People, community, commitment

Impacting the lives of youths and young
adults to bring out their full potential.


 

PURPOSE DRIVEN AMBASSADOR

God’s Royal Priesthood set apart for a special assignment.
Doing good in the community and giving the gift of her infectious
love as caretaker, leader , teacher and impressive mentor to all.

 

My blinged out cell phone with silver, black, pink and purple diamond-like stones sprinkled all over it (“Housewives of New Jersey” ‘s Teresa Giudice, you have nothing on my cell) started beeping at 3 p.m. I had programmed it earlier to go off one hour before my interview with an awesome community caretaker and well-respected mentor, Marcia Brown. The interview was scheduled for 4:30 p.m., but I wanted an early reminder to make sure I arrived on time and, of course, excited to meet Marcia. Marcia Brown is an assiduous counselor, teacher and friend who does a lot in the community for youths and teenagers.

I arrived thirty minutes early in the area in which the interview was to take place. Thirty minutes early and everything is going strictly according to plan, I thought. Seeing that I had some time to kill I decided to get a quick bite to eat—my stomach was not at all embarrassed by the growling sounds it made and needed no permission to let me know that I had to eat. I obeyed and found myself pulling into a fast food joint and ordering something quick, light and healthy. I did not want to be late so I wolfed down my snack and headed towards the middle school

My GPS was on while I was driving and did a great job keeping me on track—I am being sarcastic here as you will see…keep reading. I now know that I was literally five minutes away from my destination, but at the time I believed Emily who told me something different (by the way, my GPS’ name is Emily). Anyway, Emily said, “Turn right in 900 metres,” which meant I was to turn right two streets directly past my destination, the school! I was compliant and drove in the direction Emily told me then made a right turn. I was driving for about five minutes when I thought to myself that something did not seem right. I know Emily was trying her darndest to provide the fastest and most convenient way to get to the school, but I began to think she was a bit off as I am somewhat familiar with the area. To make a long story short, Emily took me on a wild goose chase and I eventually had to call Marcia to find the exact location of the school.

After I had spoken with Marcia, I navigated my way back to the school—the same school that Emily instructed me to pass earlier. Rushing to get inside, I was now 30 minutes late, the complete opposite of what I planned—it was entirely Emily’s fault, of course, but I could not tell anyone that she made me late because, yeah, you guessed it, they would think I was cuckoo. Panting as I made my way towards the front entrance of the school, I passed several youths who were exiting the school. Some of them looked at me a bit funny, probably because I was winded from rushing to get inside. You might ask, “Breathless? Why would someone be out of breath simply from briskly walking from the parking lot to the entrance of a school?” Well, I am glad for this question and am happy to oblige with an answer. You see, the school’s parking lot was not as close to the school entrance as you would think. In fact, it was a bit of a walk and anyone would pant while rushing or running to get inside, so there. When I finally reached the school entrance, I saw Marcia standing patiently inside, behind the blue double doors, looking out for me, I presumed. I opened one of the heavy doors and said hello to Marcia whose face wore a big smile. “I was waiting here to make sure you found it okay,” she said. I answered, “Yes, after my wild goose chase, I found it.” We both smiled. “Come,” she said, “and I will show you where we hold the sessions.” I followed along as she willingly led the way.

Marcia Brown is the personification of warmth with an agreeable friendliness and kindness that exudes from her presence. She is all smiles with a glowing effect produced by her ardor, intensity and affection. Marcia’s remarkable community involvement and many efforts have made her a three-time award recipient. In May 2011, she received a Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence for Excellent Support Staff from Dalton McGuinty. In June 2011, she received an Urban Hero Award for Education from the Etobicoke Guardian and in December 2011, she was the recipient of the Aroni Award for Education.

   Marcia is the founder and president of Trust 15 where ‘trust’ means to build up a level of trust for one another and ’15′ means family. Trust 15, spearheads two weekly programs for inner-city youths and teenagers. The first is called Ladies on the Rise where weekly mentoring sessions are held for female youths and teenagers 13–18 years of age. The second is Men of Distinction (MOD), a program for males ages 14–20. There are 36 girls registered in Trust 15 and 33 young men who make up Men of Distinction.

Trust 15’s mission is to save as many youths and teenagers as possible from making the wrong choices especially with the level of peer pressure in today’s society. Counseling is provided privately for anyone who wishes to talk about personal things that may be difficult to talk about with others. The program encourages and motivates youths and teenagers to go after their dreams, goals and aspirations. With steady mentoring they are directed to the right path to attain those dreams, goals and aspirations. The weekly sessions also provide educational advice to help youths and teenagers make it through life. In each session, they freely talk and ask questions about anything and are allowed to be their authentic selves. The environment is a place in which all can contentedly express themselves without feeling alienated, uncomfortable or ridiculed. Many participants find it therapeutic just to be able to talk amongst this family, which is how they see themselves, bonded like a tight-knit family.

   Men of Distinction is made up of teenage boys and young adults who have no father figure, feel discouraged from attending school as they believe there is lack of support with school work from teachers and guidance councilors and often feel misunderstood by authority figures such as police. “These are boys whose issues and/or behaviors no one has had the tolerance and patience to handle,” says Marcia. As a result they pose a no-care attitude to hide their many emotions and mask their feelings, a coping mechanism for many. Through care and genuine love MOD invites mentors and great community leaders like Kevin Williams, CEO of General Motors Canada, and Chris Spence, Director of the Toronto District School Board, to encourage the young men to stay in school, to excel in all subjects and not to become a statistic. The mentors and leaders often engage in lengthy conversations with the young men whereby they talk about the issues they may be facing. During their talks they are encourage to stay on a straight and narrow path. Men of Distinction also volunteer in the community at nursing homes and in soup kitchens as giving back to the community gives them a sense of responsibility.

Marcia introduced me to the swarm of beautiful girls whose high pitched voices and cackles filled the air of the large stage-like space. There were at least 27 energetic young ladies chit-chatting and laughing and more were still trickling in. Marcia said, “Everyone, this is Simone.” I said hello to the girls who had curious looks on their faces that I understood to mean, “Who is she?” The multitude of girls all responded by saying hi in key at the same time. Marcia told me to have a seat on one of the chairs in the already prepared circle as she walked away to help get things organized as the session was about to start. So I made my way over to one side of the room and sat down beside two bubbly girls having a good time as they talked between themselves. I then sat back and scoped out the scene watching the giddy and jovial teenage girls of different races, ages and personalities who all had one common interest, Trust 15. It was certain they enjoyed being there.

All the girls looked so cute and trendy wearing thigh-high boots with matching leather coats, tights with well coordinated tops and the famous Uggs that everyone and their grandma seem to be wearing these days. Their hair was nicely styled—one girl had her hair in a layered coif similar to the late bombshell and famous American actress Farrah Fawcett. I even complimented her on how nice it looked; she was pleased. They continued to laugh, chit-chat, tell each other stories and goof around; some were texting and BBMing, and Marcia, well, she was right in there like a dirty shirt also chatting it up and laughing as she prepared some snacks. In other words, she blended in with the bevy of girls so well that an outsider would not be able to tell if she was the head of Trust 15 or just one of the girls who attended the program. I believe that one of the many reasons the girls attend the sessions is because they get along so well with each other. Another reason why they enjoy being a part of the program is that Marcia is so easy to talk to, easy going, attentive and respectful that they love her something terrible. It was quite a scene looking in from the outside and it brought a smile to my face as I, just for a quick moment, reminisced about my pre-teen years, hanging out with my then BFF Margaret—they were truly the best years.

“Okay, everyone, we should get started,” I heard Marcia say. I then heard her say as she walked over to me, “Oh, no, you are not going to sit so far away. You will sit at the front; you are one of the family.” I was hoping I could stay low key by just listening and taking notes, but I guess that wasn’t to be the case; Marcia saw to that. One of the presenters who was invited to speak to the girls was Nneka Elliot, a former weather anchor, reporter and traffic specialist at CablePulse24 (CP24). The 5’7” vivacious beauty, a natural speaker, talked about her dreams, aspirations and taking risks to achieve her many goals. In speaking she emphasized the importance of never giving up on your dreams and always being persistent and staying focused even if people say you will not make it.

Nneka spoke about her resignation from the news channel CP24 after almost three years to start her own media skills development company called The Media Huddle. She said that there were people who thought she was crazy to leave CP24 but she was never one to pass up a challenge, “It is what drives me as a person, always in pursuit of a challenge.” Before landing the job as a weather anchor she told a story of her mantra, “Fake it till you make it.” The girls listened keenly and with great interest when Nneka told them that even though she had never worked in front of a camera she was determined to secure a job at CP24 so she prepared herself for it. In preparing, she would watch and mimic weather anchors’ hand motions when forecasting the weather in front of a weather map illustrating current conditions; the way they would make hand motions indicating, for example, high pressure dominating a certain city. She swooped her hand up and made a circle the same way the weather anchors do to illustrate high arctic air bringing in cold temperatures; the hand motion she had mastered made all the girls laugh. “All the moves they did, I did. You could not tell the difference between the real CP24 weather anchor and me, the girl who had no on-camera experience. That’s how bad I wanted to attain that goal and it played an important part in landing that job.”

The session lasted about two-and-a-half hours but some of the girls hung around a bit longer to talk with each other. I sat with Marcia for a few more minutes to gain more insight into the two wonderful programs she orchestrates. Marcia spoke with passion about Trust 15 and Men of Distinction and her very optimistic outlook on the programs’ bright futures. It was then that one of the girls shouted happily from across the room, “Miss, Miss, I did well at my dance audition.” “That’s awesome, excellent!” Marcia shouted back. Marcia then revealed that this particular girl is an extremely talented dancer who is aspiring to become a professional dancer. She added that some of the girls aspire to become actresses, writers, journalists and singers and there are currently a few who are attending university.

Marcia Brown is a purpose-driven woman whom the community salutes for her unconditional love, priceless time and exemplary efforts given to the many precious male and female youths and teenagers she has treasured and believed in. She sees the best in them and has helped them to recognize this in order to bring out their potential. It is without a shadow of a doubt that she was not chosen by coincidence but was predestined by God. Anyone who knows about God knows that He is not a God of mistakes, He is a God of destiny, and Marcia is indubitably carrying out her God-given destiny.

43 comments on “MARCIA BROWN: Community Caretaker

  1. Thank you so much Simone. You capture what my groups are all about. The Lord is my strength and he continues to make a light shine in me so I can continue his work. Thanks you for meeting my ladies. Remember you are a part of this wonderful family.

  2. This is indeed a great story you have written about Marcia. Marcia is doing an awesome job in the community making a difference in the lives of young men and women. Keep up the good work.

  3. DWAYNE S JUDE on said:

    TRULY REMARKABLE WHAT YOU ARE DOING MARCIA. KEEP UP THE GREAT JOB THAT YOU ARE DOING. I AM PROUD OF YOU AND WISH YOU LOTS OF LUCK.

  4. Durell Miller on said:

    Congradulations
    Thank for everything your doing for us and inreturn you will see us rise to the top!
    Your the BEST

  5. Margaret Ambursley-Brown on said:

    Simone, excellent writing, you captured the true Marcia. Talented, yet humble, warm and friendly yet sharp.

    I loved the story, and having been a part of Marcia’s Life for over 25 years, she is going to continue to go far and do the work God has called her do.

    Marcia- a woman of virtue.

  6. Lisa Sterling on said:

    Congratulation on your continued achievements Marcia! May God continue to bless you for the awesome work you do in our community. Tell the young ladies I say hello, and to keep up their awesome work (and great fashion) which make me proud.

    XOXO

  7. Nikiesha Clarke on said:

    Great Article, loved it, it put a smile on my face. It was very well written. We love you Marcia, congrats, thank you for everything !

  8. This is an extraordinary story. Marcia I am extremely proud of all your accomplishments. You have impacted the lives of many individuals. This story lets others know that they can achieve their dreams and goals. God has blessed you with a gift to help others.

  9. Great job Marcia, wish I had the time to help out with the young men, of today letting them know that there is hope.

  10. Absolutely amazing I was privaledged and humbled to be involved with the girls, they are a truly amazing sight to behold and Marcia is an amazing woman with a heart of pure gold for all that she has done and will do. She deserve all the credit and glory for her efforts and the ladies and Men for sticking with it!

  11. Thanks for sharing this well-written article that expresses the sentiments of so many. Congrats Marcia! May God continue to bless in your endeavors!

  12. Excellent article that captures the true essence of Marcia Brown!

    Marcia, I am very proud of the work that you have done and that you continue to do with the youth. Your selfless effort and dedication is admirable. You have touched and changed so many young people’s lives in ways that cannot be measured.

    Keep up the fantastic work,

    Charmaine

  13. Such a well-written article! Marcia is the epitome of poise and confidence. I am happy that she tirelessly continues to work along these young men and women and instill important values in them like she did for myself. For that, I am forever indebted to her. She motivated me to pursue post-secondary education and the field of teaching where I can also make a difference in the lives of young people. I pray God continues to bestow His blessings onto her life because she is making such a positive impact in the Rexdale community. Best of luck on all of your future endeavours. Love you Miss!

  14. Simone,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this in-depth article on the outstanding, valuable and life-altering work that Marcia has committed to undertake!

    Marcia, your work is truly making a difference. Thanks for your tremendous dedication and devotion and for bringing the groups to many community events.

    Keep up the great work!

    Warren

  15. Wonderful article that captures well the infectious love in the room whenever Marcia is there and particularly when the young men or the young women meet. I too have been welcomed so warmly into their midst and it’s always just as you write! Truly, in their sessions with Marcia and the extended family of guests, each one of these wonderful young men and women are preparing to leave an important mark on our world – all for the better. I’m so proud that each one of them and Marcia has touched my life and the lives of younger children in the DAREarts program…watch out, world!

    Marilyn Field

  16. Marcia is a fantastic example of “It takes a village to raise a child.” Her passion shines through her numerous initiatives. On behalf of Nubian Book Club we wish you continued success.

  17. Brenda Foreman on said:

    Simone, Thank you for taking us on this amazing adventure. I love your writing style.

    Thank you Marcia, for making such a difference, you are a ray of light. Stay strong my friend and keep shining bright. Many, many blessings to you. oxoxo
    Brenda

  18. Everything that is written in this article about Marcia Brown is true. She is an amazing woman and I am very lucky to be apart of ‘Ladies On The Rise.’

  19. Great article! Marcia what you are doing for those young people is a wonderful thing keep up the good work.

  20. What a lovely, and insightful piece. It was a joy to read and I felt like I got the chance to experience you in the process, Marcia! Well done to you and Simone!

  21. Dennis Hall on said:

    This is a terrific story about a terrific person that I am proud to know. Marcia is part golden angel and part mother tiger. We need much more coverage of positive people like her in the media and we need more like her in the background fighting the unpublicized battles for the youth in our community. Keep up the good work Marcia and Simone.

  22. Congratulations Marcia, this article definitely captured the essence of who you are as a woman of God, love and grace.

    Simone, this was such a refreshing read! I truly enjoyed it especially your inflection of humour.

    Continued Blessings to you both!! Sincere best, Paulette

  23. I am a young lady who had the privilege of meeting Marcia, she is one of the most important and influential people in my life and she has treated me like one of her daughters. I am so proud to see her grow. Marcia, you will continue to conquer more wins.

    Blessings Mrs. Brown
    Truly yours, Tenika

  24. Jerome Carter on said:

    Congratulations Marcia,

    You are truly a blessing to the students in both programs. Keep up the amazing job!

    Jerome.

  25. Want to specially commend you for the work with the MOD. Our society is losing our young men at an alarming rate. May God bless you with the resources to meet the demands of Trust 15.

  26. Majiyda Hendrickson on said:

    Wow, Beautiful article Simone. It definitely captures the moments of the day you and Nneka Elliot came to visit us and describes Marcia to a T.

    I met Marcia only about a couple years ago,during the time my daughter joined Trust 15. I warmed up to her immediately. She is truly and sincerely a genuine person, she goes above and beyond to do everything she can for the young ladies and men of the groups.

    Congratulations Marcia,I am always proud of you.

    with love,
    Majiyda

  27. Darren Clarke on said:

    An amazing article written on an Amazing person. Thank you for everything you have done for me and the rest of the group. We appreciate all of your hard work and dedication.

  28. Denyce on said:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this interview to the fullest. Very insightful and inspirational. Marcia is truly doing God’s work in loving and respecting and wanting the best for these kids and to a bigger extent, the future of our world. Kudos to you Simone for another excellent interview. Blessings

  29. Pedro Noguera on said:

    I enjoyed meeting the young Men of Distinction. Marcia is doing great work with them and the young men. I was especially impressed by the bonds of trust they have established with each other.

  30. Delorean on said:

    Classic Story of Marcia… I am so glad more people are able to find out what she is all about because as long as I have known her she has been all about the kids. Go Marcia!

  31. Wonderful words that are so true to the character of who she is. Great job Marcia and Simone. Simply beautiful and many blessings now and forever more!