YMCA Youth Programs

Black Achievers With Black-Owned Business Owners

25 April 2024 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto

For Black History Month in February, the YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship Program celebrated and embraced the concept of community and togetherness with tours, excursions, and community outreach events. As a group dedicated to advancing Black youth, we collectively support and highlight past and present members of the Black community who contribute to positive change. 

Connecting the past with the present  

Black History Month celebrations honour the past and foster a deeper connection to the present and future. This year, Black Achievers program participants, mentors, volunteers, and staff members Samantha Adebiyi, Tonicia James, and Nikashia Ramdhani visited the Oakville Museum for a tour of the Underground Railroad, which featured a unique indoor/outdoor experience offering an insight into the history of a National Historic Event. It was an engaging, inspiring, and insightful experience. We learned about the rich tapestry of Black history that took place on Canadian soil — a history of bravery, togetherness, and the need for allyship to inspire continuous change.  

It became more evident how important it is to continue documenting Black people's contributions to their communities and society.  

Honouring the present & future  

Our youth leadership group, under staff guidance, created a video documentary to highlight current community leaders who are making change through their commitment and leadership. 

Their objective was to increase their knowledge of the history of the creation of Black-owned businesses, create a platform for entrepreneurship, learn about generational wealth in Black communities, and celebrate Black culture and representation in hopes of transforming communities and addressing economic disparities.  

Future community leaders  

For their documentary, members of the youth leadership group, including Tunmise Awodumilla, Chloe Bucchan, and Titobi Oriola, interviewed Scarborough business owners Dwayne Dixon of Souperlicious Finch East and Lola Ahmigbhe of Sopresa African and Caribbean Groceries and Superstore. They spent a day at each business and learned what it takes to start and maintain a successful small business.

BAP participants and staff members standing outside Souperlicious

Afterwards, the youth felt motivated and confident in their abilities to chase their dreams. We hope that young people everywhere find inspiration from initiatives like this and see the power they have within themselves as future community leaders.  

Special thanks to the business owners who opened their doors to us and program staff Samantha Adebiyi, Tonicia James, and Nikashia Ramdhani for facilitating the group’s efforts.  

Watch the documentary


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