By TOM GODFREY
Toronto calypsonian Connector worked the crowd and had people on their feet last Sunday at the annual Carnival brunch of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Ontario.
Connector, aka Joel Davis, a funeral assistant by day, had many of the 300 attendees dancing with his chutney, soca and calypso tunes in a fun event at the Toronto Plaza Hotel on Wilson Ave.
The Association, besides providing good tunes and tasty Trini food, presented two scholarship awards to students. Two awards were also presented to community members for outstanding service, including Arnold A. Auguste, the founder and publisher of Share newspaper.
Association president, Horace Thorne, said the winners were selected from many talented people in the community and received a plaque, with the students each receiving a $1,000 scholarship.
“This brunch has been going on for five years and it has been a rousing success,” said Thorne. “We emphasize education and outstanding community service.”
The non-profit organization was founded in 1976 to help Trinis and other Caribbean nationals in Canada with educational and other opportunities.
Scholarship recipient Kane Watson Fagon, 17, of Ajax, is a student of Fanshawe College, who volunteers at his church and works with young people.
“It feels really great to win this award,” said Fagon. “I am glad that I have been given the opportunity to help my community and our church.”
Fellow recipient, Tyler Chadee, said he never expected to win an award and scholarship and plans to do more to serve his community.
Community award winner Shawn James, 35, holds a Masters of Theology degree, and works for a Christian non-profit group called Urban Promise, that helps high-risk youth and families living in Toronto Community Housing.
“It is quite an honour to be publicly recognized for my work in the community,” said James. “The people in the community are the ones who keep me going and striving to do more to help.”
James, a former Harry Jerome Award winner for leadership, helped to start a summer camp and after-school programs for youth in high risk areas.
Auguste, who founded Share in April 1978, was honoured to be recognized by the community for doing something he loves.
“It is quite an achievement to be recognized in the community for the work that we do,” said Auguste. “This award is important and it shows that people are paying attention to our work.”
The native of Trinidad & Tobago began his journalism career as a columnist with Contrast News in Toronto in 1972. He worked as a reporter while studying journalism at Ryerson University.
Share has grown to become one of Canada’s largest and most influential ethnic newspapers and by far the largest one serving the Black and Caribbean community in the GTA.
Spoken word performer Trevlyn Kennedy, 20, held the attention of everyone in the room with her touching poems about life in Regent Park.
Kennedy, a University of Toronto third-year political science student, will be travelling to the prestigious Oxford University in England this week to take part in an exchange program.
“I am very excited by this opportunity,” said the Guyanese-born student. “This will give me a chance to travel and learn from other people on how else I can better help my community.”
Kennedy volunteers with a number of groups that work to improve the lives of Regent Park residents. She is the president of Keeping Youth Motivated, which works with young people.
“I am involved in many programs and activities in Regent Park,” she said. “I grew up in the area and want to help young people make better choices.”
Kennedy is working to become a lawyer to help other women achieve great things.
Dr. Vidhya Gyan Tota-Maharaj, the Consul-General of Trinidad and Tobago, was helping to present some of the awards and got a chance to meet many transplanted Trinis.
“Groups like this one are so important in helping to keep our community together,” said Tota-Maharaj. “They help to establish and maintain links between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.”