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May 28, 2024

Meet Ariana - Women in Tech Pitch Challenge Participant

Ariana Faye's inspiring journey showcases the transformative power of supporting young people. Born in the Philippines, Ariana emigrated to Canada as a child. Adjusting to life in a new country wasn’t easy, and at 17, during the height of the pandemic, she found herself facing homelessness and feeling hopeless.

Despite her difficult situation, Ariana's natural resilience and resourcefulness became her lifeline. She reached out to close friends for temporary shelter and began to research supports for young people in need of housing. Her search led her to the YMCA and 360°Kids who provided her with safe housing and access to a network of essential services.

With her basic needs now met, Ariana set her sights on her next goal: to find a job. Always passionate about technology, she initially felt intimidated by the male-dominated field and was uncertain if someone with her background could fit in. She decided to research opportunities specifically for young women interested in tech and that’s when she discovered The King’s Trust Canada and KPMG’s program. Excited but apprehensive, she signed up.

On the day of the program, Ariana felt like an imposter among the business suits and skyscrapers but the warm welcome from the TKTC staff quickly made her feel at home. The Women in Technology event offered her mentorship, guidance, and skill-building opportunities within a supportive community of like-minded young women. This experience reignited her passion for technology, boosted her confidence, and helped her build a network of new friends.

Inspired and empowered, Ariana began applying for tech jobs. Armed with her newfound skills and confidence, she secured an amazing position as a Health Informatics Analyst at Sick Kids Hospital!

Ariana's journey didn't stop there. She was selected to be Canada’s Youth Ambassador at The King’s Trust Gala in New York City, where she met celebrities and other youth ambassadors from around the world. She had the unforgettable opportunity to read a letter from His Majesty King Charles III, an experience that filled her with the sense that anything was possible.

Determined to further her education, Ariana enrolled in a transitional year bridging program at the University of Toronto. Starting in September 2024, she will pursue an undergraduate degree in science and technology and couldn’t be prouder.

Ariana’s advice to young people is to know themselves and not let others' opinions define them. She emphasizes how life-changing it was to enroll in a TKTC program and challenges others considering it: “I did it. Now I want to see you do it too!”

Ariana’s story highlights the profound impact of supporting young people and equipping them with the skills they need to succeed. Her journey from homelessness to a promising career and education in STEM is a testament to why Canada needs to invest in young people.