Besides earning spending money, Partaap Bains hopes to meet new people and learn life skills in his first summer job.
The North Albion Collegiate Institute Grade 12 student is now a member of the Toronto Police family, joining 155 Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) members who were sworn in on July 2 at the Toronto Police College.
Bains learned about the program through his older brother who was a 2018 participant assigned to 31 Division.
“He said it was the best summer experience he has ever had and that I would enjoy it,” said Bains. “One of the things I am looking to sharpen is my leadership skills and I think the program will give me the opportunity to do that.”
Tenisha Noel’s guidance counsellor thought the program will be a good for the aspiring lawyer.
“I am on the law pathway and she believed I would benefit from the YIPI program,” said the teenager who enters Grade 12 at Oakwood Collegiate Institute in the fall. “I hope to get as much as I could out of the program.”
Dimitri Mikhailob found out about the YIPI program while scouring the internet.
“It caught my attention because I am interested in a law enforcement career,” said the high school graduate, who is enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces.
A school ambassador introduced Amina Honey to the program.
“She said it would be a good opportunity for me and I took her up on the offer to apply,” said the Humberside Collegiate Institute student. “I am hoping to meet new friends and get some good work experience.”
In its 14th year, the annual summer program – established with the assistance of former provincial government Minister Mary Anne Chambers who attended the launch -- caters to high school and university students, between 15 and 18, who come from City of Toronto-designated Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and often struggle to find summer employment.
Earning $14 an hour, the YIPI students are exposed to the Service’s 17 Divisions and support units, working alongside both uniform and civilian members.
Chief Mark Saunders told the participants they are part of a very unique opportunity.
“The fact that you signed up is a statement of who you are,” he said. “This program is near and dear to our hearts and I hope that you get out of it what you put in because that is critical. That will define your summer as to whether or not it is fantastic or mediocre. But I guarantee that we will give you all of the tools and opportunities to have a fantastic summer. If we are going to make the future a better place, then we have to invest in our young men and women. We know that when we invest, it opens the doors for better opportunities for each and every one of you.”
Saunders thanked the parents, some of whom attended the launch, for allowing their children to spend the summer with Toronto Police.
“Once you wake them up on time and you get them here, they will be in very good hands,” he added. “They will be surrounded by the best law enforcement, I believe, in North America and more importantly by an organization that cares and is excited to have them. They will have a great time.”
The Toronto Police Services Board has strongly endorsed the program since its inception in 2006.
“Our Board is very proud of the YIPI program,” said Board member Ken Jeffers. “We believe that this program has countless benefits for the young people, the Toronto Police Service and for our city. This program is one part of a comprehensive Board and Service strategy for enhancing safety in our communities. It reflects the Board’s recognition of the importance of using comprehensive and meaningful preventive measures alongside traditional law enforcement in dealing with issues of crime prevention, community safety and public engagement in our city.”
Jeffers told the participants they are about to embark upon one of the most valuable educational opportunities they will ever have.
“Take this time to learn from our police officers and from each other,” he said. “Be proud of the great contribution you are making to your city. Know that we, as a Board and, as an organization, share the pride that your families feel today.”
Assistant Deputy Minister David Mitchell represented the provincial government at the launch.
“You continue to provide a positive work environment for these young people and give them a chance to show off their talents,” he said. “The Ontario government is proud to support YIPI’s as part of our commitment to help young people like you realize your full potential. We want you to succeed and when you do, you positively impact your family, friends and your community.”
Const. Mamon Ahmed, who last year became the second YIPI to be a Toronto Police officer, was the keynote speaker.
He shared his experience as a YIPI who graduate in 2008 along with growing up in Regent Park in an immigrant family and being exposed to gangs and drugs.
“Please don’t let these types of tough experiences define who you are,” he said. “Rather, let them make you a stronger person.”
Ahmed impressed several of the participants, including York Memorial Collegiate student Ridhwan Ali.
“I liked the way he talked about his not so good experiences and how that helped to shape him and make him a better person,” said Ali.
Sheran Jno-Baptiste encouraged her son, Ryan Barrett, to apply.
“I learned about the program through a basketball program he’s involved with in his school (C.W Jefferys),” she said. “They sent me the link and I told him he wasn’t going to summer school this year, but instead somewhere he will learn about discipline, meet new friends and enhance his life skills.”
There were 842 applicants for this year’s program.
Taniel Campbell, a graduate of the 2019 YIPI winter program, sang the national anthem.
She will begin post-secondary studies in September in Media & Communications at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.
For more information, visit the Youth In Policing Initiative webpage