It was one of the highlights of their summer. Nearly 40 young people enrolled in the Midaynta Community Services (MCS) six-week summer camp toured Traffic Services on August 13.
Ranging in age from 10-15, the young people got the opportunity to attend the Hanna Ave. facility and learn about road safety strategies and tour the various sections in the unit.
“We wanted to give them a different perspective of what it means to be of service to Toronto,” said MCS youth outreach worker Fawzia Duale, who – with Mohamed Jama – accompanied the youths, who all have Somali heritage.
Deputy Chief Mark Saunders was instrumental in arranging the trip to the specialized unit that he oversees.
“I have developed a close relationship with the Somali community in the west end,” he said. “The key to any type of success that we have is going to rely on the relationships that we have with the various communities. The Somali community is one that has always reached out for our help and assistance. One of the things they crave for is just information that they are not aware of.
“I have taken it upon myself to sit down with them on a regular basis and try to come up with initiatives that will help them to be more informed about their rights and privileges in Canada.”
Saunders said he made the decision to invite the youths to Traffic Services after attending a day camp for youth recently.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity for them to have a better understanding of what we do as a police service,” he said. “Rather than seeing officers, for the most part, patrolling their neighbourhoods, this was the chance for them to see them in another light. They asked questions and they saw the complexities of a collision reconstruction. They really embraced the day.”