My name is Joshua Gamilla and I am 17 years old and I am currently going to George Brown College. I hope to enter the culinary and hospitality industry in the future and so far I’ve started a non profit organization called Tree of Justice that deal with a number of different social issues ranging from environmental and the planet to issues such as racism and homophobia. I have also started three business, The Remarkable Project, JG Prints, and Flavorful Loving Palate. While JG Print is side business to help my family, I started The Remarkable Project and Flavorful Loving Palate for a different reason. Both of these projects I started was started to not just raise awareness on different social issues, but to also raise money to donate to amazing organizations. While yes, I can talk more about these things I’ve started, it was a difficult road to get here and I know the path is not going to be easier as I keep going.
When I was in elementary school, I was bullied for countless reasons, from the way I look to the way I act; and this was something I decided to keep within me, not being able to share that with anyone as I was scared and embarrassed and that caused me to become insecure about myself. It didn’t get easy for me and it felt like the bullying got worst throughout elementary. Eventually the bullying stopped and high school came, but life wasn’t getting easier, I was facing many issues, such as family issues and financial issues. Me and my parents didn’t have a strong relationship, and I didn’t know what to do. There was some night where I just laid in my room and there was even a time where I ended up staying at a friend’s house for a week. She helped me cope with my problems and was very supportive and tried to help me go through this battle I face with depression and anxiety. I tried to distract myself with cooking and baking during the late nights when I couldn’t sleep. I began to have suicidal thoughts and felt like I was stuck in a rut. I wanted to give up. There were even times where I was close to taking my own life a couple of times because of all the stress I had, the anger I built up for myself, and all these feeling just exploded. Fortunately, I never went through with anything, but as I was getting through high school, I tried to join clubs that will help me distract myself from the issues.
There were two amazing clubs that truly helped me, vocal class/choir and the retreat leading program at my school, St. Mary. I felt like I didn’t belong, and I felt like I didn’t deserve anything, but these two amazing programs helped me out. I remember talking to my vocal teacher, Mrs. Yukich about the issues I was facing, and she was extremely supportive and tried to put a smile on my face. She always made sure I knew that I mattered. Mr. Valookaran, my high school chaplain was also extremely supportive and recommended amazing resources, and while yes I loved to help people and I was involve in my community at a young age, it was my chaplain who made me realize my passion for social justice, inspiring me to start my non profit organization. Using the resources, I was able to get the help I needed. I went to therapy to get my feeling outs and I finally felt validated. Once I started to feel validated and I knew my self worth, I wanted to live in way where I can discover more about myself and this was something Mrs. Yukich told me about. She told me, “Joshua, you’re on a journey of self discovery, you need to seize the day…” After everything went on, I finally knew what she was talking about. I needed to seize the day in a distracted world, I need to discover myself and find who I am. It was because of this, I decided to seize everyday of my life which is why I started my businesses and it was because my passion of both food and social justice that led to my different ventures. I was able to meet amazing people and be apart of amazing initiatives. While yes, the road has been
bumpy and there has been a lot of twists and turns and I know it won’t get any easier, I am now on the path to self-discovery. Me and my parents now have a stronger relationship and even though we have some arguments, I know because of those arguments and makes me a better person. I want to thank Mr. Valookaran and Mrs. Yukich, I learned it’s important to talk and to not let everything bottle up inside. They were a huge inspiration for me, and they are one of the reasons why I continue to do the thing I do. Because of the path I walked, and I continue to walk, I learned to take the opportunities when I see them, because every day is brand new day, and I just got to seize the day and carpe diem. If you were to leave with just two things, I hope its this. It’s okay to feel sad, mad, angry and stress, but don’t bottle it up inside. Talk to someone and just know you matter. Lastly, you cannot slow the setting of the su n, you can only choose how to spend your time in the light. LIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST AND JUST CARPE DIEM.