Regent Park security company hires at-risk youth

Winnie Czulinski –

You might think that coming from an environment of illegal drugs, gangs and guns won’t help anyone seeking employ­ment. But in a sense, security company InfiniGuard welcomes that, with an initiative formed partly to curb gun violence.

Started in 2019 by Murwan Khogali and his brother Wagdi, InfiniGuard apparently is the only security social enterprise in Ontario. It provides free se­curity training, working oppor­tunities and livable wages to candidates – including at-risk youth, women and newcomers.

“Growing up and living in Re­gent Park, I witnessed first-hand the challenges faced by people in marginalized communities, with the lack of viable em­ployment opportunities and the prevalence of drug-related and gang-related activities,” says executive director Khogali. “I knew that with the right training and support, many individuals from marginalized backgrounds could succeed in the security in­dustry.”

Khogali, who says he has done security work for Barack Obama and Halle Berry, says guidance provided by the Unit­ed Way’s Toronto Enterprise Fund was instrumental in struc­turing InfiniGuard as a social enterprise. The brothers used grants, loans and personal sav­ings towards their objective.

The new small Black-owned business soon found that re­cruiting and training people from marginalized communi­ties, many of whom lacked pro­fessional experience, required significant effort and one-on-one training.

Gaining community trust and support also was crucial, with much time spent in community meetings. Showing that it in­tended to make a real impact in­volved InfiniGuard developing marketing strategies, building a brand, and convincing potential clients of the social value.

The proof is in the diverse work InfiniGuard does today, including building security for arts, culture and residential buildings, concierge services for condominiums, key-holding services for spaces managed by Toronto Community Housing Corporation, VIP protection, traffic control, retail/loss pre­vention, and security for events across Toronto.

In 2024, InfiniGuard has part­nered with the Daniels Corpo­ration to offer mobile services for commercial spaces and con­cierge services in Regent Park. “For a small business, securing any contract is challenging, but gaining the trust of a developer committed to local procurement was particularly gratifying, and marked a significant milestone,” says Khogali.

InfiniGuard has collaborated with social enterprise Building Up, provides building security services to Artshub at the Dan­iels Spectrum community hub, and works with Yonge Street Mission servicing its Double Take second-hand goods store.

InfiniGuard services also were used for an event hosted by the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre to acknowledge and honour residential school survivors and the generations of indigenous people affected. The security company also attended a vigil at City Hall to remember the victims of a Buffalo super­market mass shooting.

The training – which can be challenging – is hands-on and practical, covering things like conflict resolution, emergency response and customer service. There’s also ongoing support, and a mentorship program with security veterans.

InfiniGuard has successful­ly trained and graduated over 50 individuals. Two candidates have gone on to become Toron­to police officers, says Murwan Khogali.

Another youth, Radwan, 19, says, “A few years ago, I was having a hard time finding work as a young Black Muslim man without much experience. Mur­wan Khogali reached out and introduced me to the Healing as One initiative through In­finiGuard. This opportunity was a game-changer for me. Murwan has given at-risk youth and people like me, who didn’t have much experience, a chance to prove ourselves.”

InfiniGuard – which uses the services of other social enter­prises like the Regent Park Sew­ing Studio – has made a signif­icant impact in the community.

“Since our inception, we have facilitated over $1.5 million in wages directed towards at-risk youth,” says Murwan Khogali. “In addition, we have provided various training opportunities and free uniforms valued at over $50,000 at no cost to the partic­ipants, helping them establish themselves and find a dignified way to make a living.”

Murwan Khogali says In­finiGuard is committed to growing and expanding opera­tions to meet the needs of other low-income communities.

“Murwan saw our potential and gave us a chance,” says Rad­wan. “He’s a mentor to a lot of the youth in Regent Park includ­ing myself, offering support, ad­vice, and encouragement.

“He’s shown us that we can achieve more than we ever thought possible. His dedication to helping at-risk youth, new­comers, and those with little experience, has created a ripple effect, uplifting the entire com­munity.”

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