Transcript by Fonna Seidu
Just celebrating all your accomplishments regardless how small or big they are. Like, a lot of the time when you’re in a classroom you are taught to celebrate only certain grades or certain marks, but I learned that you have to celebrate yourself everyday and that really does help you achieve the bigger goals in life.
So, my name is Toota and I’m the afterschool program coordinator at Success Beyond Limits (SBL).
Q: CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT SUCCESS BEYOND LIMITS?
So, Success Beyond Limits is a youth-led organization and operates in Westview Centennial Secondary School but caters to the Jane and Finch community. So, it is an organization that’s essentially about enhancing students’ educational experiences. And giving tools, language, and experience to succeed outside of school as well. So we do that through exposure opportunities, we do that through, like, employment readiness workshops, we do that through having them run after-school programming. A big portion of our organization is preparing middle school students for the high school experience.
Q: WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE IN ORDER TO ACQUIRE THE POSITION YOU HOLD TODAY?
So, I initially started volunteering with SBL just as a tutor. So I was volunteering with them for a few months. I started last September. So basically I started out helping the students through tutoring and basically I got a change do so some of their research and evaluation work, since I did that at University. And basically, there was a job opening for a program assistant for the summer program so I did fall in love with the organization so I decided to apply for that. Then there was another job opening for afterschool program coordinator (for the school year) and I applied for that as well and thankfully I got that as well. Yeah, so I started off with volunteering so it really goes to show the importance in volunteering to get where you want to be for sure.
Q: CAN YOU LIST SOME THINGS YOU DO TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE?
Self Care… that’s sometimes difficult when you work in the community but one thing that I do is I read. It’s productive because not only are you doing something for yourself but your also learning at the same time. So reading is something that I love to do. Umm, and being with family. So, my family doesn’t live in the city but I go visit them as much as I can – they live in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. So, just being with them just makes you feel grounded, makes you know where you come from.
Q: ARE THERE ANY LOCAL EVENTS THAT YOU LIKE TO ATTEND ANNUALLY?
I love TIFF. And through working here actually TIFF has been really generous in providing tickets for our youth and allowing them to come out. I love it because it showcases the talent in Toronto. So that’s one thing I love to attend. Also Manifesto is another great one because it showcases how much talent there is in Toronto and the arts. And they are really good at getting youth from all over the city to come and attend that. So those are two events that I’ve been lucky to attend through SBL but regardless I’ll also be attending them for years to come hopefully.
Q: WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED OUTSIDE OF FORMAL CLASSROOMS?
Like I said earlier, volunteering, the importance of volunteering. Not only to get to where you want career-wise but it really just fills a void and you feel like you’re giving back, you feel great about what you’re doing, you learn so much about other people, yeah, Volunteering is a big one for sure.
Q: HOW DO YOU LEARN BEST?
So in regards to how I learn, teamwork is a big one. I love working in groups. I used to use study groups in university because the way you interpret something may not be the same way someone else does. So you are able to bounce a lot of information back and fourth so teamwork is huge. Also, applying whatever it is that you’re learning to your own experiences is another really great one because it brings everything home and you’re able to reflect on it and then you remember it a lot better.
Q: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WISH TO SHARE?
Well, I definitely encourage anyone to come down to the SBL space and just see what we are all about, we are always looking for volunteers to help out and get to know the youth and kinda bring their skills to the table. SBL does have our summer program so we operate out of York University, hopefully Osgoode Hall Law School, and we will be having a group of a little over 100 youth come out there where we will be doing a summer camp type style so if you want to come check that out and see all the great things happening. It’ll be in the summer, July and a little bit in August.