DR NEILANK K. JHA
CHAIRMAN & FOUNDER
We started in 1997 as a group of students attending the University of Toronto who wanted to spend time with inner-city children in Regent Park. This core group has gone on to become successful professionals, including: lawyers, engineers, police officers, physicians, professors and corporate executives, among others. However, we have remained friends and are committed to our cause of providing inner-city youth with the same opportunities we had.
My inspiration to expand our cause started six years ago when a waitress in a downtown Toronto restaurant that I frequented said she knew of our organisation and our work. She asked me if I would speak to her son, Mark, who was in grade 10 with slim prospects of making it to grade 11. I called Mark and, although he avoided me initially, he finally agreed to meet with me to appease his mom.
He was impressed with the fact that I was a strong student who went on to become a doctor but who also enjoyed the same music and hobbies as he did. Mark was able to relate to me instead of seeing me as an intimidating authority figure. His hidden talents came to light when he asked me if he could improve my car stereo and within a few hours he had reworked the sound system. I immediately realised that this boy had a deep interest in electronics and incredible potential.
We visited the Sandford Fleming Engineering Building at the University of Toronto and Mark, mesmerised by what he saw there, asked me how he could attend. Mark has since graduated from the Engineering Programme at the University of Toronto on scholarship and is now working for a local firm. Both Mark and his mother attribute a great part of his success to the time he spent with the W.A.T.C.H. programme. It was my personal pleasure to spend time with Mark and mentor him. He is just one of the many examples of the tremendous impact our organisation has had in the community.
With your help, we can provide the time and resources needed to help students like Mark not only discover but realise their dreams for their futures. We believe that every child deserves access to the highest quality education and, until that objective is met, our organisation will continue to serve the communities that need us the most.
Neilank K. Jha, neurosurgeon
Chairman & Founder, WATCH Community Services