Parkdale school in Toronto shows strong community support

Team Unbreakable has gotten off to a fast start for the 2017-2018 year. The excitement surrounding the program’s second year in Toronto is best illustrated by the participation numbers and community support currently benefiting the Parkdale JR and SR School Team Unbreakable/Run For Your Life collaboration.

Program Coordinator Nils Blondon and Teacher Said Khayat have worked together to start a program that combines elements of Team Unbreakable with Said Khayat’s incentivized, “Run for Your Life” run group, and the results have been exhilarating.

“The Team Unbreakable program is excited to see new ways to improve student participation. This is an excellent collaboration that we want to see more of. It’s great for the students,” says Executive Director, Carl Worrell. Students, parents, and teachers come out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:55 am to laugh, run, and work towards the growth of a healthier school community. It’s not uncommon for the group to attract upwards of fifty participants, and participation hasn’t dwindled as the weather has gotten cooler.

“It really is a community endeavour,” says Team Unbreakable Coordinator Nils Blondon. “It energizes me to see so many parents and teachers taking part.”

The Parkdale Program Participants use the Team Unbreakable Logs to track their mood and progress following every run, while receiving key tags for the completion of laps and consistent attendance. The effort underway at Parkdale encapsulates the Team Unbreakable philosophy: capitalizing on collaboration, team work, and inclusivity to best serve the youth populations of the schools in which we work.

Nils Blondon credits part of the programs success at Parkdale Jr and Sr School to the emerging culture being fostered by the Team Unbreakable Program. “There’s an element of community building at the Parkdale Program that’s very inspiring to see,” he says. “Having all those parents and teachers come out and run, even in their street clothes, it makes all the difference to the kids. They feel supported and appreciated.”

Some youth, excited by the improvement of their mood and the opportunity to run in their first 5k, have even taken to running with their parents on the weekend. “I come here [the Parkdale Jr and Sr field] to run on Saturday too,” said Team Unbreakable Participant Mustafa. “I really want to keep getting better.”

The Parkdale Program is in its final weeks before the Nov 26th UNBREAKABLE Bold and Cold Goal Event, and the staff and parents are rallying behind the cause, organizing rides and raising funds for those unable to cover the cost of registration. “I expect a big turn out at this event from our school, “says Said Khayat. “The kids love it. Nils is like a star to them.”

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The second annual Bold and Cold in Toronto is on Sunday, November 26th, at Coronation park. The race begins at 9:30 am, followed by a pancake breakfast for all participants.

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