From Struggles to Success: Ajamu Attard’s Inspiring Entrepreneurial Journey
Ajamu Attard is the National Director and CEO of Student Support in Canada, and his journey as an entrepreneur has been riddled with struggles and successes along the way.
With an intense determination to better his community from the get-go, young Attard, now 27, has been the recipient of about a dozen prestigious awards such as Top 20 Under 20 Award and the Lincoln M. Alexander Award.
“Just a couple years before receiving those awards, I was in a shelter,” says Attard, looking back to high school.
Early struggles as a student
Attard faced hardships during his school years, but he remained determined to make a positive impact. Despite years of struggle and what he frankly describes as a period of temporary mediocrity in his academic career, Attard decided to focus all his efforts on improving his own life and becoming a leader in his community.
Although Attard coasted through school for a while, his situation quickly changed and he went on to become an entrepreneur and a community leader in his own right.
Attard took a victory lap, and focused all his spare time on bettering his community and helping his fellow students realize their potential and find new opportunities in academics, post-secondary education, funding and scholarships, and community involvement opportunities.
Attard went on to continue making a difference, launching community initiatives to help eliminate racial discrimination in Ontario. Among other efforts to assist in his community, this is the one that would get him nominated for the Lincoln M. Alexander Award.
Having experienced racial discrimination himself, and being one of the few students of colour in Peterborough, Ontario, Ajamu Attard decided to take a stand and help his fellow students in more ways than one.
Attard helped his fellow students write scholarship applications, and eventually went on to start a scholarship matching service for students. The service was successful, helping students acquire over half a million dollars in scholarship funding.
Attard says students would struggle to find the right scholarships at the time, and would ask for his help.
“All they wanted was for someone to find the opportunities for them,” says Attard.
It was shortly thereafter that both Attard’s peers and staff at his school began to take notice of his remarkable achievements as well as his determination to make a difference in the lives of his fellow students.
Ajamu Attard says if he didn’t have the support of staff, who later became aware of his situation, he would have gone down the wrong path.
“Many teachers took extra time out of school to quite literally support me because they found out I was working two jobs and doing all these different things,” says Attard.
One situation stood out to Attard in particular when a teacher sat him down and told him to avoid hanging the wrong crowd, and to go all-in on his vision. Speaking highly of his potential and his intelligence, young Attard was given a second chance to make something of himself.
It was then that Attard became hyper aware of the potential vices as well as the pitfalls of being not just a student, but a struggling student – a student that was struggling financially, emotionally and with clarity. With an unpredictable future, it was hard to make the right decisions to drive positive growth.
At the time, it was hard to think long-term because Attard was struggling with poverty and anxieties brought about from his turbulent childhood and living situation.
According to Ajamu Attard, making a definitive decision to change and impact his community for the better was one of the best decisions he has ever made. At the time, seeking to affect more positive change and expand his efforts within the community and in his own work, Ajamu Attard went on to find Student Support.
The launch of Student Support
It was in second year at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, where Attard met fellow students, and later to-be cofounders: Brent Colby and Scott Braddon.
Attard speaks highly of his co-founders, and says they were equally as driven and determined, both with a voracious appetite to learn as much as possible about starting a social enterprise.
Student Support officially started in 2021, after two of the three co-founders had graduated. Starting well after the scholarship service Attard had created, he felt confident knowing he had the prior experience under his belt.
The team decided to make Student Support a service that would benefit students and help make essential supports more affordable to the student body.
It was in the early stages that Ajamu Attard was reminded of both his struggles and successes as a student. He recalls truly being able to focus and devote his energy towards building his community as well as profitable enterprises when he was given help by teachers and peers.
Today, Student Support is partnered with major services that provide a whole range of support services to students from education to fitness and writing tools.
Student Support partners with Calm, Udemy, Nimbus Learning and Aaptiv to provide students with support throughout the university year at a fraction of the cost.
“We’re talking about 98 percent off,” says Attard.
Though many students have been in favour of Student Support, there has been occasional pushback by student organizations over the years, and Student Support was able to overcome that each time.
Student Support provides services to the student body after a referendum at each institution, and after gaining majority support, they provide their services. Students still have the option, however, to opt out at any time.
Attard says Student Support’s journey has been inspiring and filled with lessons along the way.
One thing that inspired Attard was that some students would opt in to Student Support even if they didn’t need the service. Their goal was helping their fellow students get access to essential supports and help lessen the cost burden among the student body.
Attard says it’s fulfilling to know that Student Support empowers students to be able to empower their fellow students to gain access to the support they need.
Between essential writing services, meditation services, a near limitless archive of education resources and more, Student Support is eager to form more strategic partnerships and meaningful relationships to bring more services to students at a fraction of the cost.
Next steps for Ajamu Attard
While current day-to-day operations at Student Support keeps Ajamu Attard on his feet and working around the clock, he does his best to continue giving back to the community and exploring his passions.
Ajamu Attard attended a convention with RISE – an organization that lends funding and support to entrepreneurs with mental health issues.
Attard is also exploring speaking opportunities to discuss social entrepreneurship, and encourage others to follow their passions as well. On his website, he allows organizations to book him for conferences and as a keynote speaker.
Attard wants to leave budding entrepreneurs and students alike with a final note.
“Community is about uplifting each other, and it’s our job to make the world a better place.”
Exclusive Interview with The NET ZERO ENERGY Buildings Expert Anastasia Makarska: Shaping a Greener Future
Welcome to an exclusive interview with Anastasia Makarska, a renowned figure in the world of commercial real estate development. Anastasia’s resolute commitment to sustainability and her unique background in physics and engineering have revolutionized the real estate landscape, transforming spaces into sustainable and coveted marvels.
In this interview, we delve into the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) and the challenges associated with building codes for NZEB. Join us as we explore the visionary force behind Anastasia’s remarkable projects and her dedication to shaping a greener future.
Anastasia, thank you for joining us today. Let’s start by discussing the concept of Net Zero Energy Buildings. Could you explain to our audience what exactly is meant by a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB)?
Anastasia: Certainly. A Net Zero Energy Building, or NZEB, is an approach to construction that focuses on creating energy-efficient buildings that are connected to the power grid while also generating renewable energy to offset their energy consumption. The aim is to achieve a balance where the amount of renewable energy produced either on-site or nearby matches or exceeds the building’s annual energy needs, resulting in virtually no net energy consumption.
That’s fascinating. It’s clear that NZEBs hold tremendous potential in terms of sustainability. How are developers and building owners embracing this concept, and what are some innovative features we can find in NZEBs?
Anastasia: Developers and building owners are increasingly interested in constructing zero energy buildings, driven by corporate objectives and regulatory requirements. The building and design community is actively embracing this challenge and leading the way with innovative and forward-thinking projects.
NZEBs incorporate a wide range of energy-efficient strategies, from simple to highly intricate. These include maximizing the utilization of passive solar heat gain and shading, integrating high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, appliances, windows, and doors, enhancing insulation, natural ventilation, air sealing, and incorporating advanced renewable energy solutions like solar photovoltaics and geothermal energy systems.
The goal is to create buildings that regulate temperature fluctuations, minimize energy consumption, and reduce environmental impact.
It’s impressive how NZEBs combine various technologies and strategies to achieve sustainability. Now, let’s delve into building codes. What role do building codes play in the construction of NZEBs, and what codes and standards exist for this purpose?
Anastasia: Building codes play a crucial role in guiding the construction of net zero energy buildings. Currently, there are codes and standards in place to assist designers, architects, builders, and contractors in creating more energy-efficient and sustainable structures compared to previous years.
In the United States, professionals in the building industry can refer to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which has been adopted in approximately 44 states and territories. Across North America, ASHRAE 90.1 provides significant guidance, and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) serves as another valuable resource. In Canada, there are the National Energy Code of Canada (NECC) and the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB).
That’s helpful to know. Given the increasing need for more rigorous energy and building codes, what are some of the challenges faced in developing codes specifically tailored for NZEBs?
Anastasia: The development of codes specifically tailored for NZEBs faces several challenges. As industry professionals and officials work on designing new codes to facilitate the transition to net zero energy, there is still no consensus on the structure of the code, its comprehensive scope, and ensuring that buildings achieve net zero energy status throughout their lifecycle.
To ensure buildings perform as intended, it is essential to establish post-construction reporting, analysis, and a framework for oversight and enforcement.
Current codes and standards often rely on energy proxies without a requirement for actual quantification of energy usage. There are also gaps in the inclusion of certain types of energy usage in calculations.
To achieve the goal of net zero energy buildings, methodologies need to evolve, modeling capabilities should be enhanced, and real-world outcomes must be measured.
Overcoming those challenges will be crucial for the success of NZEBs. Could you tell us about the advantages that net zero energy buildings offer to building owners, occupants, and the environment?
Anastasia: Absolutely. Net zero energy buildings provide several advantages. Buildings account for a significant portion of fossil fuel energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. By increasing the number of net zero energy buildings, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and effectively lower carbon emissions.
Some key advantages of NZEBs include protection for building owners against future energy price hikes, enhanced occupant comfort, health, well-being, and productivity, reduction in energy consumption and associated costs, improved reliability of energy supply, increased resale value due to high demand for net zero buildings, contribution towards achieving zero energy targets, and minimized environmental impact. These advantages create value for building owners, occupants, and the planet.
Those advantages make a compelling case for embracing net zero energy buildings. As a visionary force in real estate development, how do you see the future of NZEBs and their potential impact on communities and the environment?
Anastasia: I believe the future of net zero energy buildings is incredibly promising. As awareness of the need for sustainability grows, NZEBs will become the norm rather than the exception. They have the potential to reshape communities and serve as catalysts for positive change.
Net zero energy buildings can create vibrant, sustainable communities that prioritize the well-being of both residents and businesses. By reducing energy consumption, minimizing environmental impact, and offering enhanced comfort and productivity, NZEBs have a transformative effect on the communities they serve. They not only contribute to the preservation of our planet but also provide value for investors, businesses, and communities alike.
Thank you for sharing your insights, Anastasia. Before we conclude, could you tell our audience about any upcoming projects or initiatives that you’re particularly excited about in the realm of net zero energy buildings?
Anastasia: Certainly. I’m thrilled to be working on a groundbreaking project that aims to create a net zero energy residential community. This community will embody the principles of sustainable living and showcase the potential of NZEBs on a larger scale. It will integrate cutting-edge technologies, energy-efficient systems, and sustainable materials to provide residents with an exceptional living experience while minimizing the community’s environmental footprint. I believe this project will serve as a blueprint for future developments and inspire others to embrace the vision of net zero energy living.
As we conclude this insightful interview with Anastasia Makarska, it is evident that she is a visionary force transforming the real estate industry through sustainable development. Anastasia’s dedication to creating sustainable and desirable spaces, her commitment to excellence, and her unwavering belief in the power of net zero energy buildings have positioned her as a leading authority in commercial real estate.
Through her innovative projects and expertise, Anastasia is shaping the world we live in, one groundbreaking project at a time. Her visionary approach, fueled by her unique background in physics and engineering, has redefined the boundaries of commercial real estate development and paved the way for a greener and more sustainable future.
Witness the remarkable journey of Anastasia Makarska as she continues to revolutionize the real estate landscape and leave an indelible mark on the communities she transforms into sustainable and coveted marvels.
If you would like to get in touch with Anastasia Makarska you can contact here
Devin Millar Promotes the Normalization of Cross-dressing Through his Music
An independent music producer, who’s name is Devin Millar, hailing from the Portland Oregon area is bringing a new approach to fashion, animation, and music.
Devin is on YouTube and creates animations to go with his music, which is modeled after 90s children’s animations with adult themes and references. He grew up his uncle Grayson, and with his parents, and Grayson showed him how to create Dance music which was how Devin got his music-making knowledge. Clothing-wise, he wears skirts and dresses similar to Melina Martinez, and is heavily inspired by her. He says he always felt like a kid even at the age of 22.
Devin claims that modern society should treat crossdressing the same as how women and girls are viewed when dressing the same way. Millar believes everyone should be understood and that skirts and dresses should become everyday clothing regardless of who is wearing it.
One view and song in particular, is “Doll Life”, a song Devin released which focuses on the main mascot of his music, Jack.
Jack is a teenage boy who dresses up like a girl as part of his feminine style and goes on an adventure with his friends to fight the underwater mafia in his Cadillac Escalade. Everyone becomes friends and all perform together. The song has been viewed many times on YouTube many times and has been a hit for the last couple of months. One may notice the boy characters also wear dresses with the girls and women, which are identical to the one Jack is wearing. For that reason, the song subliminally sends Devin’s message.
Promoting a sense of animated nostalgia and creating songs with happy tones mixed with Dance music through his YouTube channel, Devin has been creating melodic, inspiring Pop music since he was 14 and continues to inspire others. Devin is also on a mission to inspire the world to not label clothes and fashion based on gender.
The Three Most Crucial Supplements to Take During the First Trimester of Pregnancy
A healthy first trimester is critical to the normal growth of the fetus. You may not be exhibiting much on the exterior, but on the inside, all of the fetus’s vital organs and systems are developing.
Several changes occur as the embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall. During the first trimester, the fetus is most vulnerable to harm from substances such as alcohol, narcotics, and some medications, as well as infections such as rubella (German measles). Throughout the first trimester, both your body and your baby’s body are rapidly changing.
During the first trimester, the most dramatic changes and development occur. All nutrients are vital throughout pregnancy, but some are especially important for your baby’s growth and development.
Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help avoid neural tube defects (NTDs), which are birth malformations of the brain and spine. According to some research, consuming folic acid may help prevent birth malformations in your baby’s mouth (called cleft lip and palate).
Spina bifida and anencephaly are the most common NTDs. In the United States, around 1,500 newborns are born with spina bifida each year. Spina bifida occurs when the small bones of the spine fail to close completely, and a portion of the spinal cord pokes through the spine. Children with spina bifida may have paralyzed legs and difficulty managing their bladder and intestines (going to the toilet).
One of the most severe NTDs is anencephaly. It affects approximately affecting about 1 in 1,000 pregnancies in the United States each year. However, because the majority of these pregnancies end in miscarriage, the prevalence of this disease in neonates is far lower. Anencephaly affects approximately one in every 10,000 infants in the United States. Anencephaly occurs when the upper portion of the neural tube that develops the brain does not completely seal. Major regions of the brain, skull, and scalp are missing in babies with this disease. They are usually only alive for a few hours after birth. Anencephaly affects girls three times more than boys.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that promotes growth and development. DHA is required throughout pregnancy to aid in the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. DHA promotes the growth of the cerebrum, which is in charge of thinking, remembering, and feeling.
Autism and schizophrenia disproportionately afflict males and are closely linked to early life adversity caused by maternal stress and other variables, which may be influenced by nutrition. However, the fundamental causes of these male-specific effects are not fully understood. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the MU Thompson Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment have discovered potential explanations for male vulnerability in the womb, and they’ve discovered that a specific maternal nutritional supplement called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may protect unborn males during early development from the effects of maternal stress.
Iodine is a mineral that your body needs to produce thyroid hormones, which aid in the usage and storage of energy from food. Additionally, iodine is required throughout pregnancy to aid in the development of your baby’s nervous system. Your baby’s neurological system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) allows him or her to move, think, and feel.
During pregnancy, iodine requirements rise by 50%. A lack of iodine during pregnancy can result in maternal and fetal hypothyroidism, as well as impaired fetal neurological development. The effects are determined by the severity and timing of the hypothyroidism; the most severe symptom is cretinism.
Controlled studies in iodine-deficient areas have shown that iodine supplementation before or during early pregnancy eliminates new cases of cretinism, increases birth weight, lowers rates of perinatal and infant mortality, and improves developmental assessments in young children by 10-20%.
You’re not alone if you’ve never heard of Choline. Although it is suggested that it be included in all prenatal vitamins, most do not contain a significant quantity of Choline, if any at all. While Choline occurs naturally in foods such as cow liver and whole eggs, up to 95% of pregnant women do not consume enough prenatal Choline to meet their nutritional needs.
Choline is a “vitamin-like” important ingredient, which means that while it is not a vitamin, it functions similarly to one. Choline is necessary for optimal bodily function and is especially vital during pregnancy to support the adequate intake of Omega-3 DHA, general baby growth, and the mother’s personal health and wellness.
Furthermore, Choline prevents birth abnormalities. According to research, the lowest incidence of neural tube abnormalities is directly tied to the mother’s choline status during pregnancy.
Choline acts against factors that cause pregnancy problems preventing a variety of pregnancy complications, including low birth weight, pre-eclampsia, placental abruption, and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Furthermore, choline decreases the baby’s stress response, helps increase childhood visual memory, and improves motor performance in tasks that require accuracy. Additionally, prenatal choline supplementation enhances a child’s attention span.
You’re effectively working overtime to build a human being, thus a good, balanced diet is vital to compensate for this extra energy expenditure. Appropriate supplementation is essential to guarantee you’re meeting your higher prenatal vitamin demands.
Supplementation varies based on the particular woman, and it is strongly advised that all supplements be pre-approved by your doctor or medical expert.
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