Working with the police as a Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) student earlier this year provided Pingki Mazumder an opportunity to see another side of the police she didn’t know.ht
It was an eye-opener for the first-year university student who has spent most of her life in Regent Park, one of the city’s designated priority neighbourhoods.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I entered the program,” she said. “You hear so many negative things about the police, especially in the community where I am from but to actually see what they do and the impact they are making in this city meant a lot to me. In fact, I know that a lot of people in Regent Park are not aware of that.”
A graduate of Danforth Collegiate & Technical Institute, Mazumder was among four first-year university students awarded scholarships by the 54 Division Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) on September 9.
She’s pursuing Life Sciences studies at the University of Toronto.
While Azaliya Rodriguez has not worked with the police, she has a deep appreciation for their commitment to support young people.
“This scholarship is special, particularly for someone like me who was raised in Flemingdon Park,” said the Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute graduate and University of Toronto student, who aspires to be a speech language pathologist. “Education is important in today’s society and this award gives me an opportunity to grow and become an educated person who could make a valuable contribution to society.”
The other winners are also Marc Garneau Collegiate graduates.
Faraz Virani, who was a member of his school’s social justice and equity committee, is enrolled in York University’s Law & Society program and Tracey Frimpong is pursuing Life Sciences studies at the U of T.
“I am really not clear about my career goal, but I know that it will revolve around helping people because I like doing that,” she said.
Each scholarship is worth $1,000.
The CPLC has been awarding scholarships to area students since 2008. CPLCs, which are run out of all 17 police Divisions, are committees made up of community members who help advise the police on concerns and improve community safety.
“You deserve them,” CPLC co-chair Mary Reilly told this year’s awardees. “This is recognition for your hard work in the classroom and in your communities.”
Since the inception six years ago, the CPLC has awarded $21,000 to 31 students.
Former 54 Division CPLC member Steve Young was also recognized at the event.
The Toronto Community Housing supervisor worked in the Division before being relocated to another community recently.
“It’s very important that partners, especially in Toronto Housing, are on our side to help us solve problems,” said 54 Division unit commander Superintendent Bill Wardle, who is also the CPLC co-chair. “It makes our job easier and the community safer.”
Staff Sergeant George Mullin of the 54 Division Community Response Unit presented a certificate to Young.
“This is a wonderful and awesome group of people to work with and I will miss them,” said Young, who is now a supervisor in the Willowdale/Don Valley operating unit.