Q5 - Matt Hyams & Melissa Kennedy
In this edition of Q5, CANFAR Youth Ambassador and 30 Under Thirty member Muluba Habanyama chats with Melissa Kennedy and Matt Hyams, the Co-chairs of CANFAR’s 30 Under Thirty.
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1) For those who don’t know, what is 30 Under Thirty?
Melissa: 30 Under Thirty is a group of young, entrepreneurial, philanthropic individuals in Toronto, from all different walks of life and backgrounds who are looking to raise awareness and money for HIV research.
Matt: This is a group where young people can get involved, highlight their capabilities, and get out there to make some change.
2) You’re both very cool, and this group is also a lot of fun! You both work hard, you’ve got full time jobs – why did you become involved in this volunteer initiative?
Matt: I love the opportunity to be involved in my community. As a gay man, HIV is still a relevant part of our discourse. Research is the bedrock to understanding HIV. It’s important for developing effective preventative measures in order to end HIV.
Melissa: I lost someone very close to me from complications due to AIDS. I want his memory and legacy to continue in a positive way.
3) I’ve seen your motivation and determination over the past year – 30 Under Thirty has been really successful so far with events including Regifted, Get Lucky, and Rock The Boat. Can you talk to us about your most recent event?
Matt: We just wrapped Dressed Up Disco – it was such a good time! It was about bringing together groups of people from different backgrounds to have some fun, and start some conversations. We’ve created social ties that matter.
Melissa: We raised a ton of money - $35,000 for research. All around a successful event!
4) That’s amazing! What’s coming up in the future?
Melissa: We’re marching in the Pride Parade – which we’re so excited about! It’s my first time marching so I am thrilled.
Matt: I’ve been involved in Pride for years, and it’s my first time marching too.
5) Definitely look out for us! 30 Under Thirty is such a motivational and inspirational group. How can someone get involved?
Melissa: We’re looking for a few more members to join our team. The best part of 30 Under Thirty is that its inclusive – you can really be yourself. We are looking for folks that want to do good and have fun.
Matt: It’s a great chance to meet new like-minded people creating community awareness. If you are looking to connect with us, we’re across the social platforms at @CANFAR30 or check us outline online at CANFAR.com/30.