Outreach program aids sport careers

Sabra Desai, Manager of Community Partnership Development VIA Humber College. (Photo: Tyler Hehn) Sabra Desai, Manager of Community Partnership Development VIA Humber College. (Photo: Tyler Hehn)

Tyler Hehn
Sports Reporter

Humber Athletics has been winning games on the court and hearts off the court.

The third and final phase of a community outreach program led by the college’s sports program is a dual-credit class for underrepresented high school kids North of Highway 401 in Toronto.

Matthew Ferreira and Theresa Steger created the outreach program and will be the professors of the dual-credit class. Together they will weave baseball and the importance of sport into valuable life lessons and teachings. The first phase of the program had 130 children learn different career options through sport, with some added skill building drills assisted by Humber Hawks volunteers.

Steger, a Program Development Consultant with Humber, said the first phase in November 2014 was an unprecedented success.

“The participation that we’ve [seen] has been really overwhelming, quite frankly. We didn’t expect 130 kids, we had planned for 40 that day,” said Steger.

“We planned this day in a way that was really (about) what kind of educational opportunities are out there if you really love sport, how you can make money via sport and careers,” Steger said with a laugh.

Phase Two in June 2015 was day camp where students from across Toronto worked towards a CPR first aid certification and a Level 1 coaching certification with the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). Due to sponsorship timeframes, children from west Toronto couldn’t attend.

Kids who participated were given employment opportunities.

“Some were working at my Junior Hawks summer camp, some were working at Scarborough baseball camps and tournaments, stuff like that,” said Ferreira, Humber’s Community Engagement Coordinator.

Ferreira said even though only half of the initial plan for Phase Two was carried out, the kids who went through the camps were given great tools for their futures.

“Surely if you just look at the dollars and cents of it, what a student might pay to get their CPR first-aid and NCCP Level 1, it’s a couple hundred bucks easily,” said Ferreira.

Recreation and Sport Perspectives is the name of phase three, the dual-credit class that is launching for the first time in the winter semester of 2016.

Both Ferreira and Steger are excited about teaching this breakthrough new class.

“The actual community stuff, that’s both of our lives outside of [Humber] it’ll be great when the weather comes back and we’re at the ball diamond again, that’s what we love,” said Steger.

“We’re trying to open some doors for them through this and make it really interactive and kind of promote the college experience,” Ferreira said.

This groundbreaking community engagement project receives support from the Humber College Community Partnership Fund (HCCP). Sabra Desai is a manager of Community Partnership Development, where Ferreira and Steger found the assistance they needed through the initiatives of the HCCP.

“Under Humber’s strategic plan there is reference made to strengthening community partnerships and creating pathways to post-secondary education, making post-secondary education more accessible,” said Desai.

Only a few years old, the HCCP encourages Humber staff to think about addressing needs in the community. Desai spoke highly about the program and what they have accomplished to date.

“It’s an amazing project and the selection committee, that decides the money, and who gets the money, were very impressed with this because it fits very nicely with the criteria of the fund,” said Desai.

Steger and Ferreira hope that undertakings of this kind expand across the province in coming years, and even across the country.

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