In Toronto’s Jane and Finch community, many young men are lacking in positive role models. In an area where gangs are prevalent, it’s easy for them to feel trapped, with no other option than to follow the existing way of life. Kimarie Smith [BA Psychology, Business minor, 2018] and her husband saw the need to show them that they have a choice. Together, they started a mentorship and leadership program called Generation Chosen.
They meet regularly at a local high school, discussing issues like the criminal justice system, how to find a job, manage their finances, get into college and, most profoundly, how to grow in their relationship with God. After their weekly session, they build relationships with each other playing basketball.
In the beginning, there were seven or eight participants. In less than a year, the program grew through word of mouth to over 60. Many of them never dreamed of what was possible for their future. Now six of them are attending college and others have been introduced to apprenticeship programs for work in the trades.
Kimarie’s desire is to put her skills and education towards helping people reach their full potential. “I’m able to be a lot more understanding of [a person’s] circumstances. I have confidence and purpose that (I’ve not just passed through) here to gain an education, but as a Christian, I can take those tools with me and reach out to the world.” That is exactly what Kimarie is doing, she’s applying her hands-on acuity and academic knowledge towards a life-changing program in one of Toronto’s high-risk areas.