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Learning For Life Forum in Toronto

Today I spoke at the “Learning For Life Forum” presented by ACCES (Accessible Community Counselling & Employment Services) and South District Toronto Social Services.  My topic was on Lifelong Learning through Networking.  Afterwards, I participated in a panel discussion on Learning For Life.  On the panel with me were:

* Randy Taylor, Author of “Life Before Can’t” and media personality, who spoke on overcoming barriers to learning.

* Audrey Rose Burns who shared the art of being open to new experiences and learning opportunities.

* Maral Maclagan from TVOntario’s Independent Learning Centre who spoke on innovative, alternative educational resources to achieve your goals.

* Andres Berrio who shared his experience as a newcomer to Canada and his successful transition to employment.

The Moderator for the day was Indira Naidoo-Harris, Producer of South Asian Programming for OMNI TV.  Indira did an excellent job at creating and fostering an interactive and inspirational discussion.  I recommend her for any association that’s looking for a capable facilitator or moderator.

Randy Taylor was also a great speaker and did a great job at helping the audience gain new perspective into the things that hold them back from their success.

Maral Maclagan did an excellent job at sharing with the attendees how the Independent Learning Centre can help them with their learning and to succeed in their career.

On the other hand, I was very much taken back and disappointed in Andres Berrio a refugee who entered Canada only 18 months ago and talked about his experience.  He shared with us as to how Canada has supported him with different programs and how Canadian families have helped him.  He even raved about the food that he ate while living in the house of another family here in Canada.  However, he kept referring to Colombia as being his country and to you people and your country whenever referring to Canada or Canadians.  So, I ask myself why are we doing this?  Why are we bringing individuals into our country, our homes and supporting them when they don’t even consider themselves part of us?  What is it going to take before they actually return the commitment to be ‘Canadian’?  Do we just  keep giving and giving and they keep taking and taking?  When is enough, enough?  Andres Berrio, I hope you read this because what you’ve done is insult the very people and country that have been helping and supporting you.  How about you start being Canadian and give back to our Canada by being part of “US”.

All in all the day was a great success.  Many individuals received much information.  Although, I do believe that in order for some of them to get out of the situation they are in, which is on some kind of support program they will need to change the way they think.

I was reminded of what happens when individuals start getting supported by agencies and programs.  I saw it in the questions and faces of some of the attendees at the Forum.  Many would ask how can I get more support, or I need support.  Very rarely did I hear, what do I need to do to become successful or get the career of my choice.  Why is it that the more that we give to some people, the more they want to take?

The whole experience has been a great reminder to me about the difference in the mentality of successful people and unsuccessful people.  Those that are successful believe that they can accomplish what they put their mind to.  Those that are unsuccessful believe that they are not good enough or are permitted to succeed, that they have to be given or take what they can.  I’ve learned in live that both of these types of individuals are right.  The question is “Which type have you decided to be?”

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