Urged “to be a light wherever you”
By Lincoln DePradine
Health professional Kareem South says that young people, by staying connected and having a sense of purpose, can overcome bullying and violence and mental health challenges that they now are experiencing.
There’s a “crisis of purpose’’ that ought to be addressed, South said in delivering the keynote address at a students’ awards’ presentation.
“This crisis of purpose is at the root of our modern mental healthcare crisis and the growing disparities in education. When we don’t know the reason why we do what we do and there is no purpose, we can often feel overwhelmed,’’ said South.
He called for reflection and a search for understanding “who we are and what we value’’, and asking “who am I and where am I going?’’
“We must remain grounded in purpose. We understand that it is the reason for why we do what we do; and our purpose can offer a sense of direction and meaning for our lives. It can help guide our decisions and shape our career aspirations and educational goals,’’ said South. “Finding your anchor and staying connected to your roots will allow you to find your purpose and allow your purpose to fuel you.’’
South’s comments were made at the 2022 virtual bursary presentation of the Council of Caribbean Associations-Canada (CCAC), which is headed by Vincentian-born Gideon Exeter as president.
The bursary awards are to recipients for their “academic efforts, community involvement and contribution in the Caribbean community in Ontario’’, according to officials of CCAC, a registered non-profit umbrella organization launched in 2009. It comprises Caribbean national associations in the Greater Toronto Area.
The awards’ purpose is also “to encourage and assist youth from Caribbean countries that are currently resident in Ontario to pursue their educational goals at university or college level’’.
CCAC, with corporate support and the backing of individual sponsors, presented bursaries to nine students pursuing a variety of career goals, including Ethan Jaelon Anthony Myers, who wants to become a pilot.
Among the other recipients were three University of Toronto students: Bryce Golding, Ashara Adams and Rashawna Blair. Other winners were Dream Tuitt-Barnes of Queen’s University; Carleton University’s Calyse Nevia Fairclough; Christian Parris of the University of Waterloo; York University’s Zabrye Popo; and Zaevian Dawson, a student of Toronto Metropolitan University.
Each bursary is valued at $1,000 and CCAC stipulates that it must be applied “towards full course study leading to a first diploma or degree’’.
South, in his address to the students, told them that their goal in life should be to create “an impact on the world’’.
“Remember, there is someone out there that can be inspired by your story,’’ said South, who studied in the United States where he also played collegiate basketball.
“The world needs more than just successful people,’’ added South, who holds a Master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. “We need more peacemakers; we need more healers, storytellers and leaders that are moving with conviction, humility and compassion. So, with that being said, go out there and be the change that you want to see, and continue to be a light wherever you are.’’