Community Advocate Leverages BlackBerry Smartphones to Enable Outreach and Help Facilitate Change


In the summer of 2005, Saeed Selvam found his voice as a youth advocate and community organizer. The then-high school student realized that despite widespread media coverage around increasing violence in his native Toronto, few young people were speaking publicly on behalf of the most affected communities.

Selvam became involved in the Toronto Youth Cabinet and was elected as its Director of Youth-Police Relations. At the time, he was able to use his mother’s cell phone to coordinate activities, but following a high-profile incident in Toronto in December 2005, he was thrust into the national media spotlight and flooded with interview requests.

In order to continue at school and fulfill his new responsibilities, Selvam knew that he needed a BlackBerry® smartphone to allow him to efficiently send and receive emails and book meetings through the Calendar functionality. Selvam could respond almost instantly to many of the email enquiries he was receiving every day.

“My BlackBerry smartphone helped me get things done,” said Selvam. “Being in high school, it was the only tool I had at my disposal, and the seamless user experience enabled me to be productive and accomplish everything I needed to.”

Selvam’s BlackBerry smartphone became such an integral part of his social justice initiatives that the University of Toronto’s Massey College agreed to pay for any phone costs he incurred. While attending classes at the University of Toronto, Selvam became even more deeply involved in community outreach. With a laptop, his BlackBerry smartphone, and a small group of dedicated community members, Selvam founded Change12 Inc., a non-profit organization that ran a number of successful projects, including a weekly public speaking seminar that connected young citizens with other local leaders and a television show that aired across the province.

Selvam used his BlackBerry smartphone to coordinate meeting requests with funders, designers, leaders, politicians and other executives and leveraged its social media applications to help spread the organization’s message. He has also benefited from BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) functionality as a quick way to keep in touch with family and friends.

“I think the ability to connect with individuals and socialize with them is unparalleled when it comes to BlackBerry versus the competition,” said Selvam. “And I’ve never had to worry about the call quality or the message reliability.”

Seven years after his first BlackBerry smartphone, Selvam continues to benefit from the added productivity his new BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900 smartphone offers, whether from features like the fast web browser and almost instant access to business documents or from its true push-delivery functionality. After being unsatisfied with another smartphone that he had tried briefly, Selvam realized how much he needed the almost immediate email delivery service that he received on his BlackBerry smartphone.

Selvam is now actively working to expand Change12 Inc. and continues to be an active community advocate. Looking back, the young Torontonian knows that much of what he has accomplished could not have been done without his BlackBerry smartphones aiding him along the way.

“My BlackBerry smartphones have enabled me to get things done faster and more efficiently in tough situations” Selvam said. “To me, these are really the pillars of productivity.”

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