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April 12, 2001
Program participants receive the City's third annual Children's Advocate Award
City Councillors Olivia Chow, Betty Disero and Howard Moscoe presented the
third annual Children's Advocate Award for Best Practices today at the Children
and Youth Action Committee meeting. The award honours Toronto-based
organizations, agencies or programs that demonstrate innovation and leadership
in serving children in the community.

The Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre's Art Starts children's programs,
which serve children (infants to youth up to 18 years of age), won the award in
the children's category. Arts Starts programs use the arts to build a healthy
community and bring together professional artists with people from the
neighbourhood to create projects and programs in all artistic media. The
programs build self-esteem, foster creativity, develop and strengthen social
networks, teach tangible skills, provide positive alternatives and build
bridges between people who come from the most culturally, racially and
linguistically diverse areas of Toronto.

Accepting the $5,000 award from the Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre
were Mira Coviensky, program director; Borota Dziong, acting general manager;
Karen Bell, program co-ordinator; and Jo-anne Atherley, outreach co-ordinator
for the Program Without Walls.

Dr. Christopher Spence, founder of the Boys to Men program at Lawrence Heights
Middle School, accepted the $5,000 award in the youth category. This program
nurtures the overall development of male students (ages 11 to 14) who are at
risk of dropping out of school. The program, which serves 75 to 100 males at
Lawrence Heights Middle School, has been adopted by other schools in the
Toronto District School Board.

The Boys to Men program develops new and creative models that are inherent to
the education process. The program is intended to promote the development of
positive attitudes toward life and awareness of the worth of high academic

"I am pleased to recognize the outstanding efforts of these two programs that
represent the City of Toronto's ongoing commitment and support for children and
youth," said Councillor Olivia Chow, the City's Children and Youth Advocate.

This year, about 35 programs were nominated for the Children's Advocate Award
for Best Practices. Nominated programs show innovation in delivering existing
services in a new and more effective manner, work collaboratively with other
programs or service sectors to provide improved service, and provide new types
of service to meet community needs.

The Children and Youth Action Committee, established in 1998, is made up of
members of Toronto City Council, school trustees and community representatives.
The committee works together to improve the health and well-being of Toronto's

For more information, visit the Children and Youth Action Committee's Web site

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