Growing up, I recognized the lack of resources and facilities for people of colour. Mentorship and advisors were extremely rare and often only found through guidance counselors and teachers within school. As a result, there were few opportunities and spaces to express, evaluate and discover self. This deficit has created a desire in me to be available for youth. For me, growing up in the church rooted me in music which became a way for me to release stress while also exposing me to many opportunities. Because of these passions I am currently in the Child and Youth Care Program at Sheridan College and I want to continue my education through getting my bachelor’s in social work and my Master’s in Behavioral Science. In this program, I would love for my role to be someone who supports and facilitates a safe space for people to express themselves, identify their weaknesses, discovering their strengths while providing the resources to aid in their development. In my free time, I love going out with friends, writing poetry, watching movies and singing.
As a racialized young woman trying to make it on my own in the GTA, I didn’t have much guidance or opportunity to grow. I struggled with substance abuse and mental health issues for most of my teenage years and early adulthood. I didn’t have a safe space to talk about my lived experiences and I would turn to the internet, spending hours reading and comparing articles to try and understand what I was feeling and experiencing. I know what it’s like to feel isolated, misunderstood and interact with systems that oppressed my voice. I also know how important it is for youth to see themselves in research, and see themselves in the people doing research. Because of this, I believe that ethical, intersectional research is a building block for creating resources and support systems that empower youth. I aim to offer youth a place where they are truly listened to and feel encouraged to explore their strengths and skills. I’m able to bring an intersectional perspective to this committee, as I am currently studying to be a feminist counselor for marginalized women and children, and I understand the importance of honouring the multiple identities that each youth holds. In my free time, I like to read memoirs, watch shows, and spend time with the amazing people in my life.
As a practicing artist from a young age, I was always drawn to creativity. As the years progressed, I became a visual artist with a passion for community and connection. Bridging art and people is still a priority to me now because of the possible impact. As a freelance artist in photography and visual arts, I am motivated to empower others through their struggles and help them feel better. The formative years included work with families and the autism community, as well as various bilingual community programming. My ultimate goal is to leave whoever I cross paths with better than how I met them. That their well-being and self of self is fed with encouragement and knowledge of their potential that can grow over time. Throughout the years, it was with great importance that I can let everyone know they have a place they belong and can thrive, whether a path is set for them or not. If I could motivate people and help them see themselves as more, that’s when I know I’m bridging expression and sustainable change through art or connection or both.
Providing support to people has always been something I enjoyed and found fulfilling, this inspired me to find a career suitable for my personality and character. Fortunately, I was able to find the Child and Youth Care program in which I am currently enrolled. it is an interesting program that has influenced my passion for helping children and youths expressing various challenges in their lives. As an international student who has spent a significant amount of time in Nigeria and Canada, my experiences have inspired me to look forward to creating a safe environment for children and youths that excludes oppression, discrimination and racism but welcomes inclusion, self-expression, and safety. During my free time, I enjoy listening to music, playing games, watching anime, and having conversations with people.