The Carold Institute is pleased to announce that Frances Waithe, is a recipient of a 2015 Alan Thomas Fellowship.
The annual $60,000 award enables leaders in the not-for-profit sector to spend a sabbatical year researching issues that advance citizen participation and strengthen civil society. First awarded in 2008, there are now 10 recipients of an Alan Thomas Fellowship. Past fellowship holders continue to be connected to the Carold Institute and with each other, deepening the impact of their work and mentoring others in their respective fields.
Frances Waithe has spent the past 25 years working to improve the lives of the people in her neighbourhood of Little Burgundy, in Montréal. Frances is the co-founder and executive director of the DESTA Black Youth Network, a community-based organization serving marginalized youth, aged 18-25.
Background on the 2015 Fellowship Recipient
“Frances is the kind of community-builder that is both a priceless asset and almost irreplaceable. She radiates enthusiasm, passion, optimism and love, and she works in a difficult environment with ridiculously limited resources.” —Tim Brodhead
Frances Waithe’s work in her neighbourhood in Montréal focuses on empowering marginalized youth. Little Burgundy is an historically Black community that is now home to many recent immigrants. Black Anglophone youth are a minority within a minority, often isolated and excluded. DESTA (Dare Every Soul to Achieve) utilizes a strengths-based empowerment approach to provide a comprehensive range of services in the areas of education, health, personal development and employability including:
- A distance education program for youth who have not been successful in conventional school settings;
- Individual counselling and employment support ;
- Social events and civic engagement projects such as Speak Up!, which is designed to raise awareness of the issues facing Black youth in Montréal.
Under her leadership, Frances has watched DESTA grow. Meanwhile, there are many more Black youth who remain in challenging circumstances and in need of the kind of services that the organization offers. Frances will use her Fellowship year to reflect on her experience and to distil from it the future direction for the organization’s programing and for herself as an agent of change in her community.