The Hackathon is a new series of virtual events seeking to keep youth engagement at a high during the time of COVID-19.

Hackathons involve exploring an existing issue within a local context in order to develop solutions that fit the lived experiences and realities of the youth in that area.

How it works

A. Where are we At?:

What is our understanding of the problem that we are trying to solve?

B. Where do we want to Be?:

A desirable vision of the future that we want to see.

C. What do we need to Create to get to the desirable future?

D. How do we Deliver it?:

Developing a launch plan that everyone takes ownership in.

Our Latest Hackathon: The Future of Community Connected Work
Kitchener-Waterloo Virtual Hackathon

How can we bolster social connectedness within and between our communities?


In the Waterloo region, youth aged 19 to 29 make up 15% of the population and with the concentration of post-secondary institutions like University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College; there are an estimated 65,000 post-secondary students in the Region. This makes the region’s population average age younger than comparable municipalities across Canada and one of the fastest-growing region in the country. With the region being composed of three municipalities it is vital to interrogate: How can we bolster social connectedness within and between our communities? What is the future of community connected work? To answer these questions we focused on the three areas of community care, the creative economy, and the tech bubble.


The Kitchener-Waterloo Social Impact Hackathon was a great success! 17 passionate youth worked together to create four exceptional initiatives to address the future of community connected work in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Community Connection Board

The Community Connection Board is an online platform that would provide opportunities for students, residents, and organizations to connect in various ways. Individuals could use the board to ask for and receive mentorship, located volunteer opportunities, or make new friends. This initiative would foster relationships between members of the community, especially during COVID-19 when in-person opportunities are limited.


DTK_Rot is an initiative that would address the lack of a composting program in multi-unit dwellings. This would include a food waste collection program for residents of such buildings, offering both free drop-off and paid pick-up of waste. By offering a composting program to individuals who currently lack access to one, this initiative would reduce food waste and foster connections between residents and their local food systems.


Move4Movies is an initiative that would screen local and independent films in various places in Kitchener-Waterloo. These viewings would happen in parks, parking lots, and other public spaces and encourage residents to explore different parts of their community. These free events would support local filmmakers through donations and build community among those who attend.

KW Tech Deck

The KW Tech Deck is a resource for new graduates that are entering the tech industry. The online tool kit would provide important information on topics relevant to job seekers, such as average wages in various fields. In addition, this information would be complimented by other resources such as advice on resumes or cover letters, and information on labour rights. This toolkit would provide the necessary information to ensure that new graduates are not being taken advantage of as they enter the workforce.


Aaron Cooper

Hey everyone, I’m Aaron, I’m in my last year of my undergrad at the University of Waterloo for Arts and Business honours French. I grew up in Ajax and am now also living in Ottawa. I’ve spent a lot of the pandemic playing video games when I don’t have work to do or books to read for school (I recently got into GTA V and have been revisiting Fallout 4).

Ahmad Wardah

Hello Everyone! I’m Ahmad, I am an IT grad from triOS College I graduted this year. I’m going to Conestoga this year to get in Cloud Computing. I was born and raised in Homs, Syria I just moved to Canada a year and half ago. I enjoy playing soccer,vidoe games and fixing computers and I am really big fan of TV shows I rewatched Friends 3 times.

Aliyah Fraser

Hi, my name is Aliyah Fraser and I graduated from the University of Waterloo’s (urban) Planning program in 2019. After graduation I moved back to the GTA and worked as a land development panner in the private sector for around a year and a half before deciding to switch gears and start my own market garden. I love food, hate capitalism and care deeply about growing a just, sustainable and caring food system for everyone. I recently moved back to Kitchener and in my free time I am usually knitting and watching Netflix.

Bilal Gulleid

Hello Everyone! My name is Bilal Gulleid (He/Him) and I am 4th year International Development Student at the University of Waterloo. I was born and bred in Kenya but moved to Waterloo in 2017. It has been an adjusting period, but I do love it. Currently, I am working remotely for the Ugandan Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) – a non-profit organization that is driven to empower, educate, and provide support to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda. USSIA works with over 6000 registered SMEs and the quest is to integrate them into the value chain. Work and academic aside, I am just a calm individual that has a love for outdoor activities, great energy, and immaculate vibes!

Giovanni Paoletti

Good morning everyone! My name is Giovanni Paoletti. I’m a my second year of Political Science at the University of Ottawa, and am currently living back at home in Kitchener where I grew up. One of my major hobbies is music. I’m a tuba player, and was heavily involved in band, orchestra and choir back in high school. I’m also a huge Star Trek fan, so it should be fitting that I care deeply about trying to make the future better and more sustainable.

Hannah Wilson

Hi Everyone! My name is Hannah and I am currently a Career Launch Associate with RBC. I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2017 with a Bachelors of Business Administration. Currently I am living in Toronto but had moved a lot growing up – mainly within Ontario from Waterloo to Windsor to Sarnia to Waterdown and all the way out east in Fredericton, New Brunswick for a bit as well. Moving around while growing up has taught me to enjoy change and travelling so I’m hoping to get back to that jet-setting life when it’s safe to do so! In my spare time I love to cook and bake (am I good at it…? well that’s up for debate!) as well binge watching Netflix series, as I’m sure all of you have found a love for that as well this year.

Janine Noorloos

Hello Everyone! My name is Janine, and I am about to graduate with my Bachelor of Music in violin performance. I currently work as a shelter supervisor at House of Friendship men’s shelter in Kitchener and I also coordinate community outreach initiativesintiatives in Guelph for Sanguen Health Centre. Most recently, I started managing the Out of the Cold overflow shelter in the Region of Peel.

Karen Walker

Hello Everyone! I’m Karen, I am an intern at RBC through their Career Launch Program. I graduated from the University Of Guelph in 2019 BA Environmental Governance and did a minor in Business as well. I was born in London, England and have lived the majority of my life in Canada! I’m a huge sustainability nerd and love all things outdoors.

Kevin Gracequist

Hi! My name is Kevin. I’m in my third year of my undergraduate degree in engineering physics at Carleton University. Currently living in Ottawa and working on a dark matter detection experiment called ARGO. I like playing piano, guitar, and making electronics projects. Before the pandemic I was really into triathlon training, though I’m taking a break from it for now since all the races got cancelled.

Majeda Al Hourani

Hi everyone! My name is Majeda and I’m currently with RBC as a Career Launch Associate. I was born in Lebanon, raised in Dubai, and went to Western University in London to study Economics. In my free time I love to travel, visit amusement parks, and spend time with friends and family but over the last year video games and tv shows have kept me sane!

Mariam Salaymeh

Hey – My name is Mariam and i just graduated from McGill in Anthropology and Linguistics. I grew up in Kitchener and then europe, I am a Canadian/Bulgarian/ Palestinian ! I’m a huge cinephile and although I refuse to actually get Netflix I’m on my roommate’s account daily. During the pandemic I continued to love working on creative projects and generally have a background in radio, so lots of editing I got to catch up on.

Matthew Choi Schaeffer

Hello! I’m Matthew and I’m a 4th year Environment student at UW finishing my degree in International Development. I’m currently living in Waterloo but was born and raised in Toronto and completed high school in Melbourne, Australia. I am currently working remotely for a Ghana-based employment accelerator in which I am developing curriculums to train small business owners to use e-commerce platforms. I’m a huge geography nerd and love to talk about places and flags (the new Geoguessr Battle Royale mode is my passion). During quarantine, I’ve gotten pretty decent at ukulele and have rewatched all the classics on Netflix.

Nivran Mangat

Hey everybody! I’m Nivran and it’s great to e-meet all of you. I was born and raised in Hamilton and recently graduated from the University of Toronto (St. George campus) in June 2019 after living there for 4 years where I did a BCom. Over the course of the pandemic, Netflix and I have gotten very familiar with each other along with my PS4. I’m also a big fan of getting out there and doing adventurous things whether it’s white water rafting or riding the biggest and baddest roller coasters. Looking forward to next week!Matthew Choi Schaeffer

Rajpreet Sidhu

Hi folks! I’m Rajpreet (she/her) and have returned to living in KW (grew up here) after a few years in Tkaronto and a year abroad in Kathmandu, Nepal. I am currently finishing my undergraduate in International Development Studies Co-op and majoring in Human Geography at the University of Toronto Scarborough. I engage with alternative and community power mapping as research practice and currently spending all my time completing my thesis on the public memorialization processes of the disappeared on Instagram, after the Maoist Civil War in Nepal. I am a taurus sun, cancer moon & cancer rising, enjoy baking, biking, and trekking.

Rishita De

Hello Everyone! I am Rishita, I’m a fourth year undergraduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University doing a double degree in Economics and Global Studies. I am a people friendly and hard working individual who is passionate about making a difference in my community. I was born in India and moved to Canada in 2005. I have a passion for both singing and dancing. I have taken part in many cultural events through the KW Bengali Cultural Association. Besides English, I can speak Bengali, Hindi, and bits of French and Spanish as well.

Shelby Woodall

Hi everyone! I’m Shelby and am currently located in KW. I moved from Windsor in 2016 to complete my undergrad in International Development at UWaterloo. After completing a seven-month internship in Hanoi, Vietnam, I’m back here working on my Master’s of Economic Development and Innovation also at UW. I’m really interested in community engagement, especially within youth and rural communities. When I’m not working or studying, I like cooking, doing puzzles, and attempting to teach myself how to knit!

Thurka Subendran

Hello everyone! My name is Thurka, and I’m Tamil-Canadian. I grew up in Vaughan (Canada’s Wonderland is basically my backyard), and I lived in Waterloo for the last 4 years. Now, I’m back at home quarantining with my family. During the earlier months of the Pandemic, I spent a lot of time exploring trails on my bike (biking is probably my favourite pastime, and I can’t wait till it’s warm enough to ride again). I have also gotten into Yoga and attend daily zoom classes within my cultural community. I’m finishing up my undergrad at Laurier in Political Science. Besides my major, I have also completed options in Social Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement.

City Lead: Eliza Moratz

I’m Eliza, the City Lead for the Kitchener-Waterloo Hackathon. I recently finished my BA in Global Studies at Wilfrid Laurier, and I’m now living in Ottawa. I’ve spent the majority of this most recent lockdown doing puzzles, drinking hot chocolate, and cuddling with my cat, Moonshine.