Community Safety Award winners honoured at Toronto City Hall

TORONTO, April 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Mayor Rob Ford rewarded the efforts of five local safety projects at the Mayor's Community Safety Awards event held at Toronto City Hall this evening. Also participating in the ceremony were Toronto Police Inspector Randy Carter and Lena Demarco, Bell Regional Director of Community Affairs.

"Congratulations to all the winners of the Community Safety Awards," said Mayor Ford. "We recognize and celebrate your hard work, compassion and dedication to improving safety in your communities. I commend you for your efforts and your leadership."

"The Community Safety Awards are an opportunity to celebrate and highlight the important work that is happening in neighbourhoods throughout Toronto," said Inspector Carter. "Community safety is a shared responsibility. Police cannot do it alone and neither can the City. That's why a partnership of committed citizens and people who care about their community is vital."

The winners of the Mayor's Community Safety Awards are Redemption Reintegration Services, Grow Right, Tour De Black Creek Bike Race, Young Women of Wisdom and Safe Inclusive Toronto Streets. Each project received a framed certificate signed by the Mayor and a $1,000 cheque from Bell, a long-time sponsor of the Mayor's Community Safety Awards, to help the winning projects continue their work.

Redemption Reintegration Services (RRS) was founded to address a gap in reintegration services for young offenders connected demographically with the African, Caribbean and South Asian community, given their overrepresentation in incarceration. RRS recognizes that to transform the statistic of overrepresentation of African-Canadians and people of colour in incarceration, support and change must come through those with lived experiences who belong to the communities they serve.

Grow Right was created to empower youths in the priority neighbourhood of Lawrence Heights. It began with the transformation of a 30-metre stretch of unused land that was turned into a vegetable garden. Youths working in partnership with members of the Toronto Police Service planted vegetables and nurtured the garden. The youths and their families used the harvested produce in community classes and learned valuable life skills. Grow Right is fostering healthy partnerships in the community, promoting a safer environment for all.

Tour De Black Creek Bike Race promotes a healthy, active lifestyle for children 12 to 17 years of age in high-risk Toronto communities. As the children are taught road safety and the rules of safe cycling, they experience positive interactions with the police. The relationships built with officers working in the area helps to reduce violence by creating an atmosphere of trust and inclusion among the community's youth and members of the Toronto Police Service.

Young Women of Wisdom is a mentoring group that reflects the needs of young women in less fortunate communities. The program was established to help young women make positive choices and become future leaders. By having a group where young women can meet and share their problems, hopes and aspirations, Young Women of Wisdom is helping to shape the leaders of tomorrow. Each curriculum addresses societal issues, education, life skills, leadership skills and positive self image.

Safe Inclusive Toronto Streets is about making people with disabilities feel safe on Toronto Streets. It does that by providing self-defence tools and by sharing information about how to report navigational hazards as they occur. The Safe Inclusive Toronto Streets project has developed partnerships with Springtide Resources, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario, Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre and Working for Change.

More information about the awards, the selection criteria and past winners is available at http://www.toronto.ca/community_safety_awards.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.


SOURCE City of Toronto

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Media contact: Jabari Lindsay, Social Development, Finance and Administration Division, 416-455-6226, jlindsa@toronto.ca