Two of our Covenant House family members, Francis Atta, a youth worker and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, a member of our Board of Directors, have been honoured with national Harry Jerome Awards, the highest recognition presented by the Black Business and Professional Association.
Both Francis and Chief Saunders are very much deserving of this coveted symbol of achievement in the black community.
Francis has been recognized for his community service work in leading mentorship programs and motivational workshops for young people across the city. Once plagued by his own problems in his Jane-Finch neighborhood, Francis turned his life around.
“Working in the community is so rewarding for me,” Francis says. “Nothing came easy but I’m showing what can be achieved through hard work and doing what you love.”
He says he’s humbled to receive such a prestigious award. “It isn’t just an award, it’s an example to other young people who are struggling of what can be achieved.”
Last summer he was chosen to be a Pam Am torch bearer who carried the flame through his Jane-Finch neighborhood where he grew up. Mayor John Tory recognized Francis as “an example of kids who grew up with challenges but made the most of it.”
Chief Saunders, who became the city’s first black police chief last year, has been awarded the top honour as a trailblazer.