I can’t believe that it has already been over two months since the pilot began and I’ve started working out of the The Spot – Jane Finch Centre as a SportWORKS Officer for the Sport for Newcomers Initiative. We are officially now right in the thick of it and exciting things are on the books and in the works. While we have had our share of challenges and learnings in trying to get programming up and running, I am very happy to say that we will have our first Newcomer Learn-to-Play Event coming up very soon on Sunday, November 3rd at the Aviva Centre @York University!
All of us here are very excited for this event as it is our first big opportunity to launch our pilot programming in the Jane and Finch area. We have partnered up with a local agency that understands the value of inclusion (Jane/Finch Community Tennis Association) to help deliver some high quality programming at a subsidized cost to the community!
Our Learn-to-Play event on November 3rd will provide newcomer youth the opportunity to try tennis, perhaps for the first time, in a structured and fun environment. We hope that this event will serve as a stepping stone and spark participant interest in sport to the point that newcomer youth will want to continue on with organized sport programming they are interested in and that is accessible both now and in the future.
This event, and the continued partnership between The Spot – Jane Finch Centre and the Jane/Finch Community Tennis Association after the pilot initiative concludes, has all the markings of success. If all goes to plan, this partnership will help us to meet the goals of the pilot project by creating community partnerships and providing opportunities for newcomers to participate and feel included in skill-appropriate, quality sport, which in the long run will lead to increased sport participation rates for newcomer youth, especially girls, and an overall more inclusive, engaged and healthy community!
In addition to the tennis event, we have been hard at work brainstorming and developing outlines and frameworks for future events and programming. Although we have hit some snags, in the fact that we have not yet received an approved permit for weekly activity space, we managed to avoid a major roadblock when the province came to a deal with the Education Workers Union to keep schools open. The hope is now that the threat of a strike is behind us, our permits within the TDSB will be approved and we will be able to start running weekly newcomer sport programming. Our plan is to have a soccer and basketball program up and running as soon as next month!
These are some very exciting times for us here in Toronto. Once our event runs in a couple of weeks I will have a follow up post detailing how everything went and showcasing some great pictures of the event in action!
Until next time!