No one can tell Reyaz Sulaiman that his options for the future are limited. Through Student Links, Reyaz has had the opportunity to explore and learn from industry professionals in three distinct areas of passion – chiropractic medicine, the music industry, and a recently discovered love of public speaking.
“I was feeling really happy,” Reyaz said, when asked how he reacted to news that Paul, a chiropractor in North York, agreed to take him on as a student. Working with Paul and physiotherapist Chetana, he learned to operate the ultrasound machine, hot wax machine, Tens machine, heating pads and other equipment. He has had the opportunity to shadow assessments and to learn about chiropractic care.
Reyaz is also a big fan of calypso and reggae music and especially dancehall rapper, musician and singer, Sean Paul. He submitted his favourite songs as part of his personal curated playlist that MuchMusic aired under his name in March. “I was so excited to see my name on the TV,” Reyaz proclaimed, grinning infectiously from ear to ear.
Far from just a friendly, inclusive gesture, the playlist turned out to be a shrewd business move. Gregg Stewart is Bell Media’s Associate Director of Music Marketing Strategy.
“Sean Paul has never failed to deliver, when it comes to numbers on radio and television, across this country or any country for that matter. It’s a known fact – a statistic, actually – that anything with those kind of vibes and his music, in particular, that it’s definitely an audience draw. When Reyaz sent us some ideas as to what it was he liked, we were all thrilled and excited to work with him to compile that hour of music.”
Asked how she views the positive experiences Reyaz has had, his mother Camille, summed it up succinctly. “Awesome, in one word.” It’s apparent that she has seen some changes in her son since he started getting hands-on experience in the areas he was interested in, saying “I’ve seen so much growth in him. It’s really been awesome. He’s just blossomed into being more responsible and more independent.”
As for future plans, Reyaz has recently discovered a love for public speaking. He is working with Marlon, a member of his local Toastmasters organization, to develop a story of his life. He isn’t quite sure what he’ll do with it, but he loves motivational speaking. “All of my cousins, my uncle,” he said, listing some of his family members who have encouraged him to talk in front of an audience. “I really like to speak in a crowd.”
A whole new world of possibilities opened up for Reyaz and for many other youth across Ontario because of the Student Links initiative. You too can make a difference on #GivingTuesday. Your donation will help to support Community Living Ontario’s activities so that students like Reyaz can find their passion and develop lasting relationships in their community.
Want to become a mentor yourself? For more information, contact:
Joel MacIntyre jmacIntyre@communitylivingontario.ca (416) 447-4348 ext. 236
Linda White firstname.lastname@example.org (416) 447-4348 ext. 239