Growing up, Aysha had always been an avid volunteer with various organizations and causes. One of her most influential experiences volunteering was as chair of the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life when she was 17 years old. Because of her many experiences volunteering, Aysha was able to recognize the importance of starting a one-of-a-kind initiative in our province. Aysha began Pencils of Hope after realizing the lack of funding in Saskatchewan schools. Aysha wanted to do something to help bring equal access to education for students across Saskatchewan, so she decided to use 100% of the proceeds she made from her photography business to fund a school supply initiative. Pencils of Hope has grown immensely since then!
Aysha attended the University of Regina, where she completed both her Bachelor's of Arts and Bachelor's of Education. Today, Aysha is a high school English Language Arts teacher in Regina, Saskatchewan, and focuses much of her teaching around equity, social justice, and reconciliation. As a teacher, Aysha is able to witness firsthand the effects of the lack of funding dedicated to education in our province,
In her spare time, Aysha enjoys exploring the outdoors, reading, and spending time with her cat. In 2017, Aysha was recognized for her work with Pencils of Hope and was awarded a CBC Future 40 Under 40 award.
Vice President of Marketing
Coleman Owen is a lifelong resident of Saskatchewan, having been born and raised in Saskatoon. He attended the University of Saskatchewan where he completed undergraduate degrees in both Commerce and Law, and he is currently working towards becoming a licensed lawyer in Saskatchewan.
During his time at law school, Coleman was awarded for his work and commitment towards furthering access to justice in the province. Coleman has grown up with the benefit of a wonderful education, and it has contributed greatly to his lifelong love for learning; he wishes for everyone in Saskatchewan to experience that same joy.
Vice President of Communications
Maha Yaqoob has been a volunteer with Pencils of Hope since it's beginning. Integral to the start up of the initiative, Maha helped form the non-profit to what it is today. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan and went on to pursue Medicine abroad. Currently, she is pursuing graduate school in the field of psychology as well. Maha has been an avid volunteer for most of her life. She has worked with a variety of organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society, Diabetes Canada, Canadian Blood Services and many more. Growing up in primarily urban areas, Maha lived a privileged life in both her personal and professional aspects. Her first encounter with underfunded communities was when she volunteered with Let's Talk Science, an organization that aims to bring science education to students all across Canada. When visiting remote communities with Let's Talk Science, she had the opportunity to work with students whose educational opportunities suffered immensely due to the lack of funding available. Since then, Maha has been passionate about bringing equal access to education for all. She believes it is a basic human right to be able to access equal opportunities no matter the circumstances. Maha's role with Pencils of Hope today consists of managing social media, building relationships with local businesses and organizations, as well as seeking opportunities to advocate for educational rights. During her free time, Maha loves to travel and explore! She believes learning about different cultures, their history and customs is an important aspect of life.
Vice President of Finance
Omair has been living in Saskatoon most of his life, being originally born in Colorado, Denver. Growing up, Omair always had a passion for science and math, practicing his multiplication skills or learning about the atom daily. It is because of his passions in those areas that he pursued and recently graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering.
Since he was young, Omair always had the privilege of attaining the necessary tools and resources needed for his education. Because of his understanding of his privilege, Omair also recognizes the importance of equal opportunities and education for all. Omair hopes that his involvement in Pencils of Hope will continue to impact students interested in STEM and will also help lessen the underfunding gap in our province. Omair's role with Pencils of Hope consists of managing and creating the budgets, creating annual reports, and keeping track of all of the supplies that go through the initiative.
In his spare time, Omair enjoys taking apart and building things. His most recent project consists of customizing and building his very own desktop computer.
Social Media Manager
Ammara's role consists of creating content for our Instagram and Facebook pages, engaging with our audience, and finding creative ways to maintain an online presence. Ammara is currently in her third year studying Interactive Systems Design at the University of Saskatchewan and is planning to pursue a degree in law after she graduates. Ammara has volunteered with a variety of organizations before, such as the Saskatchewan Elocution of Debate Association, 5 Days for The Homeless, the Muslim Youth Network and many more.
She has also had many opportunities to work with students first-hand in multiple summer camp programs. Many of these camps approached teaching with a holistic perspective, something she had not encountered before. Since then, Ammara has been passionate about promoting changes in the way that education is approached. Currently, she is working on a research project which focuses on challenging the K-12 system in place and providing a better alternative, for students and teachers.
In her spare time, Ammara loves to learn new cuisines, improve her photography, and garden!