First-of-its-kind bullying-prevention program will serve students across the Greater Toronto Area at no cost.
TORONTO, ON (February 19, 2020) – Today, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment’s four major league teams, Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS) and Toronto Argonauts (CFL) officially launched the 2020 Huddle Up Bullying Prevention Program at St. Gregory Catholic School. Shooting guard Terence Davis II (Raptors), fullback Declan Cross (Toronto Argonauts), former winger Darcy Tucker (Maple Leafs) and former midfielder Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC) were all on-hand for the special assembly sharing experiences, raising awareness and meeting students and staff at the Etobicoke-based elementary school.
“Inclusion and respect are integral community pillars at MLSE, and it was a natural fit for our other major league teams to join the amazing program promoting these values to youth,” said Michael Bartlett, Vice President, Community Affairs, MLSE. “The Argonauts have set the stage with a nationally-recognized, award-winning program and we look forward to growing it exponentially to strengthen the positive impact on youth across the GTA.”
Since being founded by the Toronto Argonauts in 2001, Huddle Up has impacted students aged 8-18 from over 400 schools, empowering them to make a difference speaking up when faced with bullying. New this year, the Argonauts and Canada’s leading authority on bullying prevention, Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet), have teamed up with the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC to bring bullying education and awareness to schools across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The program marks the first-ever bullying-prevention program between four major league teams across Canada.
“We have enjoyed a successful partnership with the Argonauts for seven years and believe that having powerful role models from the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC join to address bullying will have a significant impact on youth,” said Dr. Wendy Craig, Co-founder, PREVNet. “Providing youth with the understanding, skills, and leadership capacity to address bullying is critical to preventing bullying. We are excited to reach more students through the new online platform and to see the incredible influence our newly trained youth leaders will have in their communities.”
A first-of-its-kind in Canada, the program’s bullying prevention messaging is amplified by professional athletes’ voices through school visits, special events, public service announcements and a new, free online learning platform, which increases accessibility and reach. The all-encompassing initiative focuses on the evolving dynamics of school and cyber bullying and encourages students in the transition stages of elementary and high school to influence positive change in their school community.
Huddle Up currently reaches over 8,000 students in the Greater Toronto Area across 11 school boards annually, with an emphasis on students from grades 6 to 9. Starting September 2020, a new, online learning platform, complete with an interactive, five-module curriculum and several other resources, will be available at no cost to all students grades 6-9 in the Greater Toronto Area.
To learn more and to register for the program, schools, staff and students can visit MLSEHuddleUp.com.
Nikk Kadbet, MLSE, Nikk.Kadbet@mlse.com