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  • Thank you Canadian Tire Jumpstart!

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  • Summer Camp 2022 Tribute

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  • Thank you Canadian Tire Jumpstart!

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  • March Break 2022 LITs Testimonials

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  • March Break 2022 Camp Slideshow

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  • March Break 2022 Camper Testimonials

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  • Learning Robotics with One of the Coaches

    On a Saturday morning in November, dozens of kids aged seven to 13 are signing onto a Zoom session with Go Green Youth Centre. Although Go Green has held many different programs for kids over the years, this year is different. There’s a new robotics program that has just begun and Mohid Sharif, one of the coaches, is leading the second day of classes. Mohid is an enthusiastic coach. He knows what he is talking about and is clearly excited about robotics and computer programming in general. While it can be tricky to conduct these classes on Zoom, he and the two other coaches manage to pull it off. About 50 to 60 kids in total participate, but they are broken up into smaller groups of eight to 10 across six classes. The robotics classes run throughout the day, with three dedicated coaches to lead them: Mohid, Hammad Siddiqui and Haider Ali. After sitting in on three of these classes, I am impressed by how Mohid keeps the kids engaged and leads them through some beginner programming lessons on Scratch. As he teaches the students, I become curious about his own journey with robotics and Go Green Youth Centre. “I actually attended the middle school that Go Green takes place in,” Mohid tells me, referring to Toronto’s Valley Park Middle School. He became interested in computer programming and robotics in high school where he took three programming and engineering courses and, in his final year, a robotics course. Currently, he is studying computer science and mathematics at the University of Toronto. Mohid explains the program he is coaching which is intended to teach the students the fundamentals of robotics and will be taught in stages. The first stage focuses on coding in different programming languages, mainly Python, Java and C++. The next stage will be computer engineering which is where the participants will learn skills more closely related to robotics. This will set up the final robotics stage where students learn about creating machines with Arduino and Lego (which uses Lego building blocks). The end goal is for students to be able to create simple computer programs in the different programming languages taught. They will also examine and create computers, machines and, ultimately, robots. While Mohid misses the ability to provide one-on-one guidance to the students, which is impossible via Zoom, the students still ask questions and benefit from not having to commute or travel to participate. Students can take part who may not have been able to attend in person. It also offers an exciting way to teach kids new, sought-after skills while giving them a fun, structured weekend activity at home. Mohid, for his part, loves being a coach. “I enjoy being able to teach kids about what I am passionate about,” he says. He explains how fun it is to create unique games with them every week while getting them interested in computer programming and robotics. He is especially excited by the prospect of some of these kids developing a similar passion for robotics. “Many decide at this early age that this is what they want to pursue,” he says. The kids certainly seem to enjoy the classes, with several asking frequent questions throughout and one little girl happily showing off the shark-eating-fish game she made. Seeing the pride the students take in their work when they successfully complete a lesson makes it all the more worthwhile. Mohid is looking forward to coaching for the next several months and is preparing for next week’s lesson: learning Python. Perhaps, he is setting some of these kids on a new path, such as a lifelong interest in robotics that could begin the journey of NASA’s next engineer. Gillian Brandon-Hart Further inquiries:

  • Robotics Program -- More than 45 minutes on a Saturday morning

    “Mohid, so I just turn the spaceship 80 degrees?” 12 year-old Aayan Shivji asks his instructor at Toronto’s Go Green Youth Center’s new Saturday morning robotics program. At this week’s Zoom session, the participants are designing a video game. The program is designed for youth ages seven to 13, but I have to confess, I am having trouble keeping up. On this day, Aayan is joined by a half dozen or so participants and instructors Mohid Sharif, Haider Ali, Hammad Siddiqui. I’ve joined the oldest age group (known as the Dragons) for the 11 a.m. session, and it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. As we wait for all the participants to arrive in the Zoom breakout room for the robotics program, a number of people are already asking what the day is going to bring. My presence doesn’t go unnoticed. In the Zoom chat, Aayan extends his greetings. “Hello Adele.” “Hello Aayan.” “How are you doing?” “I’m good. I’ve never done this before.” “It’s okay. Mohid will teach you.” But once the participants have all arrived and the session gets rolling, I’m not sure he will have much luck! It becomes immediately clear that I am definitely the rookie in the crew. I hear rumblings about a few things that happened during the youth centre’s summer coding program before the students get straight to business on today’s agenda in a program called ‘Scratch.’ I have to google quickly what exactly Scratch is, and discover that it is a free program that allows kids to design their own interactive stories, animations and video games. It seems users of Scratch choose characters, decide how they will move, what they will look like, what they will say and what obstacles they will encounter to create a cohesive game or story. With that heavy-duty bit of knowledge, I decide I’ll give it a try. I get as far as picking my own character, a “Sprite” named Abby, who I am able to shrink and rotate with considerable effort, but I quickly decide my time will be better spent watching the ‘pros.’ For this session, Mohid is taking the participants through a step by step procedure in which the kids create a game where a spaceship tries to evade flying rocks by dodging or lasering them. This involves developing a series of commands using Scratch that string together complicated if/then scenarios that make my head spin. The participants are also responsible for choosing which keyboard keys perform a function in the game. For example, the space bar makes the rocket fire lasers. “When the rocket ship touches the asteroid, the wand doesn’t follow.” Aayan is one step ahead of the game, and I watch with some fascination as he, Mohid and a number of other participants collaborate to find a solution to this problem. It all sounds like gibberish to me. As they are working, Aayan unmutes himself to ask, “Mohid, do you have a YouTube channel?” Mohid does not. “Well, I’m going to get a YouTube channel and it’s going to be me playing games I made on Scratch,” Aayan muses. I chuckle, but I am overcome by the sentiment that programs like these are so much bigger than just 45 minutes on a Saturday morning. I am struck by the level of competency and enthusiasm that have run at a fever-pitch throughout the entire session, and I can’t help but think one of these kids is going to be designing my digital pacemaker one day. The session wraps up with Mohid assigning two homework projects to be completed before next week’s session. Let me tell you, I’ve never heard such an enthusiastic response to homework. “Right on! I’ll do it.” “Ok. No problem!” is the chorus in the Zoom chat. Adele Paul Further inquiries:

  • Youth-focused charities face funding shortfall amid COVID-19 crisis By Morgan Sharp | News, Next Gen Insider |May 13th 2020 Young people attend Go Green Youth Centre's summer camp in 2019. The Go Green Youth Centre typically runs after-school and weekend programs by and for young people living in densely populated highrise apartments in Toronto’s east end. Already reeling from cuts by the Progressive Conservative provincial government to funding for youth programs, the charity is now also going without the fees it usually collects from groups that pay to use its field to play cricket in the evenings. Its full-day summer camp may not go ahead due to safety and social distancing concerns, and Go Green is scrambling to come up with alternative activities it can deliver virtually to help entertain the roughly 500 children it normally serves. “I’d love to be able to pay for watercolour pencils and a few paint brushes and maybe a couple of canvases, a sketch pad,” said Lisa Grogan-Green, Go Green’s co-chair. “But we need a budget for that, we don’t have the money for that. Young clients and staff at Go Green Youth Centre's summer camp in 2019. Go Green is just one of hundreds of charitable organizations across Canada struggling to keep its programming going as the lockdown hampers both their ability to deliver services and to fundraise. Imagine Canada, an advocacy group that represents some 170,000 charities, says COVID-19 and the resulting societal restrictions have so far hurt them much more than the Great Recession of the late 2000s did.

  • A ParticipACTION-sponsored Crazy for Cricket Event at Valley Park Middle School

    A ParticipACTION-sponsored Crazy for Cricket Event at Valley Park Middle School brings Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park families together to get active and watch the ICC World Cup Cricket Match between India and Pakistan TORONTO, June 14, 2019 /CNW/ - Join Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park families this Sunday June 16, 2019 to celebrate with two billion fans worldwide as arch rivals India and Pakistan compete in the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup. "We are excited to cheer for Pakistan," said Talha Malik, Executive Director of the Go Green Youth Centre, the not-for-profit organization hosting what is a special, memorable and riveting neighbourhood event. "India is a strong team and this will draw large crowds." GGYC's Crazy for Cricket Event Celebrating ICC World Cup Match between Arch Rivals India and Pakistan (CNW Group/Go Green Youth Centre) The majority of Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park families are South Asian with roughly one-third hailing from India and Pakistan. The rivalry between the countries' teams is legendary dating back to their first One Day International match in 1978. This Sunday's match will be held at Old Trafford in Manchester, UK. And starts at VPMS at 5:00 am EST with the game projected on the cafetorium wall at 130 Overlea Blvd. This is GGYC's fourth Crazy for Cricket event in eight years with the first celebrated during an infamous school sleepover when India and Sri Lanka competed for the championship in 2011. "This event is a favorite," said Gerri Gershon, former Don Valley West trustee and a GGYC board member who coined the phrase Crazy for Cricket in 2011. "It is always heartening to see families of diverse backgrounds come together in the spirit of friendship to cheer on their team despite the rivalry that exists." This ParticipACTION-sponsored event caps a two-week Canada-wide ParticipACTION Community Challenge aimed at encouraging families to be active. Young talented female athletes from Hijabi Ballers will lead GGYC youth coaches and fans in the "ParticipACTION Second Innings Stretch." Participants can record their exercise in the downloadable ParticipACTION mobile application to compete with other communities. Festivities will also include a $5.00 bagel breakfast and pizza lunch finished with a themed cake made by Pias Passion Bakery. About Go Green Youth Centre: GGYC is a grassroots not-for-profit organization which built in 2015 a multi-purpose cricket field in the VPMS backyard. In 2017, LED sports lights were added making GGYC Canada's first illuminated cricket field. A qualified team of local youth lead subsidized summer and year-round programs for more than 350 children in cricket, sports, eco-arts, music, cooking and nutrition. Activities continue this summer despite a looming existential threat posed by the Conservative government's spending cuts. Of GGYC's $300,000 annual budget, $65,000 was supplied by the suspended Ontario Sport & Recreation Communities Fund grant. As well, the slashing of the Conservative government's 2019/20 TDSB Community Use Schools funding envelope means GGYC's $61,000 in free indoor annual school permits are now threatened. This eliminates an important youth-led program for impoverished new immigrant children and will discourage the 40 14- and 15-year old volunteers and 35 youth coaches who lead programs year-round. GGYC thanks ParticipACTION, Park Properties, Preston Group, WJ Properties, Greenwin Inc., CIBC, Shoppers Drug Mart, the Canada Summer Jobs program, the Toronto District School Board and small local donors for enabling it to stay open this summer. For last summer's Impact report or to register for programs, please visit Interview opportunities: Talha Malik (647) 772-0065, GGYC Executive Director Gerri Gershon (416) 540-1920, -Former TDSB DVW Trustee and GGYC Board Member Ali Baig (416) 727-7906, GGYC Board Member SOURCE Go Green Youth Centre For further information: please contact info@gogreenyouthcentre or call 647-725-2793.

  • The Best Outdoor Sports Fields In Toronto

    The best outdoor sports fields in Toronto are green expanses of summer sports heaven. If you're looking for the perfect space to kick a ball or toss a Frisbee, look no further than these sprawling athletic grounds. Here are my picks the best outdoor sports fields in Toronto. Varsity Stadium This 5,000-seat U of T stadium near Bloor and St. George is probably the most impressive field in the city, outside of the Rogers Centre and BMO Field. Its state-of-the-art artificial turf field has previously played host to some Olympic and Pan Am Games events — it's highly recommended to book way in advance. Cherry Beach Sports Fields Perfect for a game of pick-up with friends, the two multipurpose fields at this waterfront property in the Port Lands can host pretty much any type of field game and are home to a number of recreational sports leagues throughout the summer. Regent Park Athletic Grounds With a track, basketball court and artificial turf field, the grounds right next to the Regent Park Community Centre at Dundas and Parliament have been fully revamped to be any athletes paradise. Their field house is funded by Under Armour, so you know the space is legit. Centennial Park This Etobicoke park goes beast mode, with seven soccer fields, a baseball diamond, five softball diamonds, a 120-acre golf course, an eight-lane track and two cricket pitches. Home to the Etobicoke Olympium, this place even has a BMX bike park. Birchmount Stadium This longstanding Scarborough sports arena features one multipurpose field, one outdoor track and a long jump pit. It used to look a little worse for wear, but since undergoing renovations in 2006 it's become a favourite for almost all major tournaments and soccer leagues. Go Green Cricket and Sports Field This cricket-centric field in Flemingdon Park is the country's first illuminated cricket field. Decked out in outdoor LED sports lights, you can rent out their two junior cricket fields during the day or evening. Sunnybrook Park Located by Bayview and Leaside, this giant stretch of land is home to a number of fun outdoors activities. Use any of their four multipurpose fields, three cricket pitch fields and batting practice area — among many other fields — then head to their picnic site for a post-practice meal. Eglinton Flats This Mount Dennis sports-focused park has six soccer fields, four field hockey pitches, a rugby field, a football field, winterized tennis courts and two cricket pitches. The condition of the fields isn't always the best, but the scale is impressive. North York Civic Centre Soccer Fields The official soccer centre of North York, these fields at Bathurst and Finch have seven full-size soccer pitches. You'll find tons of little leagues gathering for a session of ball kicking, though plenty also hit up the space to play Frisbee and football too.

  • Summer Camp 2015 Slideshow

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