Toronto Mayor and Microsoft Canada to open ProTech Media Centres in three more of Toronto's Priority Neighbourhoods for Investment



    
    Eglinton East-Kennedy Park, Malvern and Weston-Mount Dennis youth to
    receive free digital arts and technology skills training
    

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Aug. 10 /CNW/ - Together with Toronto Mayor David
Miller, Microsoft Canada (www.microsoft.ca) today announced the expansion of
the successful ProTech Media Centre program
(http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=958aa0dcd73b7b2) to three Priority
Neighbourhoods for Investment. The announcement was made at the opening of the
Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre, located within the Toronto Public
Library - Kennedy/Eglinton branch at 2380 Eglinton Avenue East.
    The Pro Tech program offers free digital arts and technology skills
training. The expansion effort is made possible by a Microsoft Canada
Unlimited Potential Community Technology Skills
(http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=4ccc61e76bde794) grant of $1 million in
cash, digital learning curriculum and Microsoft-based technology. The City of
Toronto is also supporting the program through its Partnership Opportunities
Legacy Fund, which has set aside $13 million for Toronto's 13 Priority
Neighbourhoods for Investment, to be leveraged by funding from outside
partners for youth-focused social and recreational infrastructure projects.
    ProTech Centres provide neighbourhood youth with free access to
state-of-the-art technology including digital arts (animation, web design,
digital photography, audio and video editing) and Microsoft curricula to
introduce youth to potential careers in new media while providing computer
literacy skills and creating opportunities for self-expression.
    The Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre is the second centre to open
after the Rexdale ProTech Media Centre      
(http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=4ccc61e76bde794) in Jamestown launched in
July 2007. Rexdale's centre has been an overwhelming success; since the doors
first opened the centre has attracted more than 1,000 registered members and
more than 9,600 repeat visits from local youth. Planning for additional
ProTech Media Centres in Malvern and Weston-Mount Dennis is underway, with
those centres set to open in the near future .
    Partners for the Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre include Tropicana
Community Services (http://www.tropicanacommunity.org/main/home.html), the
City of Toronto, the Toronto Public Library
(http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/) and Centennial College
(http://www.centennialcollege.ca/). Tropicana Community Services is acting as
the grant trustee and will be responsible for the day-to-day centre
operations. The City of Toronto paid to create a brand-new space for the
centre, which is supported by and housed within the Toronto Public Library -
Kennedy/Eglinton branch. Centennial College is helping to develop the centre's
programs and providing volunteers to mentor youth and coordinate new media
workshops.

    Quotes:

    "This is a perfect example of private and public-sector partners coming
together to provide innovative opportunities in Toronto's Priority
Neighbourhoods," said Mayor Miller. "It's especially important that local
youth have been involved in this project from the start, and that many more
youth will pass through these doors. The creative possibilities and career
benefits provided by ProTech are boundless."
    "The overwhelming success of the Rexdale ProTech Media Centre in
Jamestown is motivating Microsoft Canada, the City of Toronto and community
partners to expand the program to three additional neighbourhoods," said Eric
Gales, President, Microsoft Canada. "Today's youth incorporate technology into
every part of their daily lives. By providing access to technology and
education we're feeding their curiosity and creativity with the hope of
generating interest in pursuing careers in technology related fields."
    "Tropicana is thrilled to be a part of this initiative. We envision the
Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre becoming a real hub for youth in this
community," said Sharon Shelton, Executive Director, Tropicana Community
Services. "Many of today's youth are very excited about technology. The media
centre is a great opportunity to really connect with youth and assist them in
turning a curiosity or passion into a lifelong hobby or career."
    "We were so pleased that the local youth wanted the library to be the
location for the Kennedy-Eglinton ProTech Media Centre," said Jane Pyper, City
Librarian, Toronto Public Library. "This really speaks to the library's role
as a dynamic community destination that engages youth in meaningful ways, that
encourages them to develop their skills and interests, and that provides them
with opportunities to advance their education and explore their creativity."
    "Centennial College has long been a community touchstone for outreach
projects in Scarborough, and I am delighted that we can be part of this
excellent initiative to introduce new media skills to local youth," said Ann
Buller, President and CEO, Centennial College. "I'm especially happy to see
our own creative communications students taking a lead role in coordinating
the workshops and mentoring other young people. Learning is especially
engaging when it's peer to peer."

    
    Fast Facts:
    -  The first ProTech Media Centre opened in Rexdale in July 2007
    -  ProTech Media Centres introduce youth aged 13 to 24 to the digital
       arts through multi-media based software and curricula.
    -  While courses evolve to meet students' needs, each centre begins by
       offering introductory courses in web page design and digital media
       including digital photography, digital audio, and digital video.
    -  Registration for all programs is free of charge and students can
       enroll in as many programs as they like.
    -  The first ProTech Media Centre opened in Rexdale in 2007, and the
       ProTech model is now being expanded to more three Priority
       Neighbourhoods for Investment- Eglinton East-Kennedy Park, Malvern and
       Weston-Mount Dennis
    -  Microsoft Canada has donated over $1.5 million to the program to date
    -  The program is funded through Microsoft Canada's Unlimited Potential
       Community Technology Skills (CTS) grants. In Canada, $4 million
       (ProTech inclusive) has been given to CTS programs since 2004.
       Organizations that have received grants in Canada include:
         -  Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
         (http://www.microsoft.com/canada/fr/media/releases/2002_04_17.mspx)
         -  Frontier College - Beat the Street Program
            (http://www.microsoft.com/canada/media/releases/2004_07_22.mspx)
            (Toronto)
         -  Dixon Hall (Toronto)
         -  The Manitoba E-Association
            (http://www.microsoft.com/canada/media/releases/2006_02_22.mspx)
         -  The LOCUS project (Vancouver)
         -  JobStart
            (https://www.microsoft.com/canada/media/releases/2006_11_18.mspx)
            (Toronto)
         -  The City of Toronto supports ProTech Media Centres through the
            Partnership Opportunities Legacy Fund, an initiative born in 2007
            when Mayor Miller and City Council committed $13 million in seed
            funding over a four year period for investment in the city's 13
            Priority Neighbourhoods. This investment is intended to leverage
            equivalent funding from outside partners for youth-focused social
            and recreational infrastructure projects.
    

    About Tropicana Community Services

    Tropicana Community Services, a Toronto-based multi-service organization,
provides all youth, newcomers, people of Black and Caribbean heritage and
others in need with opportunities and alternatives that lead to success and
positive life choices. More information can be found at
www.tropicanacommunity.org

    About the Toronto Public Library

    Toronto Public Library is the world's busiest urban public library
system. Every year, more than 16 million people visit our 99 branches and
borrow almost 30 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library,
visit our website at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca.

    About Centennial College

    Centennial College is Ontario's first public college, established in
1966, primarily serving the eastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area with
four campuses. It has earned an international reputation for exemplary
teaching, innovative programming and extensive partnership building.
Centennial (www.centennialcollege.ca) is recognized as one of the most
culturally diverse post-secondary institutions in Canada, supporting
enrolments of 12,500 full-time students and 25,000 part-time learners
annually.

    About the City of Toronto

    Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine
of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America.
Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in
delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's
incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity,
opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

    About Microsoft Canada

    Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of
Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software,
services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full
potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting
and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in
Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country
dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place
and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit
www.microsoft.ca. For more information on Microsoft Canada's citizenship
initiatives, please visit www.citizenship.microsoft.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Kieran Lawler, Meg Sinclair, Media Profile,
Office: (416) 504-8464, Cell: (416) 303-0799, kieran.lawler@mediaprofile.com,
meg.sinclair@mediaprofile.com


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