Mayor Jim Watson, with councillors Catherine McKenney, Mathieu Fleury, Michael Qaqish and Marianne Wilkinson, presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Ibrahim Musa today at City Council in recognition of his volunteer work and efforts to empower and inspire young people in Ottawa.
Ibrahim Musa is the Communications and Engagement Coordinator with Youth Ottawa, a not-for-profit charity founded in 1997 that envisions a city where youth drive positive change. Youth Ottawa was spearheaded by Max Keeping to take his advocacy for children and youth to the next level. The charity provides youth across Ottawa with the resources, training and support to develop the skills, confidence and strategies necessary to build a better community for themselves and their peers. Ibrahim is recognized for his belief that every moment spent with youth is an opportunity to empower and inspire them, and for living by that principle in his day-to-day life.
Ibrahim arrived in Canada as a refugee from Iraq in 2002 and has lived in Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) ever since. He is an OCH Tenant Ambassador and a volunteer with the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee (OYEC) where he works to increase youth engagement in decision making within the City of Ottawa. OYEC helps to encourage youth engagement and to amplify youth voices and representation at the City of Ottawa.
Ibrahim is the founder and Executive Director of the Cuts for Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides free haircuts for children of low-income families in the Ottawa community. He is currently a student of Political Sciences at the University of Ottawa and uses the opportunity to take what he learns in the classroom into the real world, every day.
He is passionate about national socio-economic issues affecting low-income youth and families, which inspired him to initiate Cuts for Kids in 2015. Since its inception, Ibrahim has managed a team of eight dedicated volunteers. He has mobilized community members, local barbershops, hair salons and even lawyers who attend his events and provide pro bono advice and assistance. Ibrahim inspires youth to pursue and achieve their goals and Cuts for Kids is meant to help youth look and feel good about themselves. In August 2017, the Cuts for Kids Foundation received Agent Status with Youth Ottawa and officially become a charity. All Cuts for Kids fundraising efforts go directly towards the program to help more children around the City of Ottawa.
The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.
Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.
The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.