Healthy Communities

YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship Program: We’re So Proud of our 2022-2023 Graduates!

12 July 2023 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto

In early June, we had our second annual YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship Program graduation and award ceremony, celebrating the 14 youth in the program who were graduating from high school (and the Black Achievers program) this year. It was a joyful event, full of special performances, scholarship announcements, a program graduation ceremony, dinner, and a lot of celebrating!

The evening kicked off with a Land Acknowledgement written by one of this year’s program graduates, Precious Ogunbayo, and the Canadian and Black national anthems. Members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) gave a special performance; other special guests included spoken word artist KxngYin, Canadian singer-songwriter and steelpan virtuoso LuckyStickz (Dejehan Hamilton) and Toronto-based African drumming group Ngoma Ensemble.

2023 Black Achievers graduates, mentors, program staff, and other YMCA of Greater Toronto staff.    View of the audience at the 2023 YMCA Black Achievers graduation event while members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform.

Scholarships this year were presented to:

Nana Adamu and Daneka Daley – who both won a Desjardins scholarship of $2,500

Omoteniola Awodumila – who won a $5,000 Black Achievers scholarship funded by individual donors in our scholarship drive and as the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Black Achiever of the Year Award.

Nana Adamu receives her Desjardins scholarship.    Daneka Dailey receives her Desjardins scholarship    Omoteniola Swodumila speaks at the podium after receiving the 2023 Outstanding Black Achiever of the Year Award.

Speaking of scholarships, the YMCA Black Achievers program would also like to congratulate program graduate Ivan Masuba’s remarkable win of a CIBC Youth Accelerator Scholarship from the Boys and Girls Club of Scarborough in partnership with CIBC, the Black North Initiative (BNI), and BGC Canada. Ivan’s scholarship includes four years of funding for his post-secondary education, a paid work placement with BNI, and paid mentoring opportunities with CIBC and other BNI organizations.

The absolute highlight of the evening, of course, was celebrating our 14 incredible Black Achievers program and high school graduates this year. This year’s graduates are going on to post-secondary education at university, college and apprenticeship programs across Ontario, with acceptances from York University, Toronto Metropolitan University, Queen’s University, Brock University, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, McMaster University, University of Waterloo, Centennial College, Humber College, Seneca College, Ontario Tech University, University of Windsor, Carpenters’ Union Local 27, University of Guelph, Algoma University, Trent University, and Western University.  This class of ’23 aspires to become our future nurses, business analysts, lawyers, social workers, carpenters, computer engineers and scientists, entrepreneurs, IT specialists, and physiotherapists. Let’s hear it for them!

Nana Adamu - Amidat Agunbiade - Omoteniola Awodumila - Daneka Daley - Nicholas Hugh Edward - Idris Hersi - Elizabeth Kuti - Eniola Macaulay - Ivan Masuba - El-Amin Odeyale - Precious Ogunbayo - Testimony Oluwadarasmi - Daniel Popoola - Zavier Wyllie

Watch our graduates’ videos

Of course, the YMCA Black Achievers Mentorship Program could not exist without the support of its mentors and our founding and 2023 donors, and we’d like to conclude with a big thank you to these individuals and companies for their incredible generosity:

2023 Mentors

Shermanda Bernard - Courtney Betty - Colin A. Campbell - Dwayne Campbell - Wesline Clemont - Ellaine French - Zindzi Henry - Semevo Hessou - Sharon Hinds - Selina Karim - Tanya Palmer - Hailey Redman - Mureth Rhone - Joy Smith-Brown - Promise Ugochukwu - Emmanuel Ukposidolo - Olivia Wilks

Founding and 2023 Donors

CIBC - Ontario Trillium Foundation - Peter Gilgan Foundation - Rogers - Bluboho - Donette Chin-Loy Chang - Sun Life Canada - And our scholarship drive donors, including Desjardins Financial Group


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