ProAction Recognizes Youth Mentors

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 12:23 p.m. June 24, 2019

When Const. Peter De Quintal started a Lego Club last year at St. Oscar Romero Catholic Secondary School, the goal was to bring students from all grades together to engage in an activity outside of the traditional clubs and sports teams.

A girl hugging a woman in TPS uniform
Constable Ramandeep Sandhu gets a hug from a participant in her yoga program (Robin Sharp Photography)

“For those kids who weren’t interested in sports, this was another option for them,” he said.

There was another reason for starting the club.

“I realized that a lot of students came to school late, so I started the club at 7.45 a.m.,” De Quintal pointed out. “The ploy worked as many of them came early.”

Because of the program’s success, De Quintal was recently honoured with the Jack Sinclair Award at the ProAction Cops & Kids Discovery Gala at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Sinclair was one of ProAction’s founding Directors, serving from 1991 to 1999 and as Vice Chairman from 1994 to 1998. He chaired the Grants Committee from 1991 to 1999, reviewing and funding 334 projects.

De Quintal was excited to win the award.

“For this program to be considered as innovative and worthy of an award is really a testament to the effort that the students put in to make it work,” he said. “It was an opportunity to engage them. They helped each other and worked together. As the program progressed for five months through the Spring of 2018, I got to know them better.”

Better known as  @StarWarsCop on Twitter, De Quintal started a bike rodeo for young people in his Division six years ago.

Partially funded by ProAction, the rodeo is geared at engaging students in several fun activities, including obstacle courses to help develop skills on two wheels, as well as adhere to the rules of the road. They are also required to wear helmets.

A man in TPS uniform with a certificate
Constable Peter De Quintal was honoured with the Jack Sinclair Award (Robin Sharp Photography)

By law, it’s mandatory for every cyclist under 18 to wear a helmet. Helmets have been proven to greatly reduce the risk of brain and head injuries, preventing concussions and potentially even death. Studies have shown that helmet use reduces head injury risk by over 80%.

The program is in 15 schools in his 12 division.

Consts. Jen Sidhu and Ramandeep Sandhu of Corporate Communications and 23 Division respectively were recognized with the Jim Sneep Award for the Dixon Yoga program they have been running for the last five years.

The officers lead the free weekly drop-in classes for young girls from the Dixon community. Through the program, they have been able to break down cultural barriers and created a community of strong young female leaders.

“To be acknowledged for making a difference and providing opportunities for young girls in the Rexdale community is heart-warming,” said Sidhu. “It shows the community that leadership is service and not a position. Breaking down barriers and creating mini-leaders within the community makes for a more vibrant city.”

Const. Ryan Park of the Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit, was also honoured with a Jim Sneep Award for leading and participating in the Islington Community Golf Association, Amazing Race T.O and TROOP programs.

Staff Inspector Sneep was community-minded and seized every opportunity to encourage young people to join the Service.

When he died, in 2006, ProAction Cops & Kids established an award bearing his name.

ProAction Cops & Kids funds initiatives that link youth to police mentors.

A group of people in TPS uniform
Constables Ramandeep Sandhu, Jen Sidhu and Ryan Parks were honoured from their work with youth by Chief Mark Saunders and Supt. David Rydzik (Robin Sharp Photography)
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