By RON FANFAIR
Living a purposeful life for Len Carby is more than putting bread on the table and taking care of his family. It’s also about giving back through community service.
Carby joined the 20-year-old Brampton Neighborhood Resource Centre (BNRC) board in January 2006 and was elected the chair eight months later. In early January, he will submit his name for regional councillor of the fast-growing Wards Two and Six in the city’s municipal elections next October.
He will be seeking to unseat long serving incumbent Paul Palleschi, who received 45 per cent of the votes in the last election three years ago. First elected as Ward Two councilor in 1985, Palleschi’s representation extended to Ward Six following the restructuring of the Brampton ward boundaries six years ago.
“My involvement with the BNRC brought into sharp focus some of the challenges facing this community such as youth violence and the need to establish appropriate services to meet the diverse needs of this fast growing city,” said Carby. “Change can be good sometimes, but change that addresses and responds to critical issues facing a community is even better and that is where I hope to make my presence felt.
“It’s projected that the population of this city will reach close to 900,000 by the year 2031 (the population count in the last census in 2006 was about 434,000). These people will be coming from all parts of the world with myriad needs and challenges which we must be ready to address. As I see it, the kind of city we would want for these people is one that is caring, inclusive, welcoming and one that also provides a safe environment to live, work and raise our families. That’s the kind of city I envisage and I am willing to work hard to make that possible.”
Growing up in the church in a close-knit Kingston community in Jamaica has helped to shape Carby’s life as an active volunteer. He was a member of the Penwood Seventh-day Adventist church that established a clinic in the inner-city Waterford community.
“I grew up in the church and it was where I learned the joy of being engaged in community service,” said Carby, who graduated from Ardenne High School (he’s a member of the Toronto alumni organization) and Jamaica’s University of Technology with a degree in business administration. He has worked in the information technology sector with most of the major life insurance companies, including Guardian Life, where he served as manager of technical services before migrating to Canada in 2000. Here, he has held systems administration positions with Canadian Derivatives Clearing Corporation, Cott Beverages and National Bank Financial before joining World Financial Group as a senior associate.
“As an independent broker with World Financial Group, I have the flexibility to do a fair share of volunteer and community work,” said Carby, who moved from Pickering to Brampton to join his wife in 2002 when they got married. “With the BNRC, I spend several hours on the phone and in the office dealing with matters of strategic direction, policy and governance.”
The BNRC, which has 90 part and full-time employees, receives 95 per cent of its annual $5.8 million funding from the three levels of government.
Carby has performed with the acclaimed Faith Chorale choir and contributed to the “Impacting Peace Building and Development in Jamaica: Addressing Challenges and Opportunities Encountered by the Jamaican Diaspora” Citizens for the Advancement of Community Development project.