A passion for helping others continues to burn inside Jordan D’Souza.
The Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School graduate was recently awarded a prestigious post-secondary school award for his leadership efforts at Ryerson University in Toronto.
The fourth-year student, who grew up in Orillia, has received this year’s New World Award for student leadership in international education from the Canadian Bureau of International Educators (CBIE). The honour goes annually to a Canadian student or group of students to recognize their positive contribution to the ‘internationalization’ of their campus community.
D’Souza, who serves as chair on the Ryerson World University Service of Canada (WUSC) committee, helped organize a humanitarian trip to Peru with student athletes he meets as Ryerson Athletics volunteer experience (RAVE) co-ordinator.
"It’s really fulfilling for me," he said, adding the position involves getting varsity athletes involved in special volunteer and social-justice projects to help improve the lives of those who are less fortunate.
"They aren’t just athletes, but also scholars."
D’Souza, who would like to eventually work for an NGO in the international development field, said he encourages other students he works with to do something to make the world a better place every single day.
Building on the success of the Peru trip that saw D’Souza and nine athletes develop a park and begin a youth athletic program in the South American country, he is now planning a similar trip for next May to Cambodia with another group of student athletes.
For D’Souza, his interest in becoming a social justice activist and international development major began in 2011 when he travelled with a group of 29 students to Kenya.
"I met the poorest people that I had ever seen and also the happiest people I had ever seen," D’Souza, 22, recalled of the trip that involved building a school for a local African community as part of a Free the Children initiative.
"It really sparked my interest in this kind of work. It comes from a real, genuine place of compassion."