MEDIA ADVISORY/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY - Toronto school for at-risk youth to be renamed in honour of Pinball Clemons

 Pinball Clemons Foundation donates $500,000 to help students at the Ambassador School Program graduate from high school

TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2016 /CNW/ - Young people currently or formerly in the care of the child welfare system attending Toronto's Ambassador School Program will get a better chance at beating the odds and graduating with their high school diploma, thanks to a generous donation of $500,000 by the Pinball Clemons Foundation to the Children's Aid Foundation. Today, the academic program will officially be renamed the Pinball Clemons Foundation Ambassador School Program at a ceremony that will be attended by Michael Clemons and students at the school.

"Children and youth involved with the child welfare system face numerous barriers that prevent them from achieving academic success, including extreme personal turmoil, homelessness and a high percentage are diagnosed with special needs," says Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO, Children's Aid Foundation. "The Pinball Clemons Foundation's investment in the future of Toronto's most critically at-risk youth will help students, who have experienced significant trauma, abuse and neglect, the opportunity to graduate from high school and access the support they need to in order to heal and thrive."

The Ambassador School Program is an alternative high school in Toronto, supported by private donors through the Children's Aid Foundation.  In Ontario, only 46% of youth in care of the child welfare system will graduate from high school.

"We humbly embrace this honour, understanding that the name won't erase the pain and the money won't diffuse the challenge. Our greater hope is to see every young adult graduate and move on to a career opportunity," says Michael "Pinball" Clemons. "Selfishly, I want to adopt them all and eradicate the bad in their lives but that would eliminate all the lessons we have to learn and the incredible strength and fortitude they exemplify to our world. They are the real heroes."

Each year, the Ambassador School Program helps between 12 to 20 marginalized youth currently or formerly in the child welfare system who are in the process of transitioning out of care connect with the education system with the goal of obtaining their high school diploma and reaching their highest possible personal potential. The program helps students attain their high school credits and opportunities to develop necessary life skills that will help them navigate a course for their lives that will allow them the best possible chance at success. Some of the courses and services that students can access include vocational assessments, financial literacy, nutrition and fitness courses.

Students in the program have decided on their own that they wish to change the course of their lives and voluntarily enroll. The students also give back to the community through "Speak Outs", where they tell their own life stories as part of a 'stay in school & positive life choices' message for grade 7 and 8 classes across the city.



MONDAY, DECEMBER 5 at 10:00 am


Naming of the Pinball Clemons Foundation Ambassador School Program and interview  opportunity


  • Michael "Pinball" Clemons
  • Valerie McMurtry, President & CEO, Children's Aid Foundation
  • Students at the Ambassador School Program who will talk about their experience at the school
  • Pinball Clemons Foundation Board Members
  • Children's Aid Society of Toronto


Ambassador School Program     

28 Simpson Ave., Toronto
M4K 1A2


About the Children's Aid Foundation
The Children's Aid Foundation is Canada's leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system. With the support of generous corporate, foundation and individual donors, we have been helping children reach their potential against all odds since 1979. Join us and help some of the most vulnerable kids in Canada overcome traumas of the past and rebuild stability, self-worth and a sense of life's possibilities. Learn more at

SOURCE Children's Aid Foundation

For further information: Lisa Lipkin, Lisa Lipkin Communications, Tel: 416-988-4189; E-mail:

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