Despite all of the bad things that happened this year, there was still a lot of good. Many Torontonians have contributed to that good, with their hard work and dedication to helping others and bringing the community together.
Here are 11 everyday Torontonians who made a difference in 2016:
Alex Berry and his barbers
Alex Berry is the master barber at Garrison's Barbershop. He and his staff donated all of the proceeds from their beard and moustache services to the Movember Foundation, which raises funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and male mental health.
Daniel Romano and his soccer team
Daniel Romano is a head coach of the Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School soccer team in Toronto. Together, they made a trip to the North to host an empowering soccer training camp for the youth of the Attawapiskat community. They provided gifts of soccer balls, shoes, nets and uniforms to the students as well.
Paul Frias is a police officer that has been with the force for over 10 years. Ever since 2012, he has given more than 30 anti-bullying presentations in various schools in the 33 Division. After being bullied as a kid, he has made it his mission to stop bullying and inspire kids to stand up to it.
Maayan Ziv is a past graduate of Ryerson's Digital Media program who developed an app called Access Now, which uses crowd sourcing to gather accessibility information across the world. The app is intended to make Toronto and the rest of the world more accessible to people in wheelchairs.
Photo cred - @agbdto
Carolyn Madonia and The Children's Book Bank
Carolyn Madonia is the managing director of The Children's Book Bank in Regent Park, which gives out almost 200 books per day for free to children in low-income neighbourhoods. "It's so great to see them develop and become great readers and just enjoy being able to come here," says Madonia.
Gavin O'Sullivan is a blind, 18-year-old West Humber Collegiate student. He inspired several people by representing his school as a sprinter on its track team. At the OFSAA Track and Field Championship, he was able to beat his personal record of 15.34.
Photo cred - @aslemonadestand
Na'ama Uzan is a 5-year-old girl who raised over $50K from her lemonade stand to help find a cure for her brother who has a rare disorder called Angelman Syndrome. Some families who were moved by her cause donated as much as $21,000 to her and her family!
Naiomi Bielak is a 17-year-old ballet dancer who has volunteered with her mom at Crafting For A Cure for her whole life. The organization brings art and craft supplies to hospitals to help the patients pass the time and get creative.
Kelly Korkola is a boxer who at 14 years old was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame. At a young age, he got wound up in drugs and struggled for several years with an addiction. He has since turned his life around, and throughout this year he was a volunteer coach at the Mentoring Junior Kids Organization, where he gave classes to 18 year olds for free.
Photo cred - @mercedestsmith
Tracee Smith is one of Canada's 50 most celebrated artists. In 2007, she started an organization called Outside Looking In, which uses dance to inspire the Indigenous youth across the country, and she ran successful events throughout this year.
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