Chestermere, 2020 – Tragedy struck when a 15-year-old girl took her own life, a devastating consequence of racial bullying. In the wake of this heartbreaking incident, Desire Henry, Sharon Cornwall, and their dedicated team have breathed new life into the Realize Your Potential Youth Program (RYP), pledging to make a positive change. Determined to create a safe haven for Black youth, they have established a sorority and a fraternity within RYP, welcoming those who are part of or wish to join the program.

This story also appeared in Afros In Tha City

RYP, a comprehensive mentoring and education initiative tailored for young individuals aged 8 to 24 in the Black diaspora, seeks to equip them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and motivation to embrace their true potential. The program’s offerings encompass a wide range of programs, all designed to empower youths and foster their readiness to achieve their dreams.

“We offer a welcoming community of like-minded people who work to foster relationships, motivate and inspire each other to succeed,” said Henry. 

RYP has launched the Science Technology Engineering and Math program (STEM) this year, enrolling 42 youth in diverse career opportunities, including those shaped by the Covid pandemic. RYP plans to expand the program by incorporating Art, transforming STEM into a Science Technology Engineering Arts, and Math program (STEAM). By integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, RYP aims to equip young individuals with a well-rounded skill set, preparing them for the future while fostering creativity, critical thinking, and innovation.

“The reasoning behind the STEAM program was, through the research we did with the government of Canada, which emphasized a lack of Black students going into or being directed through the counseling at their schools into the STEAM program,” explained Cornwall. 

RYP Dreamers at Black Heritage Family Day. PHOTO: RYP

The STEAM program initiative is to help Black youth have an understanding of the important aspects of life that are not taught in schools, such as financial literacy, and building generational wealth.  

“Our vision overall essentially is to give descendants of the Black diaspora the power to realize their potential. We give them a place to feel seen, heard, and understood so that they excel in all areas of society,” said Henry.

RYP is set to host the 2nd Annual Honours Gala to Celebrate Student Achievements and Inclusive Education. The gala will feature student awards, entertainment, and guest presentations, including the Education Award for Karen Wallace and the Inclusive Teacher Award for Chantelle Clairmont. The event will take place at the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel on June 24th at 6:00 pm. RYP Canada will also showcase their signature programs and initiatives for 2023 and beyond.

For more information about RYP and the upcoming Gala @

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