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“The Bridge” after Humber College International, News
By Linda Huynh
Extra-curricular programs such as The Bridge at Humber College are in full swing as Black History month begins in Canada.
The program offers students of the African, Black and Caribbean descent an environment where they meet to discuss topics such as Black history, current events and guidance towards success after their post-secondary education.
“Providing a listening ear is most rewarding,” said Student Support Advisor Martina Douglas. She joined the program in November after a recommendation from a colleague who knew about her passion of equity and diversity.
“After hearing from past Bridge students themselves the positive impacts this program has had in their lives,I knew this was something I wanted to be apart of,” she said.
The Bridge began in 2001 with a group of students, whose mission is to encourage students to transform who they believe they are from in the classroom to the real world. These students outlined the challenges they face on campus as students of a different ethnicity, and strive to create a safe educational environment focused on black empowerment.
The program is based within the School of Social and Community Services. The program is Co-Curricular Record certified, which gives student a paper trail of their involvement on their transcript.
Douglas says her first three months have been great and those in the program have made her transition easy. She spends her time at The Bridge ensuring students feel comfortable, providing references and connecting them with other programs.
Since then the program has excelled, running at both North and Lakeshore campuses, and has drop-in workshops two to three times a week. The workshops are categorized into seven different topics.
- Introduction and Current Self-identity
- Motivation and Self-management
- Leadership skill development and Identity
- Community Resourcing
- Academic Planning
- Networking and Mentoring
- Career Development & Wrap-Up
The Bridge also offers one-on-one sessions where Douglas sits down with the student and reviews the workshop topics.
“I look forward to continuing my work with them and seeing where the program brings us,” Douglas said.
Dating back to the mid 1900’s there was no such thing as Black History month in Toronto, until the Canadian Negro Women’s Association spoke out. Fast forward to the late 70’s the OBHS (Ontario Black History Society) was petitioned and now recognized countrywide as a celebration during February.
Elected in 2015, OBHS President, Nikki Clarke says she wants the programs to expand and ensure Black History month is something that keeps growing.
“Our goals moving forward are to create more engaging programs for the youth to carry on our legacy and to provide inclusive opportunities to French and Spanish speaking blacks.”