CYRIL MATTHEW Outstanding Father Figure Award: Patrick Knight

Patrick KnightPatrick Knight is an innovative educator, who specializes in serving inner-city students and their families, primarily in the Jane and Finch community.

Over his 21-year career in education, he has established community partnerships with schools to demonstrate that such partners can offer cultural and community-specific services to students.

Knight believes that schools should become community hubs, where these services can be easily accessed by community members in need. He says such partnerships are congruent with students’ learning needs, as well as their social and emotional needs.

He founded “Brothers Unlimited,” a mentorship program for “at-risk” male students in the Jane and Finch area, which has the slogan: “When brothers come together, they have unlimited potential”.

It was designed to cultivate, in these young males of colour, a desire to attend postsecondary education, and help them find an alternative to street gang culture.  By pairing up students with positive male role models who had achieved success, the goal was to offer them inspiration to be successful and fulfill their unlimited potentials.

The scope of the program grew, and seeking to break the “minority-inferiority mindset,” Knight took students to visit famous African American colleges and universities. They went to Morehouse College in Atlanta and Howard University in Washington D.C., where they could be inspired by other young people of colour fulfilling their own hopes and aspiration.

As a result of these efforts, many young men attended college and university. The group is now operating in the Kingston-Galloway community at Sir Robert Borden BTI, and is supported by Read2Rap, a literacy and leadership program.

Knight is the recipient of the TDSB’s Award of Excellence and the Miracle Network’s Education Award of Merit. He has also been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in the Jane and Finch community.

Sponsored by: Gwyneth Matthew-Chapman.