The neighbourhoods of east Scarborough are often overlooked by the powers-that-be in this city.
While the area is recognized for its multiculturalism, some don’t seem to recognize that parts of the community are inaccessible by public transit after certain hours while most of Toronto enjoys 24-hour bus service.
Throughout the area are vacant lots waiting for development, but no one seems willing to invest.
It sometimes feels as if this is a forgotten section of the city.
Some residents complain while others have become complacent, but there are those who have taken it upon themselves to enact the positive changes they wish to see.
The late Shawn Rose, known as Blu by those in the community, was one of these people.
Blu devoted his life to helping young people in the area.
After graduating from Centennial College he worked as an education assistant for the Toronto District School Board, the YMCA, and Pathways for Children.
He also spent 12 years at the Malvern Community Centre where he served as a role model and mentor for at-risk youth.
Sadly, he passed away in November 2005 of a brain aneurysm only weeks before his 29th birthday.
The community lost an admired and respected citizen but did not lose its need for such positive influences.
I think the way he lived his life conveyed a message that is not only important for young people to realize but for everyone, that if you want to live in a better place you need to make it a better place.
Members of the Malvern community successfully petitioned the city to rename Empringham Park in his honour and it is now called Shawn “Blu” Rose Park.
To further ensure Blu’s legacy would not be forgotten, Flow 93.5’s Spex created the Blue Zone, a portion of his popular weekly radio show in which he plays positive-themed reggae music and often speaks highly of Rose’s accomplishments.
Every community, not just Malvern, could use more people who are committed to making a difference in the lives of their neighbours.
Just because your neighbourhood may be overlooked does not mean there is anything you cannot overcome.