A head-and-shoulders photo of a smiling person.

Onoriode Francis Osifo's passion is to help others.

The second-year Bachelor of Child and Youth Care student grew up in Nigeria at a time when many youth lacked access to resources and supports. It had an impact on his life and it’s one of the reasons he came to Humber College – to continue his education so he could help the next generation.

His desire to get involved runs deep. Osifo had a work-integrated learning experience with The Neighbourhood Group Community Services, a social agency serving more than 40,000 people and families in Toronto. While there, he worked with youth from the Jane and Finch area and was deeply touched by their stories.

Inspired by the experience, he wants to attend law school after graduating from Humber and plans to study family law. When he broached the idea with his professor, Osifo received great feedback and support that further reinforced his belief that the goal is achievable.

“Working with the youth really ignited a passion in me,” said Osifo.  

His work helping others continues in his role as an outreach assistant with Black Student Support and Engagement (BSSE). His work with BSSE sees him assist Black-identifying Humber newcomers and international students to navigate campus life. A self-professed extrovert, Osifo can often be found on campus sharing with others the many reasons BSSE is a valuable resource for the community.

He also provides strategic advice to assist marketing when there’s an event or activity that needs promoting. Sometimes his work starts with a simple invite to passersby to pop into the BSSE for a friendly game of UNO and a conversation.

“Francis is a community building pillar at the BSSE,” said Jack Lewis, student equity and inclusion coordinator with BSSE. “People come back to the BSSE not just for the space but for people like Francis who’s doing such impactful work.”

Osifo was introduced to BSSE while at Lakeshore Campus. He liked the events and activities BSSE was offering and began spending more time there. It introduced him to his peers at a time when he was looking to make friends and foster connection.

“It has given me a sense of community and a feeling of belonging,” he said. “I’m a confident person to a large extent but my confidence has gone much higher since joining BSSE.”

He put that confidence and his exuberant personality to work as the emcee for the Black Heritage Month opening ceremony at Lakeshore Campus on February 1. Osifo also plans on running for a position on the IGNITE Board of Directors and said the courage and motivation to do so came after receiving encouragement and support from his friends within Humber's Black community.
Both Lewis and Osifo say the work BSSE is doing is incredibly important for building community for Humber’s Black-identifying students.

“Visibility, first and foremost, is so important so to have the BSSE for the Black student population at Humber is extremely meaningful so that they don’t feel othered,” said Lewis. “Moreover, we’re not just a physical space but a place to connect students with Humber and community resources including pathways to employment and skill building.”

Osifo also found a mentor through the BSSE in Lewis. When he has a question or concern, he knows he can turn to Lewis for a thoughtful response and a new perspective.  

More information on BSSE can be found on the Black Student Support and Engagement website.