Soccer Gear Finds Second Home

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 6 a.m. January 15, 2020
Updated: 9:53 a.m. January 16, 2020

Kids from the Black Creek, Jane/Glenfield and University Heights communities got the gear they need to play the game they love recently thanks to a partnership between the police and the community.

A group of people behind tables with soccer equipment in bags
Bryst Soccer Academy youth sorted the many donations at 31 Division (Photo: @markkrocz)

Introduced to the Firgrove Learning & Innovation Community Centre (FLICC) a few years ago by Const. Gary Jones, Const. Melody Carroll, of 31 Division, met the organization’s Executive Director Lorraine Anderson and learned of their youth outreach programs.

“Lorraine shared the various activities they were providing for their participants and soccer was one of them,” said Carroll, who was a professional soccer coach and is her Division’s United Way Ambassador. “When I asked if there was anything that I could to do help, Lorraine mentioned that most of the kids don’t have soccer gear.”

Tapping into her contacts, she collected usable gear from various divisions and external organizations, including Bryst Football Academy, which donated a significant amount of equipment

John and Belinda Paolucci are the academy’s managing directors.

Belinda’s sister, Carla Ferlisi, is a Case Management Administrator with the Occupational Health & Safety Unit.

A group of people loading boxes into a van
Looding up soccer gear at 31 Division to distribute to the Firgrove Community Centre (Photo: @markkrocz)

“When Carla contacted me, she also mentioned that the academy had just changed their branding,” said Carroll. “That meant they were getting rid of a lot of the equipment they have and might be interested in donating it to the cause.”

The Paolucci family was very happy to make a contribution.

“Besides being the managing directors, my wife and I are blessed to have three healthy children who participate in competitive sport,” John Palucci said. “We fully recognize that the cost of sporting equipment can be quite pricey and are of the belief that kids should have access to usable and adequate gear.”

Since last October, about 22 high school youths from the Jane & Finch community have been participating in an indoor soccer program, run by the FLICC, at Oakdale Community Centre.

“These young people were overjoyed when they saw the amount of equipment Melody had collected,” said Anderson. “We are so grateful for all that she did.”

Young people from the soccer academy helped collect and organize the gear to be delivered to Firgrove.

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