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September 15, 2005
Malvern students and City serve as champions of children
  
When 23 students, one Guidance Counsellor and a team from Toronto Children's
Services got together, the future got brighter for children across Toronto.
Students, from Lester B. Pearson Collegiate in the Malvern area, volunteered to
work with Toronto Children's Services on the Computers for Children Project,
which saw 393 licensed childcare centres across Toronto receive refurbished
computers.

When Toronto Social Services updated its computers, it offered its 1,200
existing computers to Children's Services for use by children enrolled in
licensed childcare centres. Many of the children in these centres are from
low-income families and do not have direct access to a computer at home. While
the computers, which were originally supplied by the Province of Ontario, could
no longer meet Social Services' business needs, they were still suitable to
introduce young children to modern technology. This early exposure is an
important tool that can help connect children to a world of communication and
information, and give them a technological foundation to support their future
achievements.

When approached to get involved in the project, Lester B. Pearson Guidance
Counsellor Scott Bradford responded with enthusiasm, recruiting 23 Grade 11
student volunteers. Working with information technology staff, the students
tested each computer and downloaded software programs that were suitable for
pre-school and school-age children. The computers have been successfully
converted and are already in use in childcare centres across the city.

Students earned community service hours as part of their requirement for high
school graduation. Some students who had already met their community services
hours volunteered anyway, to help children, their community and to get hands-on
experience for future job opportunities.

"This was a very successful partnership between the City and the community,
that shows a shared commitment to children across Toronto," said Councillor Joe
Mihevc, Chair of the Community Services Committee, which honoured the project
at its meeting today. "Social Services seized an opportunity to help thousands
of kids cross the digital divide. Children's Services shared its staff skills
and made the project happen, and the students of Lester B. Pearson showed us
that the youth of Malvern, despite many recent negative news reports, are the
promise and the hope for the future. They should all be congratulated for truly
being champions of children."

The Computers for Children Program, which recently received a Bronze Award from
the Public Service Quality Fair, is just one of many ways Toronto Children's
Services is working with other divisions and partners in the community to
ensure that across Toronto, kids and quality matter.

Media contact:
Brenda Patterson, General Manager, Toronto Children's Services,
416-392-8128



 

 

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