whatwedo_module (1) youth


March 7th, 2017 | Louise Russo


Comments: No Comments



Our W.A.V.E. Empowering Youth Day, now in its 11th year, is the Good Works portion of our charitable organization and a celebration as we honour youth, who have ‘Made a Difference’ in their schools and communities, with a Louise Russo Youth or Leadership Award.


“Be ready for an inspirational, energizing and transformative experience.  W.A.V.E Empowering Youth Day provides our adolescence and teenagers with an opportunity to witness the power of positive change.  It highlights the struggles and successes of many ordinary; as well as, extraordinary people in our world who have had to journey through challenges.  It is the realization that things happen to us that are out of our control that leads us to the path of self discovery.  Students are shown that what is within their control is how they respond.  They can be agents of change by responding in a way that is life giving!”  -Pat Mandaliti, VP, YCDSB

The day provides a platform for past and present award recipients to share their stories, how their initiative is making a difference and as an award recipient, how they are able to encourage other youth (their peers) to believe that one-by-one we can all make a difference.

The day also involves exceptional motivational guest speakers and performers who share their personal stories about a life altering incident that helped them to take charge of their lives by the choices and actions they took. These speakers and performers, with their strong and impressionable messages, become role models in the eyes of our youth.

Our speaker/performer roster has exceeded all our expectations. They include:

  • The Honourable David C. Onley, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
  • our returning emcee, Rick Campanelli, Global’s co-host ET Canada
  • Diane Dupuy, President & Founder Famous PEOPLE Players
  • LaToya Rodney, former gang member, councellor, rap artist and mother
  • Mixed Company Theatre, engages students in active problem solving, through socially relevant and interactive drama
  • Mark DeMontis, who overcame his challenges when he was declared legally blind at age 17
  • Danny Fernandes, Canada’s next true superstar, is an MMVA winner and JUNO Award nomineed
  • Kendra Fisher, Team Canada Women’s Hockey program, was forced to walk away from her dream due to a severe Anxiety Disorder. Kendra now brings Mental Health Issues to the forefront.
  • Anthony McLean, Founder of iEngage, a bullying prevention program, has uses his skills as an actor and rapper to inspire students to be a positive influence in their schools.
  • Jamaal Magloire, “Big Cat”, a twelve-year veteran of the NBA, Provides children in Scarborough with the opportunity to play and compete amongst the Ontario Basketball Association.
  • Kreesha Turner, Has been dubbed the Canadian Rihanna. Sharing the stage with the likes of Katy Perry, Shirley Bassey and Lady Gaga, Kreesha an R&B/pop singer/songwriter.
  • Greg Quinn a retail banking executive with over 25 years’ experience in both Canada and the U.S. Greg has a unique approach for all teens in “branding yourself” and shared his knowledge to help people to develop their personal brand.
  • Aion Clarke is a singer/songwriter whose smooth blend of pop, soul and R&B have made him a force on the international music scene.
  • R.E.A.L. from Courtice Secondary School this group of young performers address important topics of the day, whether it is dealing with mental health or bullying. The performances strive to inform, provokes thought, and open up the opportunity for discussion.
  • DJ Sabro Ever since a young age of 13 he has been part of the DJ community. Now is one of Toronto’s hottest and youngest Electronic Music DJ’s!
  • DJ Stazen is one of the most powerful and talented DJ’s in all of Toronto. He has played at many events including Electronic Music Festivals, Various Nightclubs & many school events.
  • Alex Escobar a university student who has faced much adversity during his young life. His hard work, determination and a trust to reach has enabled him to turn his life around. Alex has an incredible story to share and is proof resilience and belief in oneself does make a difference.
  • Ian Tyson the co-founder of Youth Leadership Camps Canada, and a writer of leadership and development programs for students across North America, Also a stand-up comic, Ian is sharing his one man show of relatable stories of overcoming obstacles and making a difference in the lives of others, the “Hero Inside”.
  • Vita Chambers single “Fix You” has garnished great success including a Juno Award nomination for “Best Dance Recording of the Year”! Her new single “What It?” is a message of Vita’s strong love and support for equality among all race, colour and creed. Her new single released in May 2014. It’s called “A+D”. Vita was named “Youth Ambassador” for Toronto Youth Day 2013, Vita and her team take anti-bullying to heart.
  • Erin Hodgson is a recent psychology graduate from the University of Toronto and living in recovery of mental illness. Unwilling to let shame and stigma keep her silent, she shares her personal story to humanize the topic of mental illness. She is passionate about inspiring young people to open up the conversation and she strongly believes that the youth of today will become the generation without stigma.
  • Corey Dixon actor and Host Corey Dixon started his career at age five by the age of 12, he was signed by an agency and has been doing TV, film and commercial work ever since. Corey has been on massive TV shows such as Degrassi, Party Mama’s, Spat-A-lot and Paranormal Witness, as well as many commercials. Now, Cory Dixon uses his story to inspire others.
  • Shane Kippel is a Toronto-born actor and musician. He starred as Gavin “Spinner” Mason on Degrassi: The Next Generation and Ralph in Life With Derek. Currently, he has moved over to music and is the drummer of the Toronto-based pop rock band Dear Love.
  • With The Lights Off With already making waves across Toronto and their hard hitting dance/pop sound to their catchy hooks, the future is looking bright for With the Lights Off.


In the words of two of our past award winners:

“I would like to thank you very much for providing me with this wonderful experience and allowing for my story to be heard. The youth day was an amazing time and the speakers really opened my eyes, quite inspirational. I feel so honoured to be receiving an award from such an amazing organization. Your story allows for others to believe you can make a difference no matter your situation. We have to continue this movement to end violence in this city.”  – Lageishon Mohanadas

“Louise Russo and the W.A.V.E. foundation has been an experience in my life that has taught me to believe in myself and the power we all have to change and succeed everyday. The W.A.V.E. message to work for a cause that has deeply affected people is so worthwhile and when you believe in something so greatly from within yourself, you and I will do whatever it takes to turn dreams into reality. Louise and W.A.V.E.’s efforts continue today to positively impact communities. These efforts served as an inspiration for me to get involved.” – Lorenzo Colocado


Congratulations to all our winners! You do make a difference.

A special Thank You to all schools, dignitaries, sponsors, individuals, parents, community members and volunteers who made this such a special day by coming out and supporting the W.A.V.E. Empowering Youth Day. This day is about making positive choices. It is with your support that our charitable organization continues to have a voice.


Believe in yourself, take the Role of leadership be Respectful be Responsible and you will make a difference.
Louise Russo

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.