In Events, Impact

Empowerment Squared post-secondary awards and scholarships support newcomer and marginalized youth and adults who participate or have participated in Empowerment Squared’s programming to succeed in post-secondary education and ultimately empower themselves with the tools and opportunities to thrive and contribute to society.

This year, seven scholarships were awarded during the 2019 Annual Celebration: Culture and Community.

(from left to right) Abdi Sidnoor, Arinza Ochuba, Zainab Bolanle, Dariana Araque, Bolade Shipeolu and Feona Togba-Johnson

Nirmal and Om Joshi Scholarship
Recipient: Abdi Sidnoor

This year’s recipient of the Nirmal and Om Joshi Scholarship is Abdi Sidnoor. Abdi is a graduate of Empowerment Squared’s academic mentoring program and is entering his second year of studies at the University of Windsor.

Established in 2019 by long time supporter Anju Joshi and her four siblings, to honour their parents’ resilience, inclusiveness, commitment to their community and their generosity of spirit. Nirmal and Om Joshi emigrated from India to Prince Edward Island, Canada with their five children in 1968. Mrs. Nirmal Joshi is known for her creativity and talents which she shared with an open heart with all whose paths crossed with hers. Mr. Om Joshi’s dedication to education has helped to inspire hundreds of young people to pursue higher education. 

Om Joshi, Abdi Sidnoor and Anju Joshi

Sevigny Family Award for Academic Excellence
Recipient: Rahma Ahmed Abdi

This year’s recipient of Sevigny Family Award for Academic Excellence is Rahma Ahmed Abdi. Rahma is entering her fourth year at St. Clair for nursing.

Established in 2018, this award is given in honour of Georges and Savitsa Sévigny, parents of Dr Alex Sévigny, founding Empowerment Squared board member. Georges Sévigny devoted his professional life to helping immigrant, refugee and at-risk youth through his career as a high school teacher at Westview Centennial High School in the Jane/Finch neighbourhood in Toronto, and Savitsa Sévigny taught many generations of French teachers through the education degree programme at York University.

Alex Sevigny and Keneisha Gardiner, accepting on behalf of Rahma Ahmed Abdi

Illuminessence Fem-Leader Scholarship
Recipient: Zainab Bolanle

This year’s recipient of the Illuminessence Fem-Leader Scholarship is Zainab Bolanle.  Zainab, a participant of Empowerment Squared’s academic mentoring program is pursuing post secondary studies to become a nurse.

Established in 2018 by Illuminessence, a distinctive magazine with a mission to celebrate, illuminate and inspire women, the Illuminessence Fem-Leader Scholarship seeks to foster a commitment to leadership, excellence, community development and social justice among girls within diverse communities.

Ann-Marie Anie and Zainab Bolanle

Joana J Fejzaj Community Engagement Scholarship
Recipient: Arinze Ochuba

This year’s recipient of the Joana J Fejzaj Community Engagement Scholarship is Arinze Ochuba. Ari is a homework circle, elementary program assistant who has volunteered over 50 hours of his time in his first year with Empowerment Squared, in addition to volunteering with numerous groups on campus. Ari is working towards becoming a practicing pediatrician.

Established in 2018 by Joana Fejzaj, longstanding Empowerment Squared supporter and staff member, and partner Sean Karoonian, to recognize the exceptional community contributions of Bob McDonald, Ranmalee Kulendra, Patrick Fernando, Marufa Shinwari, Jennifer Hompoth, Lisa Watt, Sheila Sammon, Tim Nolan, Jennie Vengris, Gisela Oliveira, Michelle Corbeil, and Mandeep Malik.

Sean Karoonian and Arinze Ochuba

Joan C Stewart Community Leadership Scholarship
Recipient: Bolade Shipeolu

This year’s recipient of the Joan C Stewart Community Leadership Scholarship is Bolade Shipeolu. Bolade is pursuing a Doctor of Medicine in September and has contributed over 40 hours as a mentor with the homework circle, elementary program.

Established in 2017 by Mark John Stewart, former Chair of Empowerment Squared’s Board of Directors, to recognize the exceptional community contributions of his mother, Joan C Stewart.

Anne Pearson, Bolade Shipeolu and Mark Stewart

Andrew L Goorbarry Continuing Education Scholarship
Recipient: Dariana Araque

This year’s recipient of the Andrew L Goorbarry Continuing Education Scholarship is Dariana Araque. Originally from Venezuela, Dariana has been in Canada for less than 2 years. In that time she has participated in Empowerment Squared’s digital literacy program twice and is a volunteer on the student council with Mohawk College. She is pursuing an Auto-Cad program at Mohawk College with the hopes of finding a job in the engineering field.

Established in 2018 by Priya Goorbarry, Director of Operations and Administration at Empowerment Squared and her sister Alicia Goorbarry, to recognize the exceptional dedication to education and charitable leadership of their father, Andrew L Goorbarry.

Anne Pearson, Priya Goorbarry, Andrew Goorbarry, Dariana Araque, Camila Trejo, Javier Trejo and Alicia Goorbarry


Youssef Family Academic Award
Recipient: Feona Togba-Johnson

This year’s recipient of the Youssef Family Academic Award is Feona Togba-Johnson. Originally from Liberia, Feona has been in Canada for a little more than a year.  Feona is a graduate of the Digital Literacy program and the knowledge she gained from the program is being utilized in her studies at Mohawk College.  With a background in administration in Liberia, Feona is hoping to find a similar job in Canada once she is finished school.

Established in 2019 by Tony Youssef, this scholarship is in honour of Yokhanna Youssef and Younia Chilmon who fled Syria in 1989 with their three children. Learning a new language, finding work & affordable housing, worrying how to put food on the table, navigating the transit system amongst many other things, were a daily challenge. This scholarship is important to the Youssef Family as it recognizes the struggles that newcomer families face when they immigrate to Canada.

Anne Pearson, Feona Togba-Johnson and Tony Youssef

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