Living her own message

Student rewarded for her stay-in-school mantra

Knowing the value of an education is something Yasmin Ahmed not only teaches to youth in her community but adheres to in her personal life.

It’s from living and sharing that mantra that’s earned her a $1,000 scholarship to use towards her university studies.

“Hard work pays off,” she said. “Even if you don’t see it at first.”

The Jarvis Collegiate grad is one of 40 recipients of the Investing in Our Diversity Scholarship Program, sponsored by Toronto Community Housing and Scadding Court Community Centre.

The 17-year-old’s understanding of the importance of school has her spreading the word to youth through groups like BABU in Regent Park, which organizes activities and events to keep youth off the streets.

“We encourage them to stay in school and to take life more seriously,” she said.

To deter youth from going astray, Ahmed said she organizes sports tournaments and camps in the neighbourhood.

“We want to take them away from gangs and drugs and to have them focus on themselves,” she said.

Ahmed is also part of Sisters of Salam, a group associated with the Ethiopian Canadian Muslim Community Association. The organization helps Muslim girls in finding their identities and in encouraging healthy discussions on a wide range of topics.

Part of Ahmed’s sense to give back to the community stems from her faith — Islam — which she said encourages community involvement.

But she said religion shouldn’t be the sole factor behind getting involved in a good cause.

“It’s the duty of every person regardless of religion to serve others,” she said.

Ahmed said she was quite relieved to find out some of her education costs — she plans to study biomedical science at York in the fall — would be covered by the scholarship.

“There’s less of a financial burden on my parents,” she said. “Post-secondary education is expensive.”

About this article:

By: Alima Hotakie
Posted: Aug 19 2011 12:47 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto