Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Our 1st Annual Student Success Fundraiser
Saturday, April 6, 2013
North Kipling Community Centre (2 Rowntree Road, Etobicoke)
ONLY $65 per ticket!
For tickets and more information, please contact Marcia Brown.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
What a great event the Ladies on the Rise and Men of Distinction did on Sunday, Decemeber 2, 2012. We were in the community of Etobicoke delivering Christmas Shoe Box. The experiences I received from this event, made me want to tell both my groups what I experieces last year doing this special job in the community. My ladies on the Rise and Men of Distinction were so happy for the information that they wanted to be part of it.
Jamie Parchment from Men of Distinction wrote this letter in his own words how he felt about the community work he did.
Sometimes we have experiences that cannot be adequately summed up in words, and what happened on December 2, 2012 was one such moment.
Myself along with members of men of distinction went out to deliver presents to children in the community, as a part of the Toronto Star Santa Clause Fund. This initiative has delivered to over 40,000 households all over the city of Toronto, and I had felt honored to be a part of it.
We would be teamed up with other members of the community, who had volunteered to take part as well. Each group was in charge of delivering shoeboxes filled with gifts to a certain apartment building. As i stood facing the tower of boxes, thought to myself, "oh wow those are a lot of boxes." A few trips later, our team had loaded up the van and made our way to our first building.
We made it to our first delivery site, grabbed a few boxes, and entered the overwhelmingly decorated building.
While I went up the elevator with the boxes Began to wonder what reactions awaited me.
"Would they thankfully accept my gifts, or would they ungratefully snatch it from my hands and slam a door in my face," i thought.
The opening of the elevator door, awoke me from my daydreaming.
"Alright Jamie, it's go time," I chanted quietly, as I went to my first
"Knock, knock, knock," but there was no answer. I tried again , "Knock, knock, knock," I waited and still got no response at the door. Disappointed, I made my way down to hall to my next door, when I heard the sound of a lock twisting.
"Hello, did you just knock at my door," said a lady as she peered through her door.
I went back to the door and began explaining that I had come to deliver gifts to her, when two little head popped up beside her.
"Mommy are those for us" shouted one. "oh wow look at the presents, this is so cool mommy."
As I handed them the boxes, I felt an incredible feeling of fulfillment. I happily walked off now ready to deliver to the other doors on my list.
After a few more joy filled visits, I headed back down for the next batch of boxes. In the elevator, i was met by Sajan, a member of Men of Distinction and a fellow volunteer.
"The weirdest thing happened," he said, "one kid asked their mom if I was Santa Claus" I laughed and told him my story as we headed to get more more boxes.
At the end of the day, all of the men were sharing stories and saying how wonderful the experience was. Some were even eager to do it again next year.
"This is the best part of Christmas for me," remarked Jonathan, one of the men on distinction leaders.
"Really?" I replied,
"Yes, more than receiving presents and gifts, I much rather give back to my community, that's what gives me true happiness."
He had a point, most of the time we get caught up in the materialistic things, that we forget about the bigger picture. Lending a helping hand to others is a wonderful way to build relationships that will ensure that we grow stronger as a community.
If it was not for this group, and the many unexpected opportunities that have been provided, i would have probably would have spent my day playing video games or something. i look forward to taking part in even more activities like this as I continue to grow as an individual.
See more Christmas Shoe Box photos, click here.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
World Vision Event: November 14, 2012
On November 14, 2012, our Men of Distinction boarded a bus and took a trip from Etobicoke to Mississauga, Ontario. Our young men walked through the doors of World Vision Canada at 3:00 p.m. and gathered in one of their spacious board rooms. World Vision Canada is a Christian charitable organization dedicated to overcoming poverty and injustice both locally and internationally, especially within the lives of children.
A World Vision staff member stood in the front of the room near a building made of Jenga blocks and asked one member from each table to walk to the front, remove a block, and tell what they hated about the world in which we live. The men listed things like poverty, stereotypes, war, and the like. Then the men took the blocks they had previously removed and rebuilt “our world” with things they like, such as love, unity, and equality.
After the icebreaker, Dave Toycen, World Vision Canada’s President and CEO as well as Patrick Canagasingham, World Vision Canada’s Vice President of International and Canadian Programs, came to speak to our group. Toycen and Canagasingham spoke to our men about their positions at World Vision, commended our men for already being leaders in their community, and gave them helpful tips and encouraging words for continuing to do well in the future.
Afterwards, YouTube sensation, Sean Quigley, spoke to the men openly and honestly about his personal struggles and how he overcame them with a grounded commitment to his faith. Quigley also shared the many experiences he has had working in partnership with World Vision in countries like Georgia and working with Canadian rapper, Fresh IE. He then graced the room with his many talents by playing the guitar and singing his song, Our Generation.
At the end of the presentation, the men engaged in intellectual and fruitful conversation with World Vision staff over pizza, veggies, and other snacks. Everyone pitched in to clean the tables and the men played on the piano, beatboxed, freestyled while Sean made beats on his guitar, laughed, talked, and had a great time until the bus came to take us back home.
See more World Vision photos, click here.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Jamaica T.O.: Peter Sloly, deputy police chief, on diversity, race relations
Published on Saturday November 03, 2012
ROBYN DOOLITTLE/TORONTO STAR
Peter Sloly, who came to Canada as a child and went to school in Scarborough, is one of the youngest-ever deputy chiefs with Toronto police.
A group of young men, most of them black, sit quietly in a conference room at Toronto Police headquarters, coolly eyeing deputy chief Peter Sloly.
The 38 youths, bused in from Etobicoke for the afternoon, are members of Men of Distinction. Teaching assistant Marcia Brown formed the outreach organization this year to support at-risk youths in her community.
Some of the young male visitors to the College St. headquarters have been to jail. Others haven’t been attending school regularly.
Some are angry and distrustful of the police.
Sloly, 46, a slim, fit Jamaican-Canadian, and one of the youngest ever deputy chiefs with Toronto police, cuts to the chase.
“(Toronto police) do a very good job, but we also get ourselves into a lot of controversy that revolves around young black men,” he says.
He tells the youths they’re seated in chairs normally occupied by Police Chief Bill Blair and his top command officers when issues such as public safety, youth crime, black youth and black-on-black crime are being discussed.
As his nearly two-hour address unfolds, the group gradually opens up as Sloly shares stories about himself.
He talks about being born in Jamaica, coming to Canada just before his 10th birthday and attending elementary and high school in Scarborough.
They hear how he played competitive soccer all the way up to the Canadian senior national team level, when a serious injury ended his dreams.
He finished a university degree in sociology and applied to become a police officer, moving up the ranks through hard work and the discipline he learned from his soccer days, he says.
As the vibe becomes more relaxed, the young men talk about their attitudes toward the police, and some complain they’ve been racially profiled.
Sloly describes how when he moved to Woodbridge a few years ago, he was one of the few black people, and a security guard followed him up and down the aisles while he shopped at a local store.
Sloly tells the youths about the tension he faced years ago giving a 13-day training course to police across the city on diversity and race relations.
“It was me and 30 cops . . . The negativity in the room was just intense. I went home at the end of those days thinking, ‘I’ve got to get out of (the Toronto police service). I don’t want to work with people who think like this. I don’t want to be part of an organization that can’t rise above this . . . ’ ”
But Sloly, who has one daughter with his wife, Leyla, persevered and decided to work to eradicate those attitudes.
“I’ve seen the organization progress and I’ll take a little bit of credit for that,” he says.
Then one of the young men in the conference room, a 14-year-old, drops a bombshell question:
“Why do you think black-on-black crime stands out so much in the media?”
“Good question,” Sloly replies.
“There are white people who are far greater numbers as pedophiles, and domestic abusers and child abusers. But those are quiet crimes that happen behind closed doors. They are equally vile and equally destructive, but they don’t have the public profile.
“Guns going bang, and bodies lying dead, bleeding in a public street, will always get more media attention than any other crime. And the fact is, unfortunately folks, 90 per cent of the people who get shot and killed in this city in gun-related crime look like you and me.
“So there’s one way to get the media off our backs . . . stop killing each other and demonstrate you’re men of distinction, not men of destruction.”
That clever, seemingly impromptu turn of phrase leaves several of the young men wide-eyed and impressed.
Sloly tells the group he “knows” the relationship between Toronto police and black youths in the city can be fraught with tension.
“Maybe it’s never been at a tougher point. I don’t know. I’ve been at it for 24 years and this seems like a pretty difficult time, in terms of the types of crimes (happening) . . . ”
Sloly says he urges his officers to be respectful to members of the public, and he urged the young men in the conference room to show police respect.
As he wraps up his talk there’s much levity in the room, and many of the young men approach him for one-on-one discussions.
“How do I become a police officer?” one of them asks.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
by Darren Clarke
Men in Black
a secret society that no one knows exists
shrouded by stereotypes
diluted truths and different myths
Like when you see me walking fast
behind you because I’m late for an obligation
just trying to pass you on the sidewalk
grasp your purse tightly and stop walking
to make it less noticeable you act like you forgot something
We all forget
but forgetting is different than
being forgotten overlooked
because society labels us
as those from the hood
the ones up to no good
the ones who have no future
products of a vicious cycle
Men in Black
were the ones alienated
because the actions of few
paint a picture for those who don't know
Ive heard comments before like
BET is the discovery channel for black people
ignorance its all just belligerent attacks
that recur and come back
how do we break this cycle I ask my fellow men in black
some of em might say get a strap
fire back with dire attacks
show em whose boss and where it’s at
but there wrong
I'll show you something
this is the first step in stopping that cycle
we have to notice that we are worth more
than what we are labeled as
second step is education
i know some adults might say its the first
but to me its realizing ones self worth
yet through education
we flourish and can become much more
than another perception, stereotype
of the guy who looks like the man who robbed the store
The last step is to share that
teach those who need to be taught
share experiences because we are all human
are we not
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Men of Distinction Program
Articles on Ladies on the Rise and the Men of Distinction Programs
Article: What Will You Do? by Tracy Moore
Trust 15 partners young people with role models and mentors. We help young people find the keys to unlock their futures. Our programs take youth who are caught in the cycles of poverty, hopelessness and dependencies and help them transform their lives towards a future of hope, joy, and lasting productivity. Mentoring is a matter of “Trust”. It is a structured & trusting relationship that brings young people together with caring and accountable individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing the young person’s competence, self-esteem and character.