reStart – A Brampton Based Charity Supporting BIPOC Youth

We inspire and empower BIPOC youth to overcome missteps with school or the law.

Our aim is to impact young lives for a chance of lasting transformation.

reStart provides youth and their parents with information, support, and mentorship as they navigate the youth justice and education systems — to foster better decision making and positive behavioural change.

Our History

In 2008, we began helping fearful, inexperienced, and uninformed BIPOC youth who had become court involved. 

We learned through experience that:

Youth have no support in and no information about the youth justice system.

Court specific knowledge is difficult to find.

Out of fear and shame, many youths come to court without parents or any representation.

reStart serves as a liaison between parents, youth, and the Youth Justice System

So, we started attending Brampton youth court every Tuesday to offer to serve as the liaison between parents, youth and the youth justice system, and to help them access information, services and support they didn’t know was available to them. 

We connected with confused and scared parents who needed vital information about the justice system. Through this process, parents and youth learned about their rights and responsibilities. Today, BIPOC youth in Brampton can find support, information, mentoring, and diversion programs through reStart.

making a difference with reStart

The Difference is Relationship

How reStart Charity Creates Lasting Impact

We focus on relationship. Our goal extends beyond “getting through the system.” Our aim is to guide and support youth to increase their chances of experiencing opportunities for a brighter future. Investing time and energy, delivering straight talk about choices and outcomes, and providing education makes all the difference.

Andrea Bucknor

Andrea Bucknor

Founder | Ceo

When you realize that somebody with experience can understand what you’re going through, it makes a big difference—to you and your child.

Andrea Bucknor’s son was a teenager when he ended up in the justice system. She didn’t know what to do, and there was no one to help her figure it out. The complete lack of support for mothers like herself made the situation even more frightening and confusing. Andrea was only offered basic information, but her persistence and determination helped her son receive the best possible outcome and turn his life around.

Then, every week, Andrea started returning to the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse in Brampton, Ontario. She was determined to help other mothers like her by sharing what she had learned. This motivated her to create reStart.

“Once I figured it out, I realized there are parents, especially single mothers, who need to know they’re not alone,” Andrea explains. “They’re embarrassed, ashamed, don’t know who to talk to; they don’t want to be stereotyped and put down. Even if information is there, they don’t know how to access it or what questions to ask.

“As a parent, if you’re not involved, the judge will offer your child any diversion program and not get to the root of the problem to actually help them. The court tends to give the youth a slap on the hand and 20 hours of community service. Getting to the root cause of the youth’s behaviour is important to stop the reoffending.”

Andrea knows it takes a village to help children and youth flourish and stay or get out of trouble. She knows the power of community working together, and through reStart she helps children/youth and their parent(s) get the support they need from many different individuals in different ways—lawyers, social workers, counsellors, schools, internships, access to enhanced programs, and more—to help them turn their lives around.

Andrea’s son is a mature adult in his 30s, so she’s been doing this for a long time. Motivated by love and a passion for helping others, her work continues to help and support youth who were offtrack experience amazing transformations.

Board Members

Trevor Richards

Board Chair

Trevor Richards is a professional motivational speaker who has dedicated his life to inspiring individuals and organizations to achieve their full potential. Trevor’s approach is grounded in the belief that everyone has the inner ability and capacity to achieve greatness. He is passionate about helping people and is committed to providing practical advice and tools that individuals and organizations can use to achieve success.

With over a decade of experience, Trevor has become a sought-after speaker, known for his engaging and dynamic presentations that leave audiences feeling motivated and empowered. He has a deep understanding of the challenges that people face in their personal and professional lives. These insights are used to help individuals and organizations develop strategies to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Maud Esi Amoafo

Vice Chair

Maud holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Ghana and a master’s in political science from the University of Windsor.

Her master’s thesis focused on improving Ghana’s petroleum socio-economic outcomes through local content and fiscal discipline in the management of petroleum revenues. Her research interests include energy and public policy and natural resource governance. She works at the Income Assistance Service Delivery Unit, Ministry of Social Services, Government of Saskatchewan.

Maud’s goals of utilizing policy to champion the cause of social justice are strongly with the ethos of reStart to increase youth court representation, curb legal marginalization, and promote restorative justice for youth in Ontario, and ultimately across Canada.

Mildred Dwomoh Boateng

Secretary

Mildred started her undergraduate studies at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), studying political science and sociology. In 2019 she moved to Canada to continue her education and is currently studying political science at Toronto Metropolitan University. Her goal is to attend law school in order to pursue a career as a criminal lawyer.

As a board member with reStart, Mildred intends to help to increase awareness of social justice, provide support for youth in courts, curb legal marginalization, and promote restorative justice in Canada.

Atiya Thomas

Board Member

Atiya is a Youth Worker at the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre and brings extensive knowledge and experience in therapeutic strategies to her role as a Board member. She is adept in managing emotional and cognitive needs, counselling, and therapeutic play, which enables her to successfully support youth through various life challenges.

As a mother of six children, Atiya understands the ups and downs of parenting teenagers. Her experience — not only as a mother, but also a youth worker — makes Atiya an excellent advocate for advancing reStart’s work in program development for youth in the youth justice and educational systems.

Areal Boateng

Treasurer

In 2019, she graduated with Honours and Valedictorian recognition at Emery edVance Learning Center. With a goal to advance her career in criminal law, she is currently pursuing a degree in Politics and Governance with a minor in Criminology at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Areal’s academic knowledge and passion for helping youth gives her a greater understanding of societal issues. She wants to help youth make the right choices in life, especially in the area of their education, and she sees reStart as a pivotal advocate in addressing disparities concerning equity in our communities and institutions, especially within the justice system.

We are seeking individuals to join our Board to assist with governance, financial management, strategic planning, and program development. If you are keen to support BIPOC youth in our community and help them live their best and most successful lives, please contact Andrea Bucknor, CEO, at reStart for more information.