New TO2015 Advisory Council Sparks Community Involvement in the Games

TORONTO, Dec. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) officially announced the formation of its Community Engagement Council. TO2015 is tapping into the vast network of community leaders across the region to help maximize participation in the Games by individuals, families, businesses and communities.

The council is chaired by Giselle M. Cole and Fernando Lusvarghi. Cole competed for Canada in the Arnhem 1980 Paralympic Games where she won three gold medals in track and field. She is currently treasurer for the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Ontario. Lusvarghi, an active member of the Brazilian community in Toronto, works in volunteer management and community relations for St. Christopher House and Child Development Institute.

Working towards the vision of the "People's Games," the 20-plus member council will use their experience and leadership to play a key role in engaging with communities. Chosen from diverse backgrounds in sport, culture, community and business, the advisors will identify trends, issues and ideas that will help TO2015 strengthen the planning and staging of the TORONTO 2015 Games.

"We know the Games will be about great venues to showcase top athletic achievements and arts and culture events that will reflect the flavour and pulse of the Americas," said Ian Troop, Chief Executive Officer, TO2015. "But what will really make the Games come alive is the enthusiastic participation of people from across the Games host region to create truly memorable experiences in 2015."

"This council is helping us extend our reach so that all members of the region can participate and take advantage of the opportunities that the Games present," said Zenia Wadhwani, Director of Community Outreach, TO2015. "From community organizations interested in creating their own Pan Am programming to families wanting to learn more about the Games sport program, the Community Engagement Council will work to raise awareness and excitement across the Games footprint."

"The Government of Canada applauds the creation of the Community Engagement Council and TO2015's efforts to get members of the Toronto and Greater Golden Horseshoe communities involved in the Games," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "The 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games will be a celebration of sport and culture unlike anything this region has seen before. We look forward to welcoming the Americas and Caribbean to Canada for these prestigious events."

"Working together with leaders from our diverse communities to forge new relationships, build new networks and to create opportunities for Ontarians to get into the celebratory spirit of the Games, truly demonstrates how the People's Games will be an inclusive Games," said Michael Chan, Ontario's Minister responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.  "Engaging and gaining valuable insight from our communities during the early stages of Games planning will ensure a great experience for all come 2015 and will strengthen social legacies post-Games."

The Community Engagement Council is one of eight advisory groups tasked in supporting TO2015. This year, TO2015 announced the formation of the Volunteer Advisory Council, the Youth Advisory Council and the Aboriginal Leadership Partners.

For a full list of the Community Engagement Council members, please see attached backgrounder.

About the TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games
The Pan American and Parapan American Games are one of the world's largest international multi-sport events, held every four years for athletes of the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and 26 member nations of the Americas Paralympic Committee (APC).The Pan American Games are comprised of all Olympic Summer Games sports, as well as traditional Pan American sports, while the Parapan American Games are comprised of the majority of Paralympic Summer Games sports. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games will draw more than 10,000 athletes, coaches and team officials and feature 51 sports in municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10−26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14.For more information about the Games, please visit TORONTO2015.org.

Backgrounder

Community Engagement Council Members

  1. Aisha Wickham
  2. Cheuk Kwan
  3. Chris Drew
  4. Cynthia Wilkey
  5. Duberlis  Ramos
  6. Dwayne Pitt
  7. Giselle Cole
  8. Nasma Ahmed
  9. Leonardo Zuniga
  10. Lloyd McKell
  11. Melinda Maldonado
  12. Michelle Brownrigg
  13. Phyllis Berck
  14. Pardeep Singh Nagra
  15. Gregory Rogers
  16. Fernando Lusvarghi
  17. Matt Petersen
  18. Lindsay Kretschmer
  19. Heather Mitchell
  20. Alejandra Bravo
  21. Bahadur Madhani

SOURCE: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

For further information:

Teddy Katz
Director of Media Relations and Chief Spokesperson
TO2015
C: 647.404.5263
teddy.katz@toronto2015.org