Toronto high school brings love of soccer to Attawapiskat

TORONTO (ONTARIO) June 20, 2016 – One of Toronto’s top high-school soccer teams is in Attawapiskat this week to host a week-long training camp that will teach basic skills and share a love for the game with local students, thanks in part to a special grant from ParticipACTION Teen Challenge. The Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School Royals decided they wanted to do something to help the remote northern Ontario community after hearing about a series of attempted suicides this spring.

The team created an online fundraiser seeking $25,000 to help pay for flights and equipment. The ParticipACTION Teen Challenge, a national youth physical activity program sponsored by Coca-Cola Canada, provided a special grant of $9,700 to help the soccer team meet its fundraising goal.

“This trip is about soccer, of course, but it’s more than that,” says Royals coach Paulo Pereira, who has been working with the Toronto Catholic District School Board and Attawapiskat’s recreation coordinator to organize the camp. “Sport and physical activity have been a powerful and positive force in most of our students’ own lives and they want to share this passion with their peers in Attawapiskat. We are hoping this is the start of a long-term relationship between our communities.”

The team arrived with uniforms, nets, balls, shoes and sleeping bags on Saturday, and will begin working with the local elementary students each morning, and conducting three-hour daily training sessions with the Attawapiskat high school, Vezina Secondary School, each afternoon, starting today.

ParticipACTION Teen Challenge provides unique ways for 13-19 year-olds to meet the needs of their communities, because the teens help design the programs and events that get funded. Since 2007, micro-grants of up to $500 have helped support over 500,000 participants in their communities.

“Regular physical activity can help teens do better in school, grow stronger, have fun playing with friends, feel happier, improve their self-confidence and learn new skills,” says Diana Dampier, Director of Projects for ParticipACTION. “Physical activity and sport can do so much good.”

To learn more about ParticipACTION Teen Challenge please visit

About ParticipACTION

ParticipACTION is a national non-profit organization that helps Canadians sit less and move more. Originally established in 1971, ParticipACTION works with its partners, which include sport, physical activity, recreation organizations, government and corporate sponsors, to make physical activity a vital part of everyday life. ParticipACTION is generously supported by the Government of Canada. For more information, please visit


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Meaghan Beech
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
W: 416-413-4650
M: 416-463-4467

Mary Walker
Toronto Catholic District School Board
W: 416-222-8282, extension 2302

Katherine Janson
W: 416-913-1471
M: 647-717-8674