Community Capacity Building Working Group
Salem Berhane has dedicated her eighteen years in the workforce to service at-risk youth in Ontario. Born in Eritrea (East Africa) and migrating to Canada at a young age, there wereminimal organization that was able to support her family during this difficult time of transition. Her passion working with youth stemmed from being the youngest of 4, she was always looked out for and had no one to look after. Salem started her first job at O’Connor Community Centre as an after-school program staff through Toronto Parks and Recreation. Making a difference in those youth’s lives made it easy to choose a career path. Throughout High school and University, she was able to sustain a part-time job with youth. As a University Of Windsor Graduate with a double major in Psychology and Dramatic Arts, currently employed with The Greater Essex County District School Board as a Change Your Future Counselor and Former Youth Innovations Lead with Windsor Women Working With Immigrant Women, Salem continuously advocates for youth in assisting them to reach their full potential. It is with great honor to Salem when she is contacted by other organizations to either assist them with families and youth work or to be a guest speaker on topics relating to the black community and what it means to be black in Canada. Salem is the co-founder of the Eritrean Canadian Community or Windsor where she noticed the need to assist newcomer Eritreans in navigating the system. The settlement agencies where not suffice to her standards and acted on it immediately. The goal for these organizations was for Eritreans residing in Windsor to assist the newcomers for they went through the same struggles when they first came to Windsor. It has been a successful 4 years and counting since this organization has been formed.
Quentin VerCetty Lindsay
Quentin VerCetty Lindsay is an award-winning multidisciplinary visual griot (storyteller), and arts educator who is currently working on his Masters degree in Art Education at Concordia University with a focus on teaching Afrofuturism in underserved communities.
As an artist, Lindsay’s work explores ideas around the Afrotopia as it relates to safe spaces for people of colour by utilizing the visual motifs of Afro-Carriban Carnival. He also explores concepts around racial representation, public art, monuments as well as the use of semiotics and Surrealism to tell meta-narratives about society and politics. Lindsay’s art has been featured in numerous media outlets and publications in various countries such as Japan, Haiti, Peru, Ghana, Australia, United Arab Emirates, and France. He has written 3 chap books and has recently completed editing Canada’s first Afrofuturism art book with Dr. Audrey Hudson, which features the visual works of over 100 Black Canadian creatives from across the nation. With the publication he hopes to amplify and document unheard Canadian narratives and never before seen creativity and help to combat the underrepresented presence of Black Canadian in the art world.
In 2016, his mission for artivism (using art as a tool for social change) led him to launch the Canadian chapter of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAMCanada), an organization that gives a platform for artistic engagement through partnerships, projects, as well as event and content productions. Since its conception, it has continued to spread across the nation. Through his work, Lindsay hopes to engage minds, inspire hearts, and dutifully challenge others to help make the world a better place not only for today but for many tomorrows to come.
Andrea Boucaud who is known to many as “PEACHTREE” is an advocate for and supporter within the grassroots organizing, community development and community economics spaces. She has worked within the food security, food sovereignty, community development and the arts industries for over 15 years in many rolls including small business creation, advocacy and social justice all while maintaining her passion for fashion.
Peachtree is also well known in the cannabis industry as a champion and advocate for equitable access to the cannabis industry. In particular for those communities which where criminally punished for medicinal use of the plant. She is the co-host of the Clouds and Roots Podcast with the Ganja Diplomats. A platform which shares and encourages the historical, cultural and economic discussions around the cannabis plant. Peachtree is a mother, daughter, social justice advocate, an ancient soul and an African woman in the diaspora re-learning how to grow good food everyday.
Peachtree is the current Manager of the Green Barn with the Stop Community Food Centre within the Artscape, Wychwood Barns space, a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council, a member of the Black Creek Food Justice table, past Farmer’s Market Manager and continued supporter of Black Creek Community.
Melissa Enmore is a healthcare professional, community leader and change agent. Melissa is also a Project Manager at QHR Technologies Inc., the largest electronic medical record (EMR) vendor in Canada, Melissa currently leads strategic provincial e-Health initiative
Dr. Chris Harris
Chris Harris is a long-time organizer in the Black community in Toronto. Chris is a social entrepreneur, community organizer, and seasoned activist. From 2000-2002, Chris was the Program Director of For Youth Initiative (FYI). From 2000-2009, Chris was the lead youth organizer at the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC), launching the Freedom Cipher Program (2007-2009). Freedom Cipher was an anti-racist youth movement that organized Black street youth who were Bloods and Crips into a “Hood2Hood” campaign to end gang violence in Toronto’s Westend; and young black women into “Set It Off” girls groups to close the educational attainment gap in local Westend high schools. From 2006-2008, Chris was a founder of Basics, a social justice student newspaper that organized anti-gentrification, anti-police brutality, and young people’s journalism campaigns (basicsnews.ca). Since 2005, Chris (a.k.a Wasun) released three independent hip hop albums: What Must Be Done?(2005); The Prison Notebooks(2010); Comrade Music(2015). Chris Harris completed his doctoral dissertation at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, on the history of anti-racist activism in Toronto’s Black Left from the ‘60s Canadian Black Power movement to the Black Action Defense Committee in the first decade of the 21stcentury. In 2015 Chris launched the Antonio Gramsci-inspired adult education institute, Freedom Justice Academy, a social enterprise and legacy of the Freedom Cipher Program (fjacademy.org). FJA organizes healing, mentorship, and leadership training programs for indigenous and African-Canadian ex-federal prisoners. FJA also offers microgrants to social entrepreneurs engaged in indie media and community organizing; artists producing hip hop in oppressed indigenous and African communities. As a Community Legal Worker at Parkdale Community Legal Services, Chris recently launched the “I Am Not Invisible” campaign to raise awareness about indigenous and Black Federal Prisoners experience of mental health, addiction, and institutionalization, in this era of mass incarceration.
Diana Raymond Watts
Diana is an accomplished healthcare leader with over 10 years of experience in project management, quality improvement, research operations and policy development. She is the founder and principal consultant at DRW & Associates – a boutique management consulting firm focused on improving health services through strategic planning, operational excellence and enhanced relationship management.
Diana has a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from the University of Toronto and continues to pursue professional development opportunities in project management and quality improvement. She has held leadership positions at Women’s College Hospital, where she served as the Manager, Research Ethics and Grant Administration and at Michael Garron Hospital, where she served as the Project Manager and Implementation Lead within their Primary Care and Community Development Department.
Diana’s volunteer experience includes serving on the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards as well as the Board of Directors of the Backpack Project, a not-for-profit organization that promotes health and education amongst Caribbean students by equipping them with pre-packed backpacks containing school supplies and personal health items.
Nabil Mensah is the owner of Tasttlig Corporation, a company with the mission to showcase the world in the best light. Tasttlig Corporation leverages Technology, Marketing, Media and Finance to help people and businesses of all sizes reach their financial potential.
Nabil has held a financial advisory license since 2008. He has worked for some of the leading financial institutions in Canada including Bank of Nova Scotia, Edward Jones, London Life, Sun Life Financial and National Bank of Canada. His clients span across multiple jurisdictions. Nail has 12 years of hands-on experience in finance across organizations, income streams and geography. Knowledge of building successful tech startups. Ability to manage high performing teams across multiple continents at the same time. A vast network in finance, technology, media, food, beverage, marketing, non-profit and International business and a passion to see the world become a better place. Nabil is a professional that understands entrepreneurs, for-profit and non-for profit organizations. He knows the work in building an organization and knows the work in working for one. He directly owns a few companies in his portfolio and advises on multiple around the world.
An established social entrepreneur and Afro-Caribbean dancer and studio owner, Shakkoi Hibbert is a published author, poet and motivational speaker. After her mother’s passing, her interest and curiosity for her culture and history propelled her to explore the vastness of her roots. This propelled her to create the AFIWI Groove School, starting out with 4 women, the school has a great following offering a variety of artistic classes to children and youth, as well as recreational dance and fitness classes for adults.
Shakkoi’s main motivation is to promote unity amongst the Afro and Caribbean communities, using Self Love as her foundation, she has been able to draw strength from this to overcome many obstacles in life. With a desire to empower youth and her community, she is eager to move forward knowing change is coming, as we learn to fully appreciate how beautiful and powerful we are as a community and individuals.
Jamal Ward has over 10 years in the film and media industry where he was able to work with a wide variety of entertainers, non-profit organizations, professional athletes, small business owners, and many corporate companies.
As a director/DP/editor Jamal works extremely closely with his clients to ensure the right message is being conveyed to their intended audience and that the job is done correctly the first time. He believes strongly in working effectively and efficiently and brings the perfect balance of technical and creative knowledge.
Jamal has Directed and DP’d for many commercials, promotional videos, weddings, and large events. Whether the objective was to connect with an intended target market and sell or to create stunning visual memories he consistently delivers.
Jamal also takes the time to teach other inspiring creatives better practices for business strategies, interacting with clients and creating better content via his youtube channel and hopes to inspire the next generation of creatives.
Building relationships has always been a strong suit for serial entrepreneur, Randy Osei. After playing all through university, he decided to trade in his jersey for sports marketing. Osei became the brand manager for a Top 5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Osei soon saw the gap between mid-size brands and athletes. In 2015, Osei launched Rozaay Management, creative marketing, and branding agency based in Toronto, Canada. He soon expanded his reach to Los Angeles, helping to grow Embellish into a multi-million dollar company. Rozaay Management is now one of Canada’s most influential agencies, working with over 25 brands, 15 media outlets, over 100 players spanning the NBA, NFL, CFL, and MLS. From basketball roots in 2012 to now – Osei and Rozaay Management continue to leverage fame at every turn.
Abby Ayoola is a serial social entrepreneur, nutritional expert, and co-host of synergy on Afroglobal TV that educates people on living healthy. As a mother of 4 lovely children, she has striven to live a healthier life for herself and for the sake of her kids. Her dedication, passion and down to earth attitude has inspired people to completely change their lifestyles to healthier states and better well being. She is simply someone that loves to eat healthy, loves to travel, try new things and hopefully in the process, inspire people to do the same.
Dwayne Sybbliss is a photographer and film content creator, he currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. His professional and personal work excavates issues around community, masculinity and black bodies. Dwayne has completed two photography exhibits where his latest work titled “Fatherless Fathers” which explores single parent upbringings of young black individuals growing up in Regent Park and as they have grown up and now have children they all play an active role in their children’s lives. Ending the cycles of the stereotypical ‘single black parenthood’. His current film ‘Last Ride Through Regent’ is his first feature short film that tackles the current gentrification process happening to the community Regent Park and the effects it has on black bodies and those spaces. Dwayne is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker and holds a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University.
Tasha Blake is a community leader and social entrepreneur. Tasha established Ahsat Jewelry in August of 2007. Her enterprise was built to provide an eclectic choice of handcrafted necklaces, earrings, rings & bracelets to actualize social good. Using ingenuity, creativity all pieces are handcrafted to empower the recipients. As Canadian entrepreneur, the use of authentic stones and ancient principles Tasha has built a brand designed to last and further the socio-economic circumstance of her community.
As a young boy Soniel growing up on his family’s farm in Jamaica, never questioned where his food came from. However, with the decline of quality produce on grocery shelves and the concerns of fake fruits and vegetables in the markets, Soniel decided to bring the trust back into farming.
Soniel Gordon is the founder of Sunny Boy Farms and works to provide naturally grown produce, and organic poultry to sell to consumers and small businesses at affordable prices. While empowering communities with various workshops and employment opportunities Soniel works diligently to tackle the issues of food security, transparency of where our food is coming from and the affordability of healthy foods.
Chris Blackwood founded a not-for-profit organization called H.N.I.C. (Helping Neighborhoods Implement Change). As a seasoned community organizer, social worker accredited local basketball coach and social entrepreneur Chris has emerged as a local champion for economic equity in the Jane and Finch community. After the completion of a business course at Dixon Hall, Chris and his brother Jason founded “Grandslammer$ a social enterprise fuelled by their collective passion for their peers.
Committed to leadership and community building, Lereen Francois is a community educator and the founder of Black Mental Health Visibility- a youth-led initiative providing education and support for black mental health. As a community educator, she has reached her community through various panels and media platforms within the City of Toronto. In 2018 she led three successful Mental Health campaigns equipping black youth with tools and knowledge for mental health awareness and self-care. Over the past five years, using her skills and dedication to mental health, Lereen has supported larger organizations with program facilitation and curriculum development. With her passion for Mental Health and community development, she currently serves as a Board member for Stella’s Place.
Hager El’Bably is a second year BA(Hons) student at York University. Ms. El’Bably is majoring in Human Rights and Equity, minoring in African Studies and earning a Certificate in Black Canadian Studies and the founder of the Black Youth Mentorship Program. My philosophy is to believe that children are the future and as such, they need the necessary support system to help them Dream. Believe. Achieve. However, this would not be possible without a solid support system available for personal, familial, academic and social needs. As such, BYMP is the missing piece that is necessary to inspire black youth to become the best Black.Youth.Mentorship.Program (BYMP) version of themselves all the while giving back to their communities through mentorship, leadership, and building supportive communities. This will be accomplished by supporting and mentoring back youth and their parents one step at a time.
The BYMP program provides black youth the support, mentorship, and leadership necessary for a prosperous future and rewarding experiences. The Black Youth Mentorship Program Team
Micaiah Beausoleil is a son a brother and Nation Builder figuratively and literally. He honed his administrative skill-sets facilitating data entry on the CRM Nation Builder on local campaigns. As a community organizer, he has assisted in convening lectures, forums, and meetings from the age of thirteen. Micaiah has Counsellors Training Certificate from the City of Toronto. Micaiah has been featured in film productions from as early as nine years old and recently attained a lead role in his High School annual play. Micaiah is also currently enrolled in the Ada Slaight Youth Arts Program where he is building his capacity to improve, acting and videography. Micaiah is coordinating communication and social media for his High School Robotics Program. Micaiah also holds a Bronze Star and after fifteen years of swimming lessons is a year away from a Lifeguard Certificate/License. Micaiah currently lives in Toronto with his Parents and three younger siblings.
Susanna King is passionate about her community. Growing up and witnessing first hand the experiences of living in a high-risk community, she is conscious of how your environment can propel you forward to thrive or set you back. With a diploma in Child and Youth Care and Social Services, she has made it her mission to positively support her community by creating workshops, and siphon resources that allow youth facing challenges to get the support they need to achieve their greatest potential. Susanna finds strength in her ability to provide support to individuals from diverse settings, helping them get back on track. A positive outlook on life builds resiliency when faced with problems and Susanna is looking forward to the future as she continues to work with her community to expand skill set through education and employment. She has supported youth in schools, by creating workshops highlighting behavioral issues, developed workshops in correctional facilities, supported the community with after-school youth hub programs, giving youth alternative options to hanging out in the streets.
Anthony Pereira is a social entrepreneur and community leader. Anthony is the founder of A+ Smoodees, a nutritionally forward smoothie company dedicated to bringing the public greater nutritional awareness & wellbeing through delicious, food! Anthony has been a community advocate for years and through his enterprise
has worked on ensuring that all people can enjoy healthy food regardless of their socio-economic circumstance. Anthony’s delicious service offerings are all-natural, beverages, that are vegan, gluten free, and made with the simplest and most accessible ingredients.
Brian Nii Ako Boi-Doku
Brian Nii Ako Boi-Doku has a passion for and strong belief in positive personal transformation and it’s implications within our communities and society as a whole. Brian is a creative and self-motivated individual who enjoys completing task in both group and independent capacities. Born to Ghanaian parents in Toronto he has had the opportunity to experience many global cultures and is a big proponent of cultural diversity and loves the wealth of multiculturalism found in Toronto. Maintaining professionalism, integrity, and justice both at work and in personal life are core values of Brian’s and he thrives in organizations and environments that share the same values.
Denroy Jackson is an architectural technologist and a musician with an advanced diploma from Humber College in Architectural Technology. He is continuing his education in sustainable architecture at Athabasca University. With over 6 years of experience in the construction industry, Denroy is now a registered BCIN and Project Coordinator with specialized skills in 3D modeling and rendering. He holds great expertise in commercial, residential, and institutional construction. The Archxtect is a developing musical artist who is currently working on 2 EP’s that are scheduled to be released in late 2019. He has also been featured in Jessie Reyez’s upcoming music video, Saint Nobody. His passion for carving beauty out of dead space inspires him to make his own beats and write his own lyrics. When Denroy isn’t on the job site he is in the studio or with his family. Denroy’s vision is to design and build his own community, travel the world performing hit songs and be an aid to repairing disadvantaged communities for the betterment of future generations.
Lana Burchell is the author of both 31 Days to Sanity and Shadows of Memories. She is a single mom, feminist, and advocate for marginalized women and empowering the local black community in Hamilton and holds an Honours BA in Social Work and Psychology. She combines encouragement, faith, and humour on her blog, caramelsunrises.com. When not writing or advocating, she can be found at the beach.
Jonathan Santana is on a mission to teach individuals life balancing skills to cope with stress in their day to day lives. He’s a graduate of Palm Beach State College & is Certified in Neuro-linguistic programming. Most of his experience that aids his career with teaching, speaking & mentoring is nearly 10 years of serving as a Firefighter/Paramedic.
As a firefighter/paramedic, Jonathan understands first hand of how stress works and how it can impact you both mentally and physically. He learned much about how it impacted himself but even more how it impacted the patients he serviced. Around the 5 year point of his career he realized that there has to be a way of coping with stress & getting back to a healthy mental/physical state. During his research, he crafted his life changing H.E.A.D Program that has helped individuals get back to enjoying life.
Daniel Njie Makoge
Daniel Njie Makoge is a proud first-generation African-Canadian, Father and Husband Daniel is a Master Electrician and a founder of an electrical enterprise building the capacity of young people in Ontario. Daniel started his apprenticeship in February of 2005 and completed it in June of 2011. Daniel has worked in various industries such as residential (houses & custom builds) Commercial (plazas, offices, schools) and Industrial (Hospitals, Factories, Car plants, Airports) By the Grace if God my career path has allowed me the opportunity to provide a comfortable living for my family & loved ones. Along with the comfort of knowing I possess a viable skill & knowledge of a key trade in today’s society being a tradesman allows me to continue to move around different settings & keep learning. I wholeheartedly promote to all young Men & Women to actively pursue a career in the trades. Hands down one of the best decisions I ever made.
Debiiey Dunn, CNP
Founder & CEO En’tyce Your Beauty – Naturally, Founder of En’tyce Our Youth Group & Avid Food Grower
Debiiey Dunn is a dynamic powerful speaker, Lupus survivor, activist & a Certified Holistic Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), receiving her honorary designation from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto (IHN). She is the Founder and CEO of En’tyce Your Beauty – Naturally, a transformative energy &plant based holistic hair & skin care line. She has impacted & has transformed the lives of thousands of men, women, and children, captivating them & empowering self-love and wellness for their hair & skin issues. As a philanthropist, in 2015 she created a biweekly youth group; mentoring, transforming & imparting life skills, friendship, community & a safe space to youth 15-23 of African Descent. Debiiey is currently pursuing her Trichology certification from the Institute of Holistic Trichology. Her deep passion for holistic health & wellness for all things hair, skin, food, nutrition, youth, social justice to impact change helping to heal others by Educating and Empowering them is her life’s dream & calling. Through Debiiey’s challenges with Lupus, she was forced to start to make her own handmade botanical, herbal & natural hair and skin care products. For her, it was a matter of life or death!! All of her products are handmade from scratch out of her need for truly clean & non- carcinogenic products. She only uses the very best herbs, botanicals and ingredients, with love. It’s literally her Outside In food! That was how her company En’tyce Your Beauty – Naturally was born. Her passion for clean, electric & holistic food has lead her into farming as well. For her, it is a must to have clean, organically grown food. She starts all her foods from seed. Her motto is “Clean Seed, To Soil, To Table”, and lives by: Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food. Creating dialogue & awareness about food justice and food security is important for Debiiey as well. Her life and passions clearly demonstrate how she embraces her philosophy for living holistically from the “Inside Out” & “Outside In”.
Chris Campbell as a social entrepreneur born and raised in Toronto. Chris recognized the importance of sewing into our youth and co-founded and is the Chief Director of Pound the ROCK Basketball League. With a passion for sports, it has fueled a 20-year stint of Sports, Community Events and Coaching. He served for 13 years as Executive Director for Motion Ball Sports Association and Motion Basketball Association and enjoys instructing at Motion. He has enjoyed partnering with the TDSB for the last 3 years and looks forward to what the future partnership will bring.
Curtis Bell is a local alumni of Cathedral High School and went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington. In 1989 he was a first-round draft pick in the CFL and enjoyed a rigorous career with the Hamilton TiCats, Toronto Argos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His passion for the game of Canadian football lead him to a 20-year coaching career, including the University of Waterloo Offensive Coordinator. Bell was able to unify both sides of his heritage (African American and Indigenous) to become the Founder and Director of 9heavens Healing Academy for boys; Program Developer for RoadToad (addiction curriculum for grades 6-8), Streetwolf: 7 principles of self-leadership for the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.
Bell recognized the correlation between healing and mental health, and is on the Certified Ontario Roster of Mediators, is Mental Health First Aid Instructor and is a Conductor in teaching others about physical disabilities through his partnership with March of Dimes Canada.
Bell’s prolific work with young men has been personified through a graphic novel depicting the stories of those men through HoodHabits, PeacheFrog Playbook 8 (a partnership with Alberta Cree Métis Settlements) and EagleEye & BrightPath (a partnership with Jumpstart Program through Wilfred Laurier University).
Jason Blackwood is an entrepreneur and founder of Grandslammers a social enterprise built to provide economic opportunities in the Jane and Finch community. Born and raised in Jane and Finch, Jason is a graduate of the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals certificate program. Jason has committed his community development and entrepreneurial experiences to empower his peers in West Toronto.
Spiritual Life Coach and Yoga Teacher
Through a lifestyle based around yoga, philosophy, astrology, and metaphysics Yogini Ma’at is a lifetime learner and observer of life itself. She conducts healing sessions, as a Spiritual Life Coach, incorporating what she has gained in all her fields of study. Yogini has always been an intuitive, energetic, and inspirational beacon of light whose purpose is to help regenerate the mind, body, and soul of others. As a skilled Yoga enthusiast with a passion for conscious self-evolution, part of her mission is to help guide individuals back to that underlying energetic current of peace through a transforming yogic practice. Inspiring others to improve wellness and set them on a path towards self-mastery while ensuring high levels of satisfaction and exceed expectation when it comes to service. She guides clients with an earthy, grounded demeanor and with a soothing voice to lead the way.
Derrick Fagan is an emerging indie documentary and short filmmaker. Derrick has worked to help create video content for large brands like Google, Netflix, and Catelli. Baptized as a child into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in 1981, His Father “Kes Haile Mariam” is a highly regarded Priest at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Toronto, his relationship with his Dad has made him into the person he is today. With his filmmaking skills, Derrick works with community groups like Toronto Community Benefits Network, helping to create unique content of people in disenfranchised communities.
President & COO Achievers Real Estate Investors Network.
Dale’s passion is to ensure that their members have access to real estate opportunities and knowledge to grow their business and build wealth. As a real estate investor, he understands the challenges faced by his colleagues. As a result, He is determined and committed to ensuring his members enhance and grow their business while having access to a global network of Real Estate professionals.
Dale is a Real Estate investor, television producer, living benefits and a financial educator dedicated to empowering people to live extraordinary productive lives through financial literacy.
Natalie Phipps’ 2011 accident changed her entire life, teaching her to look inside and out, and giving her the strength to encounter and experience what she hadn’t known life could throw at her. She has a strong desire to motivate and encourage people around the world to love and to live life. Natalie hopes each of us can become a blessing in someone’s life, communicate with the spiritual room, and have the faith necessary to move forward, rather than sitting down. If she touches one heart, one mind, one soul, her goal will be achieved. Natalie lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her spouse and her twelve-year-old cat, Sasha. She hopes her writing, and the spiritual signs to which she has been exposed, will restore confidence in readers around the world, particularly those who need encouragement and motivation in Jesus’ name.
Wayne Williams is an entrepreneur, fitness trainer, and business owner. He became very informed and familiar with many training techniques through trial-and-error, and he continued to have an open mind to new methods. Although he has been training for over 15 years, Calisthenics and heavy weight training has become his method of choice for the past few years. His knowledge of the human anatomy has been his strong point. Wayne has an extensive understanding of the musculo-skeletal system, which he incorporates into his training for effective results. His motivation comes from seeing results from his clients that they believed were not possible. Wayne Williams has his own fitness company called BuffBoy Fitness. He trains clients, teaches bootcamps, sells athletic wear, and travels the world teaching others about health and fitness.
Cola is a mother, a creative and an inspirational artist from Toronto who developed a love for writing, poetry and the arts while completing her BFA in classical piano from York University. Her talent for creative writing was discovered through the Literature for Life program who published poems by Cola as part of their 2011 women’s anthology entitled, “Holla”. Cola is a graduate of the theater group AMY project (Artist Mentoring Youth) where her contributions include spoken word as well as acting in the spring creation of Check-out (2011) and Derailed, featured in Summer Works 2012.
In 2013 Cola had a staged reading of her play entitled, Play(ed) as part of the Tarragon Theater YPU (Young play-wrights Unit) program. Since the passing of her son Kayshaun in August 2014 she has grown into an author, arts educator & natural skincare manufacturer. With a love for overall wellness she has partnered with different Toronto organizations to share her experiences surrounding trauma, grief, mental health, identity and natural skincare. Using her memoir C.O.L.A as her teaching guide, Cola has successfully implemented an arts based workshop used in both correctional facilities and colleges. Her passion to create real impact and disrupt lives for healing purposes pushes beyond her ability to ever quit.
Andre Watson is a husband, father, community organizer and the founder of the African Canadian Cannabis Society (ACCS). Andre has been advocating for a fair presence of African Canadians in the cannabis industry for over a decade. His social purpose organization provides a platform for people of African descent to access information, build networks, promote and bring awareness to legalization and cannabis systemic transformation and legislative reform in Canada. Andre currently resides in Toronto with his family.
Jeffrey Saah is a social entrepreneur and an RHN who believes in using nutrition, fitness and mental relaxation as the route to optimal wellbeing. He is the founder of Light Body Wellbeing, which builds the capacity of young people to gain a stronger sense of identity and purpose through nutritional consultations, webinars and workshops that teach techniques for holistic wellness. Jeffrey has lead seminars, facilitated training sessions for non-profits; SME’s and SPO’s to scale collective impact and drive innovation. Jeffrey currently resides in Toronto, Canada with his family.
Kara Jafar is a dynamic youth leader who began his community organizing work in east Toronto as the Co-Chair of The Dorsey Park Youth Council. His peers and him succcesuflly advocating for a youth space at McGregor Community Centre and acquired 1.5 million dollars from the provincial government to build a sports hub and youth lounge. At 18 years of age Karar received a community award from Mayor David Miller. Karar is currently a Settlement worker in schools who strives to help newcomers transition to Canada with ease. Karar is also a youth decorated leader who led many groups towards civic engagement and positive change. He continues to be an ambassador for social justice and social reform.