The Team

Matthew Vocino – Co-Executive Producer

As one of the Executive Producers, I am responsible for overseeing the entire project and ensuring that all elements of the movement are progressing and are on schedule. Over the years at Ryerson, I have gained valuable experience in the area of marketing and communication. Outside of the classroom, I have volunteered and been a board member on a number of charities, including Muscular Dystrophy Canada and Canadian Aid For Education.

As an individual who has Muscular Dystrophy and who uses a power Wheelchair for mobility, I have firsthand experience of the power sport can have on youth. From my own personal experience, sport gave me the confidence to be myself, regardless of my differences, and allowed me to create a number of great friendships over the years. More importantly, sport allowed me to forget about and move past many challenges associated with being a disabled individual. It also taught me to never give up or say I couldn’t do something because of my physical limitations. Ultimately, I am extremely proud to be producing RISE Sports Toronto, as we will showcase how sport can positively impact one’s life, just as it did for me.

Sean Addis – Co-Executive Producer

As one of the Executive Producers, I am responsible for overseeing the entire project and ensuring that all elements of the movement are progressing and are on schedule.

My name is Sean Addis and I am one of the co-executive producers of RISE Sports Toronto. After being an educator for 15 years, including five years as a guidance counsellor, I decided to pursue a second career in sport media. Over the years at Ryerson, I have gained valuable experience in the area of marketing, feature production, live production and storytelling. Outside of the classroom, I have been a content creator for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and a site that covers the Toronto Blue Jays.  I have also worked in conjunction with both Tennis Canada and Canoe Kayak Canada, as well as the most recent Olympics in PyeongChang. My roles have ranged from executive producer to director, field producer to media lead and from videographer to writer. I have also been a one of the leads for the You Can Play Project Ryerson.

Over the years working with youth, I have seen the positive impact sport has had on the challenges they have faced.  As an individual who has suffered from mental health issues and dealt with issues of sexuality as a youth , I have firsthand experience of the power sport on an individual. From my own personal experience, sport gave me the confidence to be myself, regardless of my differences. It allowed me to overcome issues of anxiety and lack of confidence by allowing me to challenge those fears. More importantly, later in life sport allowed me to feel part of a team, when I felt alone coming to accept my sexuality. Ultimately, I am extremely passionate about the RISE Sports Toronto movement and the goal to positively impact youth in the greater Toronto area.

Connor Dobos – Creative Director

As the Creative Director, I am responsible for conceiving and implementing creative concepts and ensuring that all of our content looks consistent.

My name is Connor Dobos and I’m the Creative Director for RISE Sports Toronto and Elevate Youth Productions. During my time at Ryerson I’ve been been given the opportunity to express my creativity through video production, and RTA is the perfect place for creative minds to spread their wings. Videos are the most engaging and creative way to tell captivating stories in my opinion, and I’m excited to build on my skills this year with RISE Sports Toronto.

Although it sounds cliche, sport has shaped me into the person that I am today. From the time I was put on skates before I was two years old, the competition, excitement, and team-building opportunities that sport had to offer drew me in right away. Sport transcends religion, race, gender, and social status, and it has a unique way of bringing people together regardless of their background and upbringing. I’m very excited to be a part of RISE Sports Toronto, and I can’t wait to see the impact that it has on at-risk youth in the Toronto community.

Aaron Hamilton – Director of Photography

As the DoP, I am responsible for the videography and all content creation for RISE Sports Toronto.

Hey! My name is Aaron Hamilton and I am the Director of Photography for RISE Sports Toronto. Over the past few years at Ryerson University, I have developed a passion for storytelling through video production while taking on valuable opportunities to improve my work every day. Since I was young, sports have always been an avenue I wished to pursue due the positive effects it had on me as a child. I believe sport has the power to teach valuable skills such as teamwork and leadership abilities, which is important to develop when you’re just a kid. Not only can it develop skills, but sport has the ability to unite a society despite whatever differences there may be.

I was eager to join this project knowing that I would be part of a team that can help bring youth together through the power of sport. Having worked as a camp counsellor for several years, it was imperative to me that kids got involved in sports and activities that revolved around working as a team. Through that experience, I saw friendships emerge and social skills develop, no matter the age. Knowing the effect physical activity has on children, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to tell people’s stories as to how sport has significantly impacted their lives.

Gift Frame – Production Manager

As the Production Manager, I am in change of keeping all elements of RISE Sports Toronto organized and will work closely with the Executive Producers in the execution of the live event.

Hi I’m Gift Frame, yes that really is my name. I am so ecstatic to be part of the RISE Sports Toronto. We happen to have a fairly large team of amazing people at RISE Sports Toronto and I have been appointed to be the Production Manager. As Production Manager I will be in charge of keeping things organized between the various subgroups of our team, as there are many moving elements with such a big initiative. I will also be working closely with the Executive Producers in the execution of the live event which we will be hosting at the end of November. In the past I have worked in the wedding and event planning industry in British Columbia. I’ve also successfully organized and ran several fundraisers for various causes. With many years of experience in management positions, I have developed strong skills in problem solving, strategic planning, organization, and delegation. So I hope I am able to apply my practices and assets into my new role with RISE Toronto.

When I was approached to join RISE Toronto I could hardly wait for Sean to finish speaking so that I could say YES and accept his invitation. I’m an avid sports fan and I play sports and watch sports, but sports has become much more than a past time for me. I’ve realized and seen first hand how sports can impact, empower, unify, and transcend into so much more than a simple game being played. With RISE we want to encourage and spread this message to the youth of Toronto. In the end, our goal is to leave a positive impact, and I’m sure we will do just that.  

Hannah Park – Public Relations Manager

As the Public Relations Manager, I am responsible for creating media exposure for our event and will act as the point of contact for all guests.

My name is Hannah Park & I am the Public Relations Manager of RISE Sports Toronto. As a fourth year Sport Media student, I am also pursuing a minor in Public Relations. My strengths in writing, oral presentations and communication are some of the skills that make me an effective communicator. Outside of Ryerson, I have extensive experience in the communications field providing customer service and fan engagement at Scotiabank Arena, Rogers Centre and Coca Cola Coliseum.

All my life I have been an athlete and an individual who lives a healthy active lifestyle. Personal health and wellness is of great importance to me. Along with balancing academics and work, I also actively pursue my passion for long distance running. Growing up in a sports household, sports and athletics have been a huge influence in shaping who I am today. I believe sports have the power to connect, engage and inspire people of all walks of life & RISE Sports Toronto does just that.

Jaxson Jacobs – Marketing Director

As the Marketing Director, I will be managing our social media presence in order to build our brand and reputation.

Hi I am Jaxson Jacobs, the marketing manager and event host of RISE Sports Toronto. I am honoured to have the chance to work alongside a smart, creative and energetic team to help bring positive change to underprivileged youth in the Toronto area for today, and for generations to come.

Sport has the unique ability to bring together people from all walks of life, no matter what your background may be. Sport can be used as a tool to learn, communicate, empower and inspire our youth. By teaming up with an organization like Skylark I believe that we have the potential to educate more youth on the importance of sport and the lessons that it can teach you. From a marketing standpoint I look forward to sharing compelling and inspiring stories of how sport has had the ability to change the lives of others, and how it continues to do so each and everyday. Everyone should be given the same opportunity to participate in sport no matter the capacity, and with RISE Sports Toronto I hope we can continue to push the importance of sport to help make positive change anyway we can.   

Kevin Shier – Finance and Corporate Relations Officer

As the Finance & Corporate Relations officer, I will be in charge of all finances and reaching out to business for monetary and in-kind support.

My name is Kevin Shier and I am honoured to be the Finance and Corporate Sponsorship Officer for RISE Sports Toronto. I am excited to be working with RISE and making a difference in the lives of some many youth in future generations. Mental illness is incredibly important in today’s world, and it is impacting our youth at an astounding rate. To me, mental health hits home to an even closer degree. Two members of my immediate family have suffered from mental illness in the past, and one is currently battling through it today. Through my own experiences in sport I have seen first hand how structured, value driven physical activity can enact so much positive change in people’s lives. I have done volunteer work in the past with multiple youth organizations aimed at changing lives through the power of sport, and I know we at RISE can become a small part of the change as well. I am thrilled we are supporting a fantastic grassroots organization such as Skylark, and am excited for our corporate sponsors and supporters to realize the impact their donation can make. Sport has the power to galvanize, to teach, and to inspire, and ultimately can change lives. Youth of all backgrounds should have access to sport and its powers, and am incredibly motivated to be a small part of that journey this November.

Ben Bernier – Legal and Community Outreach Officer

As the Legal & Community Outreach Officer, I will be responsible for all things legal and will assist in reaching out to community stakeholders and potential sponsors

My name is Ben Bernier and I am proud to be the Legal and Community Outreach Officer for RISE Sports Toronto. This project is exciting for me because it combines so many of my passions into one project. Sports have affected my life in an incredibly positive way teaching me invaluable life skills. While it is a cliche, I believe that sports has a unique capacity to teach skills and habits that make a lasting impact on young people as they mature. Being able to use sports to affect young people in a positive way is a passion of mine, I have been able to do this through volunteer work with multiple youth sports groups. In my role as the Legal and Community Outreach Officer I am able to deepen my understanding of areas that I have found a much deeper interest in during my time at Ryerson University. RISE Sports Toronto is important to me because I believe that all young people should have the same access to sports programs no matter their individual circumstances.

Emma Duggan – Event Planner

As the Event Planner, I will be responsible for organizing and facilitating all aspects of our event taking place on November 28th at Daniels Spectrum.

After having been through three years of the RTA Sport Media program I am excited to be a member of this inspiring practicum project where we showcase how sport empowers youth. I was approached by both executives of the group to be the event planner for the team and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. While I do not have a lot of practical experience in event planning I have taken courses to help my skills develop. In my third year I took a course called event management; where I had to plan a theoretical gala for a charity with a team. This semester I am taking two more event management courses called Meeting and Conventions and Business of Incentive Travel. These two courses will help my skills in event planning grow throughout the semester. For all three courses I have had the same professor whom I have reached out to as a mentor for this project. She responded to my email and is happy to be a mentor to myself and team as we strive to put on this fundraiser. In addition to classroom experience I have also volunteered at a number of sporting events such as then CWHL All – Star game in 2017 and the Pan Am Games in 2015. These experiences have given me a chance to see first hand how special events are run.

I am excited to be a member of this project because sport has played a major role in my life and I have experienced first hand how powerful it can be. Showcasing how it helps youth is important to ensure that it is a continuous part of education and is implemented into schools across the world. In addition sport helps to develop essential life skills such as responsibility, teamwork, respect, time management and focus. It can be an outlet for youth to escape from the worries and struggles of everyday life and it is important to celebrate and showcase the effect sport has on society.