(March 13, 2006) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors have designated March as Healthy Living Month and recognized it with two initiatives that promote health and wellness in the community.
On Monday, March 13, the Leafs hosted 30 children from North York's Parkway Forest YMCA Child Care Centre at Air Canada Centre. The children enjoyed a healthy breakfast while watching Leafs practice. After practice, Leafs Matt Stajan and Mikael Tellqvist accompanied the children to the Toronto Eaton Centre's SportsChek store, where they helped each child select a new pair of running shoes paid for through a generous donation from the Leafs Fund.
On Thursday, March 16, the Toronto Raptors and Raptors Foundation hosted their own healthy living event for 30 kids from the Jane and Finch Community and Family Centre. The children between the ages of eight and 16 years had breakfast at Air Canada Centre prior to participating in a basketball clinic with Raptors forward Matt Bonner and touring Air Canada Centre. Each child will received a Raptorball jersey and shorts.
"As role models in the community, both Leafs and Raptors players live the values of encouraging healthy active lifestyles and this can have a profound impact for today's youth," said Bev Deeth, director of Leafs and Raptors Community Development and the executive director of the Raptors Foundation. "Our Healthy Living Month initiatives are just another way to encourage others to ensure that all Toronto children, especially those from high-needs communities, are provided with healthy choices as part of their daily lives."
Healthy Living Month initiatives are in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Toronto's Get Your Move On. Breakfast foods including yogurt and cereals were generously donated by Leafs' and Raptors' corporate partners Danone and Kellogg's Vector. Danone Canada, a leader in fresh dairy products since 1967, is committed to social and environmental responsibility. Kellogg Canada's Working Together to Help Kids Grow initiative is part of the company's ongoing commitment to support the healthy development of children.
The Leafs and Raptors remain at the forefront of many social issues currently debated in the public forum. Both teams active support and work in the community has helped raise much needed awareness for children's issues such as health, wellness, child development, active lifestyles, education, nutrition and youth self-esteem.
The Leafs Fund is committed to responsible community leadership through access to sports and recreation, and encouraging health and wellness in the community. The Leafs Fund raises and disperses more than $1 million dollars to charities annually.
Raptors Foundation is dedicated to assisting registered charities across Ontario that strive to better the lives of young people. Since its inception in 1995, the Raptors Foundation has raised and dispersed more than $14 million and has reached out to more than 4,000 youth-at-risk charities. For more information, visit www.raptors.com