• Press Release - March 30, 2017



    TORONTO, CANADA (March 30, 2017) – The gymnasium at George Syme Community School in Toronto came alive today, as the Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam joined more than 70 students in an afternoon of play to celebrate the announcement of his status as an Athlete Ambassador for the global development organization, Right To Play.​ ​

    "I am so proud and excited to be joining Right To Play as an Athlete Ambassador," said Siakam. "Growing up in Cameroon, I played sports and games every day that had incredible impact on my education, my personal development, and now my career. ​​

    "Sport and play gave me the confidence to believe I could one day achieve something great – like becoming a Toronto Raptor. That's why it is so important to me that I use my position in the NBA to give back to kids, both locally and internationally, and I'm happy to be doing that with Right To Play."

    At today's event, Siakam took part in Right To Play's Youth To Youth program to experience how the Toronto-based organization uses play to enhance education and empower youth.

    "We are very excited to welcome Pascal to our team," said Lori Smith, National Director of Right To Play Canada. "Not only do Athlete Ambassadors like Pascal know firsthand the benefits of sport and play, but their stories and leadership inspire children to believe in themselves and their own potential.

    "We are so thrilled that he could be here today to join some of our Youth To Youth program participants and experience a little bit of the global impact that Right To Play has in more than a million children's lives each week."

    A peer-to-peer leadership program, Youth To Youth partners with the Toronto District School Board to provide schools in high-needs neighbourhoods with educational play-based programming and is led by 750 trained Youth Leaders in 50 schools and community centers citywide.

    Playing alongside students in grades 3-5 from George Syme Community School, Siakam was led through the same types of games and activities that Right To Play uses around the world by Youth Leaders in grades 10-12 from Runnymede Collegiate Institute.

    "I have to say, some of the kids really gave me a run for my money in the games – it was great to see them all having so much fun," said Siakam. ​

    "What was so valuable for me to experience was the way that the Right To Play programs use discussion and positive support to reinforce the lesson of each game. When you see the learning in action, it's clear how play can empower kids, influence their behavior and create a positive lasting impact in their lives. I'm honoured to be a part of an organization using those tools to build people, and a better world for our kids."

    Watch Siakam and the students from the Youth To Youth program learning and leading the day's activities on Right To Play Canada's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RightToPlayCan

    For more information, follow @RightToPlayCAN and visit www.righttoplay.ca

    About Youth To Youth

    Youth To Youth (Y2Y) is a Toronto-based, peer-to-peer leadership program that empowers youth living in Toronto's high-needs neighbourhoods by training more than 750 Youth Leaders to run play-based programming in 50 schools and community centers citywide. Reaching more than 2,500 children weekly, Y2Y enables young people to improve educational, health and employment outcomes, by creating safe, inclusive learning environments. The primary funder for the Youth to Youth program is MLSE Foundation.

    For more information, follow @righttoplay.y2y on Instagram.

    About Right To Play

    Right To Play is a global organization committed to improving the lives of children and youth affected by conflict, disease and poverty. Established in 2000, Right To Play has pioneered a unique play-based approach to learning and development which focuses on quality education, life skills, health, gender equality, child protection and building peaceful communities. With programming in over 20 countries, Right To Play transforms the lives of more than one million children each week, both inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to our work with children, Right To Play advocates with parents, local communities, and governments to advance the fundamental rights of all children.

    Programming in Canada includes Youth To Youth (Y2Y) and the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program, which reaches more than 85 First Nations communities and urban Aboriginal organizations across Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. PLAY engages nearly 5,000 Indigenous youth nationwide in dynamic, play-based programming focused on building resiliency and improving health, employability and educational attainment.

    Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has operations in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Our programs are facilitated by more than 600 international staff and 14,900 local volunteer Coaches. ​


    Media Contact:

    Rae Barilea, Right To Play Canada

    +1 (416) 203-0190 x.305 | +1 (647) 990-7411 rbarilea@righttoplay.com