Play Forever - Digital Marketing

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Play Forever is a non-profit that provides youth programming in the Greater Toronto Area. The programs include structured and accessible recreation, educational, and mental health services for young people ages 8-29. 

Through the Level UP remote internship program, Play Forever Founder and Executive Director, Mohammed Al-Salem, partnered with learner, Jamal Omar, to create digital marketing content for youth outreach. 

A student at York University studying Business Commerce and Marketing, Jamal expanded his knowledge of digital content creation and its impact in a real-world context through his Level UP project with Play Forever. He researched the scope of different Play Forever programs so that he could create content that promoted the non-profit while reaching more young people.  

  

In addition to content creation, Jamal implemented creative strategies to portray Play Forever’s programs with stories about the organization. For one initiative, he captured stories for a five-week photography program Play Forever offers in the Peel region of Toronto. This project allowed him to speak to different youth and understand their stories and how they got into photography.  

  

Most importantly, this project exposed Jamal to the ins and outs of a non-profit, which was a departure from his business studies. 

“Being enrolled in a school for business, it was definitely a cool pivot seeing how a non-profit works. It made me understand that there is a lot of work that goes into the non-profit sector, and it’s very rewarding,” Jamal shared. 

Play Forever partners with exciting organizations to help support its programs. One such partnership allowed Jamal to create content for the Toronto Raptors. 

“Jamal now gets to talk about creating content for the Raptors and add that to his resumé. That helps a student like Jamal who is about to graduate,” Mohammed shared. 

Building relationships and mentoring is one of the many things Mohammed loves about the Level UP program. He wants to see Jamal succeed no matter what, and he’d like to keep him on staff. 

“I hope I can either hire Jamal on a part-time or full-time basis once he graduates. That’s how amazing he was. He was a jack of all trades to Play Forever, which proved to be invaluable. Jamal brought a lot of expertise from work he did with another organization. He created our current digital marketing model. In a very short amount of time, we realized he really helped us revamp our old digital marketing strategy. Without him, we definitely wouldn’t have the same success.”  

This Level UP experience opened Jamal’s mind to what career opportunities are out there for him. 

“I love sports. I love people. I love youth. So I think this definitely gives me a better idea of what I want to do after graduation,” Jamal said. 

Level UP also gave Jamal a second chance on missed opportunities. 

“So many of us missed co-op opportunities during the pandemic. So I definitely recommend this program to anyone looking to get their feet wet in their industry,” he shared.  

Play Forever has used Level UP for several different projects and would love to continue to do so. 

“Level UP is a win-win for everyone involved. The students get rewarded. They are amazing. They are so young and have different perspectives. They have different ideas that maybe your organization doesn’t have. It’s always good to get new eyes and ears collaborating with your business or organization,” said Mohammed.  

Thank you to Jamal Omar for sharing his experience on Riipen. To learn more about how you can get started with the Level UP remote internship program as a student or employer, visit the website here. ‍Stay up to date with the latest in higher education, experiential learning, and the future of work, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter, The Riipen Report.

Riipen Level UP program is funded by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program. The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

Level UP is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program
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