By RON FANFAIR
Negatively engaged young people are the focus of attention far more often than those who are doing positive things and excelling in their schools and communities, says Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner Jean Augustine.
“We need to take the ones when we see that spark of resilience, courage and commitment, support them individually and put them first and foremost in our work and thinking,” she said during her feature address at the Garnett Manning Youth & Leadership Foundation launch last Sunday in Brampton.
“If we focus on the negative all of the time then, somehow, we discredit and we do not do service to those who are really trying to walk the straight and narrow road.”
Manning, a former Brampton city councilor, set up the organization to embrace, engage and empower young people in the third largest city in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Organizations like this one that support, reach out and assist our youths are necessary and individuals like Garnett Manning are to be commended for taking an active part in the role modeling and mentoring needs for young people…What you are doing is trying to extract the very best from our youths.
“It’s imperative that we congratulate the visionaries and those who supported the vision and will continue to be in the circle as the vision is implemented because it’s one thing to start something, but another to sustain and maintain it over the long haul.”
Manning said the organization will encourage and inspire youth to consider self-employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and skilled trades as a professional option. He also said young mothers will be encouraged to complete their high school and university education.
“For many years, I have been working with young people and for young people and volunteering with a lot of organizations,” said Manning. “This is the formalization of what I have been doing over the years.”