"Take advantage of every opportunity, do what you truly want" remarked Bridget Sarpong, recent graduate from the York Weston community. Bridget was one of twenty-nine of Toronto Community Housing's York/Weston (CHU 6) young graduates at the second annual youth graduate gala. On July 16th 2007, attendees were honoured at Ryerson University, in an elegantly decorated space provided by Ryerson. Last year�s graduate and new graduate Chynika Wright and Abshir Elmi emceed the event.
All graduates were given a special cash award this year. In honour of the life and work of a youth worker who worked in the Trimbee community, each graduate received the David Samuel Williams Award of Acheivement. David �Super Dave� Williams was a special staff who was very loved and appreciated by the kids that he worked with. Dave Williams, a prominent member of the Mount Dennis community died over 11 years ago. In attendance at the gala was his family who approved of the decision to dedicate the award in his honour. In fact, two of the recipients of the award were his own younger family members, Shantelle and Dennis.
The gala was an example of the role that community members, agencies, and institutions play in creating the neighbourhoods and spaces that they are proud of. The planning committee was made up of tenant reps, CHU staff, youth from the community, community agencies (For Youth Initiative, The Toronto Youth Cabinet) and academia (Ryerson�s Tri-Mentoring Program). Youth ended the night with a party on the dance floor, celebrating their achievement.