk with other youth all over the city. Being able to contribute to the city was really neat.”
Kevin graduated from Father Lacombe High school in 2012. He is in his last year at the University of Calgary completing the urban studies program and development studies program. Kevin is looking to apply to grad schools in the fall for city planning.
Kevin’s experience with the MYC committee helped to influence what he studied in university. “I started being curious about city life, social interactions, how public space works, roads, and accessible transportation.”
At the U of C, Kevin started an annual race, Outrun The Stigma, aimed to help raise awareness about mental health and mental health resources in 2012. After celebrating its fourth annual race last year, Outrun The Stigma, transitioned into a not-for-profit this past year.
In total, they have raised over $25,000 for mental health supports in Calgary. They are hoping to expand the race to other campuses across Canada. Kevin has been able to draw on his experiences volunteering and working at Youth Central to help with this project.
“As a Team Leader, you’re essentially an event coordinator on-site for those special projects. So something that really helped me with this not-for-profit is understanding all of the logistical things that go into a really big event.”
Being involved with Youth Central as a Team Leader provided Kevin the opportunity to watch the evolution of volunteers, programs, and ideas from his own volunteer days.
“When I was on MYC, we planned the first youth volunteer fair and we got different organizations to talk about different opportunities for youth. It’s been so interesting to see how other councils have transformed that idea over the years,” Kevin says. “And now I’m in my fifth year of team leading, and seeing the youth who were 12 or 13 in my first year, getting ready to go to university is so rewarding.”
Kevin has only one piece of advice for youth volunteers: seize the opportunities.
“As a youth, we have the room to make mistakes – understand that’s okay. There’s still all of this room and time to grow and develop. Seizing those opportunities helps you put your best foot forward.”
This past summer, Kevin earned the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee scholarship and travelled to Ghana. In Ghana, Kevin worked with a local organization that was working towards disability rights and disability advocacy in the local community.
“I was also doing a self-directed research project on health care and how that exists in notions of urban and rural. [The research] went really well, I had the ability to present. I’m hoping to get my paper published by the end of the year.
“Youth Central has become a home for the last couple of years. It’s been so special to know that I’ll always have a base here in Calgary because of Youth Central.”