The three day sailing event is part of Toronto Police's Cops and Kids program. Created by members of the 31 Division Neighbourhood TAVIS Initiative, the Toronto Police Service Marine Unit and community partners Broad Reach Sailing Foundations, HMCS York and the National Yacht
Club it's allowing the teens a chance to learn the joy of sailing while building leadership skills.
Constable Rob Griffin said at today's launch that this is just one of several programs at his Division that has cops and kids working together to build a strong community. Today is the first time kids from his Division have been part of the SAIL program but it won't be the last. TAVIS cops are working hard to find new ways to break down barriers with area kids in high-risk neighbourhoods. The programs like today's SAIL adventure not only helps the kids with leadership skills it begins a bond with the officers they work with.
That bond with officers can make all the difference for some youth. One young man I spoke with is going to York University with big dreams, dreams that wouldn't have been there had it not been for a bond he formed with a TAVIS cop three years ago.
Another young woman was excited about the job skills that this week's program is offering her. A chance to be able to work on the water is her goal for the week. She said that this opportunity was one that is not offered to a lot of kids and is thankful to be in the program.
Sgt Stephen Hicks,, 31 Division, is one of those who is part of this week's event. He has been in other Cops and Kids programs and sees the difference it makes with teens in his Division. He didn't have to say how much of a difference though when one of the boys came up to him for a hug. The look of pride on his face told the full story. These cops care for their kids and the kids love them for it.
S.A.I.L. for KICKS = Self Awareness In Life. The For KICKS program has been operating for over nine years and is geared to enhance youth development in gross and fine motor skills, language, community and self−help skills.