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November 24, 2009
Eighth annual Mayor’s Community Safety Award winners honoured at City Hall
Mayor David Miller rewarded the efforts of five outstanding projects that have contributed to community safety at the eighth annual Mayor’s Community Safety Awards event held at City hall yesterday. The mayor was joined by Toronto residents and representatives from Bell - the corporate partner for the event, the Toronto Police Service and the City’s Social Development, Finance and Administration Division to celebrate the award-winning projects.

"I am incredibly proud of all the award winners and the creativity they have shown in looking for ways to make our safe city safer," said Mayor Miller. "Their efforts are making a real and positive difference in the lives of all Torontonians, and for that we are all appreciative."

Superintendent Kenneth Cenzura, unit commander of the Police Service’s community mobilization unit, said, "The Toronto Police Service remains committed to strong, vibrant and productive partnerships with all our community partners to keep our city safe, secure and liveable. We are proud of all the achievements of this year’s recipients."

The Mayor’s Community Safety Awards were created by the City of Toronto’s Community Safety Secretariat to recognize the work being done to help make Toronto a safer place to live, work, learn and play. This year’s five winners are:
- Beyond Academics after-school support project
- Central Park Youth Sports Club cricket program
- Film Stars film and video production project
- Lawrence Heights Friday Night Café
- Safe Community Initiative in west downtown area

Profiles of the award-winning initiatives

Beyond Academics is a resident-led after-school project that helps youth in the Glendower community who struggle with academic and behavioural issues. In a safe and comfortable environment, the participants get help with homework assignments and are taught how to resolve conflicts peacefully. The program also engages youth with creative rap sessions and activities to help expand their vision of what is possible for their futures. Helping students plan their futures and achieve personal goals contributes to making the city safer. Cyleta Gibson accepted the award on behalf of the project.

Central Park Youth Sports Club is a resident youth-led initiative that has capitalized on the rising popularity of cricket to bring the youth of Regent Park together in a positive environment. The program focuses on building teamwork and leadership skills, exposing participants to community leaders, and facilitating peer mentoring. Giving youth a positive activity with strong role models helps to promote community safety. Amzad Khan, Tunjib Ahmed and Tarak Ahmed of the Central Park Youth Sports Club accepted the award on behalf of the project.

Film Stars is a film and video production project that travels among the 13 priority neighbourhoods and partners with local community centers to teach participants the skill of movie-making. The students are given the opportunity to write, direct, act and produce short films. Beyond technical skills, the youth also acquire life skills that include co-operation, leadership and communication, and they benefit from a sense of achievement. This creative outlet transcends “gang geography” and gives youth the tools they need to find their voices. Matthew Plummer, executive director of Film Stars, accepted the award on behalf of the project.

Lawrence Heights Friday Night Café is a community-led initiative that gives local residents an opportunity to host family-friendly get-togethers in a relaxed environment. These weekly parties help residents reclaim local spaces while creating social connections that strengthen understanding of one another’s cultures. The community bonds through food, performances and fun. A safer city is built through these connections.
Abdirizack Hersi, Hyacinth Challenger, Wellesley Thompson, Naila Edwards, Sojica John and Hashmat Safi accepted the award on behalf of the project.

Safe Community Initiative is a University Settlement project that educates residents of Toronto’s west downtown neighbourhood about local safety issues, builds networks and strengthens community partnerships. The group hosted four uniquely-focused community safety events. Seniors learned about elder abuse and fraud, newcomers were put more at ease when they were introduced to the way the police operate in Canada, parents were updated to help them keep their kids safe when online, and members of the local Business Improvement Area were informed about crime prevention techniques. Tsering Dolma of University Settlement accepted the award on behalf of the project.

As the City of Toronto’s partner in presenting the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards, Bell provided each of the projects with a cheque for $1,000 to help them continue the work they have started. Colette Nemni, Bell’s senior vice president and head of human resources, said, “We are all inspired by the innovative ideas, hard work and dedication we’ve witnessed here today. As a proud sponsor of the Toronto Mayor’s Safety Awards for the past six years, we congratulate the 2009 winners and wish them continued success in the work they are doing to make Toronto a great and safe city.”

For more information about the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards, including the past years’ winners, visit

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Cher Jones, Senior Coordinator, Social Development, Finance and Administration, 416-392-5349, cell 416-894-5891,



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