Meet a Heritage Hero: Vanessa Demello

Meet Vanessa, one of our Heritage Heroes. Vanessa recently completed a double major in Psychology and English, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga. In her last year there, she was the Vice President of University Affairs and Academics where she worked towards improving mental health services for students, eliminating exam fees and giving back to the student community. Vanessa also volunteered her time at U of T Mississauga as a psychology lab assistant, as an executive of the psychology academic society, and a volunteer of the student union. In her community, she also did volunteer work with the St. Joseph’s Parish Church, with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a mentor, and with the CIBC Run for the Cure. Shortly after graduating, Vanessa landed a full-time position at a Software Development company in Mississauga.

Vanessa answered a few of our Heritage Heroes questions…

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ON INSPIRING CHANGE IN HER COMMUNITY:

Being involved in the community is very important to me because I believe that with every small amount of change, there is always a ripple effect and I hope to create a positive ripple effect.

ON HAVING A HERITAGE RESP:

“Having an RESP definitely made academic life easier on me, as I did not always have to stress about income and money while I was studying, which is a major stressor for university students.  I am fortunate enough to be able to focus on studies, VanessaDemello_V4-800x800whereas other students have to work several jobs and their academics are of secondary importance. Debt is a very scary thing, and I know individuals in their late 30s and 40s who are still paying off their education.

When your child is young, you may think you have a lot of time to start saving money before you have to worry about university; but with the rising rates of tuition, it would be wise to start saving early through an RESP.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY:

“Family means everything to me because they are my culture, they are my roots, and they are my guidance. My parents were born and raised in Tanzania and they came to Canada for a better life. They basically left their childhoods, their homes, their family, friends, and they sacrificed all that for their children.”

Thanks to Vanessa for her participation and for being one of our Heritage Heroes. We can’t wait to see where her future endeavours take her!

To see more Heritage Heroes stories, click here.

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