By Lincoln DePradine
Many Caribbean organizations worry about their future, with an ageing membership and relatively little youth involvement. The one exception is in Toronto’s Barbadian-Canadian community, which has just launched the youth-led “Bridge T.O.’’
Young people, born in Canada of Barbadian parents, make up the membership of Bridge T.O.
“Our team is very passionate to give back,’’ Tanya Murrell, president of Bridge T.O., said at the launch last Saturday at the Church of the Nativity in Malvern.
The launch, which coincided with recent observance in Barbados of Heroes Day, was attended by several adult nationals including Haynesley L. Benn, Barbados’ Consul General.
“You, by your presence this afternoon, to cheer these young people on, you are their heroes,’’ Benn said. “I am going to be depending on the leaders of all the Barbadian-Canadian associations in Toronto be their mentors.’’
Murrell, a business owner, said Bridge T.O.’s mission is to “enrich the lives’’ not just of Barbadians at home and in Toronto, but also that of other Caribbean nationals.
The activities of the organization, she explained, will include providing scholarships and sending school supplies to students in Barbados. “We’re really excited,’’ Murrell said.
Benn said older Barbadians, who have been serving their organizations for decades, now can retire and let the youth of Bridge T.O. – “the future of Barbados and Toronto – take centre stage’’.
“The future has arrived,’’ the consul general said. “I feel so happy to know that we can now pass the baton.’’
Benn expressed confidence that Bridge T.O. members “are going to continue with the wonderful values of respect for each other, respect for law, love for God, and willingness to assist their fellowman.’’