Main Programs

1. Afterschool Youth Boxing Program for Good Mental & Physical Health

Building upon the success of a proven model, MJKO empowers, inspires, and encourages youth to live healthy and active lifestyles, five days a week after school.  The after-school timeslot it critical as many of our participants cannot afford paid programs, but require a safe place to engage their peers and further develop their character, interests, and passions.

MJKO provides an innovative approach to youth mental health, using the sport of non-contact boxing as a tool for coping with mental health related challenges such as aggression, trauma, anxiety, stress, depression, grief, and suicidal thoughts.  

Our programming enables the creation of a safe learning environment where trust is built and communities are formed. We know that MJKO participants have a strong desire to be accepted by their peers, no matter race, gender, or country of birth.

We know that our participants are using and benefiting from the skills learned through non-contact boxing and MJKO’s life-skills training in their post-MJKO lives. Our participants shared evidence that the inclusive and supportive nature of MJKO’s volunteers / paid staff have inspired them to give back  [as they put it] as ‘Community Champions’ within Toronto.

Goals

  1. Provide a free, safe and active after school space in South Parkdale
  2. Teach boxing as a tool for aggression, trauma, anxiety, stress, depression, grief, and suicidal thoughts
  3. Help train police officers on how to use sport to build trust with youth who are at a high risk of gang life and criminal activities.
  4. Provide youth a safe space to encourage newly certified coaches to develop skills within a system of support

Learning Outcomes

  1. Participants gain a “second family” of caring community members providing them an alternative to joining a youth gang
  2. Participants gain confidence and skills allowing them to apply for summer employment with MJKO or the sport and recreation sector
  3. Participants become confident in using non-contact boxing to help build positive mental and physical health
  4. Participants deepen their sense of leadership and return to MJKO as volunteers
  5. Continued creation and development of an inclusive culture based on meaningful relationships with participants, volunteers and community police officers.
  6. Participants gain adult mentors and connectors allowing them to better navigate their daily lives.

2. Health Choices – Access to nutritious food every single day

Healthy diet, exercise and mental well-being are all a part of the programs offered at MJKO. Food scarcity and insecurity are challenges for many of our children and youth. That is why MJKO has collaborated with Second Harvest since 2017. This relationship has enabled MJKO to offer daily healthy snacks to approx. 1,200 participants per year at our Champions Centre and our school programs. This represents about 8,500lb (valued at $25,000) of food in 2018 alone. In addition to allocating nutritious food, Second Harvest has helped us empower 6 youth by providing them with the Public Health Food Handler Certification at a discounted fee. 

Goals

1. Provide children and youth access to nutritious food every single day
2. Annually redistribute 10,000lbs of food rescued by Second Harvest to children in South Parkdale 
3. Educate participants on how food affects their physical and mental health
4. Empower at least 4 youth per year through training to attain Public Health Food Handling certifications.

Learning Outcomes

1. Participants enhance their physical and mental health through access to nutritious foods.
2. Four youth per year will develop job training certifications allowing them to work in the food service industry
3. Participants can trust MJKO as a safe and valuable program to address their daily hunger or food insecurity
4. Food scarcity will be reduced amongst Toronto’s most vulnerable citizens; children and youth
5. As an organization, MJKO is able to further examine options to become “sigma free” by providing access to daily nutritious food

3. SafeWalk After-School Escort Program

SafeWalk is a community escort program where an MJKO staff member goes to local schools to pick up children wanting to access our free fitness-based services but are not able or allowed to navigate the community alone.

Goals

  1. Provide safe transport of youth and children
  2. Educate participants on pedestrian safety
  3. Strengthen social capital through adult to youth mentorship

Learning Outcomes

  1. Families choose walking as a reliable and safe transport method
  2. Participants learn and use safe walking procedures making the South Parkdale community safer and more child-friendly
  3. Families express peace of mind knowing their loves ones are safe during the afterschool time slot
  4. Social capital will be matched between youth and adult walkers, increasing role models and mentorship at a local level

4. My Turn to Coach: Leadership & Mentorship Training

 MJKO provides opportunities for young people to receive mentorship from certified coaches, and courses to become insurable Youth Coaches in the Sport and Recreation sector. Each year we partner with the Federal government to hire youth to run our free 8 week summer camp in South Parkdale.

 A starting truth heard from minority youth in low income communities is that, “it’s easier for me to get a gun, than a job”. MJKO is working to undermine this statement by providing a safe and encouraging environment for our newly certified youth to coach under the “My Turn to Coach” umbrella. Youth gain valuable work experience, CPR/First Aid training and leadership skills, allowing them to fight back against youth unemployment.

Goals

  1. Allow youth in Toronto to access opportunities for paid employment
  2. Provide youth a safe space to encourage newly certified coaches to develop skills within a system of support. Skills include time management, organization, group dynamics management, varying levels of fitness ability modifications, and leadership
  3. Provide youth with poor academic standings an opportunity to see options other than criminal activities

 Learning Outcomes

  1. MJKO students will feel confident when looking for work
  2. MJKO will be addressing youth unemployment by providing Canadian Coaching Certifications while creating jobs for our older youth.
  3. Participants will have a reference for their job search
  4. Participants will have the confidence and self-belief to be successful on Canada’s competitive job market.

5. MJKO Saturday Morning Program – Family Boxing

The family boxing program runs every Saturday morning at the MJKO Champion Centre. The class is designed for all fitness levels and age groups. Parents and guardians are required to work out with their children if they decide to stay for the class.  The purpose of this class is fundamentals and age/group appropriate training.  This 90-minute workout will focus on community building, fitness and fun.

 Goals

  1. Provide free access for families to learn non-contact boxing together
  2. Introduce families to other families and community members
  3. Continue to support a “no watching” policy for all members inside the gym space

 Learning Outcome

  1. Deepen ones sense of belonging and community, where our differences unite us
  2. Encourage family communication through action (sport)
  3. Teach parents and children how to inspire and congratulate each other on overcoming challenges inside the Champion Centre.

6.  Competitive Athlete Program

This program focuses on youth looking to build upon their boxing foundation and start learning about competition.  This program requires a basic level of advanced fitness , a yearly medical check and a commitment to training three days per week. 

Goals

  1. Introduce athletes to the Learn to Train, Train to Train and Train to Compete stages in Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development plan (LTAD).
  2. Strengthen athlete fundamentals
  3. Introduce techniques and tactics of boxing
  4. Introduce athletes to rules, weight categories and expectations as an MJKO athlete
  5. Introduce athletes to competition

Learning Outcomes 

  1. Athletes will be able to demonstrate proficiency in basic boxing skills
  2. Athletes will be able to run their own independent 60-minute workout
  3. Athletes will have an understanding of the rules of amateur boxing in Canada
  4. Athletes will take part in a provincially organization tournament
  5. Athletes will have an understanding of their mental, cogitative and emotional development
  6. Athletes will have tools for dealing with stress and anxiety caused by performance

7. Snailmail – an International pen pal program

The Snail Mail program is a letter-writing program between young female recreational boxers at MJKO (Mentoring Juniors Kids Organization) in Toronto and the Lil’ Sistas of the Center of Hope in the Philippines.

 Goals

  1. Keep teen girls involved in sport by creating a social element
  2. Improve communication and writing skills of MJKO girls
  3. Create a caring and supportive peer group

 Learning Outcomes

  1. Learn “self-love” and acceptance
  2. Improve attitudes about what “girls can do”
  3. Break down classroom walls for those involved and explore a world outside of Parkdale
  4. Reduction of teen girls dropping out of sport

8. Pay for Service – Schools and Community Events

 MJKO Mentoring and Leadership Programs

Cost: Client pays $200 for 90 minutes (Up to 30 participants)

 The program teaches skills that are acquired through focused athletic non-contact boxing training, such as skipping, shadow-boxing, calisthenics, mental-skills training and learning to respect peers. All exercises are completed without any physical contact with other students while developing the skills that are required to succeed as a boxer. Each class engages participants in 60 minutes of physical activities and 30 minutes of sports-based education and nutrition.

We can also run “try it” stations at community fairs, fun days or one-off events.

 Goals

  1. Enhance students’ physical literacy skills.
  2. Strengthen students’ leadership skills.
  3. Support students’ social and emotional well-being.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Participants will illustrate developed physical literacy skills.
  2. Participants will be able to demonstrate the technical skills required in non-contact boxing.
  3. Participants will collect new tools for dealing with their physical and mental health allowing them to create a state of well-being.