Torontonian of the year nominee: Don Givelos
Executive director of Urban Squash Toronto runs after-school program at Jane and Finch
For the second year in a row, CBC Radio's Metro Morning is on the lookout for the Torontonian of the year.
The call is out for Toronto residents who are making a positive impact in their communities.
Nominee: Don Givelos
Don Givelos is the executive director of Urban Squash Toronto, an after-school program in the area of Jane Street and Finch Avenue West in northwest Toronto.
The program, founded in 2010, teaches young people how to play squash and provides academic tutoring seven days a week. Givelos said he was inspired to create Urban Squash after playing the sport himself for 25 years.
"Children need an outlet, and sports is a great outlet. You give them that outlet, you've got their attention, and you can get down to other things like academics and other issues affecting their lives," Givelos said.
He decided to start the program in the Jane and Finch area because that was where he saw the most need.
"It's one of the most underserved areas for youth. It's constantly impacted by violence, drugs and different things that challenge a young person," he said.
Once students join Urban Squash Toronto, Givelos said the change is immediate.
"First and foremost, we see them become happier. This isn't just an after-school program. It's a full program from Grade 6 all the way to Grade 12. They come in, we feed them, they get to play sports, do their homework," he said.
Givelos was nominated by Urban Squash Toronto board member Carol Jardine.
"Don mentors them on academics but also just on being better people — and manners and respect. He takes them to sporting events across Canada, he takes them to the movies during the weekend if the kids need another outlet. I've just seen some kids blossom," she explained.
Nominate someone you know
If you think you know somebody who should be Torontonian of the year, tell us all about them and why they deserve the recognition.
We want to know why this person means so much to you and to the city. Are they a particularly kind and committed neighbour? A best friend who goes above and beyond? A volunteer who's making the city better for everyone?
With files from Metro Morning