100 Strong Academy pays visit to Laurier
The Toronto-based organization brought 45 youth to experience a day at Laurier

Monday, July 31, 2017 - Posted by Laura O'Toole

WATERLOO, Ont. (July 31, 2017)- 100 Strong Academy is an organisation based out of Toronto, Ont. that looks to create an environment that fosters learning, embraces community and inspires excellence in young boys. 

100 Strong Foundation is a non-profit organization, based out of Toronto, Ont., that hosts a summer school (The Strong Academy) at Ryerson University for boys, with ongoing programming and engagement throughout the year.  The Academy was founded by Ontario Court Justice Donald McLeod, Toronto District School Board Administrators Ainsworth Morgan and Gary Crossdale; who were able to chorale a community of African-Canadian men to fund this initiative.  

The collective group was motivated by a vision, compelled to make a difference, re-write the current status quo and create a new and lasting social commentary –”One young man at a time”.  The ultimate goal is to expose these young men to new places, experiences, and career paths.  This includes day trips to visit various institutions and organizations to learn about future options available to them as adults. 

On July 20th 2017, 100 Strong Academy collaborated with Wilfrid Laurier University and brought members to Laurier campus for a day. 

“We wanted to have the young men experience the positive feelings and sensations of a post-secondary campus visit before they enter high school; inspiring them to stay focused during the most challenging and distracting period in their scholastic careers” said Hugh Lawson, Golden Hawks alumni and now a sustainer of 100 Strong Academy. “The Toronto District School Board has identified that young men of colour are at risk in terms of meeting the Ontario Standard at grades 7 and 8. We felt that the tour would provide a very special opportunity for synthesizing their learning and to meet successful young men of colour and hear directly from them about the challenges ahead and how through hard work and education they can achieve their dreams”.

The day featured not only Laurier’s exceptional academic programs and the  long-term benefits of persuing a higher education, but also how the extracurricular opportunities at Laurier allows students to achieve a well-balanced lifestyle and how participation in both realms of the institution greatly contributes to Laurier's infamous tight-knit community.   

A key factor in Laurier’s community building is Laurier’s Athletics and Recreation department, as it offers many opportunities to thrive physically, mentally, and spiritually, as an individual as well as  in teams. The youth of 100 Strong Academy geared up in purple and gold merchandise and were able to experience the opportunities within Laurier’s Athletic Department first-hand, as they toured the Athletic Complex facility with Athletics Director, Peter Baxter. Moreover, the boys were able to experience the complexities of Laurier's football program, as they participated in a five-station circuit with Laurier Football's Head Coach Michael Faulds, Laurier Football’s Senior Advisor of Alumni Engagement and Performance Mentoring, Bill Parsons, and current defensive lineman, Rashari Henry.

“It was an INCREDIBLE experience!” commented Lawson on 100 Strong Academy’s experience at Laurier.  “I'm overjoyed that the young men were able to experience the "pixie dust" that has put us Golden Hawks in such a state of continuous joy and kinship. This day will have such an incredible influence on their future successes. Their Laurier caps never came off after the trip, even when they touched ground at Ryerson.  It was a great day, I'm so proud to be a Golden Hawk!” 

For more information on 100 Strong Academy, click here
- Written with help from files provided on the 100 Strong Academy offical website

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