Some teenagers in the Alexandra Park community certainly get it when it comes to gun violence and its devastating effect on families and communities.
The participants in last summer’s Concrete Roses Youth Services summer videography program created a public service announcement – One Bullet, A Thousand Tears – to help increase community awareness in the city’ neighbourhoods.
The youth, between the ages of 16 and 18, designed the concept that was one of five winning projects of the Mayor’s Community Safety Awards presented last week at City Hall.
“I like acting, so I had a lot of fun working with other youths on this project aimed at addressing the negative effects of gun violence,” said Vaughan Road Academy Grade Nine student, Jada Burrell.
Deputy Mayor, Doug Holyday, said the awards celebrate hard work, compassion and dedication aimed at improving city residents’ safety.
“These winning projects were created by people who are willing to step up to the plate and lead by example,” said Holyday. “They were not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done to keep Toronto safe. Your projects have made a valuable contribution to community safety and you deserve to be rewarded for a job well done.”
Toronto Police Service Chief, Bill Blair, also participated in the awards ceremony and acknowledged the groups for coming together to make a difference in the city.
“Community safety in the City of Toronto is a shared responsibility,” said Blair. “The police cannot do it alone and neither can the city. That’s why a partnership of committed citizens and people who care about their community is required.”
Concrete Roses founding executive director, Olu Quamina, joined some of the project’s youth participants in accepting the award.
“It’s great to be recognized by the city for the work these young people are doing,” said Quamina, the son of Justice of the Peace Dr. Odida Quamina. “With cutbacks and lack of funding and support to provide young people to transition to adulthood, it’s critical we provide programs and the framework that give youths a platform to excel.”
A graduate of St. Michael’s College School, Quamina has been working to empower young people for the past 12 years.