Summer is in full swing, which means the Toronto Argonauts are as well. Over the past two games we’ve had the pleasure of bringing our youth programs out to BMO Field to support the boys in blue.
For a lot of our youth, this experience was more than just a Saturday afternoon football game. It was their first ever football game in an executive suite with CFL and Argonauts legend Michael “Pinball” Clemons. It is experiences like this that don’t come often for these marginalized youth. Therefore, it was quite a memorable and exciting day.
Saturday, June 23rd was a day of firsts on multiple fronts. It was the first home game of the season for the Toronto Argonauts, and it was the first football game ever for the youth at Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E).
Y.A.A.A.C.E is a community organization that seeks to engage children and youth from all communities – particularly those from marginalized and poor under-resourced communities through participation in year-round comprehensive programming and activities (academics, athletics, recreation, technology and the arts).
The Grade 8 Y.A.A.A.C.E boys were chosen due to their on-going commitment to not only the sports side of the program, but on the educational side as well. The boys were truly appreciative and honoured to represent the Pinball Clemons Foundation at the Toronto Argonauts game.
“ Thank you Pinball Foundation for the opportunity to go to the Argos game it was truly the Full VIP Treatment. The best part about attending the game is, without a doubt, the kids – the way they light up when they entered the private room, their smiles, laugher and a sense of appreciation shined all over their faces that their hard work is playing off" said, Marina Nguyen.
On Saturday, July 7th the Toronto Argonauts took on the Edmonton Eskimos in an afternoon battle on the gridiron. Toronto’s BMO field was packed with 12,196 passionate fans and among those screaming fans were the wonderful youth from One Voice, One Team (OVOT).
One Voice, One Team is led by Executive Director and former CFL star Orlando Bowen. The program uses cognitive and physical activities to introduce and reinforce key success principles. Their flagship program is S.W.O.L.E, which stands for Self respect, Working hard, Overcoming adversity, Leading by example and Excellence.
Orlando didn’t just bring any OVOT youth, he brought a group of youth that were acknowledged for their outstanding work in the program. “They bring extraordinary gifts, talents and insatiable desire to make a different and for that we celebrated them at the Argos game” said Orlando Bowen, OVOT.