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The Toronto Sport Leadership Program is a collaborative partnership model that has brought together six organizations for a single goal – to offer certification sport based programs to students with the goal of increasing employment opportunities.
The summer of 2005 was dubbed the “summer of the gun” due to the number of gun related injuries and deaths. The Toronto’s Vital Signs report made a link between indicated youth violence and youth unemployment (then at a 10 year high). The Mayor’s Panel on Community Safety created a Sport Working Group – with the intention of developing initiatives that would use sport to develop employment opportunities. The organizations that were part of the Sport Working Group developed the Toronto Sport Leadership Model. (The organizations were: The Toronto Community Foundation, the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and the YMCA of Greater Toronto).
The partners studied other successful youth programs and using past practices developed a model to pilot the Toronto Sport Leadership Program. Generous donations from private donors funded year one of the program. The program was extremely successful and has been in operation ever since.
In the first 11 years over 1,900 students have completed the program. The City of Toronto and the YMCA have both benefited by having these dedicated and enthusiastic graduates work at camps, pools and sport programs.
The program continues to grow and evolve each year. In Year 8 TSLP welcomed the Ryerson Rams Athletic Department, the Tri-Mentoring Program at Ryerson, & WaterART Fitness International. TSLP has grown from 100 students with three programs in 2006 to just over 300 spots and the choice of 11 programs.
In Year 9, TSLP offered over 20 programs and had 292 participants. These participants not only attended offered programs, but also took advantage of Job Readiness Day, which helped to successful prepare a large number of them who went on to be hired by the City of Toronto, and other agencies.
“Honestly, the people you meet at TSLP are some of the most supportive and genuinely caring people you could possibly imagine.” Valedictorian Speech by Oscar Amaya (2016)
Over 1900 youth have graduated the TSLP program since its inception in 2006.
95% of the youth successfully completed at least 1 sport certification.
90% of the students in the program indicated that they have a better sense of their career and academic path.
80% of the participating students indicate that they have developed an increased sense of confidence and self-worth since attending the program.