Centre for Black Student Excellence Newsletter - January 2024

The Centre for Black Excellence  www.yrdsb.ca/blackexcellence

Welcome to a new year! We are continuing to share information that supports families of Black children and stay tuned for other events coming up in February for Black History Month throughout the community and the YRDSB.

This school year, we are continuing to grow and expand some of our Centre for Black Student Excellence programs, including Ascending Sisters+, RISE Brothers and the Black Excellence Program

We also want to remind you to visit the Centre for Black Student Excellence on the website where you can find information about our programs, Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy, resources for students and families, and links to community partners. 

YRDSB News and Events

We want to remind families that Kindergarten Registration and French Immersion Registrationopen Friday, January 19. For students in Grade 8 and secondary school, course selection takes place in February. Students can now explore programs and courses by sectors and areas that interest them. 

Celebrating Black Excellence - Black Voices

YRDSB is pleased to continue the Celebrating Black Excellence - Black Voices campaign! 

Details about this year’s campaign will be available in early February. 

To learn more about the campaign and to see features from previous years, please visit our Instagram (@yrdsb.schools) or the board website www.yrdsb.ca/celebratingblackexcellence. 

Upcoming Community Events 

African, Caribbean and Black Team Meet and Greet

The ACB (African, Caribbean and Black) Team, operating through CCSYR (Catholic Community Services of York Region) is hosting a meet and greet event, to introduce CCSYR to parents and their kids, and introduce workshops available for students. There will be a steel pan band and live performance and snacks, activities and networking. 

Date: Friday, January 19

Time: 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Location: Elgin West Community Centre,Richmond Hill

NACCA Black History Month Events

NACCA is hosting multiple events throughout the month of February to celebrate Black History Month. 

  • Flag-Raising Ceremony, February 1, 2024
  • Black History Month Reception, Art Exhibition & Ujamaa Marketplace, February 3, 2024
  • Falls Illumination, February 9, 2024
  • Film Screening “Living in Colour” and Archives of Ontario Presentation with Melissa J. Nelson, February 16, 2024
  • “Writing our History” with Dr. Natasha Henry-Dixon, February 21, 2024
  • Art Exhibit and Content, February 3-29, 2924
  • Elman W. Campbell Museum Exhibit, February 3-29, 2024

Aurora’s Second Annual Black History Gala

An evening celebrating the rich and vibrant history of the Black community. This in-person event promises to be a night filled with live cultural performances, inspiring stories, delicious food, and Corporate Sponsor VIP Reception.

Date: Saturday, February 3, 2024 

Time:  6:30 p.m. - Aurora

Location: Northridge Community Church of The Salvation Army in Aurora, ON, Canada

Black Youth Gala - “How I Was Raised” (Black York Region Youth)

The Black Youth Gala is an event to celebrate their accomplishments. Youth will have the opportunity to receive scholarships for post-secondary. In addition, Black Youth artists and fashion designers will also have the chance to showcase their work in the gallery and opening performance portion of the event. 

Date: February 17, 2024

Time: 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Location: JC Banquet Convention Centre, Scarborough

YRAACC Black History Month Event “Black excellence through mentorship”

The York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (YRAACC) will host its 7th Annual Black History Month (BHM) celebration with keynote speaker, Dr. Bimpe Ayeni. This year's event's theme is Black Excellence through Mentorship! The overarching theme of our annual BHM event is the strengthening and celebrating of Black families in all their diverse compositions and ways of knowing within the context of our Sankofa Mentoring programs. Register Here.

Date: Saturday, February 17, 2024

Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Bill Crothers Secondary School, 44 Main St. Unionville, ON. L3R 2E4

Community Programs and Announcements

Black Foundation of Community Networks (BFCN) Scholarship Applications

Look out for updates on the current website and to find out more information, please reach out to Cheryl Yarde at the contact info on the website. For questions, please contact Cheryl Yarde at info@bfcn.ca.

Youth School Success Initiative, After School Program

YSSI: empower Black Youth (Grades 6-8) for High School Success! Personalized academic support, culturally relevant curriculum, and life skills development. Fostering community, boosting confidence and celebrating diversity. Join us for a brighter future. Register Here.

City of Markham Mayor's Black Youth Liaison

Applications open

The Mayor's Black Youth Liaison is a committee dedicated to representing a voice for Black youth in the City of Markham. MBYL strives to empower and uplift youth through valuable initiatives and advocacy. As a part of the committee, you will be asked to plan events, discuss issues facing Black youth, and develop initiatives to enhance the Black youth experience within the City of Markham.

University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Summer Mentorship Program

The Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) gives high school students of Indigenous or African ancestry a chance to explore health sciences at the University of Toronto over four weeks in July. Students can explore health science education and careers and earn a credit. 

Learn more about the Summer Mentorship Program and how to apply


The Alliance of Educators for Black Students (AEBS) is committed to promoting well-being and excellence in achievement for students of African/ Caribbean heritage. You can follow them on Twitter @AEBSyrdsb.

Learn more about Black community agencies that provide supports in your area:

Aurora Black Community (ABC)

The Aurora Black Community Association (ABC) is led by a dedicated group committed to the work needed to dismantle anti-racism and discrimination, elevate and marginalize voice and bridge culture. ABC community is proud to be the reason the town of Aurora has officially declared February as Black History Month.  

ANCHOR Formerly Vaughan African Canadian Association 

ANCHOR offers the program aims to find your child’s trouble areas in understanding vocabulary, spelling, and grammar. This program will help strengthen subject comprehension, boost confidence, and improve their reading and writing skills.

Black York Region Youth (BYR Youth)

Black York Region Youth (BYR Youth) was founded in 2020 with the purpose of combating anti-Black racism, systemic racism, anti-Indigenous hate, and discrimination in all of its forms within York Region and its surrounding communities. 

Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association (MACCA)

At MACCA, Students will follow a grade-appropriate curriculum. Curriculum content will evolve into the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) and will be Afri-centric based.

Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA)

NACCA’s vision is to focus on African positive identity formation/ Rites of passage as a foundation for mental wellness, and supporting children in developing a positive sense of self. NACCA offers culturally relevant Mental Health Education and Counseling support programs for Black youth and families; financial literacy program; educational programs for the entire family; food security program; presentations and workshops to educate about racial prejudice & bias to reduce discrimination; annual scholarship program and more! 

Parents of Black Children

OMO Africentric virtual campus tutoring initiative offered by POBC is a free high-touch tutoring program for Black students. Students receive tutoring twice weekly in French, Math, and English (Language Arts). Tutoring takes place on the Omo Africentric Campus. 1-on-1 tutoring support provided. To learn more, watch this video or visit Parents of Black Children.

The Black Foundation of Community Networks (BFCN)

The Black Foundation of Community Networks (BFCN) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2011 and continues to serve and support local Black communities. Based in Vaughan, Ontario but proudly serves and supports Black communities across the province. BFCN provides free and low-cost programs, advocacy, and resources, and connects people with other local organizations and services.

York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (YRAACC)

YRAACC / Sankofa Program offers an African-centered curriculum that is focused on activities that provide workshop sessions for students to explore their racial and cultural identity, self-esteem, critical thinking, self-reflection, teamwork, and community building. The program’s framework is based on The Seven Principles ( The Nguzo Saba) The principles are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination); Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility); Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).

Volunteer Opportunities

Students are encouraged to connect with various community organizations in their area or local communities to find pertinent volunteer jobs and to develop leadership and team building skills. Reach out and connect with various groups via email or their website to find out various services in addition to important pertinent volunteer opportunities. Here are a few links to review.

BFCN – Black Foundation of Community Networks

Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association (MACCA)

Multicultural Museums

Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association

Parents of Black Children

York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (yorkregionaacc.ca)

Volunteering Ontario

Volunteer Toronto

Volunteer Canada