Graduates of the Toronto Sport Leadership Program honoured

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New graduates of the Toronto Sport Leadership Program (TSLP) were honoured at a ceremony at the Botanical Gardens at Leslie and Lawrence in Toronto on Tuesday.

Councillor Mark Grimes (Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore), attending on behalf of Mayor John Tory, joined Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10 York Centre), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee, and representatives of YMCA of Greater Toronto, the Toronto District School Board, and the Toronto Catholic District School Board, to celebrate the graduates of the graduation.

“On behalf of Mayor Tory and Toronto City Council, I’d like to congratulate this year’s graduates on their amazing achievements,” said Councillor Grimes. “The Toronto Sport Leadership Program has helped these young people gain the leadership and coaching skills they need to reach their potential, and it’s great to see them off to such a strong start for the future.”

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Medals were awarded to graduates at a ceremony featuring keynote speaker Vaune Davis. Davis is an ultra-marathon cyclist who was inducted into the Toronto Sport Hall of Honour as Female Athlete of the Year for 2015.

“The Toronto Sport Leadership Program has prepared these students to be mentors and role models,” said Councillor Pasternak. “This helps build healthy and engaged communities, from which we all benefit.”

The TSLP began in 2006 and to date, more than 2,000 students have graduated. The TSLP gives students access to high-quality training to improve their ability to secure employment. The program helps prepare graduates to qualify for positions as lifeguards, camp counsellors, coaches and tennis instructors. The students receive training and certification at no cost, and many program graduates are now employed by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

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The TSLP grew out of the Mayor’s Panel on Community Safety and Toronto’s Vital Signs® Report, an annual snapshot on quality of life in Toronto produced by the Toronto Foundation. The program benefits youth, 16 years of age and older, who demonstrate leadership potential and have an interest and proficiency in a sport but who could not otherwise afford training. The youth come from diverse cultural communities and are recruited from neighbourhoods across the city. The TSLP focuses on investment and prevention through employment, education, training, mentorship and engagement with community organizations.

The growth of this program is credited to collaboration among the six founding partners. This year, four of the original partners continue to participate in the program, including the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Toronto District School Board and the YMCA of Greater Toronto. All founding partners have made substantial contributions to ensure the program’s success. The program has also benefited from funding provided by the Toronto Foundation, Jumpstart and United Way, as well as the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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The Coaches Association of Ontario, Lifesaving Society-Ontario, Ontario Soccer Association, Ontario Basketball Association, The Doug Philpott Inner-City Children’s Tennis Fund, Tennis Canada and WaterArt also assisted the program by waiving fees and/or providing material for free or at cost. – CINEWS

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