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From learner to leader

Anyonam Tutu-Brenpong

Anyonam Tutu-Brenpong, who thrived thanks to the IMANI Mentorship, is now a mentor herself.

Anyonam Tutu-Brenpong is the first to admit she was a “horrible” student in high school. “I had no direction, I wasn’t focused, I was too social, I wasn’t disciplined,” she says.

Yet here she is at UTSC, thriving in third-year psychology. What made the difference?

Her answer: the IMANI Mentorship Program. This highly successful outreach initiative for Scarborough school students started as a club within UTSC’s Black Students’ Alliance, with the goal of helping more Black youth get to university.

Student mentors helped Tutu-Brenpong with her homework and gave her tips on studying. “Over time, I learned to be more focused and more disciplined with my schoolwork.”

She says the program also helped her with social skills, organizational skills and goal setting.

“I feel like had I not been in that program, I probably wouldn’t have made it to university.”

She is now one of IMANI’s student ambassadors—and the club president.

IMANI, which means “faith” in Swahili, began in 2005 by mentoring a handful of high school students in a UTSC classroom. Today, the program is overseen by UTSC’s Department of Student Life. With support from founding donor and UTSC alum Mary Anne Chambers, it has grown to serve 120 mentees each week at high schools, elementary schools and library sites throughout Scarborough.

From the beginning, Tutu-Brenpong was eager to be part of UTSC. “I was in love with the school. I knew since Grade 9 that I wanted to go there.”