Friday, March 10, 2017 - Toronto, ON
On Thursday evening, MLSE Foundation announced Hockey 4 Youth as this year's recipient of the Toronto Maple Leafs Community Action Grant presented by the Just Energy Foundation during the Toronto Maple Leafs versus Philadelphia Flyers game at Air Canada Centre. MLSE Foundation representatives were joined by Nancy Donnaperna, Just Energy Communications Manager, Moezine Hasham, Hockey 4 Youth Co-Founder and Executive Director and two program youth, Aya and Shuayb, for the announcement and cheque presentation.
"Hockey 4 Youth removes social and economic barriers for new Canadians and increases accessibility to one of this country's most beloved sports," said Michael Bartlett, Executive Director of MLSE Foundation. "We're excited to once again partner with the Just Energy Foundation to provide this program with the funding it needs to expand and improve the lives of even more youth in Ontario."
Hockey 4 Youth's mission is to provide new Canadian youth in high priority neighbourhoods with an opportunity to play hockey at no cost while learning valuable life skills through its T.E.A.C.H. program (technology, entrepreneurship, application, community-giving, healthy active living). Hockey 4 Youth delivers learn-to-skate sessions, followed by learn-to-play-hockey sessions and a tournament. While hockey is a primary vehicle for delivering sport and health, it is also used to enhance English literacy through practical life situations. The off-ice component (T.E.A.C.H.) is a four to six week program that helps youth learn various skills such as coding and app creation, personal branding, creative design and volunteerism.
"We are extremely grateful to both MLSE Foundation and the Just Energy Foundation for supporting our ongoing efforts at #GivingHockey to new Canadian youth in Ontario," said Hasham. "The young women and men in our program receive positive guidance in a supportive, inclusive environment, where they meet and learn from their peers, university student athletes and other mentors."
The first Ontario Hockey 4 Youth program launched in September 2015 at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Thorncliffe/Flemingdon Park and has since expanded to Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Malvern. The $50,000 grant will be used to expand to a third program location in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, giving 90 to 105 new Canadian youth a chance to learn Canada's game.
"Through our Just Energy Foundation partnership with MLSE Foundation, we are privileged to contribute to the well-being of our youth through access to sports programs that would otherwise be inaccessible to them," says Deb Merril, Just Energy's co-Chief Executive Officer. "The social and life skills gained through sport are skills that can serve them for life. We congratulate Hockey 4 Youth for the work they do to remove barriers to participation, and the value-added educational tools provided to help set up these youngsters for future success."
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC Community Action Grants are three $50,000 sport-specific prizes presented by the Just Energy Foundation that MLSE Foundation will award to charitable organizations supporting youth sports programming in Toronto each year. Eligible organizations can apply for all grants at mlsefoundation.org, where submissions are reviewed by a selection committee before a winner is chosen and announced at a special event in their community.
About Hockey 4 Youth
Hockey 4 Youth (Let Kids Play Foundation) is a registered Canadian charity. Our mission is to remove barriers and provide new Canadian youth with an opportunity to play hockey at no cost while learning valuable life skills through our T.E.A.C.H. program (technology, entrepreneurship, application, community-giving, healthy active living). Follow us on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook @hockey4youth and visit hockey4youth.org for more info.
About MLSE Foundation
MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to develop lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of MLSE's teams, the Foundation funds the refurbishment of local athletic facilities and programs that support kids through sports and recreation. Since launching in 2010, MLSE Foundation has invested more than $30 million into our community. For more information visit mlsefoundation.org, or follow @MLSEFoundation
About Just Energy Foundation
The Just Energy Foundation was established in 2013 by Just Energy Group Inc. to help registered Canadian and U.S. charitable organizations secure the resources required to promote the health and well-being of communities in need. Funded entirely by Just Energy, the Foundation invests in local programs that work to enhance the quality of life in Just Energy's operating markets towards building stronger and supportive communities. Visit justenergyfoundation.com to learn more.
Melissa Perri, MLSE, 416-815-5524, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Donnaperna, Just Energy Foundation, 905-670-4440, email@example.com
Moezine (Moe) Hasham, Hockey 4 Youth, 416-994-4352, firstname.lastname@example.org