Members of Windsor's black community learned more about grants that could help local youth during a presentation Tuesday.

Staff from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services were in the city to showcase several potential grants and provide information for anyone interested in applying for funds through the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan.

There is $47 million in funding available over the next four years for programs in four cities, including Windsor, that help reduce disparities for black children and youth. 

Lindiwe Sithole works with Women's Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor, an organization that provides services to diverse groups in the city, and attended the meeting to learn more about the options the grants could present.

"Myself being a black person, I live the reality of what black people go through. The struggles," Sithole explained.

She's planning to apply for one of the grants, which would provide a streamlined program to help black people with leadership opportunities and job development. 

Meeting for Ontario Black Youth Action Plan

Officials from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services provided a presentation about the possible grants during a session in Windsor. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

"It would bring a positive impact in terms of allowing them to have that growth, enlightenment, and understanding that they're included in these different programs and initiatives that are in our community," Sithole said.

She added when people don't feel supported it's hard for them to move forward, but having a grant to allow for more support of the black community would be a good thing.

"I think it would boost their moral, even boost their interest," said Sithole.

Sheldon Harrison works as the vice president of finance and operations with the University of Windsor's Student Alliance. He is also hoping to get in on the ground floor of the grant program with funds "centring around black youth both in skilled trades, post-secondary education and business development."

Sheldon Harrison

Sheldon Harrison has already applied for one grant, and hopes his efforts will help increase black representation in Windsor-Essex. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

"The onus is on us as people who are centres of influence and public figures in our community ... to be the tip of the spear and kick that door open for people who are not too far behind us," he said. "We owe it to them."

Representation is important

So far, Harrison has completed and submitted one grant application for leadership with the university. He is also working on a second grant focused on black men and women to increase representation at the university and in Windsor.

He wants to see more black people opening businesses, starting programs, being "centres of influence" and getting involved in politics.

"We definitely want to see more representation not just in our manufacturing sector, but in our businesses schools, law schools and medical schools," Harrison added.