The City of Toronto – Department of Parks, Forestry and Recreation have much to celebrate as they receive the national Equitas Play it Fair! Award. This award recognizes innovation, creativity and exceptional contributions made in the field of children’s rights and participation. Play it Fair! activities have been integrated into 130 summer camps, 32 After-School Recreation Care programs (ARC) and many other children’s programs across the city, including in Toronto’s low-income neighbourhoods. Children learn about inclusion, responsibility and respect for diversity through purposeful play.
Over 1,200 City of Toronto staff are trained each year to use Equitas’ Play it Fair! program to help build children’s self-esteem and resiliency as they learn peaceful conflict resolution and creative problem solving skills especially in communities where poverty, social exclusion and gang violence are a reality. Toronto’s children are being empowered with the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to help them to become forces for positive change in their own communities.
“Play it Fair! is an exceptional program that we leverage to teach valuable life skills to 12,000 children annually,” said Janie Romoff, Acting General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City of Toronto. “Toronto is one of the world’s most diverse cities, and this program helps our staff enforce positive attitudes, helps children build self-esteem and respect for diversity.”
“Teaching respect, tolerance and inclusivity begins with our youth in order to make a significant impact,” said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Group. “And we are proud to support this initiative that recognizes innovation and creativity when it comes to encouraging others to look at new ways to educate and empower our youth – the next generation of positive change in our communities.”
The TD Bank Group, has been a longtime supporter of Play it Fair! nationally which has allowed over 100,000 Canadian children each year to play with a purpose, say no to bullying and embrace diversity.
Play it Fair! is a national program designed by Equitas and used by over 450 organizations located in 31 communities across Canada. Each year over 5,500 staff are trained and 100,000 children benefit from fun activities that promote positive values and behavior through active play. Since 2006, over 400,000 children have participated in Play it Fair! activities and over 17,000 staff have learned how to promote children’s rights and participation through play. Coordinated by a dedicated committee within the City of Toronto’s Department of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Play it Fair! has been used by the City of Toronto since 2006 and each year over 12,000 children across 130 summer camp and 32 after school programs participate.
Play it Fair! promotes respect for diversity, children’s participation, and peaceful conflict resolution. Children aged 6-12 years learn about the importance of respect, fairness, acceptance, responsibility and cooperation by playing interactive games and discussing how their actions affect those around them. Each year Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education presents the Play it Fair! Award to an individual or group in recognition of outstanding leadership in promoting children’s rights and participation using the Play it Fair! program. Equitas is delighted to recognize the efforts and achievements of the staff of the City of Toronto, Department of Parks, Forestry and Recreation and in particular the members of the Play it Fair! co-coordinating committee. The prize was awarded as part of the National Child Day celebrations in November 2013.
The Play it Fair! national program is made possible thanks to the ongoing support of the TD Bank Group and the Air Canada Foundation. Since 2006, the TD Bank Group has committed $750,000 to support the Play it Fair! program.