More than 200 Toronto Community Housing tenants between the ages of 13 and 18 competed today in the seventh annual Search for Stars Track Meet at the Varsity Centre.
Martin Prempeh, an 18-year-old from the Humberline community, was among those showing off their running, jumping and throwing abilities in the hopes of receiving a scholarship to the University of Toronto Track Club (UTTC).
"(Receiving a scholarship) would be a blessing," said Prempeh.
Those receiving scholarships will have access to professional athletic training, in-depth health workshops and clinics. The scholarships also fund registration and travel costs for competitions in which the athletes participate and are renewed annually if recipients maintain good grades.
Deborah Simon, Toronto Community Housing's Chief Operating Officer, said the partnership with UTTC is about opening a door for youth to pursue postsecondary athletics and studies while having fun.
"For us, the partnership is about connecting tenants to opportunities for personal growth that will help build healthy communities," said Simon. "Having these youth in the running for track scholarships is very exciting and rewarding."
Rashon Franklin from Toronto Community Housing's Glendower community knows the value of a UTTC scholarship first hand. Franklin, who wasn't able to participate in the track meet because of a lingering injury, received a scholarship after performing well in the city finals. He said "it helps big time" to be able to train at the facility and network with other track athletes and coaches.
Heading into his Grade 12 year, Franklin hopes the UTTC scholarship will help get him a scholarship to an American school and put him in a position to represent Canada in an Olympic Games. "I'm trying to think big," he said.