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A talk with community mentor Jam Johnson

Wed, Jul 18: Jam Johnson, a youth worker and executive director of the neighbourhood basketball association talks to Global News about violence in Toronto.


Scarborough shooting: kids without jobs the problem, not gangs, say youth workers | The Star

Going through hoops to reach at-risk youth | The Star


Toronto 2012: more guns, fewer resources – The Globe and Mail

Social entrepreneurship in Toronto is hot and may be a future direction for capital markets – YongeStreet

Photos: Teaching more than basketball in Scarborough – The Globe and Mail

SHOOT THE RIGHT SHOT ANTI-GUN INIATIVE B.R.O.S. (Brothers Reaching Our Sons) Mentorship Recreation Program

Past experience has shown that the demographic particularly vulnerable to academic disengagement/failure/and/or gang recruitment are Black males in grades 7-8.

The B.R.O.S. Mentoring Recreation Program addresses the lack of positive adult male role models for young, Black males in Toronto and the GTA. Far too many youth have been pushed out or dropped out of school, Come into conflict with law and/or have criminal records.

We target high risk youth in grades 7-8 because past experience has shown that if not properly equipped with the right mindset and decision-making tools, these youth often take a dramatic turn for the worse in their early high school careers, resulting in disciplinary problems, conflict with the law and/or academic failure.

Using their love for the game of basketball as an outreach and engagement tool, participants are placed in a structured setting whereby youth can draw on the experience and guidance of adult male role models who in many cases, have had troubled past but have overcome  their difficulties by learning to make wiser life decisions.

The goal is to help these youth develop a healthy positive self-image, strong desire to build (instead of destroy) their communities, and positive employment, life-skills and educational outcomes, before a vicious cycle of repeated contact with the law develops.

Building communities brick by brick beginning with our young brothers that live in Toronto and the GTA. We would like to offer the program to all Toronto District School Boards and Toronto Catholic District School Boards within Toronto and the GTA. It is also consider “neutral ground” and it is within walking distance of where our target participants reside, socialize and attend these schools. All schools within the  Scarborough, North York, East York, Etobicoke, York and Toronto area are easily accessible via TTC and the gymnasium is the perfect room location with the appropriate size to serve our roster of youth in Toronto and the GTA.

Community Screenings – Crips and Bloods

SHOOT THE RIGHT SHOT ANTI-GUN INIATIVE B.R.O.S. (Brothers Reaching Our Sons) Mentorship Recreation Program

As part of our SHOOT THE RIGHT SHOT Anti-Gang Initiative, over the summer of 2009 we held community screenings in priority neighbourhoods across the GTA of a documentary produced by NBA All-Star Point Guard Baron Davis about the Crips and Bloods gangs.  The film chronicles the origins and evolution of these two infamous L.A. street gangs and presents a graphic picture of the reality of ‘thug’ life – which is a vast departure from the glamorized media images that far too many youth across our city are emulating.

In light of the recent escalation in ‘gang’ related Black youth violence and homicides across our city, we hope that by targeting youth ages 11-13 (an age group that is particularly vulnerable to academic disengagement and gang recruitment) with a strong anti-violence, self-love, self-respect message, we can stem this crisis before we see the unacceptably high levels of Black youth-on-Black youth crime that plague the inner-cities of the United States.

 With special permission from the film’s producers to show the films at Cineplex Odeon theatres, our first two screenings took place at Coliseum Scarborough (Scarborough Town Centre) and SilverCity Yorkdale (Yorkdale Shopping Centre).  Our third screening took place at San Romanoway Cineplex, a theatre created in the heart of a housing complex in the Jane/Finch community – a community particularly plagued by conflict between rival ‘Blood’ and ‘Crip’ factions.  Additional screenings are planned for the fall, targeting other priority neighbourhoods where gang issues are prevalent.


Keeper, ‘Cause Times Are Gettin’ Steeper”