Thirty years in the life of a community organization is an achievement worth celebrating.
consul general in Toronto, Haynesley Benn, delivered that message in his keynote address at the Barbados Overseas Community Canada (BOCC) anniversary celebration last Saturday night in Scarborough.
Barbados Labour Party parliamentarian, Gline Clarke, founded the organization three decades ago while he was the farm labour program liaison officer in Toronto.
“Thirty years speak to commitment and dedication,” said Benn, who studied at the Banff Centre for Continuing Education in Alberta and Saskatoon’s Co-op College. “The fact that you saw the need to come together to start this organization is reason enough to congratulate you. Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success.”
Over the years, the BOCC has provided scholarships and mentorship opportunities for young people.
“Mentoring is pouring your life into other people and helping them reach their potential,” said Benn. “The mentoring process offers people the opportunity to turn their potential into reality. The power of mentoring is so strong that you can actually see the lives of persons change before your eyes. That’s awesome. The path you have chosen has brought much satisfaction to the lives of many. Remember that everything you have gone through has helped to lead you to where you are today.”
To mark the milestone, the BOCC presented scholarships to Tiffany Williams and Dayna Adams.
Graduating from Centennial College’s community and justice service program last April, Williams is enrolled in the University of Ontario Institute of Technology criminology & justice program. She aspires to be a correctional officer.
Adams graduated from Middlefield Collegiate Institute and is a first-year University of Guelph-Humber family & community social services program student.
“This scholarship is important because it shows my community cares about young people pursuing higher education,” said Adams, who intends to become a child and youth worker.
Previous scholarship recipients include Lianne Boyce, who has been teaching at a university in Saudi Arabia for the past four years; Julio Collymore, who is a Toronto District School Board educator and Susan Richards-Morgan, who was the first president of the BOCC youth arm established in 1992.
In addition to presenting scholarships, the BOCC has provided valued services to the physically challenged and the elderly, contributed to the refurbishment of St. Michael’s Cathedral and donated medical equipment to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Barbados.
The organization’s current executive comprises Jessica Carrington (president), Karl Griffith (vice-president), Monica Adams (secretary), Leroy Fowler (treasurer) and Mark Carrington (public relations officer).