With the new school year approaching, brothers Isaiah and Jeremiah Cole welcomed the opportunity to receive backpacks, iPads and headphones.
They were among 50 young people from the community selected to take part in a meet and greet with members of the Toronto Police Service Integrated Gang Prevention Task Unit (IGPTF) and Toronto Raptors Assistant Coach Jamaal Magloire.
The Jamaal Magloire Foundation and Compass Group Canada were the other partners in the event.
“It’s great that the police are doing this for us,” said Isaiah Cole, who is off to high school this year. “We are going to make good use of these presents.”
Leisa Cole accompanied her sons to the event on September 2 at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) Launchpad on Jarvis St.
“This is such a great event to inspire our young people and show them that the police and community members do care about them,” she said. “I am so happy that my sons are part of the event.”
The Cole’s reside in the Jane & Sheppard community.
Chavez Sequea, who aspires to be a graphic designer, was grateful for the package.
My whole goal with today’s outreach is to let young people know when they do good things, good things will happen to them
“Some kids don’t have access to technology,” said the 18-year-old Westview Centennial High School graduate. “This will help them grow.”
Focused on 12 neighbourhoods, the IGPTF was founded to reduce gang membership and violence through a multi-sectoral approach focused on education, prevention, intervention and suppression initiatives in partnership with impacted stakeholders.
Detective-Constables Marlon Laptiste, Shawn Geris, Julia Roizman and Michael Morphet represented the IGPTF at the event.
Laptiste, who joined the Service 14 years ago, has been with the IGPTF for just over a year.
“The youths here have had trauma from gun and gang violence, some have physical disabilities and others have excelled in high school and their communities,” said Laptiste. “We were looking for a diverse group that was most in need. My whole goal with today’s outreach is to let young people know when they do good things, good things will happen to them.”
Magloire was excited to be part of the initiative.
“This is about helping kids with their education when they start school next week,” he said. “It is extra tools in order for them to keep up with the rest of the world in technology.”