Award Recipients’ Insights: Jordan D’Souza and Making a Difference

Jordan is the 2015-2016 recipient of the OVPS Community Development Award

My name is Jordan D’Souza, I was born in a small town in central Ontario called Orillia.

My career as an activist began in 2011 when I travelled with a group of 29 other students to Kenya on a school building trip with Free the Children. I met the poorest people that I had ever seen and also the happiest people I had ever seen. This experiences moulded my appreciation for what I have and my passion for helping others. One experience in particular has resonated with me and always will. While working in the Masaii Mara I spoke to and elderly village woman and she told me something that changed my life forever. With great pride she said: “My dear, life isn’t about changing the world, it’s about changing as many lives as we can along the way.” This experience set out the direction for my education, my career and my life.

Jordan2 award

Upon returning from Kenya, I knew I had to dedicate my life to a cause. I began working at a local food bank cleaning the bathrooms and washing the floors. Within 2 years I had progressed through that organization to become the youngest ever member of the board of directors.

In 2013 I moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University and to broaden my scope as a community developer. I quickly took the reins of Free the Children’s Toronto youth branch, the Toronto Mobilizers. I would later Co-found my first charity called Thrive and become Student Refugee Program Coordinator for WUSC Ryerson.

I am currently serving as the Ryerson Athletics Volunteer Experience Coordinator at Ryerson Athletics. In my new job I provide volunteer and social justice opportunities to Ryerson’s varsity athletes. In May I will be leading a group of 8 athletes to Peru to build a school and provide athletic programming at a local orphanage.

My advice to other students is to do something to make the world a better place every single day. It can be big or it can be small but it will always make a difference. The meaning of our lives is love, it’s how we show each other that love that makes us human. Good things will always follow.

If I were to say anything about my experiences, it is that I have done my best to make a change in the lives of others but the people I have worked with have changed my life more than I could have ever imagined. For this I am eternally grateful – thank you so much!