This program was created in partnership with the Toronto Police (51 Division) to provide free programs for at-risk youth and/or youth in social services. Students learn how to be their most creative selves in a safe space.
“We've seen them flourish from meek and mild in the first few days and not knowing what to say or do to fierce fashionistas and makeup artists and photographers,” said Toronto Police detective Tiffany Castell in a video. “It’s also been very special to build relationships in a very organic way. Normally our youth programs are sports based. So it also allowed us as officers to be individuals and our most creative selves.”
Last summer was the first time 51 Division was involved in a youth fashion program.
Having police involved sustains a healthy relationship with kids at risk within the community, added Jason Cameron, CEO of Toronto Fashion Academy and founder of the initiative.
Youth between the ages of 12-17 will be selected to build a portfolio and take a workshop in one of the five academies: Makeup Artistry, Fashion Design, Fashion Photography, Styling or Modeling. Students will participate in eight, 4-hour workshop sessions that take place over four consecutive weekends in August to “gain confidence, feel motivated, build professional networks, access to industry professionals and become career focused.”
Pro-Action Cops & Kids was founded in 1991 when Toronto businessman John L. Bitove Sr. realized that the City of Toronto would benefit from its youth and police officers having a better relationship with each other.
Joan Kelley Walker is a TV personality and star of The Real Housewives of Toronto, as well as an ambassador for World Vision, having sat as chair of United Way York Region’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Photos courtesy Ireland and Hall Communications.
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