parents wanted to find a better quality of life for their kids. A place with more opportunities for us. Canada was the place they identified on the map and we all moved here in 2004. JW: Can you please share with us a couple of key experiences that have influenced you to be the person you are today?
you’ve taken that experience and building on that in university to currently what you’re doing right now. AB: My journey started when it comes to youth initiatives in high school… I joined a program called Junior Achievement (JA). That’s an extracurricular program where students start a company. In the first month of school and throughout the whole year students build the company. At the end of the year there’s sort of a pitch competition that allows students from all over Nova Scotia to come
AB: So, early on I think, when we moved from Ghana to Canada my parents were very clear that growing up as a black man in western society wasn’t going to be easy and we needed to sort of gain the respect of others. To rovide young people with the gain respect you need to respect others. From very opportunity to poke holes in early we were in a house your program...in your idea. where manners and treating people equally was Often times they will actually have ideas definitely something that that will make your program or your thing was appreciated. That definitely helped my you’re creating to help them[...]better.” development. Growing up, I was interested in young together in Halifax and to share people sort of coming together and their idea, share what the process working together. was like, what progress they made, what they learned, what successes I look back to my high school years. they had and what failures they had. I was coaching middle school and Junior Achievement and the junior high basketball and soccer company program was sort of my tams. After high school, when I got first intro into youth led initiative. into University and the broader community, I was always looking for AB: So after high school I joined ways to work with youth and rally Enactus. I was able to have that my peers together to do things. similar environment I had with JA, but with my university peers. I was always interested in working Through that experience I led a with my peers whether it was project and that was called through team sports or identifying Connect-Ed, which was essentially a community project. My goal was trying to share technology with to bring people together to discuss marginalized youth. Through that what can we do. From a very early project I was invited to a United age that's just something that I Nations conference in Ottawa. It gravitated towards. was called: The Active Citizen’s Summit. JW: I find it really interesting how
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JW: Did your exposure to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) inform your choices in education or your career path? AB: Absolutely, yeah. I think UN SDGs were new to me then. This was a few years ago and it was an opportunity to look at them with my peers and learn more about them and to say ok...how do each of our projects, we were working on at that time, connect to the SDGs? Like you know, a global sort of agenda. A global set of goals. It allowed me to take my local idea and look at it in a global context. A global framework. It was certainly useful then and I have found it useful since to look at initiatives that are happening in Canada and to say what SDG goals could they be making progress towards? Any time I enter a new project, or initiative, SDGs are definitely brought up in terms of how can this project, or how does, this project align with our global goals? JW: Any words of advice for organizations who are now looking at the opportunities to engage youth and to help them lead? AB: If an organization has an idea for a new program, if it’s affecting young people, the first step is to identify young people who you can bring together to present the idea to. To say… Here's what we’re thinking, here's where we're at, what do you think? And provide the young people the opportunity to poke holes in your program. Poke holes