Community is everything to Curtis Carmichael.
Since emigrating with his family from Guyana to Toronto, Curtis has lived in numerous Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods, from Regent Park to Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park to Cataraqui. Growing up, his mentors included drug dealers and former inmates, yet despite their reputations on the street, they all played an important role in inspiring Curtis to embrace literacy and explore technology at a young age.
He went on to obtain degrees from Queen’s University and Ontario Tech University. He was also a promising football player in talks with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats & Ottawa Redblacks when a head injury made him reconsider a career as a professional athlete.
“I hung up my cleats instead of going to play pro,” Curtis said on the Leading With Nice Interview Series podcast. “I moved back to my Toronto Community Housing neighbourhood and asked them: ‘How can I be of service?'”
He has since dedicated his life to advocating for Black and racialized youth in low-income communities both locally and abroad.
Today, Curtis is an award-winning author, professional speaker, certified STEM elementary teacher, social entrepreneur, and the founder of Source Code Academy Canada — Canada’s first culture-focused innovation and entrepreneurship academy preparing children and youth for the future of work. He is also the critically acclaimed author and mobile app developer of Butterflies in the Trenches, the world’s first augmented reality memoir.
Curtis stopped by the podcast to talk about the importance of embracing community, life lessons from those that he has met along the way, and his mission to help everyone realize they have the power to make a difference in not only their lives, but the lives of those around them. Listen below!