Marqez Ramsay is a third year Child and Youth Care student. He begun engaging in the Ryerson student community in his second year, in addition he is very involved and invested in “at-risk” communities. He is a First Generation Ambassador in the Tri-Mentoring Program and is also the Vice President of Events for the 2014 Live 2 Lead Summit.
Why did you wait till your 2nd year before getting involved on campus?
In my first year I felt out of my element. My first day at school was the first time I had actually been on campus and compared to growing up on the west end of the city downtown was a whole new world. Tri-mentoring and the great people involved in the program including staff, mentees and mentors truly showed me that there was more to university than just academics. Hearing the stories of my peers really pushed me to want to get involved and leave my mark on this campus. I can honestly say I have met some great leaders and role models in the Tri-Mentoring office.
Why did you choose the Child and Youth Care program?
I choose the Child and Youth Care program because of my own experiences. I did not always enjoy school and I feel like there were times when teachers did a disservice to students. Both the positive and negative experiences with teachers and administrators have motivated me to want to make changes in the school system. One of the things I observed over the years is that when you are doing well everyone’s behind but when you’re struggling there are not many supporters in your corner. I want to be that Youth worker that’s there to motivate, educate and advocate for youth. It is important to me to be able to provide support and guidance to youth.
What community programs are you involved in?
Over the years I have been involved in a number of youth programs. I have helped coach Motion basketball team in Rexdale, I have also done reading buddies with grade 1 students and during my last year of high school I spent a lot of time working with students at a local elementary school in the Jane and Finch community.
I am currently involved in an initiative that I co-founded called Success With Age and Guidance (S.W.A.G). S.W.A.G is a mentorship program that a few young men and I created to provide young males in the Peel community with a safe space to learn and express themselves. The program was funded by the United Way and Region of Peel and was also recognized by the ward counselor Bonnie Crombie.
Why is being a community builder so important to you?
Our media likes to focus a lot of negative attention on low-income communities but fail to highlight the positive people that come out of these communities. We often label communities as at-risk but we fail to see that we are all at-risk of something. With resources and the right support I believe all individuals can achieve their goals and reach their full potential. I am firm believer in the saying “it takes a community to raise a child” I’m just trying to do my part.
So, what’s next?
Once I graduate I plan to do a Masters of Education. But in the meanwhile I am just focused on finishing up school strong and remaining on the Dean’s list. I have always been underrated so it’s important to me that I do my best and prove all the naysayers wrong. Being in university has afforded me the opportunity to meet some great individuals and make great connections. At the end of the day I am ready for whatever life throws at me.