DESIREE HENRY FOUNDER,
DIRECTOR, PROGRAMS DEVELOPMENT, AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Desiree Henry is an individual passionate about mental health and community engagement. Her diverse educational background in Television Broadcasting, entrepreneurial experiences, and Mental Wellness Coaching allow her to lead our Youth program with tenacity. Desiree sustained various roles with Canadian companies to assist in their growth and supporting youth programs for different Not for Profit groups. Desiree’s passions are with serving her community and creating constructive and accessible spaces for black youth. In her current role as Programs Manager at Realize Your Potential Youth Society. she oversees the effective planning and implementation of the NewLife Youth ReGeneration Programs. Desiree is also the Co-Founder of the original 2013 RYP Dreamers Program.
KYWANA BONAPARTE CO-FOUNDER
-CO-DIRECTOR of the Youth Advisory Council
Kywana Bonaparte is a graduate student in Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of British Columbia. She completed her Bachelor of Biological Sciences with Distinction at the University of Calgary, in her hometown. During her academic pursuit as a first-generation Canadian of Jamaican and Grenadian heritage, she encountered countless systematic racism incidences in the education system. This motivated her involvement in organizations that focused on helping minority youths navigate in academic settings. Her seven years of volunteering experience at the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society tutoring immigrant youth in all academic subjects has made her more conscious of the challenges faced by minority groups in the educational system. During her tenure, she was involved in coordinating events that celebrated and fostered the expression of cultural acceptance. She also acted as a mentor to many individuals, providing advice on post-secondary education. She is eager to share her knowledge and experiences to help others reach academic success and overcome adversities.
KRISHA FRANKLYN, CO-FOUNDER,
CO-DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT
Krisha has been teaching in the Calgary Board of Education Public Schools for nine years. During that time, she has had amazing opportunities building meaningful and impactful relationships with a diverse array of students, parents and staff members. Her experiences with team teaching and looping in Division 2, and her willingness to provide engaging, personalized, and discipline-based inquiry learning opportunities for all learners are a few of the accomplishments she has achieved during her time as a teacher.
Prior to obtaining her undergraduate, Krisha completed the Early Childhood Care and Education diploma program from Mount Royal College, which is now known as Mount Royal University. While attending Mount Royal, she also completed several psychology courses and received her minor in Psychology. In 2010 Krisha was awarded her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Alberta.
Upon receiving her teaching degree, she spent several years volunteering with a variety of programs and working with students with varying learning needs. When hired by the Calgary Board of Education to be an Elementary Generalist, Krisha began teaching in the primary grades at Falconridge Elementary School. After spending six years working with under-privileged children in Kindergarten and grades five and six, most of whom were English Language Learners, Krisha moved on to teach at George Stanley Middle School, where she taught grade seven, and where she’s currently teaching grade eight Math and Science.
Krisha’s experiences in education have shaped her pedagogy and belief in the absolute importance of relationships to student success, achievement, and happiness. It is her belief that there can be no significant learning in the absence of significant relationships. She believes that students need to feel cared for, successful, safe and respected for each to take ownership over their learning, take risks, identify and solve problems, and form meaningful relationships with peers and adults alike. She is a firm believer that communication is likewise imperative to a successful learning environment as children need to know what they are trying to accomplish and what they are doing right, in order to identify their next steps in learning. This balance of strong relationships and pedagogical rigor is one in which Krisha’s students have always found a safe place to take risks, explore new ideas, and re-examine old ones. Students in her classroom encounter deep, meaningful and engaging tasks and discussions around discipline-based inquiries that are personally relevant, current, and thoughtfully created. Through opportunities for collaborative learning experiences combined with formative assessment practices, her students actively work toward achieving personalized learning goals, with clear expectations for excellence in achievement. With having such strong beliefs about education, Krisha is very excited to be an Advisory Board Member for the Realize Your Potential Youth Society of Alberta, where she will have an opportunity to work with other professionals to empower black youths to be future leaders.
As mother of two young girls aged three and five, this opportunity allows Krisha to pave the way for a brighter future for not only her own children, but for children in the community.
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
STEVE SHAKES, CO-FOUNDER
CO-DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL LITERACY CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT
A knowledgeable professional with 20 years of experience in stock investment, saving and budgeting. Through a multi-dimensional learning experience, he has supplied one on one coaching in addition to developing, counselling, mentoring as well as conducting investment education classes and workshops for beginners of all ages.
Steve believes access to opportunity is the most impactful way to help the youth to expand their perspective about money and create new financial possibilities.
Steve is passionate about self development which has led to him coaching and mentoring within his community. He has co-founded a leadership group that has implemented workshops at local community centres across the Toronto GTA area which focuses on instructing, and teaching individuals how to make, save, and invest money in the stock market.
He volunteers as a Black Belt Martial Arts instructor for students of all ages.
He has recently obtained a Certificate in Adult Education and Staff Development from Seneca College in 2018.
EDNA CORNWALL SHADD, CO-FOUNDER
CO-DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT
Passionate changemaker focused on amplifying the excellence within youth. Edna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work along with a Diploma as a Developmental Services Worker..
For the last 30 years, Edna has worked in the mental health field with consumers aged 16 and up. Presently in her role as Mental Health Care Coordinator, she works closely with a psychiatrist and other healthcare practitioners. She provides counseling support, facilitates groups, completes assessments, and plays a lead role in running the psychiatric clinic. Edna’s interest centers around education and training, and her greatest joy is helping others to see the value in themselves and achieve the goals they have set for themselves.
CO-DIRECTOR OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Jasmine-Odette is a 5 th Generation Black Canadian, born into a family with multi-cultural roots from Africa, the Caribbean, and Indigenous Peoples. Jasmine comes from a family with a long lineage dedicated to service by way of the military, volunteerism, mentorship, education, or through outreach. Jasmine believes by serving within a community, it helps to ensure the people in that community are supported and valued. We can all make a difference in changing and improving the lives of others.
As a descendant of the Black diaspora, the mission and vision of RYP Society is in full alignment with Jasmine’s personal beliefs and passion in helping people acquire knowledge and skills that aid in providing empowerment, equality and opportunities for excelling in all areas of Canadian society.
Jasmine’s credentials include a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, with a Psychology major and Sociology minor and certification in Adult Education. Her resulting career path has spanned various industries including Information Technology, Project Management, and Quality Assurance which has taken she around the globe. Currently, she is entering her 20 th year in the Financial Services industry and takes pride in providing Financial Advising to share her knowledge through financial literacy presentations, Preparatory Licensing instructor, Licensed Securities advising, Life Insurance advising, and providing mentorship to junior advisors.
Jasmine is looking forward to tapping into her business skills, education, lived experience and people centric solutions in advancing the RYP Society’s vision into the future.
GRACE POTTINGER CO-FOUNDER
ERIC- ANTHONY HEADLEY CO-FOUNDER
FEMI AKINSANYA (SHE/HER)
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
As the Community Development Coordinator, Femi fosters relationships with diverse communities, professionals, stakeholders, and community partners.
Femi is currently the Education Program Lead at CCASA, a health and social care course instructor, an advocate, and a speaker. She is passionate about unearthing communities’ unique experiences regarding gender-based violence, gender equity, and human rights. She does this through a community-centred approach in support, education and advocacy. This approach aids in directing services, agencies, and institutions in bettering and more purposefully serving communities.
Her educational background in psychology and health sciences allows Femi to interact with diverse people compassionately and support their overall wellness.