Raptors In The Community: Blog
Raptors Visit to Sick Kids
January 29, 2018
The Toronto Raptors roster stopped by Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto for their annual visit on January 29th, 2018 to surprise their biggest fans. Even during the grind of the regular season, the Raptors still found time to give back to their community and to those who needed it most. The afternoon consisted of lots of fun games with patient families as well as a tour of the entire hospital. The team didn't come empty handed as both the Raptors players and coaches brought gifts to some of their most deserving fans. It was a special sight to see, as our players were humbled by the strength and courage of such amazing and inspirational kids.
You Can Play NightJanuary 17, 2018
The Toronto Raptors hosted the first ever You Can Play Night in NBA history on January 17th, 2018 versus the Detroit Pistons at the Air Canada Centre. The You Can Play Project is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ athletes, coaches and fans. The Raptors "Together" rainbow flag was carried out by youth and chaperones of Rexdale Pride during a very heart-felt national anthem. The night consisted of in-game recognition of You Can Play, LGBTQ awareness, and a special jersey presentation from none other than the Raptor himself. The Raptors showed their commitment to providing inclusion and safety in sport by being the ground breaker in the You Can Play movement. Read more about this significant night in NBA history here.
Dwane Casey's Holiday EventDecember 22, 2017
A night full of basketball, food and gifts was in store for 30 Toronto Community Housing kids ages 10-14. The kids boarded the bus with smiles on their faces as they headed to the Biosteel Centre where they met Toronto Raptors Head Coach, Dwane Casey. The special basketball clinic was run by Coach Casey with help from Raptors Assistant Coach Jama Mahlalela and Coach Brittney and Coach Omari from the Raptors basketball development team.
After learning some new skills, the athletes headed upstairs for a holiday meal prepared by Chef Ryan, resident chef at Biosteel Center. The evening didn’t end there when they were surprised with new Nike gear, basketball, and Raptors swag.
The special clinic ended with Coach Casey reiterating to the youth the importance of making good decisions both on and off the court. With a head full of knowledge, belly full of food, and a heart full of gratitude, the kids were bussed home with memories of a day they will never forget.
DeMar’s Holiday S’WishDecember 22, 2017
On the Friday before Christmas, patient families at Sick Kids got a special surprise from a familiar face dressed head to toe in a blue Santa Costume. On December 22nd, 2017, DeMar DeRozan visited SickKids hospital where he gave the children the holiday surprise of a lifetime. Each child received a duffel bag with Raptors swag and hung out with the All-Star for the afternoon, participating in the festivities from video games to decorating gingerbread cookies. The day ended with the biggest gift yet as DeMar donated $10,000 to the Lupus Clinic at Sick Kids, a cause that has always been close to his heart. The Lupus Clinic at Sick Kids Hospital is the largest pediatric lupus clinic in North America.
Kyle Lowry Holiday AssistDecember 18, 2017
Kyle and Ayahna Lowry hosted their third annual Holiday Assist on Monday December 18th, 2017 for St. Stephens Catholic School in Toronto. This grade 4/5 class was rewarded this special experience by submitting a letter highlighting how they gave back to their local community.
The class was surprised by a visit from Kyle Lowry himself and were told they were going on a field trip to Toys R Us! With excitement in the air, the students loaded the bus and experienced a Christmas surprise they will never forget. The youth were treated to a toy shopping spree and the students from St. Stephen’s sprinted down the aisles with smiles on their faces as they tried to check off their wish list for both themselves and their friends and family.
The Lowry family, the Raptor, and Santa’s special helpers got in on the action by helping to pick out toys with the kids. Everyone was feeling the Holiday spirit and learning more about the importance of community and giving back. In its third year, the Lowry Holiday Assist continues to be a huge success for spreading cheer and serves as a reminder for what the holidays are all about.
Raps City SocialNovember 30, 2017
On November 30th, 2017 at the Toronto Event Centre, over 600 guests had the opportunity to mix and mingle with the entire roster of Toronto Raptors players, coaches and front office personnel at the 2017 Rap City Social presented by Bell. The event was hosted in support of the MLSE Foundation. MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to both develop and pursue lasting dreams on the playing field.
Lowry Thanksgiving AssistOctober 7, 2017
On Saturday, October 7th, Toronto Raptors All Star Point Guard Kyle Lowry served assists this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend as he and his family delivered turkey dinners to 300 families in the Toronto area. Each family received everything they needed to cook a Thanksgiving dinner including a frozen turkey, box of stuffing, and fresh produce. Kyle and Ayahna Lowry made their first stop at John Innes Community Center and followed up their giving efforts with an appearance at MLSE Launchpad. Their generosity impacted over 1200 disadvantaged families in Toronto and all in attendance left with a big smile on their face.
This is the Lowry family’s second annual Thanksgiving event in Toronto and a bigger turn out than the year previous. This was an inspiring afternoon of giving back and being thankful, courtesy of the Lowry Love Foundation.
Bobby Webster's Clinic in HawaiiOctober 4, 2017
Starting the season off in the sun, the Toronto Raptors headed to Hawaii for preseason from September 29th to October 4th, 2017. The team started in Victoria, BC for training camp and then headed to Honolulu, Hawaii to face off against the LA Clippers at Stan Sheriff Centre.
The Raptors then continued to visit General Manager Bobby Webster's home town of Kailua, Hawaii where they hosted a basketball clinic for over 60 kids at the Kailua District Park. The clinic provided an opportunity for the Kailua basketball club and other local teams to enhance their skills by working with world class athletes and coaches. Special appearances at the clinic included Kyle Lowry, Assistant Coach Jama Mahalela, Strength and Conditioning Coach Jon Lee, Raptors 905 Head Coach Jerry Stackhouse, Alumni and Assistant Coach Jamaal Magloire, and Raptors GM Bobby Webster.
DeMarre Christmas Carroll Bowling Night
No matter the city, no matter the team, DeMarre Carroll is always looking for opportunities to enrich the lives of the youth around him. On December 21st the 2nd annual DeMarre Christmas Carroll Bowling Night hosted 10 lucky boys and girls from the Rexdale based mentorship organization Trust 15, for an evening full of fun, laughter and of course, bowling. The Rinkz Event Center in the Rexdale area was filled with gifts courtesy of the DeMarre Christmas Carroll Foundation and holiday cheer as the young kids threw down some impressive strikes and spares.
Trust 15 is home to the Ladies on the Rise, Men of Distinction, Boys of Excellence and Girls on the Rise programs. DeMarre first surprised over 250 kids at a holiday party on November 7th that the organization was holding at North Kipling Junior Middle School. It was from there that 10 keen kids were chosen from a draw to attend the next month's bowling extravaganza.
The night was a grand accomplishment. Leaving the kids with treasured gifts, Carroll also showered them with inspiration and motivation to drive through adversity and to never halt the pursuit of success.
Kyle Lowry Holiday Assist
It was an exciting morning for students at St.Paul Catholic School as a surprise visit from Kyle Lowry announced what their morning would have in store. With excitement in the air, the unsuspecting students loaded the Lowry Holiday Assist bus and headed to a mystery location.
It was the Toys'R'Us located at Sherway Gardens that saw the influx of the 26 kids aged 6-13 who were joined by Kyle himself and a pack of dedicated volunteers to take part in a holiday shopping spree. With only 10 minutes to shop, the kids unleashed a frenzy of fun as they sprinted down the aisles grabbing all the items on their wish list.
Kyle's wife Ayahna was also a part of the mornings events and the Raptors mascot similarly got in on the action by running circles around the store making sure every child got what they needed. From Lego to chess sets, books to cards and dolls to trucks, the wide eyed students were alive with the holiday spirit and feeling the love from the Lowry's.
Students not only chose gifts for themselves but kindly picked out gifts for siblings and other family members, fostering Kyle's principal of generosity by giving back and spreading the holiday cheer.
Kyle and his wife have made it a priority to give back to the city that they represent and as this event goes into its third year, the Lowry Holiday Assist continues to grow and impact the community.
Holiday Helpers Delivery
The Toronto Raptors are fast paced on the court but this holiday season they took the time to give back to their community.
Practice ended on Thursday, December 15, 2016 and the Toronto Raptor Holiday Helper Crew began their trek through the snow and ice to deliver presents to families in need.
Jared Sullinger, Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam, and Patrick Patterson first arrived at the Holiday Helpers warehouse to assist with wrapping and packing of hundreds of toys to be delivered to families throughout the city.
Once the presents were loaded up, the Raptors transitioned into Santa's delivery elves and took to the streets to personally deliver gifts to deserving families.
Norman Powell Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club (TKBGC) Visit
The youth at Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club went wild on Wednesday, December 7th when Toronto Raptor, Norman Powell, stepped in the room to surprise their after school program at Spruce Street Public School. Powell spent time in the gym playing ball before joining the reading and homework program. In the holiday spirit, Norman gifted the kids with Raptor Fan Packs and Raptor plush toys and donated new basketballs for their program.
Raps City Social
On November 7th, 2016, the Toronto's Raptors became karaoke stars and ping-pong professionals as they participated in MLSE Foundation's annual signature event, Raps City Social, presented by Bell. This night was a chance for fans to mix and mingle with the Toronto Raptors team and Front Office staff, all while raising funds for MLSE Foundation's newest project, MLSE Launchpad. MLSE Launchpad is a 42, 000 sq ft youth Sport for Development facility that will use sport and education to promote social change, and will open Winter 2017.
Norman Powell Boys and Girls Club Visit
To kick off the holiday season, Raptors #24 Norman Powell made a surprise visit to the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club's after-school program on Wednesday, December 7th. In hopes of spreading some holiday cheer, Norman came with gifts for each of the kids and new basketballs for the program. He spent the evening with their youth basketball and reading programs, and of course, teaching everyone how to dunk like a pro.
Toronto Raptors Training Camp in Vancouver and Calgary
The Toronto Raptor's kicked off their pre-season with a trip to Vancouver and Calgary for their annual Training Camp. The pre-season line up included games against Golden State and Denver, youth camps and clinics, an afternoon bowling with Vancouver Firefighters and students from Brittania Secondary School, and a surprise visit to Holy Cross School in Calgary.
Raptors Coaches, Youth Coaches, Dance Pak, and volunteers pulled together three days of youth clinics while in Vancouver at Training Camp. These clinics brought many kids from across Vancouver out to teach them what it's like to train like a Toronto Raptor.
While in Vancouver the full team and coaches spent an afternoon out to support Brittania Secondary School's Men's and Women's Basketball Teams, who recently lost their longtime Coach to a long battle with Leukemia. In addition to the team and coaches, volunteers and Vancouver Firefighter Charities came out to create some positivity in memory of Coach Eric Ming.
The Toronto Raptors Youth Development Coaches and Alumni Muggsy Bogues wrapped up Training Camp with a surprise visit to Holy Cross School in Calgary where they ran clinics for the day and then surprised participants of the clinic with tickets to the game against Denver that evening. In addition to the clinic participants, 100 lucky students were given tickets to attend the game.
Lowry's Thanksgiving Assist
Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry brought some Thanksgiving joy to Toronto on Thanksgiving weekend, when he and his and family spent their Friday evening handing out turkey dinners to families at Toronto Community Housing. Kyle and his family's effort was able to provide 100 families with a Thanksgiving dinner that they may not have been able to have otherwise. Kyle's foundation, the Lowry Love Foundation, does a similar initiative in his home town of Philadelphia, but this year he also wanted to support the city that supports him all season long.
Latest Raptors Make A Wish Initiative
Toronto Raptors starting guard DeMar DeRozan teamed up with Make-A-Wish® Canada to give a special fan an experience of a lifetime. Wish Kid, Arvin who suffers from Systemic Lupus, joined DeMar for the day – both on and off the court. From spending his morning watching DeMar go through his game day warm up routine, a shopping spree at the team store, meeting Coach Casey and the team during their morning shoot around, DeMar made sure Arvin enjoyed his time at the Air Canada Centre. The wish wrapped up for Arvin who spent the evening in style as DeMar's guest of honour during the Raptors vs Hawks game.
Annette Public School Raptors Pep Rally
The Toronto Raptors teamed up with Annette Junior and Senior Public School on Friday May 13th to assist with their student led pep-rally. Over 600 students, decked out in Raptors jerseys and playoff t-shirts, chanted "Let's Go Raptors" and "We The North" loud enough for the neighbourhood to hear all in support of the team as they entered into Games 6 and 7 vs the Miami Heat of the NBA Playoffs. The students led cheers, shared why the team is so important to them, performed dance routines and basketball demonstrations all while raising funds for the Fort McMurry wild fire relief efforts. After hearing of all the great work the students at the school were doing for the Alberta residents, the real Raptor himself made a special appearance along with members of the Raptors Dance Pak team.
DeMar's Holiday Make A Wish Initiative
DeMar DeRozan helped make Raptors fans wishes come true as he took part in the Make A Wish initiative over the holidays.
DeMar's Slam Dunk Book Club & All Star Book Program
DeMar's passion for literacy has been an unmistakable theme throughout his career here in Toronto. By providing resources to youth, DeMar has bridged the gap by removing financial barriers for students, allowing them to improve their reading and comprehension skills. With two independent literacy programs across the Greater Toronto Area, DeMar has empowered more than 2,000 students from low-income areas through his Slam Dunk Book Club and newly launched DeMar DeRozan All Star Book Program.