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OTB Founder Biography

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

OTB’s background is the Founder's background. Starting with Ameen Binwalee the Executive Director, who grew up in Pickering Ontario went through a lot of conflict early on in life. As a kid growing up Ameen felt a disconnect from his step family and got into conflicts at home, kicked out of schools and becoming street involved. Fortunately, Ameen had a uncle who owned a Construction Company and taught him the trades. Ameen can remember after being trained and performing his own jobs his uncle required nothing from him accept that he do it for someone else who was in a similar situation. Training young people in construction and life skills is what he now knows is his life purpose and it is what he loves to do and has been striving to do since his realization.

The other Co-founder Kwadwo Samuel Boakye grew up in a Jane -finch with a single mother and two younger siblings. Early on Sam decided he would not follow many of his peers in lifestyle of drug-dealing and gang activity. Sam can recall having to physically defend himself on numerous occasions from other youth in the neighborhood. After having some troubles in School and going to Ghana to live Sam came back to Canada and began a career in Youth Development at the African Canadian Legal Clinic. Being aware of the trauma Youth from the African Canadian and other marginalised communities go through, inspired Samuel who Co-founded OTB with the purposes of Being The Change in the community he would like to see. His vision is to see racialized youth who have dealt with violent trauma and come from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, given the opportunities to thrive economically and given the personal supports to heal internally and flourish communally.

Our Purpose would be to show the power of Black men having a safe space to meet build and grow.

Participant Knowledge increased specifically around how to navigate the community sector

High Quality youth engagement

Safe space to share systemic trauma and discrimination

OTB helps marginalized youth prioritize and set goals

Increase access to employment opportunities

Mentors have powerful impact on youth

Youth feel heard and empowered

OTB staff are Culturally sensitive providers of construction opportunities

Participant Quote ‘Show the community the Blueprint, like Out of the Box’

Growth for youth in city who face multiple barriers

Community Knowledge increase for youth who participate in program and gain opportunities

OTB must investigate ways and methods of intentionally ensuring youth grasp the importance of community involvement

Participants knowledge increases however community involvement seem to decrease

Opportunity with OTB ensures youth are exposed to a safe space

OTB provides a positive construction experience for marginalized youth

OTB provides the knowledge and skills to help a young person feed their families

OTB is a representative of Black business

OTB provides positive representation of marginalized youth

OTB provides the KNowledge and skills to strive in life

OTB is a rare representative of Black business in the social enterprising arena

Program gave participants the opportunity to talk about the structural oppression, racism, and steps towards empowerment. Stories of discrimination from police and from the construction industry and their stories.

Participants have an outlet to share with staff that can relate and have been through similar trama’s

Indicating OTB is a safe place for these discussions.

OTBprovides positive representation for participants

Participant Quote ‘The construction industry is like highschool. Everyone gossips, everyone talks, everyone is cliqued up. Whether you guys wanna see it or not, admit it or no, that what it is. SO, when you’re not out here in the field, even us as participants we always have to be on point. Because people talk. And when people talk at your name, goes from Out of the Box changing futures to… you guys just hiring a bunch of n*ggas from the hood. That not the image, you get what im trying to say? We always have to be on point . Because again, minority company. They’re expecting us to do dumb shit, so we can’t do dumb shit. So we always have to be mindful, more so like Sam and Ameen, but like this piece i’m saying more so for us as the workers. Like you always have to be mindful because we are on the frontlines and our image is what reflects on them and vice versa. So, as like they only do as much as we do. Cause we’re again, on the frontlines and if we’re fucking up the front lines dont’ there will be more opportunities coming in.

OTB represents for community through allowing youth a safe space to share, and to be heard youth

Participant quote ‘remembering the vision reinvigorates my soul to keep working hard.

Participant quote ‘Really got so much respect for the vision of the Out of the Box social enterprise

Participants reported that they felt that they had grown in terms of their confidence and self-esteem, their sense of responsibility, their learning of knowledge and skills (general, business and coordination related), their patience and strength, in terms of how inpsired they were to succeed. They also repeatedly spoke about how OTB had helped them with goal setting.

Core ingredients of growth build confidence and self-esteem

Instill a sense of responsibility through our growth model

Participant quote ‘I connected more to leadership and managment by learning from supervisors, consultant, managment with years of experience to really further improve my own experience to push the company forward.

I feel good + pretty successful, OTB has helped me get a job + into the union.

Social Outcomes

Understanding of basic construction requirments

More engaged in community

Knowledgable of how to navigate the construction industry

Wider system Outcomes

Positive representation in construction industry

Increase in more marginalized youth respecting and embracing one another through opportunities

OTB is positive representation in and outside of community

Youth want to be part of OTB in some shape fashion or form

Positive impact through overall construction opportunities

Intentional growth for youth who face barriers

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