Thinking about social impact is one thing; creating it is another.
Domonique Morris SIF ’15 graduate is founder of Perfect Keys Academy, which, through piano lessons, helps children with learning challenges develop skills such as hand-eye coordination, reading comprehension, hearing awareness, and the ability to handle stress.
When Domonique founded Perfect Keys, she set out not only to expand the minds of the children going through her program, but also to help build their courage and boost their self-esteem. Easier said than done.
A practical idealist, Domonique knows that achieving such a lofty aim requires many different strategies and constant reinforcement. Domonique had an idea: she wanted the kids in her Toronto neighbourhood of Falstaff to start the school year with an anticipatory glee of learning. And she knew that little things can make a big difference.
That’s when she decided kids in her neighbourhood needed fresh school supplies like pencils with perfectly pink erasers, and crisp, inviting notebooks beckoning children to set down their thoughts.
Her obstacle? She didn’t really know where to start.
Her secret weapons? Passion and determination.
Passion and determination have a way of inspiring others to join the cause. With the help of SSE contacts, it wasn’t long before she was in touch with TRUST Childcare Centres, an outstanding daycare facility located in the Toronto neighbourhood of Summerhill. Domonique’s idea for this project inspired TRUST and its families so fully that thanks to their generous donations, she was able to fill forty backpacks with school supplies for kids in Falstaff, and to have enough for a second round of school supplies later in the year.
In addition to providing supplies to students who otherwise might not have been able to buy them, she also joined forces with the Falstaff back-to-school “Summerfest”, a partnership between Falstaff Tenant Representatives, Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services, Toronto Community Housing, and Perfect Keys Academy.
Summerfest aims to be a fun-filled day that brings the community together in a way that fosters healthy eating, good habits, and active lifestyles among Falstaff children. The event was a smashing success, and was documented by fellow SIF graduate Oliver Miller ’15 who produced a video about the day.
It’s people like Domonique who recognize that things in their neighbourhood are overlooked or at least “underhandled”, and who use their voices to change way the city works – for the better.
It turns out that the Falstaff Summerfest wasn’t the last time Domonique used her voice to great effect. On October 8, 2015, Domonique competed in the City of Toronto’s Youth Arts Pitch Contest. Using the pitching skills she developed at SSE, Domonique translated the success of Summerfest into a second place win and $2,500 toward development of Perfect Keys Academy.
“Perfect keys” aren’t the only things that feel perfect in Domonique’s life these days.