The Pascal Siakam Foundation is part of his growth with the Raptors

TORONTO – Chardin Roe Brown has always been a fan of Pascal Siakam. The 23-year-old played high school basketball and can talk with authority about the Toronto Raptors star’s devastating spinning action.

But now, after a pivotal summer made possible in part by Siakam’s generosity and deepening Toronto roots, a sophomore at Lincoln’s Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University sees “Spicy P” in a new light.

She said at a reception in appreciation of Siakam’s contribution to the school that funded a summer internship for her and 11 of her classmates. “But I didn’t know anything about his foundation, so let me know that he’s really interested in helping young people. I’m really happy about that.”

For Siakam, his foundation’s use of PS43 to support TMU’s neonatal law program – now beginning its third year – and its stated mission to “reimagine legal education in pursuit of a more just society” is part of his own growth. The raw rookie, who came off the radar to earn a spot on the Raptors tournament as a late first-round pick in 2016, is now 28 years old as he approaches training camp and is out of his second season in the NBA. Siakam will be counted on to help bring the Raptors back into Eastern Conference competition in the post-championship era.

As his responsibilities as one of the top scorers, playmakers, and defenders for the Raptors have grown, Siakam has steadily developed his foundation, whether it’s initiatives to provide much-needed computers to middle schools in some underserved Toronto neighborhood or – in this case – empowering future leaders to Get out into the communities they live in and make the changes themselves.

Siakam’s vision for the city in which he lives and works has expanded significantly beyond the boundaries of the Scotiabank Arena or OVO Sports Centre.

“I mean, this is my seventh year now,” said Siakam, who visited with some internship recipients at a special low-key reception on campus at TMU on Wednesday night. A growing part of our society.

“I think it’s supported by that [the community] He gave me the right to give the favour. But it’s not just for that, it’s just who I am as a person and that’s what my dad was. It is logical.”

The opportunities created by Siakam’s donation helped recipients understand their chosen path as well.

Roe Brown chose Law because she wanted to become a social justice attorney and provide support to communities of people who need to advocate but often struggle to overcome various obstacles – some due to the legal system – to reach their potential.

The challenge many law students face is that summer internships – which are crucial for young lawyers to gain experience, build connections and resumes – outside the corporate environment is often unpaid, making some difficult choices for students with increased tuition bills on one hand and an investment imperative. In their career on the other hand.

Siakam’s contribution aims to fill this gap.

“It allowed me to do my internship without adding any financial anxiety,” said Roe Brown, who commutes to her classroom downtown from Ajax, a bedroom community east of Toronto. [otherwise] An unpaid job, so I would have had to get a job otherwise because law school is so expensive, and I don’t want to graduate with this crazy debt.”

She worked for Justice for Children and Youth in downtown Toronto, an organization that aims to help homeless youth under the age of 18 and homeless youth under the age of 25 with the range of potential legal challenges they face. Her duties included outreach work at reception centers in the heart of downtown, assisting more senior lawyers in court and legal research.

She ended the summer more satisfied with the path she chose and with a greater appreciation for what was involved.

“Working in the community is a very different ball game than being in the classroom,” said Roe Brown. “Everything is different when you live a day in life; you see what it’s all about to be a lawyer, you know? It’s amazing to apply the theoretical things you learn in school to an actual work environment.”

“It was amazing being in the trenches and being able to actually help people and make them smile. … It was scary at first, but like anything else, once you get more familiar with it, it gets easier.”

Pascal Siakam (back) meets 12 internships at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University. (Photo source: Toronto Metropolitan University)

It’s the kind of effect Siakam is happy to make. He was joined by teammates Fred Vanfleet and Scotty Barnes, who also provided financial support to post-secondary students in the Toronto area.

It’s something that has become more important for Siakam as his career and his charitable foundation develop with it. It’s about honoring his late father’s focus on education and supporting the community he called home after nearly a decade now.

“I think the older we get and the more things we do, the more we understand how to help,” Siakam said. “Obviously we have a mission, but we’re figuring out how to put everything together. At the end of the day, you know, these people are going to go out and help work with organizations that help young children and create a better society and a better world for everyone.”

“So, I think everything is connected, it all makes sense.”

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