Fifteen-year-olds Colin Kishundial and Saif Khan have called Toronto’s Jane and Finch area home for the entirety of their young lives.
It’s a neighbourhood that has notoriously struggled with higher rates of gun violence, higher tenant eviction rates and more recently, higher numbers of COVID-19 cases than the rest of the city.
But despite a challenging backdrop compounded by the physical and social perils of a global pandemic, youth like Kishundial and Khan say they are determined to succeed in school and life afterward. They have ambitions of finishing their education, becoming entrepreneurs and giving back to the community that raised them without fear of violence or discrimination.
It is why Black Creek Community Health Centre began its education support program for youth three years ago, which Kishundial and Khan have been attending since January after struggling academically and emotionally at their local public Toronto schools.