It is officially a new year and we are now into Month 6 of the CGC SportWORKS Sport for Newcomers Pilot here in Toronto. I am very excited to let you know about what has been happening here in the Jane/Finch community!
Over the last 6 weeks, our soccer program has taken some major steps forward. We are seeing improved turnouts and have heard great feedback from the participants and parents. When the programming started back in December, it was structured as a twice a week soccer program (two hours on both Monday and Thursday). However, after talking to the youth who participate in the program on a weekly basis we learned that there was a strong desire to also have access to playing basketball. With support from the Jane/Finch Centre, CGC and our volunteer coaches, we have successfully transitioned our Monday session from soccer into basketball. The early feedback on this change has been well received and it seems that by diversifying the programming we are able to attract a new group of youth for each session in addition to our core base of participants. As long as the interest remains for both sports, the programming will now remain as is for the foreseeable future. Jane/Finch Centre holds permits for the space at Westview until the end of May. Once this permit expires the goal is to transfer the programming outdoors for the summer sessions.
On top of the core programming that we have up and running, we are currently in the planning stage of hosting another “Try Day” here in the community. We have since partnered with Toronto Inner-City Rugby with the goal of hosting newcomer youth on Family Day for an afternoon of non-contact rugby fun! This event, which is tentatively set to take place at Downsview Park, will be the second such “Try a Sport” event that we have hosted. The goal of these events is to provide an opportunity to youth in the community to participate and try something new without the full commitment of a weekly program. Partnering with a like-minded organization like TIRF to deliver the programming will ensure that youth will receive proper instruction and learn the basics of the sport, thereby setting a solid foundation for future success and to access future opportunities to participate. We are all very excited about this upcoming event and sincerely believe that the attendance and feedback that we receive from participants will help display the value of the sport opportunity that is being offered.
In order to compliment some of the great programming that is now offered through this initiative, a lot of work is also being done behind the scenes. A major deliverable of the initiative is the creation and distribution of resources to help organizations integrate newcomers into programming, and to help newcomers learn about what programming is available to them and how they can access it. These resources have been in the works here for a while and are nearing their completion. Once completed these resources will be available to community organizations, community members and settlement workers at the Jane/Finch Centre who will help in ensuring that newcomer families are aware of the benefits and opportunities of sport and have access to all the resources that are available to them. It is my hope that these resources will be of great use within the community today and into the future and that they help to raise awareness and promote a growth in participation within the newcomer community here in Toronto. In the end, sustainability is the goal and the long term future of the programming being created is always front of mind with every document that is created and decision that is being made.
Overall, it’s been a great start to 2020 and I am very excited to see what the future holds.
Until next time!