Menaal Noor has the perfect summer job.
The Grade 12 Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute student, who aspires to be a police officer, is among the 155 successful applicants who reported for duty at the Toronto Police Service on July 4, to begin an eight-week stint in the highly successful Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) program, now in its 10th year.
“I want to make a difference in the community and policing, more than any other career, allows you to do that,” she said.
Established in 2006 with the assistance of former provincial government minister Mary Anne Chambers, who attended this year’s program launch, the innovative program caters to high school and university students, between 15 and 18, who come from City of Toronto-designated Neighbourhood Improvement Areas who often struggle to find summer employment. Over 1,800 youth have participated in the Toronto program, which now includes postings during the school year.
Nikolas Chronopoulos has always had an interest in policing.
“That’s the main reason why I applied to be in the YIPI program and I was so happy my application was successful,” said the Grade 11 student, who aspires to be a military officer. “Now, I will get the opportunity so see the inner workings of the police service.”
For Mathew Ogundiran, nothing beats getting your first summer job with Toronto Police.
“I want to experience what it feels like to be working with the police,” the North Albion Collegiate Institute Grade 12 student said. “You bet I will make the most of this opportunity.”
Agincourt Collegiate Institute Grade 11 student Torissa George learned about the program earlier this year when recruits visited her school.
“Why not go for it as I have nothing to do this summer?” she said.
Earning $11.25 an hour, the YIPI students will be exposed to the Service’s 17 Divisions and 48 support units. Of the 1,231 applicants this year, a total of 400 were interviewed and 155 selected.
Toronto Police Service Chief Mark Saunders welcomed the new intake into the Service’s fold.
“The YIPI program enhances the link between the Service and the neighbourhoods we serve,” he told them. “This incredible initiative empowers you by giving you an opportunity to develop job skills while fostering positive relationships with us.”
Andy Pringle said the Toronto Police Services Board, which he chairs, holds the program in high esteem.
“We believe that this program has countless benefits for the young people, the Toronto Police Service and for our city,” he said. “…The opportunity to work with Toronto Police for an extended period of time provides young people with direct knowledge of our organization and encourages them to consider policing as a career. At the same time, by recognizing and supporting the strengths of youth, this program helps to build future leaders in neighbourhoods across Toronto. And, it also gives our officers a unique opportunity to interact with young people and to learn first-hand about their lives, realities, hopes and aspirations.”
Pringle, who was recently appointed to the Order of Canada, reminded the students that they are about to embark on one of the most valuable educational opportunities that will come their way.
“Take this time to learn from our police officers and from each other,” he added. “Be proud of the great contribution you are making to our city and know that we, as a board and as an organization, share the pride that your families feel today.”
Lou Ann Micallef, the Ministry of Children & Youth Services regional manager, represented Minister Michael Coteau at this year’s YIPI launch.
She urged the youth to make the most of the summer opportunity
“We all knew this was the beginning of something wonderful as many young people from across the city would have opportunities,” Micallef, who was at the program launch a decade ago, pointed out. “…We want you to succeed because, when you do, it positively impacts your family, friends and your community…Try to get as much you can out of this summer job experience because it really is an awesome opportunity. There will be many situations down the road where you will be able to influence people’s thinking by standing up and acknowledging what you have learnt here. We are depending on you to take that leadership role into your communities.”
Micallef acknowledged Toronto Police for its commitment and dedication to the program.
“This fantastic learning opportunity would not be possible without your support,” she noted. “You continue to provide a positive work environment for these young people and you give them a chance to show off their talent. You have also helped to make the program a success elsewhere in the province by sharing information, knowledge and experiences with other police services. For that, we acknowledge and thank you.”
Thushanth Selvakumar, who was in the inaugural summer class, was the first YIPI graduate to be hired as a uniformed officer in 2014.
“I had always wanted to be a police officer since I was a young man,” he told the incoming class. “Whenever I heard the sirens of a police car passing, I would run to the window, thinking to myself where they were going and what could be happening. I was fascinated and intrigued. So when I heard that he YIPI program was starting, I jumped on my application because I knew this would be one amazing job to experience.”
Selvakumar was assigned to 41 Division for his YIPI posting.
“The skills that I gained from working at that Division were diverse, educational and productive,” he said. “They helped me along my educational and career path. I was able to better understand community relationships.”
He encouraged the newcomers to cherish the opportunity, make friends and learn as much as they can.
“Leave with a smile every day because you all can make a difference in your communities,” said Selvakumar, who is with Traffic Services.