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Pinball Clemons swings into action for marginalized students at Tottenham golf tournament


Toronto Argonauts Legend Michael' Pinball' Clemons and his wife Diane hosted their first Pinball Classic Invitational Golf Tournament in Tottenham.

The event is part of the couple's continuing effort to raise money for more than 3,000 marginalized and minority students across Canada who receive career mentorship from the funding. While another 100 receive full payment for their books and tuition.

Now a nurse, Rayshell Powell says she's a living testament to their work.

"Giving back and helping other young people like myself who have dreams and hopes and would like to go somewhere but don't have the right support, the right tools and the right equipment," explained Powell, the recipient of a bursary from the foundation which allowed her to attend Toronto Metropolitan University.

The tournament hosted celebrities like former Toronto Maple Leaf Carlo Colaiacovo, Toronto Raptors analysts Jack Armstrong and Paul Jones, and former CFL great Damon Allen.

Powell says the support and efforts of the Pinball Clemons Foundation have changed her life. "If it wasn't for them, I don't know where I'd be right now."

Pinball recalls the idea coming to them after hosting a party at a youth shelter on Christmas Eve before waking up the next day and realizing that despite a good night, the kids were still in the same situation.

"We wanted to really be able to make a lasting impact, and that's why our final destination for our young people is gainful employment and careers that they desire," explained Pinball.

Growing up as one of eight kids in her family, Diane knows the struggle and the value of help, even if it's just a listening ear.

"If it weren't for other people outside of our home that dropped off a bag of groceries, passed my mom $20, came by to make sure we were okay, if it weren't for people that helped us, I wouldn't be here today," said Diane, co-founder of the Pinball Clemons Foundation.

Powell says the Clemons Foundation's holistic approach gives hope to young people.

"Pinball is a role model to me. He's like a second dad as well. He loves people. Very inspiring. Very supportive," added Powell.

"If you want to show me a truly great person, don't tell me about records or awards, money or power. If you want to show me a truly great person, show me what that person has done for someone else. Community thrives by our participation. It doesn't happen any other way," said Pinball.

While Diane and Pinball hope to make this tournament an annual tradition, the Clemons Foundation has a long-term goal of helping young people excel at math and reading at an earlier age. Skills they believe are pillars of reaching independence. Top Stories

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