2022 Diversity Scholarship Award Winners

Dexter Johnson Scholarship Recipients

Ridda Ahmed
Atkinson Housing Co-operative

At the start of the pandemic, Ridda obtained funding to implement her community project. In co-ordination with volunteers, Alexandra Park Community Centre staff, Toronto Community Housing staff and the Board of Directors, her Community Chalk Project focused on ensuring safety and maintaining connectedness in her high density neighbourhood. Some 2000 mini hand sanitizers and 300 face masks were distributed among 669 low income households. Chalk was distributed to the residents to encourage expressions of written and drawn reminders of a friendly community presence in uncertain times. After the project’s completion, Ridda went on to volunteer/shadow a neighbourhood family practice physician thereby gaining insight into the difficulties facing racialized and/or financially disadvantaged Canadians in accessing health care. Ridda has been admitted to York University’s 2nd Entry Accelerated Nursing Program.

Aaron Belay
Jarvis George Co-operative Homes

This year Aaron will graduate from Jarvis Collegiate Institute. Aaron is active in his church as a Sunday school teacher, a deacon and a worship leader as well as welcoming newcomers and facilitating their experience. He also worked as a camp counsellor at Central Neighbourhood House, where he was able to attend workshops about diversity, its significance and how to bring his knowledge into the camp experience for others. Aaron will be starting first year Engineering at the University of Toronto in the fall.

Sakib Chowdhury
Atkinson Housing Co-operative

Sakib has been a regular volunteer helper at the Scadding Court Community Centre for a number of years. He’s organized and coached ball hockey for kids ages 6-13 and now manages, supervises and coaches the weekly basketball program for youth and young adults. The sports program has provided an opportunity for him to help bring young people together in a safe and inclusive space to make new friends and find new hobbies. Sakib is also active in the Alexandra Park Muslim Association. He helps the Association with the Jumu’ah (Friday) Prayer for Muslims, which is held at the Scadding Court Community Centre and is a gathering for all ages in the community. Sakib will be entering his second year of Computer Science studies at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Tajah Minott
Ramers Wood Co-operative Homes

Tajah will be entering her 2nd year of the Practical Nursing Program at Durham College. She has volunteered at Goodness Childcare as an ECA, where she led activities, read to the children and supervised their outdoor play. Tajah also volunteered at Ajax Hospital as a Practical Nursing Student, where she mostly assisted seniors with feeding, repositioning and hygiene. Her volunteer positions have allowed her the opportunity to educate the very young and care for the very old.

Wafee Rahman
Atkinson Housing Co-operative

Wafee will be entering first year Engineering at Toronto Metropolitan University. He has volunteered as a leader and supervisor with the International Languages Program, helping beginner and more fluent speakers of Arabic by leading language learning activities for children ages 7-12. Wafee was also a Group Leader at Grade 9 Orientation Day at his secondary school, Harbord Collegiate Institute, giving school tours and running ice breaker activities to help foster the new students’ sense of belonging.

Abdessamed Rezig
Metta Housing Co-operative

While at Harbord Collegiate Institute, Abdessamed volunteered as a Peer Tutor, helping fellow students with understanding the concept of Advanced Functions. At Harbord he also volunteered as a camp counsellor for the school’s one day camp event where he led and taught games and activities. Abdessamed plans to enter his first year at the University of Toronto in either Engineering or Architecture in the fall.

Joan Miller “Success Becomes You” Scholarship Recipients

Joshua Campbell Shields
Mimico Co-operative Homes

Joshua will graduate from Bishop Allen Academy this year. At Mimico, Joshua is a dynamo when it comes to social event planning. To date, he was the lead event organizer for the co-op’s Christmas party and for the 30th Anniversary celebrations, managing the budget, handling the logistics and cleaning up. His efforts are made worthwhile by the opportunity to bring members together, celebrate their diversity and create community. Joshua has been accepted to study Psychology at York University in the fall.

Michael Andrew Mahungbeh Fogarty
Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes

Michael is passionate about helping all students, especially those who are disadvantaged to achieve success in education. He is a mentor with the Kiwanis Club After School Reading Recovery Program in Regent Park, which is program for low-income and at-risk children. He attended Contact Alternative School after transferring from Central Tech. At Contact, the school where he found his ‘home’, he volunteered as a mentor and student liaison, providing one-on-one support for new students, giving school tours, participating in student council activities and serving as MC at graduations and other events. When Michael completes his Transitional Year Program at the University of Toronto, he will transfer into its undergraduate program in the fall.

Yasir Hameed
Cardiff Housing Co-operative

Yasir is entering the 3rd year of his PhD program in Environmental Studies at York University. While at York he has been very active in the Graduate Students’ Association, serving as the current VP of Community Relations, past VP of Finance and past VP of Equity. Yasir is currently Director at Large in his co-op, where he aids and oversees decision-making at the board to ensure the best interests of the co-op’s members are being met.

Lisa (Sicen) Liu
Oak Street Housing Co-operative

Lisa will be entering her 4th year of the Rotman Commerce Program at the University of Toronto. She is a mentor and financial co-ordinator with Green Light Mentorship, an organization that offers mentorship and academic support free of charge to students in Ontario from all walks of life. She is a speaker at the annual virtual Ontario University Fair and the youngest member of her co-op’s Finance Committee. Lisa received a quality education in music at Dixon Hall Music School, which offers subsidized music lessons to children and youth living in the Regent Park and Moss Park neighbourhoods. She has performed at fundraisers, showcases and high profile venues and has accompanied voice and strings students at recitals and for RCM exams.

Noor Waseem
Atkinson Housing Co-operative

Noor volunteered as an Assistant/Clerk at Toronto Western Hospital in the Emergency Department. Her duties included taking patients’ blood pressure and vital signs to clerical administration to shadowing nurses. She was also a volunteer for the CIBC Run for the Cure, raising money and participating in the event. Noor will be entering her 2nd year in Biomedical Sciences at York University.

Jackie (Zhe Yu) Zhang
Hospital Workers’ Housing Co-operative

Jackie is entering the first year of her Master’s Program in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management at Toronto Metropolitan University. She was the Volunteer Photography Section Editor for the Toronto Metropolitan University Folio, the student-run magazine at her university. As the photography section editor, Jackie made a dedicated effort to reach out to BIPOC students for articles and photos. She also volunteered with the Scadding Court Community Centre at their annual Gone Fishin’ event, where the centre would fill their pool up with fish to provide inner-city children and urban families the opportunity to go fishing. Jackie would help families navigate the centre, translate from Chinese to English as needed and at times also help with the fishing.

Pam McConnell Scholarship Recipients

Stacey Batalla
Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes

Stacey will graduate from St. Joseph’s College School in 2022. She is active as the Social Media Representative of the Women’s Empowerment Club, where she promotes club events around occasions important to feminism as well as considering future opportunities for the club to promote feminism. Stacey also volunteered at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre where she assisted in choreographing and organizing dances, led art activities and helped with trip organization and supervision, thereby allowing kids from many cultures to share their experiences through food and friendship. She is currently awaiting acceptance into a Life and Health Sciences program.

Sharleen Chebet
Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes

Sharleen will graduate from Jarvis Collegiate this year. She is currently a National Ambassador for Youth Gravity. As a participant in the National Ambassador Youth Program, she was asked to lead a social development project on an issue she felt passionately about. Sharleen held an event to address tension in the BIPOC community, applying for grants, choosing a venue and promoting her event. She invited speakers such as Camille Esther Garon; an NDP candidate for Beaufort Limoiliu and Okinawa Nipawi, a hereditary from Treaty 8, and a member of the Scuerk Creek First Nations. This past summer she worked as a community broadcast journalist at the FOCUS Media Arts Centre where she produced media about St. Jamestown for their YouTube channel and wrote weekly emails about issues in that community. Sharleen will start a program in Computer Science at Toronto Metropolitan University in the fall.

Nabiha Jahangir
Peregrine Co-operative Homes

Nabiha volunteered as a Service Desk Representative for the YMCA, facilitating the opportunities for personal growth, involvement and leadership offered by that organization to a diverse community. She also served as Events Co-ordinator of her co-op’s Social Committee. Her role involved creating fun and wonderful events throughout the year to celebrate different occasions, bringing people together to enjoy their diverse co-op community. Nabiha will be entering her 3rd year of study in the Economics and Management Science Program at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Veronica Luo
Muriel Collins Housing Co-operative

Veronica is awaiting acceptance from a number of universities where she’s applied to study Psychology. Veronica has been a T.E.A.R. (Teens Ending Abusive Relationships) Youth Peer Mentor for Victim Services Toronto. T.E.A.R. is a leadership program that aims to raise awareness among diverse youth about cyberbullying, cyber violence and healthy relationships. She is also the Danforth-Greenwood Team Lead with Trinity Theatre, an organization that aims to empower and develop leadership in youth. As a Team Lead, Veronica’s role is to overlook the development of two projects – Friends for Change (an interactive bi-weekly workshop series providing safe spaces for new Canadian youth to practice their English) and the Social Justice Digital Library (SJDL), which is an online platform that provides students with open access to academic journal articles, ESL friendly digital resources pertaining to social justice and a safe space to engage in conversations about social justice issues.

Aaliyah Mitchell
Campden Green Co-operative Homes

Aaliyah was an ESL Summer School Volunteer Teacher. She was awarded one of the two positions available by her French teacher at Francis Lieberman Catholic High School. Throughout her secondary school career, Aaliyah volunteered as an Inclusivity Leader with Best Buddies. The Best Buddies program caters to students who have developmental disorders and multiple exceptionalities, or DD/ME students. She worked to ensure these students were included in school activities, ate lunch with them and organized group excursions. Aaliyah is entering her 2nd year in Criminology at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Kwame Owusu-Ansah
Palisades Housing Co-operative

Kwame has volunteered as a Political Canvasser for the Ontario NDP. His role was to encourage people to vote for the party as well as recruiting others to join in political canvassing. He volunteered as a Teaching Assistant with the TDSB, tutoring fellow students in mathematics. Kwame will be graduating from York Memorial Collegiate Institute this year and entering the Computer Science Program at Toronto Metropolitan University in the fall.

Anika Rogers
Willow Glen Co-operative

Anika graduated from East York Collegiate Institute. She volunteered as an assistant at a daycare called Spirited Beginnings, where she would engage the children in imaginative play and creative activities, as well as ensuring their safety. She was also a summer Camp Counsellor at Willow Glen Camp, supervising on field trips and playing games with the campers and other staff. Anika will be entering her first year at the Toronto Film School in Acting for Film, Television and Theatre.

Penny Bethke Scholarship Recipients

Kelise Harris
Courtland Mews Co-operative Homes

Kelise has served as a Junior Representative and later President of the Black Student Union at her secondary school, Agincourt Collegiate Institute. She organized multiple workshops on issues that face people of colour, fundraisers and after school sporting events, as well as promoted how to become an ally of the school’s Black community. As a Junior Representative and later as Senior Representative of the Agincourt Equity Council, she involved teachers, students and outside participants in events to promote equity and equality within the school community. Kelise has also taken part on a special TDSB panel about what it means to be a black student in the TDSB. She will be entering a Practical Nursing Program at Centennial College in the fall.

Aesha Jama
Robert Cooke Co-operative Homes

Aesha will graduate from Lakeshore Collegiate Institute this year. She has been a Liberal Party volunteer, going door- to-door canvassing low-income communities for votes as well as encouraging and facilitating the exercising of each individual’s right to vote. During the pandemic, Aesha worked for the City of Toronto as a Community Engagement Ambassador. Her role was to promote understanding of health literacy in diverse communities. She helped set up vaccine clinics and provided assistance to immigrants and refugees in particular. Aesha will be entering the Public Health Program at Toronto Metropolitan University in the fall.

Zion Lloyd-Gascho
Grace MacInnis Housing Co-operative

Zion will graduate from St. Joseph’s College School this year. She has volunteered at Knox Youth Diner and Food Bank, doing setup, cooking, serving and cleaning. The organization offers young people of diverse backgrounds a source of food security. She is also active in her co-op where she helps facilitate social events and members’ meetings, does seasonal outdoor maintenance and delivers notices to units. Zion will be starting her first year of a Business and Accounting Program at a university still to be determined.

Faith Phan
Lotus Co-operative Homes

Faith will be entering her first year of Wildlife Biology studies at Guelph University. As a secondary school student, Faith volunteered as Student Staff in the Nook After School Program at Harbord Collegiate Institute. In her role, she helped facilitate the running of the office, the organizing of activities, management of equipment and the adherence to school rules. Faith also volunteered as an Assistant Counsellor at Toronto Kidz Summer Camp.

Essence Pigeon
Northview Meadow Co-operative Homes

Essence has volunteered with Girl Guides of Canada since 2014. As a Junior Leader at their camp, she helped girls ages 6-12 enjoy the camp experience, take part in activities, write letters and appreciate nature. She is also a Spark Leader with the Girl Guides, helping girls ages 5-6 find a sense of individuality and creating a safe space for them to explore different styles of learning, make friends and develop skills. Essence will be entering her first year of the Social Work Program at Trent University after graduation from R.S. McLaughlin Collegiate and Vocational Institute.

Kabir Sheikh
Atkinson Housing Co-operative

Kabir volunteered as a HeARTwork Team Member. The HeARTwork Project At Scadding Court Community Centre is a series of workshops targeting youth mental health and social issues. Kabir was involved in discussions covering subjects such as gun/gang violence, substance abuse, lone-parent households, financial literacy, managing stress, goal planning and interpersonal development. Currently, he is the President of the Student Activity Council at his secondary school, Harbord Collegiate Institute. Kabir will be entering his first year at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Randy Padmore Anti-Racism Scholarship Recipients

Ahmed Absiye
Marketview Housing Co-operative

Ahmed graduated from Northern Secondary School in June 2019. This fall, he will be entering his third year of studies at Carleton University and majoring in Law with a concentration in Policy and Government. Ahmed has been elected onto the Carleton Young Liberal executive board as VP of Policy and Canvas Director, in which his role focuses on organizing policy events with scholars and promoting youth engagement with politics. He has been a soccer player since the age of 6 and he has volunteered as a youth soccer coach at his local neighbourhood league.

Mohadeseh Bakhtiari
Neill-Wycik Co-operative College

After undergraduate studies at Toronto Metropolitan University, Mohadeseh began a graduate degree in law. As a student caseworker, she helped victim-survivors of domestic violence in York Region. This past year, she volunteered as a youth support worker with the organization 360°kids, supporting children in crisis. She also served as vice-president of a network at Toronto Metropolitan University that helps first-generation law students. Mohadeseh will be entering year 2 of the Juris Doctor program at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Lincoln Alexander School of Law.

Alia Omar-Bujak
Robert Cooke Co-operative Homes

Alia is graduating this year from Richview Collegiate Institute. All through high school, she has been a First Aider with MedVents Canada, a vocational program of Scouts Canada. First Aiders get training in providing medical coverage at events. She is also a youth leader and mentor at her church, helping with a teen drop-in night. Alia served as a teacher assistant, helping younger kids with reading and schoolwork. She will attend University of Toronto and study paramedicine.

Carline Semexant
John Bruce Village Housing Co-operative

Carline will graduate this spring from the Yorkdale Adult Learning Centre. At her co-op she organizes and cooks for social events. She has volunteered with a Canadian Red Cross mobile food bank, which brings food to people who can’t go out, and with La Passerelle, a group that helps young francophone women. Carline will begin studying nursing in the fall at George Brown College.

Mark Goldblatt Leadership Scholarship Recipients

Nabiha Jahangir
Peregrine Co-operative Homes

Nabiha volunteered as a Service Desk Representative for the YMCA, facilitating the opportunities for personal growth, involvement and leadership offered by that organization to a diverse community.  She also served as Events Co-ordinator of her co-op’s Social Committee.  Her role involved creating fun and wonderful events throughout the year to celebrate different occasions, bringing people together to enjoy their diverse co-op community.  Nabiha will be entering her 3rd year of study in the Economics and Management Science Program at Toronto Metropolitan University. Nabiha is a director on the Board of Directors at Peregrine Co-op.

Skye Tulay
Spruce Court Co-operative

Skye is going into their third year at the University of Toronto; double majoring in Ethics, Society, & Law and Women & Gender Studies, and minoring in Sociology. Skye is working full-time at the Postgraduate Medical Education Department at the University of Toronto in the International Relationships Department. They have volunteered with the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto’s Refugee Program since 2017, helping and supporting newcomers to Canada. They are also sitting on the Board of Directors as the Vice-President at Spruce Court Co-op. Skye was recently elected as a board member at CHFT.