Diversified Youth Initiative (DYI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to youth. DYI’s existence is due in part by the culmination of diverse youth’s expressions and experiences in Canada and abroad. DYI has been able to assist within various communities to help youth make non-violent decisions by creating and implementing, positive sustainable opportunities.
Our use of Workshops, Motivational Keynotes, Conferences and Mentoring programs has assisted thousands of youth in and around high risk situations and/or circumstances. One of our main goals is to further extend our programs to all youth in their own communities, schools and recreation centres as well as facilities such as custody/detention, shelters and group homes.
With the implementation of DYI programs/workshops, we have been able to divert our youth’s course of behavior, as a result creating positive outcomes that come in the form of: diplomas, degrees, licenses, certificates and employment. Empowering our youth with life skills, self belief, respect and confidence has assisted our graduates to become leaders, role models and mentors within their own communities. Continuing a positive cycle by using themselves as the portal to success as an achievable goal.
WHY WE ARE SPECIAL
We are fortunate to have volunteers that not only bear the ultimate responsibility for setting policy and holding fiduciary responsibility for our agency, but does so out of deep commitment to the mission, values and vision of our organization. D.Y.I staff are grateful for their leadership and their investment of time, expertise and resources.
Tim Sullivan has worked in public accounting for over 20 years, specializing in audit and assurance engagements for charities and not-for-profit organizations. Tim also assists many of his clients in developing board and financial policies and procedures as well as advising on compliance issues related to the Charities and Not-for-Profit Corporations Acts. Serving on several not-for-profit boards over the past 25 years in various capacities, Tim currently serves as Treasurer on a Co-operative Housing Corporation Board. Tim has also volunteered his time with a number of youth organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region.
Lucky Sharma has worked in the community as an Elementary and Secondary School Teacher for over 16 years. He has spearheaded a number of special projects in regards to youth that has included an Alternate education program for the past two years. Recently Lucky has been chosen to Pilot an intermediate alternative educational program out of the Board Head Office made up of Youth considered vulnerable, high risk or marginalized. Growing up Lucky was one of the top athletes from his community and has used his athletic background to coach youth in various sports for over 19 years, he has also been a referee for over 2 years. Lucky has a BA, is OCT certified and has obtained his Principals Certification. He is also the Co-Founder of Change it an organization that assists charities and non-profits raise funds.
Jeff Rerrie has more than 20 years of volunteer experience with youth in and around minor sports organizations in the Waterloo Region. Jeff has been an exemplary role model for youth and has coached various sports including Basketball, Baseball and Football. Jeff has given time back to his community in numerous ways. He is the past President of Cambridge Minor Football as well as the President of the Southwestern Ontario Football Association of Leagues, which is a minor football league which provides youth from the ages of 6-15 a safe and fun, and competitive environment to play organized football. Currently Jeff is the Treasurer and Executive Director of fall football for the OVFL as well as a Board member of the Ontario Football Alliance which governs football in Ontario.
Peter Lewin is an ITIL Certified Problem Manager specializing in root cause analysis for IT infrastructure related deficiencies for major financial institutes. Peter grew up in an environment where he developed a love for playing sports such as basketball, football, and baseball. He has always credited sports for playing an important role in his life for developing discipline, focus and leadership skills, which has transferred into the success of his adult years. Peter is also a certified NCCP coach with the Ontario Basketball Association (OBA) who volunteers his time coaching all levels of basketball from Novice to Midget age groups. Peter realizes the importance of giving back to the community and is actively involved in community basketball events that allow youth an atmosphere to develop leadership and life skills.
Kevin A. Francis is a lifelong community supporter & contributor who continues to use creativity, innovation and ingenuity to empower diverse youth to take on leadership roles, enhance their abilities to create positive change within their communities & lives. After years of volunteering in various diverse communities, Kevin decided to attend Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario where he obtained a Social Service Worker Diploma. Upon graduation, Kevin continued his journey working with diverse youth in Custody/Detention Facilities, Provincial Programs, Schools, Group Homes, Shelters, Agencies & Communities both in Canada & abroad. His grassroots experience has enabled him to lead, create & enhance initiatives within Municipal, Provincial & Federal government programs to support youth, adults & families. In 2010, Kevin became one of the co-founders of Diversified Youth Initiative & took on the role of Executive Director. He continues to use his passion, insight & expertise to enhance the lives of youth by providing them & their families with FREE programs & services.
Live Events Specialist
Kenrick Dookie has been playing music since age 5 with his family’s steel band, Panwaves Steel Band. He began deejaying in 1999 after learning from his older brothers. He continues to arrange musical compositions for Panwaves and has been involved in creating compositions for the Annual Caribbana Parade and Panorama Steel Band Competitions in Toronto. This has given him the opportunity to work with some of the best panists in Canada. Performing under his stage name DJ TRiPP D, he has performed across Canada with Toronto rapper Tok’n which enabled him to open for various artists including J Cole, Fabulous, Trey Songs, D12 and Toronto Raptors’ DJs 4 Korners. Kenrick currently runs Essence Entertainment, an event management company specializing in sound, lighting and entertainment solutions. Kenrick enjoys working in his home studio honing his skills through experimentation of sounds. Kenrick has been a key contributor to the development of Live Events for Diversified Youth Initiative.
Live Events Specialist
Eric Dookie is best known as a member of Panwaves Steelband, a Professional DJ and Graphic Designer. Learning music from his father originally from Trinidad, Eric appeared on CKCO-TV’s Saturday morning “Big Top Talent” series playing Steel Drums from 1986-1990. Throughout Elementary and High School he pursued the arts and became involved in the local DJ Scene hosting events for his peers. Eric received a Diploma in Graphic Design Production and currently does design work for businesses in the KW-Guelph Region and continues to display his musical abilities. Eric has been a key contributor to the development of Live Events for Diversified Youth Initiative and we are proud to have him continue with us in the role of instructor and developer of Live Events for Youth.
Sherry (Shifteh) Essnaashari
Shifted brings over 25 years experience in health and wellness. She completed three years of specialized Honours degree from York University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She then moved to Central America to learn about botanical medicines, while working in eco tourism and adventure travel. Upon her return, she immersed herself in mindfulness practices and Buddhist meditation, while completing her registration as a Homeopath. Shifteh is faculty member at the Canadian College of Homeopathy, a manual Osteopath and a member of Chronic Pain Clinics of Canada. She runs a practice out of Toronto.We are excited to have her as part of our team as a Health/Wellness Coach and Mentor for youth and families providing a holistic approach in Facilitation, Counselling.
Andre is an expert Web & Graphic Designer. Working on and with world brands such as The Toronto Raptors, Blue Jays, Maple Leafs & FC, Also the PGA, NFL, MLB, FIFA, F1, Acura, Grammys, Jaguar/Landrover, Cadillac Fairview, Oxford the list goes on. A former music producer and travelling DJ Andre self taught himself the skills to design & develop his and musical artist for which he worked with websites and advertising material. Growing up as an at risk youth in housing in Toronto, Andre strives to help introduce today's youth to their potential through sports, music and IT professionalism.
Professional personal chef
The Spice Sisters is one of the leading personal chef businesses dedicated to creating healthy and delicious international meals featuring locally-sourced organic meats and poultry. For over 15 years, we have been creating and preparing a global menu that changes with the seasons. We have been volunteering with Diversified Youth Initiative since its inception, providing meals and snacks to all its youth programming. We are proud of assisting this organization and look forward to many more years. We will be providing culinary classes to youth and their families, both in person and virtually so we can teach the benefits of healthy cooking and the necessity of good nutrition.
Tyrell is a top Chef from the restaurant and catering field his accomplishments at a young age have broken records in the food industry for time, food quality, training, customer service, and food quality. He holds JHSC, WHIMIS and and Food Handler certifications. His hard work, dedication and creativity in the Culinary Arts have given opportunities to rise in the industry from Kitchen Supervisor to Kitchen Manager. He continues to give back to our various communities as professional mentor and Chef we are excited to have him part of our team.
Patient a Registered Dietitian, founder and CEO of our partner Kuishi Smart. Patient is a valued professional and youth mentor, helping us give back to our various communities. Patient is passionate about dietetics and nutrition and enjoys working with clients, particularly youth and their families, to achieve optimal health and an improved quality of life. He is experienced in clinical and public health and holds degrees in dietetics from Ryerson University in Toronto, , and Institut Supérieur des Techniques Médicales de Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has also received a certificate of nutrition and health project management from Bioforce Institut in France.
grant writer/community collaborator
Thanuya has extensive experience in community and youth development. She attended York University for Human Rights & Equity Studies, Seneca College for Social Service Worker Diploma, and is currently pursuing a degree in Public Administration & Governance at Ryerson University. She has learned to combine her roots in Social Work with her passion for music, specifically the piano and teaches a unique curriculum to students through Ruby’s School of Music. Thanuya has extensive experience in grant writing, development and facilitation of workshops, community asset building, capacity building, strategic planning, and program evaluation. Thanuya has shared spaces with vulnerable residents and has sought community partners and stakeholders to take a more collaborative and communal approach in the drafting and implementation of meaningful and impactful programs and services to better suit the needs of the communities they serve. Her desire to improve quality of life and to create better and more meaningful human relations.
Founder & Executive Director of Can Thrive Solution
Rosanna is the Founder and Executive Director of Can Thrive Solutions who has partnered with Diversified Youth Initiative. She has over 23 years of extensive experience delivering employment, health, education, training, housing, food, financial and legal supports as an inclusive wraparound service. Through Can Thrive Community Support Program, customized action plans are planned with active community agents and strategically implemented through social collectivism, collaboration and engagement. Digital programs and enriched services are delivered to provide proactive training, health, referrals, innovation, volunteering and educational solutions. Members are inspired to partake in local initiatives to later expand their reach by interconnecting to the broader provincial, national and international communities through incremental progression.
Paul D. Murray
Paul Murray born in Jamaica raised in Canada. He grew up in Toronto in the Lawrence heights area he is a former Athlete who played various sports including Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer and Track. He has also coached various sports for over 30 years with Athletes under his tutelage being drafted in the NBA and making it to the Canadian Olympic team. His foundation of sports led him to York University where he obtained a BA in Political Science, a Minor in History and also completed a Diversity program in the faculty of Education assisting him with engaging and motivating diverse youth in the classroom. Paul has been a teacher for TDSB for over 25 years and has taught youth from Kindergarten through High School. Paul states “My educational philosophy is for my students to become global citizens”. We are honoured to have Paul as part of our team as a youth Tutor and mentor.
Youth Committee - Lead
Nolan has been participating in the skill-set basketball camp since the age of 8 yrs old. During that time he has become a leader and mentor for our youth. Nolan states his career goals are the best Contractor or Youtuber, he described himself as having a great sense of humour, competitive, fun charming and respectful. He enjoys family time, board and video games, anime shows,
cars, debating, sports, travelling, music and time with friends/family. One fun fact about Nolan is that he has been in a few different commercials (Fisher price & Family channel). We excited to have Nolan as part of our team representing the Region of Waterloo.
Zie is an experienced employment coach with 10 plus of experience in teaching, 13 plus years in the Social Service sector working as a Youth outreach worker, youth program coordinator, employment coach/specialist/counsellor and caseworker. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, case management, stakeholder and employer engagement. She has a passion for helping individuals especially youth in reaching their potential.
Youth Committee - Lead
Jaleel Debs is a senior attending Kitchener Collegiate Institute. He plays basketball his high School as well as the Waterloo Wolverines. He is interested in videogrady and editing, and loves reading fantasy and fiction books. He has experience volunteering and working at camps to help kids have fun and grow as people. He loves learning about animals, listening to podcasts, and hanging out with his friends. He has helped organize festivals and events, is an advocate for social justice and an active member of the community.
Youth Committee - Lead
Calixto is a senior in high school and attends North Toronto Collegiate Institute. During the summer of 2020, he started his Calixto’s Athletic Summer Camp, coaching and mentoring youth in his community on the fundamentals of athletics. He has been playing sports at an elite and provincial level for most of his life and has had training in various sports, including basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. He is also a part-time house league coach at North-York Academy FC. We are excited to have Calixto as part of our team representing the City of Toronto.
Youth Committee - Lead
Nyla is a high school elite athlete, who was a competitive gymnast for 5 yrs before finding the love for playing basketball, currently she plays for the KW Vipers. On her spare time she loves to paint, do hair, hang out with friends, play music, travel, watch Disney & Marvel movies, play board/card games, swimming and family time. She also states her favourite food is Sushi (not the raw kind), salmon, jerk & fried chicken and corn.
Nyla declares her career interest is to become a successful Entrepreneur, she is also interested in psychology, sports therapy/media and interior decorating.
She has a passion for helping others and strives as she puts it “to always be the best version of me” We are proud to have Nyla as part of our team representing the Region of Waterloo.
Diversified Youth Initiative programs
run at different durations
Skill-Set Basketball Camp - Cambridge, ON