Augustine Obeng is a Canadian writer, motivational speaker, and teacher. Born to Ghanaian parents in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighborhood, he spent his whole life growing up in Toronto. He received his undergrad at York University with a double major in Criminology and Education a minor in Theatre, and recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master’s in Social Work, with a specialization in Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency.
Obeng have the personality to always carry a smile, behind that smile we can’t imagine that he came a long way and grow up in difficult circumstance.
The multi-talented Obeng is also a community leader, mentor and social worker in the Jane and Finch Area. Obeng has been volunteering in the community for several years, encouraging the youth to pursue education as a way to help expand the scope of their futures. He released his first book “Changing Lanes” in 2016, getting inspiration to write the book through his personal experiences of growing up in a tough neighborhood. He wanted to steer the youth onto a positive path, sharing how he made the right decisions in his life with the good guidance of his parents, basketball coaches and teachers. It sold over 1000 copies, and gave him the chance to meet the mayor of Toronto John Tory this past August and give him a personalized copy.
Changing Lanes is a story about he survived of all these obstacles and want to inspire the youth from his situation and main goals help the youth in Toronto to have good mentorship and access to resources.
Obeng touched on the importance of education, especially the education system in Canada and it’s impact on the youth. Obeng explains, “One of the benefits of living in Canada, is that education is publicly funded and in fact, it is mandated for all children until stunt reach the legal age of consent which is 18”. Obeng is able to witness how Africans going to school in Toronto from abroad had a much more competitive nature when it came to getting good grades, noting “I find that often times in my classes many of the students from African countries would often excel. They typically took school more seriously and knew the value that it had.”
In the future, Obeng wants to be part of a team whose sole mission is to help educate the youth of Jane and Finch. Making positive changes in the community is an issue that touches him deeply, drives him to do all he can to bring the youth the resources that will help them achieve the best grades. Obeng wishes pay forward the good things that have impacted his life to making it his mission for all teenagers living in rough neighbourhoods happy and strive for the best by bringing them programs that he did not have in his childhood.
By Yussuf Yanni