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(Posted 9:30 a.m., Aug. 28)
Dapo Fun Day raises money, awareness for peace foundation
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Dapo Agoro Foundation for Peace bursary recipient Gabriela Umanzor is flanked by Abiola and Bashir Agoro during a break in the Dapo Day festivities on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The sun was shining and spirits were high on Saturday as more than 100 people took part in the ninth annual Dapo Fun Day in Blackburn Hamlet.

The event is held annually in memory of Oladapo Agoro, an 18-year-old high school student who was tragically stabbed to death while trying to break up a fight just days before his high school graduation.

The Fun Day is organized by the Dapo Agoro Foundation for Peace, which was founded in 2005 to carry on Dapo's legacy as a peacemaker by promoting non-violent conflict resolution.

Funds raised during the event help pay for two busaries at Dapo's alma mater, Lester B. Pearson High School, and Gloucester High School.

This year's Gloucester High School recipient, Gabriela Umanzor, dropped by Glen Park with her father to thank the Agoro family for the award.

Prior to receiving the bursary, Umanzor had never heard of Dapo Agoro or his story. In fact, she wasn't even aware that she had been nominated for the award until she was called up on stage during her graduation ceremony.

"It was a total surprise. I guess I was nominated by some of my teachers and I was lucky enough to get chosen," said Umanzor, who now knows a great deal about Dapo, including several things they have in common.

For instance, at the time he was killed, Dapo was planing to take criminology at the University of Ottawa. Umanzor is currently enrolled in the program and plans to be a lawyer.

Like Dapo, she has also been relied upon to act as a mediator among her friends and close acquaintances.

"I get a lot of people coming to me for advice and I always try to help them any way I can," said Umanzor.

The Dapo Agoro Foundation for Peace wants to continue handing out bursaries and the Agoro family wants to step up their efforts to take their message into local schools, especially with the 10th anniversary of Dapo Day slated for next year.

'There so much more we want to do and there's so many people we haben't touched yet," said Dapo's older sister Shola. "The subject of knife violence is not going away. Where I live in Toronto, you hear about it almost every day."

Shola said next year's Dapo Day will feature a number of special guest speakers, a beefed up musical line-up and a special ceremony at Dapo's monument in the park.

"To be here 10 years is pretty special," said Shola. "When we organized the very first Dapo Day we were thinking it was going to be a one year or two year thing. We never imagined that it would still attract so many people 10 years later. It says a lot about my brother and how he still manages to touch people in special way."

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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