Friday, November 26, 2010

Building Bridges Gala 2010 - Police Gala Funds Young Talent

For one night, officers from 51 Division traded in their uniforms for haute couture, in support of neighbourhood youngsters.

The 51 Division Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) Building Bridges Scholarship Fundraising Gala at Lawrence Hall on Nov.1 raised $10,000 for a George Brown College endowment fund benefiting youth in the downtown Division.

Police officers strutted their stuff on the catwalk in the latest fashions, courtesy of George Brown College’s School of Fashion, Arts and Design students, alumni and teachers.

CPLC co-chair Deborah Devgan said engaging young people in the community is a key component of creating a safe place for everyone.

“In talking to young people in our community, some didn’t believe they could ever set foot into a post-secondary institution even though Ryerson University and George Brown College are a couple of streets away from where they live,” Devgan said.

A $500 bursary was awarded to George Brown nursing student Roberta Correa with funds raised from last year’s gala.

The goal was not only to raise money but to also raise the profile of police in the neighbourhood.

“It was a great night where members of the community could engage with officers,” Devgan said, of meeting informally with police officers at the reception and supporting them as they bravely modeled for the first time.

“It gives the officers an opportunity to have people cheer for them in the community too.”

The event drew 100 people to enjoy a reception, silent auction, as well as watch art in progress as members of DRAW, made up of George Brown School of Design students, drew together an art wall over the course of the night.

CBC Toronto co-anchors Dwight Drummond and Anne Marie Mediwake hosted the gala.

For Sgt. Jessica McInnis, the night was an opportunity for officers and community members to appreciate each other on an equal level.

“It put a great face on police officers that we were able to go out there and have fun. It really breaks down those boundaries between the community and police,” she said, of the police men and women who had a lot of fun leaving their drab uniforms at the door.

“The dresses were gorgeous, really Oscar-worthy,” McInnis said, of the fashions she sported on the runway that spanned casual gear to a wedding dress.

There is so much talent in this community that I didn’t even know about.”