PROFILE: Toronto Fire Services


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Hung Le capturing the Honda Indy event

Toronto Fire Services provides the city of Toronto with reliable and effective emergency response, as well as fire prevention and emergency services and resources. Their duty is to protect and prevent the danger of fire hazards of those who live in, work in and visit Toronto.

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Firefighter Dave dragging 175 lb Rescue Randy to the finish line

Some of the services they provide are fire Prevention, Detection and Escape.  Toronto Fire Services hold special events such as Fire Prevention Week, and make appearances at local events such as the Honda Indy Races.

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FOY staff, Hung Le, posing for the camera with Officer Ron Barrow and co-op student, Hani Dawood

Focus on Youth’s partnership with the Toronto Fire Services allow staff to have experience in this workforce. Their assigned job is to document and record daily training and special events. The Focus on  Youth staff are part of the Toronto Fire Services’ media team. They take photos and videos of the fire-fighters in action, as well as document footage in special events.



Focus on Youth staff: Hung Le



Organization: Toronto Fire Services



Contact Info: Toronto Fire Services Headquarters
4330 Dufferin Street
Toronto, ON M3H 5R9


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Special Event: Celebration of Success 2013

Celebration of Success 2013


The University of Toronto’s Hart House


After a long six weeks, Focus on Youth’s 2013 summer program came to an end. To mark the occasion, staff and counselors were invited to a special Celebration of Success at the University of Toronto’s Hart House.




Christina Martin and Stefan Brum, the evening’s hosts

Stefan Brum and Christina Martin served as the evening’s MCs, keeping things light. The counselors listened to speeches from their peers, and staff like Angela Gauthier, Director of Education. The audience was also treated to a first look at the special promotional videos created by the Media Team. After a series of student performances, the guests were treated to a delicious buffet lunch, courtesy of Hart House.




The performances get the guests up and moving


One of the Media Team’s videos


The Media Team leads the crowd in the Wavin’ Flag dance


After lunch, the main speakers of the evening took the stage. First, teacher Peter Ranson spoke about how he got involved in Focus on Youth, and what it meant to him. Then, Shawn Burgess of the St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club talked about working with the Focus on Youth Student Counselors, and how it was an excellent experience. Finally, Orlando Bowen, Executive Director of the One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization, took the stage to tell a spellbound audience about his experiences with overcoming adversity, and becoming a better person because of it.


Peter Ranson


Shawn Burgess


Orlando Bowen

Afterwards, guests were treated to a special slide and video show by the Media Team, documenting their long journey throughout the program, before Program Coordinator Andre Fullerton came up to thank the staff and counselor, and give special mention to fellow coordinators and all-around problem solvers Janelle Curtis and Ashisha Persaud.


Janelle Curtis and Ashisia Persaud get special recognition from Andre Fullerton

With the ceremonies concluded, guests were invited out onto the patio to dance, grab some cake, take some fancy (or silly) photos at the Media Team’s photo booth, and get some info on their upcoming post-secondary education from booths set up by local universities.


Keenon Peterson and Jaeson Villanueva run the photo booth


The media team hard at work


Mingling on the patio


The photo booth



Students consider their future


A guide to the celebration can be found here:

Celebration Program (2)

Special Event: Caribana Launch

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This year marked the 46th annual Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival in Toronto, formerly know as Caribana. The kick-off event was hosted by the Toronto Police Services on Thursday, July 25th. The Service has had a float in the parade since 1991, and this year the theme was “Diversity in Motion.” Hundreds of campers from the Footsteps to Success program attended this event. It began with a live steel pan performance of songs like Bruno Mars’s “Just the Way You Are,” and Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” to which everyone in the room sang along to. There was also a  performance by a Juno award winning artist, and notable speakers such as:  Chief William Blair took the stage. After the speakers, women in gorgeous colourful, costumes adorned with feathers and face paint walked down the main stairs in the lobby and got everyone up on their feet – including Chief Blair and the other policemen! The campers then headed outside to continue the festivities. The rest of the day was filled with lots of music, singing, dancing, and authentic Caribbean food! Campers climbed onto the float as the ribbon was cut, signifying the official opening of Caribana.  In addition, the radio station 98.7 FM set up a tent with a DJ playing music that had everyone dancing. Overall the event was a huge success, enjoyed by many.

Special Event: Chaminade Day


Future Chaminade Students

It was a warm day on July 18th, when students from a host of different elementary schools arrived at Chaminade College School, for their special High School Transition Camp Day. Every student present would be attending Chaminade come September.

Organized by Mike Consul and the Focus on Youth media team, the goal of the day was to prepare the students for high school life, as well as help them get to know their future schoolmates.


Mike Consul gets everyone warmed up


FOY leaders Zoe and Stefan lead the kids in icebreaker games

After a series of warmups by Mike Consul, the students were split into teams, each led by a member of the Focus on Youth media team. Each group participated in a team-building game, to help them break the ice and learn more about each other.

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Once the students were all worn out, they were assembled again for the learning part of the day. After some more exercised with Mike, each member of the Media Team got the chance to say their piece. The theme was a guide to surviving high school, and the kids got a taste of what high school is really like, and what you need to know about your studies, volunteering, and education in order to succeed.

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The FOY team tells the students what they’ll need to know to survive high school


Chaminade staff and students congratulate the team on a job well done


As a result, the students walked away with a greater sense of what the high school experience will be like, all while building new and exciting friendships with fellow peers.

Special Event: Camp Olympia, Day 2



Saturday, June 1st marked the second day of the Focus On Youth Leadership training at  Camp Olympia. The day began with breakfast in the Dining Hall, followed by Workshop #2. The workshops include Coaching led by Justin, Carm, Andrew and Matthew, with students from Francis Liberman and Neil McNeil.  The goal of this activity was to educate Focus on Youth students on effectively leading games, giving clear instructions, and catching the camper’s attention.

Along with the coaching workshop, there was also an arts and crafts session with Blessed Mother Teresa and Jean Vanier students, led by Luisa, Nick, Pam, and Peter, to give employees ideas of different activities they can offer to campers. Azniv and Consul led Don Bosco, Father Henry Carr, and Msgr. Percy Johnson at the Field House for the Low Organized Games, which aims to provide Focus on Youth students activities to use during down time with the campers. Lastly, Mario and Genny conducted the Positive Discipline workshop with Romero and James Cardinal McGuigan, which helped the employees learn how to solve situations and misbehavior in a positive manner.


Arts & Crafts!

Afterwards, right before lunch time, the energetic leaders enjoyed free time, while teachers held meetings with their groups. With full bellies, FOY leaders and teachers attacked workshop #3, which was a school rotation of stations. This time, Don Bosco, Father Henry Carr and Msgr. Percy Johnson attended the Coaching workshop, while Romero and James Cardinal McGuigan participated in the arts and crafts activities. Blessed Mother Teresa and Jean Vanier took part in the Low Organized Games, while Francis Liberman and Neil McNeil were in the Positive Discipline workshop.





The mic was then given to Mike Consul, who give the leaders a motivational talk. Later on, more free time was given before the Mass ceremony by Father Mike. Father Mike concluded the Mass by saying grace for dinner. All the Focus on Youth employees were gathered into a large group for the beginning of the 7 Habits Workshop, taught by Michael Consul and Greg Rogers, followed by Large Group Games.

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Get ready, set, TALENT! FOY Employees began to prep and stretch for the 9:00PM talent show and Lord Of The Dance. At 11:00PM, snacks were distributed alongside the debrief. Lights out for beauty sleep at 11:30PM.




Sunday, leaders were up at 7:00AM, and ready to tackle the day as they headed to the Dining Hall for breakfast. In the last rotation of workshops, Romero and James Cardinal Mcguigan partook in the Coaching workshop, while Don Bosco, Father Henry Carr, and Msgr. Percy Johnson decided to be crafty in the Arts and Crafts session. The Francis Liberman and Neil McNeil student employees headed to the Low Organized Games, as Blessed Mother Teresa and Jean Vanier hit it up at the Positive Discipline session.


The FOY leaders gathered once more for their last lunch together during the weekend training, before proceeding to the Commissioning and Closing Info. Greg Rogers ended the entire weekend with laughs and screams as he initiated the Roller Coaster activity with all the leaders. At 1:30, participants gave their quick goodbyes and hugs to their new friends, before boarding their buses back to Toronto.




























Special Event: Camp Olympia, Day 1

Before we send our staff to work, we send them to be trained at Camp Olympia. At Olympia, they focus on skill building, teamwork, and communication, all of which are essential in being successful in the Focus on Youth program.


Student leaders from schools across the board, such as Archbishop Romero, Neil McNeil, Don Bosco, Francis Liberman, Jean Vanier, Blessed Mother Theresa, James Cardinal Mcguigan, Msgr. Percy Johnson, and Father Henry Carr are trained by the Camp Olympia staff and teacher moderators over the course of the weekend, and assist our staff in developing the skills they need.


The first day at camp includes the welcome, leadership workshops, large group games, and campfire activities. The goal of these workshops and activities is to strengthen and enhance the skills the Focus on Youth staff need for their summer jobs. This will allow them to become effective and efficient as staff.


Special Event: Don Bosco Carousel

The TCDSB’s Focus On Youth program implemented a  new hiring processes this year called the “Carousel,” a more interactive approach to hiring students. This process included giving the students various tasks to demonstrate their skills while being on the job. This process allowed teachers to see the students in action before hiring them.


One-on-one interviews with teachers


The program starts at 5:00pm with registration. After a quick introduction, they begin with a game of Simon Says, to show the importance of listening and following instructions. Following this activity is an Inner/Outer Circle game, which portrays effective communication.


Simon Says!


After that, three more activities are prepared, including Non-verbal challenges, Inclusion, and Team Work. With this Carousel program as a unique process of interviewing, the leaders were chosen and employed with Focus On Youth.


Say cheese!


What a great pose for the camera!


Jumping for joy!

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