DESTA Mission & History

Through our programs and services, DESTA aims to support the process of empowerment, strengthen authentic identity, and promote excellence.

In 2006, several community workers came together to discuss the needs of marginalized Black youth. A year later, the Padua Center received a seed grant from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and launched a six-month pilot project in partnership with several community-based organizations. Twelve youth participated in this six-month employment-focused initiative.

The pilot project came to an end, but the needs of its participants did not. To continue this vital work with disadvantaged young adults, DESTA Black Youth Network was born. Today we continue to mentor marginalized youth in the areas of education, health & personal development, and employment.

The DESTA Staff

PHARAOH HAMID FREEMANExecutive Director
YVES MUKENGESHAYICommunity Worker, Education
CASSANDRA TROTMANOFC Coordinator
DOROTHY WILLIAMSOperations & Fund Development Manager
PAMELA ROSICLAIRCommunity Worker, Mental Health & Personal Development
SASHA SIMMONSCommunity Worker, (Interim) Justice

Our Participants

Despite all the challenges they face – internal struggles, systemic barriers, and racism – our youth continue to try to make a place for themselves in our society. They continue to aspire, and live worthwhile, productive lives. Through our three pillars, DESTA aims to improve their circumstances by offering them opportunities to build skills and the self-esteem they need to help them achieve their goals.

Watch Success Stories

The DESTA Board

Always be in a state of peace & love wherever you are.

HOTEP

Nobody can hurt me without my permission.

MAHATMA GHANDI

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

GAUTAMA BUDDHA

We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.

ELIZABETH GILBERT (Eat, Pray, Love)

Don’t gain the world and lose your soul. Wisdom is better than silver and gold.

BOB MARLEY

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