MJKO is a not-for-profit community-based charity that has operated since 2010 with a full-time executive director, committed staff, an experienced board of directors, and several long-term program volunteers giving them the governance and capacity to carry out large-scale, funded projects.
For more than a decade, our programs have been designed to prioritize the well-being of our participants. We follow a sequence called the Hierarchy of Needs, which has five essential components: physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, self-esteem and confidence, and self-actualization. Through sports leadership training, we aim to build Community Champions.
Our coaches are members of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) and have been trained by Dr. Cathy van Ingen in Truma-Informed Coaching practices.
Programs and Activities
MJKO is a place outside the home and school for children and youth to find safety, nourishment, certified professionals, mentorship, social interaction, and self-actualization. It’s a place where despite our many differences, we all belong.
MJKO serves approx. 500 participants annually.
Each year MJKO provides the following:
- The use of non-contact boxing as a ‘hook’ to engage youth and provide support, opportunities, and training to enhance social inclusion and mental and physical well-being in a safe and welcoming space.
- A fun and inclusive atmosphere for children to engage in athletics with certified coaches who are trained in Safe Sports practices.
- We will provide access to nutritious food and menstruation products daily. This is done in partnership with Second Harvest and The Period Purse.
- A free March break and summer day camp for children ages 5-13 for 25 participants.
- Certifications, mentorships, and paid employment for youth facing barriers to employment.
“You have certain values that you were taught while being at MJKO. It leaves an imprint that you take with you. It doesn’t matter where you go – you spread it without actually really trying to – it just comes naturally. So I definitely consider myself a community champion because if there’s any way that I can help out in an event or [help] a person or group I love to do it. I love helping people and that’s something I learned at MJKO.”
- MJKO Alumni
Participants indicated the power of sport was its ability to connect people. For example, one participant shared, “sports are great because I met every one of my friends at MJKO… without sports I wouldn’t be the person I am today.” Another participant shared, “I think sports are great because it brings people together as one. It also makes people healthier. It’s just a fun thing to do.” Another youth shared, “I think sport is great because it allows people to be both social and keep fit/be active.” And, “boxing is great because we get to not only learn new techniques but we also meet new people and get motivated.”
Perhaps the best summary is a quote from this youth participant: “I wish people knew that MJKO isn’t just boxing – it’s opportunities.”
"MJKO is one of the biggest after-school programs that we participate in. Miranda - I mean, we've seen her work [and] it's definitely working. The things she does - it's phenomenal. The kids all respect her, and these are the kids that don't like police. They don't have respect for authority. But I see the same kids go to Miranda's class, and they're totally different kids. So, we participate, and those kids are starting to open up to us too. I guess using sports is one of the biggest ways to influence them, right. So, it's working really well for us too. That's why we really appreciate the partnership with MJKO"
- Toronto Police Services Officer
“Activities that many of our kids – they look forward to it. They build connections – they’re enjoying [them] – they’re active – they’re learning. It motivates many of our kids. They’re very excited by the program and they want to be in school that day. They’re actively involved, so there’s physical activity. With the [MJKO] leaders there are really good connections. [They’re] just good role models. The fact that MJKO brings in the police officers too – those are other solid connections and strong role models – adult role models. Those value pieces along with the physical activity, I mean, if they’re not with us at that after-school program often they’re just by themselves in the park or they’re at home watching TV. So I think it’s a fantastic program.”
-Toronto District School Board principal
Mentoring Juniors Kids Organization
MJKO is a charitable organization that promotes positive and healthy lifestyle choices through mentoring and leadership training. Our dream at MJKO is to create Community Champions by using the sport of non-contact boxing to get kids moving, thinking about healthy food choices, believing in impossible dreams and understanding the importance of volunteerism.