Zhorrah Grant is standing strong

Having a shotgun put in her face while raising money for kids in Africa helps GBC student understand her work with the Black Student Success Network

Zhorrah Grant, a student in the child and youth care program at George Brown College (GBC), somehow juggles school and four part-time jobs, in spite of a past marred by fear.

“I was the only Black girl at my high school, so that was extremely hard in a place where it’s not as diverse as Toronto,” Grant said.

Originally from the Bahamas, Grant moved to New Brunswick at 14, but at first found herself alone as the only Black girl at her high school.

“I’ve experienced racism. I’ve had garbage thrown at me. I had a shotgun in my face, just trying to raise money for kids in Africa,” said Grant “It was a scary experience, but I think my experience with racism helps me build a better foundation and understanding of my work here at George Brown.”

After graduating with a criminology degree from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Grant taught for three years and knew she wanted to work with kids.

When she discovered GBC, her life changed.

“I googled George Brown to try and find a program that helps me learn more about kids,” Grant said. “I’ve been (at GBC) for two years now, and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Grant met Masini McDermott, a team lead for the Black Students Support Network (BSSN), at orientation who “reeled her in.”

Without hesitation, Grant rolled up her sleeves and volunteered with the BSSN helping plan and organizing events.

Grant keeps herself busy working as a high-school tutor and as boarding program advisor for an all-girls school, as well as her placement at the Children’s Aid Society within the Black education awareness committee.

As the BSSN’s team advisor, Grant produces monthly newsletters that inform students about college services and resources, as well as self-care strategies.

Grant is also involved in community outreach, speaking one-on-one with students at the college.

“It makes you feel good because you go to bed thinking somebody took the time out of their day to notice your hard work, but they’re also getting their full potential.”

She hopes to continue her work with children and youth in community service programs by becoming a youth probation officer.

“I just love helping people, I’m all about karma, if you put something good in the universe, it comes back to you.”

Grant said that her past does not define her.

“It wasn’t a safe journey, it wasn’t a nice luxurious vacation, it was a long ride to get here. I had many disappointments in my life,” she said.

“I’m still here, I’m still strong, and I’m still standing.”

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Zhorrah Grant is standing strong