AUG 29, 2023

Reaching Troubled Youth Through Music and Mentorship

When Signals and Communications Supervisor Briton Facey started By the Brook Faith Tabernacle in 2000, little did he know the changes the charity would bring to the lives of the young people it was designed to help.

The organization offers support and mentoring to at-risk youth in Briton’s community of Brampton, ON, where the largely Jamaican population struggles with issues like alcoholism, drugs, teen pregnancy and violence. “There is no such thing as bad kids, only bad circumstances,” says Briton, who joined CN in 2010. “I want to create a safe and positive environment, a good place where they can come to counter what they are facing on a daily basis.”

Briton Facey - Railroader in the Community
Photo: Hands up if you want a song! Briton engages kids in a music lesson at By the Brook.

Briton’s wife, Shelly Ann, a social worker, helps him run the charity along with members of the community. “We closely mentor each young person and try to teach them how to identify good peers and healthier friends, communicate better with parents and teachers, return to school or get a job and resist the immense peer pressure around them. The hope is to change the direction the young people are headed.”

Music is the bridge to connecting with the youth. A talented musician, Briton offers free piano, voice, and bass drum lessons to eager students. “Music engages them in something positive and gives them an outlet to channel their creativity. It also teaches patience and discipline because they have to show up for lessons and dedicate themselves to learning. One line of song can be very powerful.”

The grants from CN to By the Brook in recognition of Briton’s volunteer commitment are used to buy additional musical instruments and song sheets, pay for the rental of a community centre and provide any needed assistance to the kids.