TO2015 Announces Make It Happen Program

Athlete ambassadors making a difference in high schools across the region

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, Ian Troop, Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) officially introduced the Make It Happen School program.

TO2015's Make It Happen program provides Grade 9 and 10 students with a greater understanding of the dedication, commitment and hard work necessary to achieve goals, with a broader focus on character development and overall personal achievement.

"TO2015's Make It Happen program is a great way to give our Canadian athletes the opportunity to use their experience in sport to motivate and inspire the youth of today," said Troop. "We've created a program that inspires high school students to work hard and pursue their dreams, but also to hopefully create a legacy program that will live on past the Toronto 2015 Games."

"I have really enjoyed being an ambassador for the TO2015 Make It Happen program," said Jason Burnett, Beijing 2008 silver medallist. "I was shy in high school and didn't take advantage of the social and intellectual opportunities that were offered to me, so it is great when the kids participate and are inspired by my story to pursue their own dreams."

Each school is paired with an athlete ambassador who visits the school at least twice during the school year. The athletes work with the students in an intimate classroom setting where they have the opportunity to share life experiences and talk about goal setting and overcoming obstacles. Students can also communicate with the athletes through online channels such as email, Twitter, Skype and Facebook.

"As a physical educator, I know better than anyone that as students transition into high school, they have a high attrition rate from sport," said Emily Smethurst, Head of Physical Education, Athletic Director T.L. Kennedy Secondary School and Make It Happen School Coordinator. "Having Jason come in and speak to our students has been a unique opportunity to gain a glimpse into the life of one of Canada's top athletes. His stories concretely demonstrate to our students the true value of hard work and determination."

The Make It Happen program is currently being pilot tested in 20 schools across the Greater Golden Horseshoe region and Ottawa with 20 elite current and retired Canadian athletes, but is actively recruiting additional schools and athletes for the official launch of the program in the fall of 2012. 

To view the complete list of schools and athletes involved with the Make It Happen program, or to learn more about the program, click here.

About the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games
The Pan 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). The Games comprise a mix of Olympic Summer Games sports, as well as traditional Pan American sports. The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games will draw 10,000 athletes and officials and feature 48 sports in 17 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.

Video with caption: "Make It Happen". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120227_C7603_VIDEO_EN_10467.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120227_C7603_PHOTO_EN_10467.jpg&clientName=Toronto%202015%20Pan%2FParapan%20American%20Games&caption=Make%20It%20Happen&title=Make%20It%20Happen&headline=

Image with caption: "Paralympian Chelsey Gotell greets Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School (CNW Group/Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120227_C7603_PHOTO_EN_10457.jpg

Image with caption: "Olympian Jason Burnett gives motivational presentation to T. L Kennedy Secondary School (CNW Group/Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120227_C7603_PHOTO_EN_10459.jpg

SOURCE Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

For further information:

Carlene Siopis
Communications AdvisorTO2015
Tel: 647.206.0259
E-mail: Carlene.Siopis@toronto2015.org

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