AFROCENTRIC LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
Day 1 was all about finding their own paths with Find Your Path! Participants took part in a workshop by an organization called the Black Leadership Outreach Directive (BOLD) and focused on the Afrocentric principle of Kujichagulia (self-determination). They explored different post-secondary pathways, heard about mentors’ academic and career journeys, and got to research and develop their own academic plan.
On day 2, mentees learned about Social Studies and the structures that govern our society. They heard from Chris Thompson, founder and Executive Director of Skills for Life, a non-profit organization that promotes the importance of life skills development, filling the gap between traditional learning and real-world applications. Participants spent time learning about social justice issues as leaders and practicing the Afrocentric principle of Imani (faith), by collaborating with one another to imagine a better world.
Day 3 shed light on Social Studies from a different perspective- good leaders are Mental Health champions! On this day, students learned about mental health, participated in a group meditation, and got to bond with one another during play time spent outdoors! Mentors worked with their mentees to co-create a safe space within their pods for meaningful, compassionate, and eye-opening conversations about the importance of wellness, healthy coping strategies, and extending the practice of Imani into their own lives.
The fourth day highlighted the languages, cultures and people of the African continent and was centered on the Afrocentric principle of Nia, meaning purpose. Oswald Almasi, a professor of Swahili at the University of Toronto, led a Language workshop, where mentees got to discover African history, learn about Swahili culture, and practice speaking the Swahili language!
Day 5 was the first field trip day! Participants had the opportunity to dive into a fascinating Black history tour of the city where they live, led by the incredible Jacqueline Scott, a PhD candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Towards the end of the tour, mentees got to visit A Different Booklist, a Black-owned bookstore in Toronto, where they each got to pick out a free book to take home!
On day 6, participants had the chance to explore how two seemingly unrelated school subjects, Math and Art, come together to create the gift of Music, centered on the Afrocentric principle of Kuumba (creativity)! They heard from Obuxum, a Toronto-based Somali-Canadian electronic music producer about her journey as a Black woman in the music industry. Throughout the day, mentees gained an understanding of the history of Black Radio and disk jockeying and delved into the math and physics applications of sound waves by creating their own rhythms!
For the second field trip on day 7, Find Your Path partnered with SpinMaster, a global children’s entertainment company, to provide mentees with a unique experience at their downtown Toronto office! During the trip, participants heard from a Black engineer at Spin, received a tour of the office, and learned all about the field of Engineering. Afterwards, mentees had the opportunity to speak to a panel of inspirational Black professional leaders working in various departments at SpinMaster, all the way from finance, to animation, to supply chain management!
Day 8 was all about Finance, grounded in the Afrocentric principle of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics). The Ivey Business School at University of Western Ontario delivered an engaging and informative presentation to mentees about the various career and academic opportunities in the world of Commerce. Mentees learned about Black Wall Street, explored the concept of Generational Wealth, and had empowering discussions about the importance of Financial Literacy. Afterwards, participants played a variety of exciting experiential learning games where they got to further develop their Financial Literacy skills!
On day 9, Find Your Path had the incredible privilege of welcoming the honorable Chile Eboe-Osuji, distinguished International Jurist and the fourth President of the International Criminal Court as the program’s keynote speaker! Dr.Eboe-Osuji shared his profound insights, wisdom, and expertise with participants, enriching their understanding of the field of Law and its relation to the theme of Ujima (collective work and responsibility). Later on, students had the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through collaborating with one another, thinking critically, and partaking in a program-wide debate!
Day 10 was jam-packed with thought-provoking discussions and hands-on activities that focused on the day’s academic discipline of Health and explored the Afrocentric principle of Umoja (unity). The second half of the day consisted of our annual closing award ceremony, memorable quality time within mentor pods, and bittersweet but cherished farewells!