Youth and children from underserved communities will now have access to free recreation and leadership programs at MLSE LaunchPad, a sport for development hub created through an innovative partnership between MLSE Foundation and Toronto Community Housing.
The 42,000 sq. ft. space located on the ground floor of TCHC’s building at 259 Jarvis Street was unused and vacant for over 20 years. Now the space is an impressive, state-of-the-art facility with a multi-purpose gymnasium, workspaces, classrooms, a teaching commercial kitchen and a climbing wall. The improvements are thanks to a $6-million renovation funded by MLSE Foundation with support from its donor partners: Bank of Montreal, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, the City of Toronto, PCL Constructors Canada Inc., adidas, Rogers, Sun Life Financial, Aris Kaplanis and family, Hockey Canada Foundation, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Association, Robert Kerr Foundation, Scotiabank, Sprint Mechanical and Vijay Kanwar and family.
Joshua MacDonald is proof of how the types of programs that will be offered at MLSE LaunchPad create a real, lasting impact. As a youth growing up in Toronto Community Housing, Josh first participated in programs offered in partnership with MLSE Foundation. He now works for Toronto Community Housing as a certified coach employed for the same programs where he got his start.
“I think this space is a great opportunity to take kids and put them on different teams to grow and assist them with the path they want to travel in life.”
Joshua MacDonald at MLSE LaunchPad
"I've always had a passion for coaching. I've been playing sports practically since the day I was born! I love working with the youth. I feel when you have someone to guide you in following your dreams, that's the greatest thing," said Josh. "I wanted to become a coach so I could pass on my knowledge and my skills so I can help young people in achieving their dreams and reach their full potential."
MLSE LaunchPad is more than just a place to play. The programs are designed to measure growth and success. These programs for children and youth ages six to 29 will feature everything from sports-based afterschool programs, academic support programs and cooking classes.
Tools to track progression have been developed by MLSE Foundation to ensure the programs are creating a positive impact on the lives of youth. The hope is that youth can learn through play and grow through sports, ultimately leading them towards, better grades, job success and an overall improvement in their quality of life.
Parents of youth in living in Toronto Community Housing buildings will have the opportunity to sign their children up for programs starting on Saturday, February 11, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the MLSE LaunchPad, 259 Jarvis Street.
MLSE Foundation and Toronto Community Housing have a longstanding partnership to provide sports facilities and programming for youth in communities across Toronto, including the KickStart soccer program.