The Burlington Caribbean Connection(BCC)

The Burlington Caribbean Connection started in 1996 as the Burlington Caribbean Youth Connection later changed to its current name The Burlington Caribbean Connection and referred to fondly as the BCC.

Over the past 20 years many have joined as members and many have left but the dedicated ones remain and very committed to the BCC mission and Vision .

The BCC has partnered with many groups and Agencies in the Burlington and surrounding area and has maintained many relationships with local businesses.

The BCC has maintained its Scholarship Fund with the assistance of Smith’s Funeral Homes, Grant and Bernhardt Law Firm(Toronto) and recently Adrian Johnson(Toronto) Each year the BCC has presented either one or two awards to assist students going off to University or college.

The BCC can also boast that we have donated money to the Local Hospital and many other agencies in the area as well as Internationally when there is a disaster and we will endeavor to continue.

The BCC introduced Black History events to Burlington with the assistance of the City, HRPS, School Boards and many more. We have participated in as many initiatives as we could and ensured our voice was heard from the Caribbean Community in order to promote awareness of our Caribbean Culture.

As we continue our presence in Burlington during the past 20 years we want to ensure that we are inclusive and therefore embrace anyone who wishes to join us and become a member.

Current Executive Committee:

President: Ancilla Ho-Young
Vice President: Cynthia Ahulu
Secretary: Norma Byer
Treasurer; Norma Richards
Past President: Janet Mullin
 
Historical Overview of The BCC
Historical Overview of The BCC
1996:
Started as The Burlington Caribbean Youth Connection by a group of concerned adults who wanted to get the youths involved in learning about their culture

1998:
Mandate established and an application for non-profit status was obtained with 10 members on record.
President- Jessica Riley;
Fundraising started with a Spring Brunch in May and a Christmas Dinner Dance in December and for fun, the children’s Christmas Party and a summer picnic.

1999:
Scholarship Committee established and guidelines for application of a scholarship award was crafted. The concept of monthly meetings was born and the opportunity to have these meetings in the Community Room at the Locust Street Police Station was afforded.

2000:
Jessica Riley retired and moved to sunny Anguilla and Janet Mullin assumed the role of President.

2001:
This year marked a major milestone for the organization –two scholarships and one bursary were awarded from the efforts of our fundraising events and donations.

2002:
Ancilla Ho-Young assumed the role of President.
Our mandate was revised and renamed Mission/Vision and Goals/Objectives; Introduction of the Constitution;
Scholarship Application guidelines were revised to be more inclusive and user friendly;
Accepted our current Logo,
Introduced the “Tropical Temptation” a poem about the Caribbean written by Dave Nanderam;
Printed our first set of T-Shirts and most importantly changed the name of the Organization to The Burlington Caribbean Connection (BCC) to reflect the current membership, as the youths had moved on to their busy lives.
We were entertained by the “Cream of the Crop” featuring City TV’s own meteorologist Harold Hosein at the Spring Brunch.
To complete a very successful year we received our first donation from Grant & Bernhardt Law Firm to our Scholarship Fund with Kim Bernhardt attending to present the three awards at the Dinner Dance/Gala and Scholarship Awards Night in December at the Burlington Art Centre. We were honored to have among our guests Mayor Robert MacIsaac and Halton Regional Police Chief – Ean Algar for the first time.
We experienced membership growth

2003:
Our first Ad in the Recreation and Leisure Guide;
Assumed hosting the “Caribbean Nite” event in September from the Caribbean Nurses at the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital and agreed to continue the tradition set, to donate proceeds from this event to the hospital.
Approval and of updates to the BCC’s Constitution
This year also marked the start of a very fruitful relationship with the Halton Multicultural Council(HMC) when the BCC became a member in good standing.
As well the BCC was invited to participate in the “Smart Growth Forum” hosted by the Mayor of the City of Burlington
Dave Nanderam became a Board member with HMC
The year ended with t the BCC’s Holiday Celebration and Scholarship Awards Night

2004:
Donated books to the Halton District School Board “ The Color of us”, a copy for each elementary school in Halton during Black History Month
Website for the BCC established;
Attendance for the first time at the HRPS Chief’s Forum;
Dave Nanderam, a representative from the BCC and HMC recruited to sit on the “Inclusive Cities Project” a cross country civic initiative;
A visit from the CEO and Board Chair of the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital at one of our monthly meetings to share information about the expansion of the hospital;
Led by Ancilla Ho-Young, established a Black History Committee in Burlington with partners from the community (i.e. City of Burlington, two School Boards, Halton Multicultural Council, Halton Regional Police Service and the YMCA;
Obtained a $2000.00 grant from Mayor Robert McIsaac to fund Black History Month the following year
Fundraising efforts in partnership with the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, YMCA and Halton Regional Police service for Hurricane Relief in the Caribbean.
To end the year another scholarship award was given out at the BCC’s Holiday Celebration and Scholarship Awards Night

2005:
Burlington’s inaugural kick- off of Black History Month in February with a Reception at Robert Bateman High School. Performances by community artists, students from local high schools, and group members highlighting great black people of the past and recognizing and a few from our own community. This was followed later in the month at Aldershot High School with a performance of “Ain’t Misbehavin” by the Canadian Caribbean Association of Waterloo Region.
At the Annual Spring Brunch in May the BCC’s own members were models for a Fashion Show with clothes supplied by The Bay-Burlington Mall
Other accomplishments for this year included supporting one of our members to lead the “Spelling Bee” in Burlington-Sue Daharry .
Dave Nanderam guided us through our Strategic Planning process;
Due to the success of “Caribbean Nite” in September we were able to donate to Carpenter Hospice as well as Nina’s Place ;
Accepted an invitation by the museums of Burlington to display cultural pieces of Art Work at Tansley Woods Community Centre ( John Canoe/Jonkannu and artifacts representing Kwanza were displayed;
Introduced the “Vibes “a local steel pan group” to the evenings entertainment of “Caribbean Nite
Participated in United Nations Day celebration again at Tansley Woods Community Centre
Ended the year with a very successful Gala & Scholarship Awards Night giving one award to a student in his first year at McMaster University.

2006:
Celebrations for Black History Month started with a Reception at Robert Bateman High School, and included a display of Art Work and poetry reading by students from local High Schools in Halton and a professional story teller doing her version of the story of Rosa Parks. To complete the events for Black History Month the “Caribbean Dance Theatre” from Toronto performed various dances with Caribbean and African flavor. To help us financially for next year, the BCC was successful in obtaining a Grant from Halton Healthy Community Fund;
Hosted a successful Annual Spring Brunch in May
We completed our Strategic Planning process
Participated in Multiculturalism Day at Bronte Creel hosted by the Halton Multicultural Council
We hosted a successful "Caribbean Nite” and was able to keep our commitment of donating to the JBMH Foundation to support the “Bring Dialysis to Burlington”
Partnered with Halton Multicultural Council for the United Way kick off in Burlington.
Celebrated the BCC’s 10th Anniversary with a Gala at Tansley Woods with past recipients of a Scholarship Awards in attendance telling about their successes and how the BCC helped.

2007:
Started off the year with Black History month activities –first event at Robert Bateman High School when Andrew Moodie the playwright presented his version of the story of Elijah McCoy in “The Real McCoy” The next event was at Nelson High School, Broadway Musical “Once on This Island” directed by Gordon Davis. Events were free with donations at the door.
In March received donation from the proceeds of an evening with “Hypnotist- Incredible Boris”
Fortunate to have the Toronto Children’s Choir and Performing Arts Company at the Annual Spring Brunch in May
Proceeds from the popular Caribbean Nite in September were donated to SAVIS and JBMH

2008:
Started the year with a kick-off of Black History Month at City Hall which was televised in its entirety by CHTV followed by a Broadway Musical “Bubbling Brown Sugar”
Partnered with Canadian Blood Services during February to promote the need for diverse blood donors.
BCC’s first organized Caribbean Cruise as a Fundraiser-very successful
Ancilla Ho-Young recruited to be a member of The Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee and subsequently became chair of this committee
Annual Spring Brunch and Caribbean Nite were very successful with proceeds going to JBMH from Caribbean Nite
Multiculturalism Day & United Nations Day were events where the BCC had a presence
Partnered with SAVIS in their Seniors Program “Whats age got to do with it?”
The year ended with a successful Gala and Scholarship Awards Night

2009:
Kick-off for Black History Month for the first time at the Burlington Mall and the unveiling of the “Legacy Poster” from the Robert Small Gallery. In attendance was Mr Small to talk about how he chooses who will be on the posters
The next event was a return of the Caribbean Dance Troop from Toronto by popular demand.
Featured in the Foundation News February 2009
Annual Spring Brunch and Caribbean Nite were very successful, monies from Caribbean Nite going to JBMH
Invited to the opening of the Satellite Dialysis Unit at Wellness House
Hosted a Plenary Session with all cultural groups with a Caribbean Connection to talk about commonalities and challenges and propose some solutions, led by Dave Nanderam
Co-hosted the “Haitian Dance Troup” with the Halton Catholic District School Board in November raising about $1000.00 to help with building a school.

2010:
End of January hosted another kick-off event for Black History Month at the Burlington Mall with our community partners. Unveiled the Legacy poster donated by HRPS as well as negotiated a display of books by black authors at Coles bookstore.
Through the two school boards a drummer, story teller and dancer was hired to work with students for a week culminating with a matinee and then a public performance. Show was well attended and picked up by COGECO and the local newspapers .Raised $400.00 that night to donate to the Haiti Relief Fund.