Alfred Burgesson’15 gives his time back to Grammar alma mater
Alfred cannot help but inspire people to do more for their community.
Currently at Saint Mary’s University pursuing studies in entrepreneurship and political science, Alfred got his first taste of being an entrepreneur when he started his own t-shirt company, Bel Air Apparel, selling t-shirts in Grammar hallways. He eventually got involved in Grammar’s Junior Achievement program – which educates and mentors young students to run their own company.
“The program allowed me to see what entrepreneurship was, and right away I was interested in exploring how I could participate,” he said.
After he graduated from Grammar, he built up a network of clients providing social media services to businesses around the city. From this, HFX Collective was born, now a successful business.
“The Collective started as a group of youth self-organizing to co-create projects together in the digital space for clients, and now we’re able to influence positive movements online as well as in physical spaces.”
On their website, the vision statement for HFX Collective reads: “We envision a world where youth are involved in the ideation, planning, and execution of projects with partners, stakeholders, and communities — because youth are essential to building stronger communities, social structures, emerging markets and a skills economy.”
“We’ve discovered a key message which is ‘For youth. By youth. With You.'' promoting youth participation, opportunities for experiential learning, and employment with our partners and network.”
In addition to HFX Collective, Alfred also founded @cityofhalifax on Instagram with peers to promote the City of Halifax to a global audience on social media, which now has over 14,000 followers. He’s also a manager in a group called the Halifax Social Network, a group that provides a space for diverse citizens to connect monthly in different areas of the city. Most recently, he co-led the Future City Builders program, which focused on bringing together youth to develop innovative solutions to solve current issues, like housing.
“Future City Builders has been a neat experience. It gave 30 youth in Halifax an opportunity to ideate solutions for housing. We understand it as an opportunity to re-define and bring a new perspective to what affordable housing and access means for local youth and our marginalized communities. It’s not an opportunity we take for granted, ” he said.
Although busy with his multiple ventures, he makes it a priority to give back to the community, a personal value that he took with him from Grammar. Currently, he’s in the midst of producing a promotional video for the school with his peers and a fellow Grammar alumnus Kirk Drabble’17.
“As an alumnus, I know the school and the stories that could be told. The school gave me so much and changed my perspective in so many different ways. I came across coaches and staff who gave me guidance and pushed me to be better. I’d like to stay connected and stay involved.” he said.
He has also taken his love of basketball from Grammar to coaching the school’s Junior High basketball team. When asked about how he manages to be involved in so many different projects, he credits Grammar with providing him time-management skills and discipline.
“Grammar also has an amazing alumni network, people are going on to serve in places and cities in different parts of the world. Students definitely enter to learn, and go forth to serve. If you’re looking for an example, look no further than Shelby Weaver, Manager of Player Development with the 2019 NBA Champions - Toronto Raptors!” he said.
As for what drives him, he said he was inspired by his humble beginnings and his parents - who took a big risk in moving to Canada. He plans to someday go back to his home in Ghana with his siblings to see how they can make an impact in the community where they were born.