Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation helps deserving yet financially disadvantaged kids access the technology and tools they need to achieve their academic & social potential.
The Kids, Cops & Computers Program
Computers and digital literacy are essential to the success of today’s youth, yet we continue to see students with academic potential who do not have the same access to home technology as their peers.
That’s why Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation established the Kids, Cops & Computers program in 1998 to level the playing field for financially disadvantaged students by providing technology in the form of laptop computers and support in the form of police mentorship so they have the means to succeed.
The Kids, Cops & Computers Program:
A) Provides brand new laptop computers (and internet if needed) to deserving but financially disadvantaged students
B) Offers comprehensive programming that compliments the provision of the laptop with police mentorship and educator support through monthly Lead and Learn sessions designed to assist students in developing digital literacy skills, and learning to use their computers in a safe and effective way.
C) Encourages good citizenship by involving students in ongoing mentorship and interaction with police officers and educators and engaging them in school and the community.
“Kids, Cops & Computers first provided me with a laptop 3 years ago. Before that, I had very little experience using a computer as I didn’t have much access to one outside of the school. I didn’t know how to install an antivirus software or use a lot of program. My computer bridged the divide between me and my peers that had technology available at home, and gave me a chance to succeed.”
– Kauser Fatima, Senior Student in Kids, Cops & Computers
The Program runs from Grades 7 – 12. Students enroll in Grade 7 as Juniors, and graduate to Intermediate (Grade 8) and Senior (Grade 9 – 12) as they transition within the Program. Following high school graduation students transition to become Kids, Cops & Computers alumni.
More than 4,000 students and their families have been assisted to date, with more new students having enrolled in the Program in the last four years than in the previous years combined. Currently, there are over 2,500 active students taking part with a record 805 enrolling in 2016 across Toronto and Canada in partnership with the RCMP Foundation.
Community Partners Are Essential to the Success of KCC
Kids, Cops & Computers is differentiated from other at-risk youth programs by its unique combination of computer provision, support and mentorship through sessions with law enforcement officers and educators.
- Toronto Police Service – Community Safety Liason Officers deliver monthly Lead and Learn sessions.
- Toronto District and Toronto Catholic District School Boards – Schools in identified neighborhoods host the Program. Principals and Educators select students and support their participation.
- RCMP Foundation and the RCMP – In 2015, Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation formed a partnership with the RCMP to extend the program to non-metropolitan communities across Canada.
- HP Canada – the official Kids, Cops & Computers Technology Partner ensures students receive the most up-to-date technology.
“When KCC gives you a new laptop, it is just the tip of the iceberg. It is more of a mentorship program. The support from Police Officers and Educators in the Program helps kids feel more connected as part of the community and reduces feelings of isolation.”
– Hamza Muhammad, Kids, Cops & Computers Alumni
Annual surveys completed by students, their parents/guardians, educators and officers measure academic improvement, self-esteem, and community engagement.
- Parents of graduating students say that their child’s grades have improved.
- Educators notice an increase in positive attitude towards school among KCC participants.
- Students spend more time doing homework than they did prior to participation.
- Graduating students say the Program supported them through high school and enriched their lives.
- Police officers report an increase in community citizenship in KCC students.
- Kids, Cops & Computers participants are more likely to volunteer above the 40 hours required for high school graduation.
Focus groups and individual interviews with KCC participants, advisors and stakeholders demonstrate support for the approach and high levels of satisfaction.
For example, Toronto Police Officers have noted that the Program has met their desire to develop stronger community relations and reduce barriers with youth in low-income communities. Additionally, teachers have expressed gratitude for the improved confidence, technology skills and drive among participants in their classrooms.
Through close consultation with the Police Service and Education partners, schools participating in the Program are selected prior to the school year.
Educators at the confirmed schools then nominate Grade 7 students to participate based on specific criteria. Final selection of participants is confirmed with Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation.
Due to the selection process above, students cannot directly apply to Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation to register in the Program.
How Kids, Cops & Computers Works
Students join the Program in Grade 7.
Following the selection process, Launches are held at each participating school. During these school Launches, new students and parents are provided with information on the Program expectations. Once students and parents agree to the requirements, students are awarded a brand-new HP laptop.
In the Junior Year (Grade 7), students participate in 5 lunchtime Lead & Learn sessions with their designated Toronto Police Service officer. Sessions cover topics related to technology, online safety and community citizenship. Students are expected to submit a creative assignment of their own work using their new laptop computer nearing the end of their first year.
In the Intermediate & Senior Years of our Program (Grades 8-12), students are provided with opportunities to:
- Apply for a $1000 Good Citizen Scholarship.
- Join Twitter chats and enter contests on social media using their computer for a chance to win prizes.
- Participate in specialized programming with Subject Matter Experts in various areas of interest.
- Volunteer with Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation as a Kids, Cops & Computers student ambassador at events.
Inspiration Games 2017
- May 30th, 2017
- The Hangar at Downsview Park
75 Carl Hall Road, Toronto ON
Inspiration Games is a day to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of Junior Year (Grade 7) students successfully completing the first year of the Program and moving on to the next exciting stage.
Every year we offer a number of $1,000 Good Citizen Scholarships for Senior Year students. These scholarships are not based solely on academic achievements, but also on the impact the recipients are making in their community.
This fun-filled day includes lively programming including: awards, scholarships, entertainment, speakers, food, a photobooth area and more.