Theo and Troy Clarke share lives as unusually close twins.
In pursuit of productive careers, the brothers were part of this year’s Shouters Youth Entrepreneurial Program (SYEP) graduating class.
The nine-month program is aimed at youth between the ages of 18 and 29 who are committed to creating their own business. Selection for the program is based on assessment and business ideas.
The Clarkes have established Retro Head Vintage Clothing Inc. that specializes in 80s and 90s apparel.
“We are recreating the past,” said the 21-year-old brothers who migrated from Jamaica a decade ago. “We are going to sell jerseys, jackets, sweaters, windbreakers, jeans and shirts with a difference. In our opinion and based on research, there is a definitely a market out there and we will give customers the best shopping experience and the best customer service.”
The twins plan to sell their products online for two years before setting up a store.
Archbishop Rev. Dr. Delores Seiveright, the founder of Shouters National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist Faith (Canada), started the program 12 years ago to help young people advance in society.
“Theo and Troy are still young but they have demonstrated that they can go very far in life,” she said. “Hard workers and very disciplined, they definitely have something positive to offer to the community once they remain on the path they are on.”
Most of the participants are from some of the city’s designated priority neighbourhoods and some have been in trouble with the law.
“The young people come to us with low self-esteem and other baggage,” said Seiveright. “In many cases, they are looking for guidance and a shoulder to lean on.”
Some 120 youths have passed through the program since its inception.
“We have had a 95 per cent graduation,” Seiveright said. “The very few that did not complete the program encountered problems with the criminal justice system and were incarcerated.”
The other graduates celebrated last Saturday night were brother and sister O’Shane and Angenia Blair who co-own an online clothing store specialising in men and women evening wear; Bashiyr Douglas who is in the health products business; Carla-Monique Dussard who created a talent agency; Colwin Boston who founded a clothing company; Latoya Latouche who is the chief executive officer of LA Premier Maintenance which specializes in property cleaning in southern Ontario; Natasha Morris who is the owner/manager of DreamBox Events Inc. and Tyrone Wilson who has a landscaping business.
As part of the graduation ceremony, the church program presented bursaries to N’dere Headley-Lindsay who is enrolled in the Etobicoke School of the Arts Music Theatre program and University of Toronto third-year student Sarah Carpio who aspires to be a teacher.