Youth from at-risk neighbourhoods become community recreation leaders

    TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ - More than 90 students from 20 high schools in
Toronto's most at-risk neighbourhoods have acquired skills that enable them to
work in important community jobs as lifeguards, soccer coaches, referees and
camp leaders will be honoured at a special ceremony on June 6, 2007 at the
Metro Central YMCA at 6:00 pm.
    The breakthrough enabling the students to connect with good jobs is a
result of the two-year-old Toronto Sports Leadership Program (TSLP). The
program was spearheaded by the Toronto Community Foundation and is designed to
achieve multiple goals:

    -   help youth secure needed jobs
    -   help schools keep youth engaged
    -   fill demand for sport and recreation leaders

    The students were recognized for their achievements in training towards
National Lifesaving accreditation in aquatics and National Coaching
certification in soccer at an event held at the Metro Central YMCA today.
    "Students from these neighbourhoods were blocked from qualifying for good
jobs, because they couldn't afford to pay for the training which costs between
$300 to $600," explained Martin Connell, Board Chair of the Toronto Community
Foundation (TCF).
    The Toronto Community Foundation brought together a partnership that
could change that. With funding provided by the Foundation and the United Way
of Greater Toronto, the City's Recreation division, both Toronto school boards
and the YMCA of Greater Toronto worked together to create the Toronto Sports
Leadership Program.
    "Given the opportunity to access the training, the students worked hard,
compressing multiple levels of training, that others might complete over a
period of years, into four months. The students accomplished similar feats in
acquiring certification in soccer coaching and refereeing," Connell said.
    "These students seized the opportunity to improve their futures and as
last year's graduates are already doing, will influence countless other youth
through the leadership they provide" said Toronto Mayor David Miller. "The
success of this program demonstrates how the City, schools and non-profits can
work together to create better opportunities for young people."
    With their need for lifeguards in the Jane-Finch area, the City has a new
pool of talent to draw from whose first choice is to work in Jane-Finch, close
to home. But the City may have to compete for graduates as other recreation
employers, including the YMCA search for lifeguards.
    The YMCA is always on the look-out for qualified staff for pools and camp
programs - as are other employers, especially in the busy summer camp season,"
said Scott Haldane, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

    The Toronto Community Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated
to improving life in Toronto. TCF helps philanthropic citizens establish
endowment funds and invests charitable gifts from a range of donors into a
pooled income-earning fund. Each year, TCF identifies areas of need and
provides support to donors to help ensure grants from fund earnings will have
the greatest impact on Toronto's vital signs.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts:; Please call TCF for
photos; Toronto Community Foundation - May Wong, (416) 921-2035 ext. 203,; Crosbie Communications - Diana Crosbie, (416) 360-6625,; Toronto Catholic District School Board - Mary Jo Deighan,
(416) 229-5331,; Toronto District School Board - Lori
Abbott, (416) 397-3225,; United Way of Greater Toronto
- Joanna King, (416) 777-1444 x 386,; YMCA - Jamie Slater,
(416) 413-1020 ext. 2362; Parks Forestry & Recreation - Wynna Brown, (416)
397-4059,; Mayor's Office - Stuart Green,

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