AISHA ADDO- ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
FOUNDER AND MENTOR AT POWER TO GIRLS FOUNDATION
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Aisha Addo and I was born and raised in West Africa Ghana until I came to Canada in 2005. During my stay in Ghana, I was fascinated by the idea of traveling outside of Ghana, it didn’t have to be Canada I just wanted to see the world outside of Ghana and beyond. Canada became that destination and I have been living here ever since; with an occasional visit to my roots. I had the privilege of attending high school here. After high school, I attended George Brown College to study Business Administration Accounting. Although I graduated from that program I was more capable and passionate in the area of social work and also helping people. Helping people came to me naturally and through that, I discovered my true passion. Discovering myself and my passion wasn’t an easy journey. It came with lots of hurdles and lots of obstacles that I needed to overcome however through those obstacles I was able to begin my journey as a mentor. My passion and interest are in helping girls realize the power they have in making a change in the world and their influence on life. That Passion pushed me to start a mentorship program for young and upcoming girls within the community. The goal was to provide girls with the necessary information that will guide them in making wise and productive decisions for their lives. I realized that more girls out there needed that same influence so with a couple of friends we put together the 1st Annual Girls Power Leadership Conference which addresses the issues that young girls face within the in society. As a result, the Power to Girls Foundation was born. Although the rest of my story is still unwritten I continue to help young girls write their own stories of life. The journey still continues but the story has just begun.
What many people may not know about you?
I love to write. I write down everything before I type it. And I also love and enjoy singing.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
In all honesty, my motivation comes from the word of God. I am greatly inspired and influenced by how deep the love of God is and how it changes people. That love consumes me and causes me to make a difference and impact in the lives of the people that I come in contact with. Knowing and being aware of the need out there also helps and motivates me to do more for humanity. Once I see the need and I am reminded of the love of God I am motivated to do more.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day; it took lots of tears on my part to come to the realization of the path that I was supposed to be in and I am not even there yet. Everything that I have accomplished today is by the grace of God and also some of the decisions that I made in my life. Although most of them weren’t the best decisions; they became stepping stones in nurturing me to be the person I am today and I am still discovering what that entails. I am still on my journey of discovery so the sky is the limit for me; there is more room for growth and possibilities. The organization and I are working on various other projects and programs not just in Canada but in Africa as well; so you should expect much more from us.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as the youth/ woman that inspired girls to be all that they could be and helped them realize their true potential and inspired a generation of leaders around the community and world. I would like to be that girl that lived out her full potential and was never afraid to take a stand for what she believed and truly became the change she wanted to see.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
Once you enjoy what you do and you are living out your passion and your potential everything falls in place and as a result stops becoming work but your life. There is time for everything so I make sure I remain grounded in my vision by incorporating it in every aspect of my life. I use every opportunity to explore more about myself and the people around me so every chance with family and friends is an adventure. That way everyone wins and we all work together to achieve a common goal. And lots of self-reflection and mediation helps keep my mind balanced.
What are your favorite food, book, music and movie?
Food: I am of a Ghanaian decent so all my favorite foods are Ghanaian cuisines and there are lots of them, so unfortunately I can’t choose just one.
Book: Aside from the Bible; I enjoy books that challenge me and causes me to think deeper and outside of the box. However at the same time I am a sucker for a good romance and love novel. I love Maya Angelou; her story and the passion she has for what she does truly inspires me and challenges me to do more and to never silence my voice but rather to be aware of the power of my words.
Music: Music plays a big role in my life; songs that have meaningful, inspirational and deep lyrics to them are my all-time favorites. The possibilities are endless when it comes to music because there is just so much that I love. Old school R n B, Gospel, and Reggae etc. the list goes on and on
Movie: I wish I could just give you one but the list continues just like everything else; I just can’t choose one because there is so much to choose from. I enjoy dramas, romance; stage plays etc. with good story lines. Of late I have become more of a Tyler Perry and David Talbert stage plays fan so anything along those lines, that leaves me wanting more is my favorite.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada? (Also suggest solutions if any challenge)
One thing I adore so very much about Canada is its Multiculturalism. Aside from everything that’s the experience that really stands out to me; being able to relate to other cultures and people becomes a highlight for me when I get the chance to be in the midst of different people. In that case I don’t feel left out; but rather I realize my authenticity. Canada has opened my eyes to see the beauty in everything; because everyone is just so different. I have been able to appreciate the uniqueness of every individual as a black person in Canada. The diversity in Canada is what draws people to this country; it’s our culture.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like Beyoncé, Tyler Perry, Obama, BET, etc.
Opportunities are everywhere; I believe that there is no such thing as a waiting opportunity; you have to create opportunities for yourself. Knowing your true self, opens up the door to infinite possibilities within you because you are able to realize the potential within yourself as well as others. You have to identify and find your own path for the journey ahead of you.I believe without a doubt that there are many opportunities in Canada that can produce role models and leaders among our communities. And there is an also endless opportunity that lies within every individual that is waiting to be discovered. It’s a matter of knowing what it is that you are passionate about and what impact you want to make in the world. As an individual and as a black person living in Canada you have to be willing and ready to face lots of hurdles and to overcome many obstacles in order to get to the place you want to be.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
My favorite Black Canadian Leader and Role Model for me is Michaelle Jean. She is such a woman of intelligence and poise. She inspires me to be the best I can and she reminds me that nothing is beyond reach and truly nothing is impossible. I am yet to find a favorite Black Canadian Artist.
Should & do Blacks support black music, events and businesses?
I believe Blacks should support one another; there is power in unity and we should all be united in ensuring the furtherance of the black community in Canada. The only way to ensure that is to support one another and to encourage each other in making our community a strong one.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada?
Over the short period that I have been in Canada I have been fortunate to celebrate black history on several occasions; however, it was only on one occasion that I was truly able to grasp the understanding of black history. This was in high school when we had to put together a performance for a black history show. Not only were we able to share our culture, roots and the men and women that laid down their lives for us; we also had the opportunity of learning about other men and women of color that sacrificed for the good of others. On that day we truly celebrated them and all of their contributions to their respective countries, societies, communities’ etc. Although black history is important I feel and believe the true history isn’t being shared, as a result, most of our youths are unaware of some of the sacrifices that some blacks had to make in order to gain freedom. Black history should not only celebrate the dead but also the living that is immensely contributing to their countries, communities, societies, schools etc. Black history should also not be confined to a specific country with black heroes; there are lots of blacks out there that are more of a hero than most of us are and I believe they need to be celebrated more often.
My Inspirational Thoughts:
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”