The Toronto Police Chief Invitational golf tournament raised $10,000 to be used to support victims of crime and sudden tragedies.
The first annual event held at Markland Wood Golf Club on July 8, saw many golfers come out to support one of the Toronto Police Service members' favourite non-profit agencies, Victim Services Toronto (VST). The non-profit organization provides 24/7 service to 20, 000 victims, whether they be families that have lost a loved one or people trying to leave abusive relationships.
"It's amazing work that they do," Chief Bill Blair said before tournament organizers Larry Longo and Frank Soave presented the cheque to VST executive director Bonnie Levine and board chair Jonathan Maier. "They make a tremendous difference in our city."
Organizing Committee members included Joe Draganjac, Daniela Nestico, and Jenn Collins and supporters Jerry Cashman and Dino Longo.
Chief Blair said he wanted to thank those who attended the event as well as the organizers.
"There are people in this city who want to step up and want to help people and this is a great avenue for it," he said.
The Chief said as much as the money is greatly needed, the tournament also raises awareness of the organization that complements the work of police by supporting the victims police officers encounter every day on the job.
Levine said she would like to expand the work of victim services by hiring more case managers to work directly in police divisions, where they can play a role advocating for victims.
"We want them there to work with the most vulnerable victims people, people who really can't access services easily," she said, noting the elderly and those who speak English as a second language often have the most trouble navigating social services.
Victim Services Toronto often works with victims of domestic violence live independent lives and follow through with the court process.
"It requires advocacy and ingenuity to connect people to resources quickly so they can live a life free of violence," she said, of the work of VST staff. "There are often a whole host of underlying issues surrounding domestic violence that need to be addressed, such as poverty and lack of housing."
She said funding from community partners is crucial and makes up more than 40% of their $1.6 million budget. VST also relies heavily on their 200 volunteers.
Levine also thanked Chief Blair for his unwavering supporting of VST, including the Chief's Gala that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the non-profit organization.
"Every time I see him, I ask something of him, he never says no," Levine said. "We appreciate all that he does for our organization."