United Way Helping Future Leaders

By Martin Blake, Toronto Police Service Published: 6 a.m. September 26, 2017

Over the last decade, Toronto Police has raised over $5 million for United Way Toronto & York Region through its annual campaign to help fund programs for young people reach their goals to helping seniors live with dignity.

A man in TPS uniform beside a Shoreham Park sign
Neighbourhood Officer Constable Nelson Santizo says the United Way has made a positive difference in the Shoreham-Driftwood neighbourhood he patrols

“Your generosity and support impacts so many people whom you will never meet,” said Superintendent. Reuben Stroble, the Service’s campaign chair. It helps build strong neighbourhoods… When you look at the Toronto Police Service, what we do and what United Way provides, I don’t think there is any other organization out there that works with social agencies like we do to try to make a better place for people to work and grow in our city. It’s the United Way and the money they provide that helps us help the community.”

This year, the Service is highlighting the work of the  Jane and Finch Boys & Girls Club, who receive United Way funding.

Neighbourhood Officer Constable Nelson Santizo who, along with Constable Dalida Matias, patrols the Shoreham-Driftwood neighbourhood, said the club creates a safe space where young people are mentored.

“Often times, we have stereotypes about Jane & Finch,” he said. “I grew up here and I can tell you it’s not what you hear on the news all of the time. There are guns, gangs and violence. These negative factors can have an influence on our young people which I see as a huge challenge. There are things like mentorship and other activities which can help these young people stay out of trouble and the Jane & Finch Boys & Girls Club provides these. They are funded by United Way and it’s evident that they are having a positive impact on youth.”

Profiling the Jane & Finch Boys & Girls Club, a United Way-funded agency

The club runs a variety of programs, including dance, job readiness and homework help.

“The kids in the neighbourhood are very smart and outgoing and they love to learn and are eager to learn new things,” said Risa Antoine, the club’s community director. “They just need support and guidance and I feel our club provides that.”

She said a donation to United Way is a huge investment in the young people that attend the club.

“It does help the next generation,” she said.

Visit the  United Way Toronto & York Region website to learn more about the positive impact a donation can have on our neighbourhooods.

A mural with stylized writing the word: dream
A mural on the Jane and Finch Boys & Girls Club encouraging youth to "dream"
TPS crest watermark