Adjusting to Canadian society after immigrating from Nigeria took a toll on Tioluwani Oladele’s mental health.
Overcoming this barrier, and her dedication to help others do the same, has earned the college student a prestigious new scholarship designed to empower Black youth.
Oladele was recently selected as one of 20 student recipients of the inaugural RBC Future Launch Scholarship for Black Youth, which will go to support her academic journey. She will be provided up to $5,000 per year for up to four years, towards tuition and other academic and living expenses.
Recipients are selected by a committee comprised of black leaders from academic, business, and non-profit backgrounds. RBC also supports recipients with additional professional resources including mentorship, academic and career planning, tutoring, and networking opportunities.
“Growing up in Winnipeg while living in a Nigerian household was awkward and difficult at times,” says Oladele. “As a Nigerian black youth I didn’t look, talk, or act like my peers. The difference between Canadian and Nigerian culture led me to struggle immensely with my identity and caused family conflicts, both of which negatively affected my mental health.”
When Oladele was at her lowest she leaned on her faith, which eventually led to the improvement of her overall well-being.
“Many have said that when you ‘hit rock bottom’, you have nowhere to go but up,” says Oladele. “As a Christian, my faith has shaped my identity and helped me face personal challenges. It was my faith that lifted me up out of my despair and changed my life.”
Oladele is now making it her goal in life to support others with similar lived experiences in her community.
“After my community support worker program at a local college, my goal will be to start a non-profit wellness to support newcomer youth with their mental health and general wellness,” Oladele said.
Oladele was nominated for the scholarship by the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, where she currently works as an assistant program coordinator for their Newcomer Youth Wellness Program.
“Working for the YMCA and similar experiences has helped develop the knowledge and skills I will need to pursue a career in the non-profit sector,” says Oladele. “I recently participated in YMCA Community Action program, which engages youth in addressing community needs through service projects. I hope to participate in more of these types of community service opportunities to further develop my leadership, planning, financial management and other skills.”
With these skills, plus her education, Oladele hopes to help ensure other young Canadian newcomers can tackle the challenges that will likely come their way.
“I hope to positively contribute to society by equipping disadvantaged youth with the skills needed to obtain and maintain well-being, and thus confidently share their talents with the world, regardless of their beliefs.”
To learn more about RBC Future Launch Scholarships, visit rbc.com/futurelaunchscholarships