Toronto District students help tackle poverty

By  Nicholas Carafa, The Catholic Register
  • May 19, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Former Toronto Argonauts cornerback Adrion Smith teamed up with The Angel Foundation for Learning to tackle child poverty in its ninth annual 5-km walk on May 3.

Some 600 Toronto Catholic District School Board students, parents and teachers raised $25,000 through the walk, which started and finished at the Catholic Education Centre.

The Angel Foundation for Learning, established in 1987 by a group of Toronto trustees, tries to ensure underprivileged TCDSB students receive a successful education by providing them with essential needs such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, proper nutritional programs and emergency medical necessities.

“Adrion got the message across very effectively, he felt that this was a worthy initiative for him and the whole concept of child poverty touched his heart,” said Sara Camilleri, executive director of The Angel Foundation for Learning. “He was telling the kids how proud he was of them, and they were almost able to connect instantly as if they had been long time friends.”

The funds raised support the Social Work Emergency Fund, a charity run by The Angel Foundation, designed to support the ever-growing need for emergency materials for Toronto students. Despite falling short of the $30,000 goal, organizers said the walk has already made a difference.

“There was a great sense of community because kids were interacting with people they didn’t even know, whether it was other children or even adults,” said Camilleri. “This is a great opportunity for kids to help other kids in need. They realize that there are people living in poverty, and now they’re able to help fight this problem.”

Over the past 20 years, the foundation has helped more than 300,000 children.

“All children should have the right to participate in school activities,” said Camilleri. “No one should be held back by their financial situation.”

She said this year she has seen an increase in hardship.

“In this economic climate nothing can be taken for granted, and we must provide the essential needs for these children,” Camilleri added.

The Angel Foundation for Learning also supports the board’s Student Nutrition Program which addresses the nutritional needs of any student who qualifies.

For more information, visit or contact Camilleri at (416) 222-8282 ext. 2195. Donations are always welcome.

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