This was teenager Malik Manning’s shortest summer break.
Coming on the heels of graduating from high school, he doesn’t mind. He was among 153 students from designated priority neighbourhoods in the city fortunate to secure Youth in Policing (YIPI) summer jobs with Toronto Police.
To cap off a fulfilling summer, he was the recipient of the Most Outstanding YIPI Student Award. The Service established the honour this year.
“I am completely surprised by this award,” said Manning, who graduated from Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute and enters Humber College next month to study photography. “This summer was amazing in terms of the new things I learned that included writing a press release and various aspects of the police service.”
Manning spent the summer in the corporate communications unit.
Scott Mills, the Service’s social media expert, made the presentation.
“Malik approached me and said he was a good photographer,” said Mills. “He said he didn’t know that we had a unit that took photos and videos and that he had some skills that might benefit us. I told him if he could convince the unit commander and managers, he might be able to get a job with us. He showed us his portfolio but, most importantly, he showed us his heart to want to celebrate all of the work of all the YIPI students and the Service through the amazing photos he took in the last eight weeks.”
In its eighth summer, YIPI participants gain valuable work experience, their attitude to police and policing improves and they feel positive and confident about their experiences which they take back to their schools and communities. They also recognize, develop and pursue some of the career aspirations that attracted them to the program initially and the sustained personal relations between them and Service members are advanced.
Earning $10.90 an hour, the students’ placements spanned a wide variety of tasks in 68 job functions.
“Opportunities like this don’t always happen,” Liberal MPP Mike Colle told the graduates. “Now you have an obligation to your schools and communities to show some leadership so that your peers will be inspired. You must share the positive things you have learned and build on this experience.
“The other benefit in addition to being paid during the summer is that this is now on your resume that will help you get a job. Don’t stop with this summer. Keep building that resume with other community activities.”
A total of 87 students attended weekly Rookie Ball which is a joint initiative involving the Service, Toronto Community Housing and the Toronto Blue Jays, four assisted with the preparation and distribution of meals at the Evergreen Centre, two secured boating licenses after taking part in the Marine Unit one-week basic program and 140 completed their aid certifications.
YIPI students assigned to 13 and 31 Divisions and the divisional policing support unit participated in graffiti eradication projects.
“This was an opportunity to learn something about yourself which is the remarkable potential that you possess,” said Chief Bill Blair. “Hopefully you learned what you are capable of, what your talents are and you have begun to form a vision of yourselves. I hope you have come to understand the value of hard work. This program’s secret for us is not the work you do for us over the summer. It’s how it enables you to become better citizens and to realize your full potential.”
“Not only do young people gain exposure to the world of policing, but our Service members also have the opportunity to learn from these young people, to hear from the future leaders in our community and to understand their ideas, insights and their hopes,” said Chief Blair.
“I am confident that each one of you will forever be changed by this experience and that it will influence you in the years to come. Remember the lessons that you have learned, both the special skills and abilities that you have been taught as well as the core values like team work, integrity and respect. I hope this summer experience is only the beginning of what will be an on-going commitment to public service for you.”
The YIPI program is a partnership involving the Ministry of Children & Youth Services, the Toronto Police and the Toronto Police Services Board.
Of the 1,053 students who have passed through the summer program, all – with the exception of four – have graduated.
Last May, 63 high school students graduated from the Service’s first ever YIPI after-school program.
By RON FANFAIR