We aim to create healthy sustainable urban communities by engaging youth employment, education and healthy living opportunities.
In 2002, Olu Quamina watched youth in the Alexandra Park community trade in the prospect of a high school diploma for ownership of a shiny new bicycle – the vehicle given to youth as a formal inauguration to the community’s drug dealing world.
Since then, Olu Quamina has worked to empower youth, especially those susceptible to gang membership, to consider a variety of positive alternatives. By offering programs that combined resources with support for academic and/or career trajectories, youth accessed healthier options that impacted their lives in more positive ways. To pay tribute to the efforts and success of the youth that he worked with over the years, he then decided to title the collection of programs “Concrete Roses”.
In 2011, he then went on to found the non-profit organization Concrete Roses Youth Services; and in 2012, partnered with Karima Kinlock in order to bring a research & analysis element to the growth of programs and overall organization.
Together, the Concrete Roses Youth Services Management Staff, the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board, seek to reach youth in urban communities, and bridge gaps between corporations, community agencies, and schools in order to address social issues that threaten healthy sustainable communities:
Olu Quamina- Executive Director, Founder
With a background in social services and a career that includes mediation, advocacy and leadership in a variety of capacities, Olu Quamina brings over a decade of experience networking with schools, not-for-profit organizations, community stakeholders, children and youth. Much of his work is founded on the premise of prevention. His unique leadership style and youth-support strategies have worked extensively to decrease the amount of gang membership in the Alexandra Park community. He has been active in the community championing social issues through the development and implementation of programs specifically tailored to address the needs and issues of the developing child/youth. His many years dedicated to nurturing relationships with youth and community stakeholders have contributed to a deeper comprehension of the veins of support needed to encourage healthy sustainable communities. This invaluable experience has only emphasized his belief in the importance of team work and its’ ability to ensure an environment that supports and facilitates healthy development for children and youth.
Karima Kinlock- Director of Research and Development
With a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work- Community & International Development, Karima Kinlock has had extensive experience working with youth in various socio-economic environments. Her experience includes consulting with organizations to improve structural efficiency; conducting needs assessments for communities and organizations; and developing, implementing and evaluating programs. A graduate from McGill University, she has used her experience to work with international and national researchers to manage projects that help promote and encourage healthy youth and community development.