Forging a connection with military support centre

Introduction: One year ago, our Cadets pulled together to support military veterans from around the world who came to Toronto to participate in the Invictus Games. Recently, I was exploring opportunities to continue our service in this area when Warrant Officer Jalen Gu came to see me about his connections with the Toronto Military Family Resource Centre. Jalen told me about how, after being inspired through Invictus, he pursued opportunities on his own to connect with veterans on an ongoing basis. He has now become the official photographer for the Military Family Resource Centre and he travels with the staff to many events around the Greater Toronto Area.
-- Major Brian McCue

June 27 was an exciting day for a St. Andrew’s College squad consisting of Major Brian McCue, Cadet LCol Thomas Childerhose ’19, and me.

We travelled to the Toronto Military Family Resource Centre (Toronto MFRC), a unique round, wooden building situated amongst concrete military compounds. The non-profit organization, based in North York near Downsview Airport, was founded in 1992 to provide military families living in and around Toronto with support and services to help meet their unique needs. These services range from childcare to employment assistance.

The intent of our visit was to discuss how the School could potentially provide support for the resource centre.

“Our service goal this year is to provide Cadets to help at some of the outreach activities, to help increase awareness, and to potentially coordinate some guest speaker events to raise funds,” says Major McCue.

An organization like St. Andrew’s College, with its extensive military history and financial prowess, could greatly assist with the maintenance and improvement of programs. Apart from financial concerns, outreach events could raise awareness about veterans’ conditions by utilizing SAC’s red tunic Cadets, drummers, and pipers.
 
As the Cadet program transforms ahead of the upcoming school year, placing more emphasis on teamwork and leadership, military personnel and officials linked with Toronto MFRC would be able to share first-hand accounts with SAC students. Their unique experiences on the battlefield and in duty can be received by SAC students through speeches or letters.

During our visit to the centre, we toured the facilities and administrative offices. Brainstorming sessions followed introductions and by the afternoon we’d come up with a variety of ideas about how SAC and Toronto MFRC could work together.

Our visit to the resource centre was made even more special after having the opportunity to meet Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan, and introduce him to St. Andrew's College. Recently, all levels of government have taken an interest in supporting those who fought for the freedom experienced by all Canadians; MP Sajjan at the national level, MPP Roman Baber at the provincial level, and Toronto Mayor John Tory at the municipal level.

This opportunity will not only support the Toronto MFRC and its clients, but also honours the history of St. Andrew’s and its Old Boys. We look forward to building an effective relationship with the Toronto MFRC.

Story by Warrant Officer Jalen Gu ’19
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St. Andrew's College
15800 Yonge Street, Aurora, ON L4G 3H7 Canada
Tel: 905-727-3178