Community Knowledge Centre - Toronto Community Foundation

Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation

Clayton Shold
clayton@merrygoround.ca
647-426-1252
Charitable number: 89103 6899 RR0001
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Group picture with CP24`s Melissa Grelo and TPS officers during Inspiration 2012
Group picture with CP24`s Melissa Grelo and TPS officers during Inspiration 2012
Friends!
All smiles!

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About this organization

Mission

Our mission is to enable financially disadvantaged students to achieve excellence in their academic and personal pursuits by providing them with brand new computers, Internet access and police mentorship.

While the brand new computers ensure that students are equipped with the tools they need to be at a level playing field with their peers, the Toronto Police Officer mentorship provides students with the motivational support that empowers them to pursue their dreams. 

History of Organization

  • Founded by Scott Paterson and John McMahon in 1997 to help level the playing field by providing access to technology for financially disadvantaged families. 
  • Since 1997, the Foundation has supplied more than 1,000 computers to kids attending schools within Toronto's 13 priority areas.
  • In the first year of the program, 21 computers were distributed to financially disadvantaged families.
  • In 1998, with relationships nurtured within the Toronto District School Board, 28 more computers were dispersed to the homes of underprivileged children in Regent Park. From this evolved a new mentor component of the program which relied heavily on close relationships with Toronto Police Service 51 Division.
  • After a successful distribution of 49 home computer systems and Internet dial-ups, Merry Go Round was ready for a full scale launch of its community outreach program. Nurturing of business relationships resulted in Mr. Paterson's success in securing four founding partners to launch the program in 2001 - Rogers, IBM Canada, Microsoft and CDI College (now Everest College).
  • The addition of police officer "e-buddies" addressed the observation that troubled children new to technology would benefit from mentor support.

Accolades and Accomplishments

A Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation for our outstanding participation as a partner of the Toronto District School Board. The award was presented for our contribution to the success and well-being of TDSB students through supportive, encouraging and inclusive educational experiences (May 25, 2009).

Programs

>Kids, Cops & Computers

Thousands of kids in Toronto cannot afford an internet connection and have insufficient or no access to a home computer. At a time when most people take access to such technology for granted, the struggle that these financially disadvantaged youth have to go through to finish even the simplest of school assignments is often forgotten.

Students have to wait for the family computer to become free or they are forced to go to the local library to research and complete school assignments. Without home access to a computer and Internet connection, kids fall behind in their technology literacy, their school work and ultimately, their self esteem suffers.

Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation recognizes those struggles. We want to ensure that financially disadvantaged kids in Toronto are digitally connected by providing them with brand new computers, USBs and computer training. We also assist with fasiclitating Internet access for those kids who need it.

Toronto Police Officers also act as mentors to students on our program. The kids remain on up until they graduate from High School and are able to participate in contests and scholarship opportunities.

Kids, Cops & Computers

The Program requirements are simple: students must be in Grade 7, have no or limited access to a home computer, and must be identified by their teacher as having a passion for learning. Once the students are selected and they have received their new computer, they are required to attend monthly lunch sessions with a Toronto Police Officer. 


Police Mentorship Sessions:


Students are required to attend all monthly lunch-time sessions (October-May) at their school and complete two assignments based on the information covered in the sessions. At the end of January, students are to have completed a 500+ word essay (Word document) on one of the topics covered in the sessions. At the end of April, students are to have completed a 5-slide PowerPoint presentation on one of the topics covered in the sessions. The assignments may be emailed to reportcards@merrygoround.ca. A winner will be chosen from each school and he/she will receive recognition at the year-end Inspiration event. Students are encouraged to take an active role in these sessions by participating, helping others and developing their leadership traits.

Funding and Program Partners

Toronto Police Service has been an integral part of the program for many years. Rogers Communications has been a significant contributor providing Internet access to students who have been part of our program since 2006. HP has contributed to our hardware needs and Microsoft and Symantec have generously provided software. Deloitte recently provided assistance through their Advising the Community Together (ACT) program by completing an extensive strategic planning exercise. Everest College provided computer training at their Toronto campus and many other organizations including CIBC Children’s Foundation and Imperial Oil Foundation are supporters of Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation.

Program Impact

93% of educators say KCC improves student self-esteem

80% of educators say KCC improves students' grades

85% of students say they benefit from police interaction

78% of graduates volunteered above the required 40 hours

Demographics served:

>Age c) youth - 12 to 18

Neighbourhoods Served:

>Toronto Central
>Toronto East
>Toronto North
>Toronto West

Toronto's Vital Signs® Issue Area(s) addressed by Program

>Gap Between Rich and Poor
>Learning


Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“Education and prosperity are closely linked and successful cities rely on continuous learning.”

“High school completion key to success:

  • 18.5 % of those in the region 15 years old and over, had not completed secondary education in 2008” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2009)

Participant Vignette

"I really loved my time with Merry Go Round. It helped to bolster my confidence, helped me make new friends (whom I still am friends with today!), learn many new skills, and has been a great program overall. It helped with my transition from elementary to middle school, and I was able to connect with older students, teachers, and even police officers. Merry Go Round was the first program where I got a taste of all the amazing experiences out in the world to be had, such as meeting new people, trying new activities like rock climbing, and going beyond my comfort zone. Best of all, Merry Go Round provided me with a computer and internet access, allowing me and my family the opportunity to be equal in terms of technology with my  peers. I feel that that has contributed greatly to my success in school and homework completion. Having a computer and internet at home provided a sense of security and valuable knowledge. Merry Go Round was the first program that allowed me to become a leader, through speaking at a conference, and eventually I was presented with an award for my commitment to the program. I will always cherish my time with the Merry Go Round Kids Cops and Computers Program, as it was an invaluable experience." - Isha R - Grade 12 Student

Giving Opportunity

Activities a donation will support

It costs a little over $1,100 to fund a student's participation in Kids, Cops & Computers program from Grade 7 - Grade 12 . This covers the hardware costs, Program support, computer training, Internet safety seminars as well as staff administrative time to manage the Program.

Donation impact

Your donation gives financially disadvantaged students a chance to succeed. Here is what Kids, Cops & Computers graduate Tina Davoudbeiglou had to say.

"I was enrolled in the Kids, Cops & Computers program seven years ago and it changed my life. I have been extremely fortunate to have been part of this program as it has opened many new opportunities for me by tremendously impacting my life. It gave me the confidence to achieve good grades and pursue my education. I am currently enrolled in nursing at Ryerson University and plan to make my career one of helping others."  

Success Stories

Kids, Cops & Computers

"I really loved my time with Merry Go Round. It helped to bolster my confidence, helped me ... >more