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Archive for the ‘DECA Connects’ Category

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I met Sal Sabila at the Monarch Park ping pong table this week.

She was sitting on the table. She doe not play ping pong, it turned out. But I brought two paddles, and Sal is always game to try something new.

She’s the winner of this years’s DECA Young Leaders scholarship.

She told me her story, in between trips under the table to collect the ball.

Sal arrived to Canada from Bangladesh six years ago, with her little brother, mom and dad. She didn’t speak any English, but she was clearly a quick learner. Three years later, she enrolled into the brainy International Baccalaureate program at Monarch Park. She’s a math whiz. She got 97 per cent in Grade 10 Principles of Mathematics. She’s going to the University of Toronto next year, to study mathematics and physical sciences. She wants to become a high school math teacher.

The DECA scholarship isn’t for academics though. It’s for community activism.

So Sal told me about the “amazing dream” she had a year ago. It was of a room filled with passionate teenagers, talking about problems and dreaming up ways to tackle them. Big problems: human trafficking, racial inequality, poverty. Seriously.

“People don’t believe me when I say this,” she said. “But it really was a dream.”

So she drafted a poster and put it up around her Regent Park apartment. It said “Youth Council, Regent Park. Come let’s have a passionate talk.” Unsurprisingly, nobody came to that first meeting. But she persisted. In the past year, Youth Gravity (that’s what she called the group) has done some impressive things. They hosted a community potluck with the nearby Native Cultural Centre to mix local residents with their indigenous neighbours. They ran a donation drive for the local women’s shelter, collecting more than 1,000 pieces of clothing. The organized a march on International Women’s Day.

But that’s not all. While she was doing all that in her neighbourhood, she was doing amazing things in ours too, at Monarch Park Collegiate.

She launched the local women’s empowerment club, called 50/50. And she started the mental health club called “Rise Above” because, in the middle of all this activism, she was diagnosed with clinical depression.

 “There’s very strong stigma around anything to do with mental health,” she said. “My community activism was the only thing I’d get out of bed for.”

I could have talked to her all afternoon. But she had to run. She won the Toronto Youth Award for 2016 from the Toronto Police and had a photo appointment at Station 51. As we were packing up our stuff, she asked me if I knew anything about pay equity the wage gap.

“It’s really terrible,” she said, before racing off. “We have to do something about it!”

I think she might just.

Now, the DECA Young Leaders Scholarship is $2000. We’ve committed to raise at least half of that, and Scadding Court Community Centre will kick in the rest.

You can help us do it by finding a partner and signing up for DECA’s second annual Table Tennis for Tuition Tournament, happening in three local parks this June. You will play in one “mini-tournament” at 6 pm on either June 1, 8 or 15. If you win that, you’ll go onto the finals on June 22, at East Lynn Park.

You’ll have fun, meet your neighbours, win some awesome local prizes and help pay for Sal’s books.

So, find yourself a partner and register here.  The entry fee is only $20 for adult players and $10 for teenagers, aged 13-19.

If you want to donate, but don’t want to play ping pong, you can do that too by going here and clicking the “donate to DECA button.”

The world needs more Sal Sabila’s. Let’s help get her on her way, Danforth East!

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Did you get into our table tennis action in throughout June? Here’s a roundup of all the fun–and the champs–from guest blogger Marco Campana.

After a highly competitive table tennis tournament spanning the entire DECA neighbourhood and beyond, we’re happy to tell you about our community champions!
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Everyone! 🙂

We’re even more happy to report that we raised $1400 for DECA’s Young Leaders Scholarship! Scadding Court Community Centre will also contribute toward  a $2000 to this year’s scholarship recipient, Chantelle Johnson.

We couldn’t have run a successful tournament/fundraiser without such amazing community support. Thirty-six teams signed up to play, many of you made donations online at the games, elected officials participated in mini-tourney (see below) and local businesses signed up and challenged others on social media! Hollandaise even sold fresh juice and donated the proceeds to our fund. 

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Our best expectations were entirely exceeded thanks to this wonderful neighbourhood.

In addition, we had so many local businesses make in-kind donations for which we are so grateful:  

Thirty-six teams had a blast vying for the title “Community Ping Pong Champion.” Three were crowned.

Competitive league champions
Glebemount’s Got Game!

competitive winners

Photo by Stephen Cassie

Rec league champions
Spin This!

rec winners

Photo by Stephen Cassie

And, the Spirit champions!
We Can Pickle That

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Chantelle joined us to congratulate and hand out trophies and prizes to our winners.

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Photo by Stephen Cassie

Thank you everyone for your amazing support, we’re in awe of this fantastic and generous community! We’ll definitely be doing this again next year.

Until then, keep practicing on a ping pong table in a park near you, Danforth East! 

Thanks to Stephen Caissie for so many beautiful photos!

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Three sure signs of summer: 1) the scorching 30 degree + temperature on Monday (coincidentally the first official day of summer), 2) school lets out this week and 3) our amazing East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market on Thursdays from 3-7:00 p.m.

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If you haven’t yet made it out to the market, this is the week to go! Here is a line-up of things to see and do:

  • PlayFit for Kids: Oaks ‘n Acorns and CareerFit Mom are joining forces at the market!  They’ll be running PlayFit activities for families including obstacle courses, parachute play, and games to get your heart pumping and happy endorphins flying! This activity kicks off at 4:30 p.m.
  • Origin Wellness: Enjoy a complimentary chair massage and chat with a naturopathic doctor from Origin Wellness between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. Meet Karen Seymour, RMT and Sarah Grammaticos, ND, to discover how they can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • DesignNook Crafts: Kids can join the talented team from DesignNook between 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. to create some crafts to officially kick-off summer!

And we be remiss if we didn’t mention the final showdown that is expected at the market this week. The Table Tennis for Tuition ping pong tournament, a fundraiser for a joint DECA and Scadding Court Community Centre student scholarship, wraps up this week.  We have already awarded the first recipient of the scholarship to Chantelle. You can read more about her in a previous DECA Diaries post or come meet her in person at the tournament this week. The final match will be played around 6:00 p.m. and the fun continues until we’ve crowned our DECA champions. It’ll be a great night so come cheer on the finalists. Donations to the scholarship fund are also welcomed.  Check out some of action shots of players over the weeks below courtesy of Stephen Caissie.

 

Finally, mark your calendar for next week as DECA celebrates PRIDE at the Market on June 30th. In addition to all the usual market fun, Silly Goose Kids will be leading a Pride-themed craft. Hope you can join us! Learn more about DECA Pride at http://deca.to/pride and watch for details in next week’s blog post.

See you at the market!

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Action shots courtesy of http://www.stephencaissiephoto.com

Action shots courtesy of www.stephencaissiephoto.com

Action shots courtesy of http://www.stephencaissiephoto.com

Action shots courtesy of www.stephencaissiephoto.com

Action shots courtesy of http://www.stephencaissiephoto.com

Action shots courtesy of www.stephencaissiephoto.com

Action shots courtesy of http://www.stephencaissiephoto.com

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Action shots courtesy of http://www.stephencaissiephoto.com

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