TORONTO, March 25, 2022 – Toronto Community Housing (TCHC), in partnership with the Toronto Raptors and MLSE Foundation, announced the return of the Midnight Basketball League (MBL) for the first time since 2019. With funding from MLSE Foundation's Change the Game campaign, the league is able to continue its mission this 2022 season and give Toronto Community Housing youth a positive space to develop both on and off the court.
Founded by TCHC and first launched in 2013 as a pilot project, MBL is a unique basketball program that provides a positive space for TCHC boys aged 14 to 18 to develop their skills both on and off the court. With support from Toronto Raptors, the program has been redeveloped and extended to promote relationship building, physical literacy, teamwork, and basketball skill development.
In addition to traditional sport outcomes, this program dedicates time each week to deliver workshops focused on developing important life skills that youth can use on the court, in school, in the workplace and in their communities with the goal of helping them reach their full potential.
For its eighth season, the program will run this spring and summer on Friday nights. Developed to support deeper community connections and safety, the program will bring together youth from six TCHC communities to the University of Toronto with the intention of building bridges to postsecondary education.
The new MBL program will feature a longer season, with off-court curriculum focused on health, academics and economic empowerment through employment, as a means to increase community safety.
TCHC will kick off this year's program with a launch event at the University of Toronto's Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport on March 25, organized in partnership with the University, MLSE Foundation and the Toronto Raptors. TCHC's midnight athletes will get a taste of how it feels to play on the home court of the University of Toronto's Varsity Blues Basketball team. The event will also feature giveaways and skill development drills.
The Midnight Basketball League is delivered in partnership with the Toronto Raptors, funded by MLSE Foundation with program space donated by University of Toronto.
"We're grateful to MLSE Foundation, the Toronto Raptors and the University of Toronto for their partnership in delivering Midnight Basketball League to our tenants. The program is invaluable in supporting our youths to not only develop basketball skills, but also learn about physical health, team-building and healthy competition."
- Jag Sharma, President and CEO, Toronto Community Housing
"We all know the power of sport – it inspires kids, it helps them grow, and I know that programs like Midnight Basketball can also help keep them safe from issues that plague our city, like the rise in gun violence. In this program, and at this place, the game is what matters, not your background, your neighborhood or your school. The Raptors are a part of this community, and we're here to set an example, to be a support, and to inspire – and be inspired by – the young people we meet and serve at programs like Midnight Basketball."
- John Wiggins, Vice President of Organizational Culture and Inclusion, Toronto Raptors.
"MLSE Foundation is proud to partner with Toronto Community Housing in the redevelopment and relaunch of this important program. Communities across the GTA know first-hand the devesting effects this prolonged pandemic has had on youth. Investing in the holistic development of youth impacts the long-term health of communities, and we are proud to support a program that allows communities to unify and grow through sport."
- Tanya Mruck, Vice President, Community Engagement & Social Impact, MLSE Foundation
"The University of Toronto has been the home to Toronto Community Housing's Midnight Basketball League since 2016 and we are excited to continue this partnership as they relaunch this program in 2022. Equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging are fundamental values that embed our sport and recreation programs, facilities and services on our campus. This league provides space and capacity for the youth in our community to develop holistically, feel included and provide them different and unique opportunities to grow and learn."
- Beth Ali, Executive Director of Athletics and Physical Activity, University of Toronto
About Toronto Community Housing (TCHC)
Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider. We are owned by the City of Toronto and provide homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in more than 100 of the city's neighbourhoods. Our buildings represent a $10-billion public asset.
TCHC Media Line 416-737-1352 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Kim, TCHC: Daniel.email@example.com
About MLSE Foundation
MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to both develop and pursue lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of the Toronto Argonauts, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC, we improve the lives of youth by building facilities, giving to sustainable programs and empowering youth through sport and recreation. We level the playing field for kids by providing access to sport programming while intentionally developing life skills to support their physical and mental well-being. Since launching in December 2009, MLSE Foundation has invested more than $35 million into Ontario communities.
Victoria Malisani, Corporate Communications, MLSE: firstname.lastname@example.org