Table of Contents
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Inclusion & Belonging
Systems Innovation and
This year’s annual report is more than just a review of our accomplishments over the past year, although there are many to highlight. This report is about change, planning for change, and the impact delivered by the many projects happening behind the scenes not readily seen.
It includes the important front-line work happening directly in our community, as this work intensifies our connections with priority populations. Some of this impact is felt immediately, one client at a time. And we hope and plan for some of it to have a lasting effect for long overdue systemic change to correct significant health inequities experienced in Scarborough.
It starts with a new Mission, Vision, and Values for SCHC, plus some commitments we stand by.
I would like to start by honouring the land that we are on, which has been the site of human activity since time immemorial. It is the traditional territories of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River First Nations. Ontario is covered by 46 treaties and other agreements and is home to many Indigenous Nations from across Turtle Island, including the Inuit and the Metis. These treaties and other agreements, including the One Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, are agreements to peaceably share and care for the land and its resources. Other Indigenous Nations, Europeans, and newcomers were invited into this covenant in the spirit of respect, peace, and friendship. We are all treaty people. Many of us, have come here as settlers, immigrants, and newcomers in this generation or generations past. We are mindful of broken covenants and we strive to make this right, with the land and with each other. I would also like to acknowledge those of us who came here involuntarily, particularly as a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. And so, I honour and pay tribute to the ancestors of African Origin and Descent.
Message from CEO & President of Board
Jeanie Argiropoulos & Jane Rumleskie
This past year was one filled with optimism and hope. While SCHC remained diligent in responding to COVID, as pandemic restrictions lifted, we shifted our attention to the future as we embarked on our comprehensive strategic planning process. This resulted in a brand new five-year strategic plan with new mission, vision, and value statements and three new strategic directions. This new strategic plan will guide our work in the coming years. Led and approved by our Board of Directors, this plan was developed with broad consultation with our staff, the community, and our partners. The priorities build on our experience and success in quality client services, providing a learning environment, addressing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and partnering for a stronger, more equitable Scarborough.
We are excited to reveal this plan.
MISSION, VISION, VALUES
Providing accessible, equitable and transformational health and social service choices, for the well-being of diverse communities.
Ignite the strength of community.
Outstanding Service Delivery
Deliver system leadership by being transformative by:
• Growing and strengthening our integrated suite of services
• Igniting a collaborative community health strategy
• Unleashing our Community-Based Research (CBR) potential
Ensure our people and culture are well-supported by:
• Cultivating the wellbeing of our people
• Fostering a strong values-driven organizational culture
Action on Equity
Advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging with an intersectional lens by:
• Advancing our journey towards truth and reconciliation
• Co-creating with the leadership of Black communities to address anti-Black racism
• Ensuring a safer space for 2SLGBTQ+ people
These Strategic Directions reinforce SCHC’s commitment to providing quality health and social service supports and services to people throughout Scarborough. We look forward to working with the community to realize these objectives.
As always, we must acknowledge and thank the commitment and support of our staff, volunteers, board directors, donors, partners, and funders, including Ontario Health East, United Way Toronto, York Region and Peel, the City of Toronto, and The Ontario Trillium Foundation. We extend our sincerest appreciation to them as it is their generous contributions and support that allow us to make health care accessible to Scarborough’s most vulnerable.
The past two years have been a time of growth and learning for our Board of Directors. As the time has come to pass the role of President and Chair on to a new Director, I want to acknowledge the amazing journey we have gone through together as a Board. I look forward to the implementation of the innovative Strategic Plan as well as continued commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.
Written By Jane Rumleskie (Board President) and Jeanie Argiropoulos (Chief Executive Officer)
The impact of the pandemic from 2020 to 2022 illuminated the number of individuals suffering health inequities in Scarborough. SCHC led several projects, funding ending March 31st, 2023, with community and outreach ambassadors to connect populations experiencing barriers to access, to vaccinations and to
also connect to our community health organization and other social service organizations for wrap-around supports where needs were identified. The data confirmed what most of us already knew. Many individuals in racialized communities in Scarborough were not accessing all of the programs and services available to them for their overall holistic health and well-being.
For SCHC, this especially included the Black, Indigenous and newcomers.
When SCHC formally began this work, we wanted to make sure we were creating systemic and lasting change. In that light we engaged All Things Equitable Consulting to assess SCHC’s workplace culture, provide staff education, consult with the Black community, and provide guidance to the senior leadership team. In response to that work, we embarked on the journey to bring about the cultural and ethical changes required to ensure a safe and brave space for our staff, clients, and community.
To champion this journey, SCHC created a new senior role of Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, reporting directly to the CEO. Shola Alabi, who served as SCHC Community Engagement Manager for almost 10 years was promoted into this role. Shola not only knows SCHC and the community but is committed internationally to matters related to DEI&B. Shola is the recipient of many awards including the 2022 Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award for her many initiatives working to advocate and to improve life for those in the marginalized communities.
Shola is always willing and able to share information in engaging and compelling ways.
Her first priority was to create awareness of racism, systemic racism, anti-racism and allyship in order for staff to understand the systems of oppression that operate in the world around them and within SCHC. Eighty percent (80%) of all SCHC full-time staff and 100% of Board Directors received comprehensive Anti-Black Racism education.
This work is the responsibility of all of us, so we established SCHC’s DEIB committee, comprised of diverse staff members to ensure accountability on diversity and inclusion issues at SCHC. In the past year, this committee has developed a Terms of Reference, and contributed toward making changes to the Incident Report policy to include occurrences of racism as well as the development of SCHC’s ABR policy, signaling the organization zero tolerance for any incident of racism. They have participated in public meetings as a channel to solicit and understand community voices, and they are engaging with community partners and government agencies to address systemic racism.
Through the efforts of the DEIB Committee, SCHC hosted the Scarborough West Community Brave Space Conversation, one of the six town halls across Toronto to discuss the outcome of the 2020 TPS Race and Identity-Based Data Collection Strategy. The event provided our community the opportunity to contribute to the conversation and offer their recommendations which include better training & education for officers; consideration of lived experiences and knowledge of local issues during the selection process for new recruits; Mental Health support for officers and put in place an accountability mechanism to ensure Body Worn Cameras are used appropriately.
As noted, SCHC began this journey to make systemic, lasting change. Therefore, through our comprehensive strategic planning process, we identified a strategic direction, ACTION ON EQUITY: Advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging with an intersectional lens. Our priority will be working to alleviate the impact of discrimination against the Black, the Indigenous, and the 2LGBTQ plus communities. By focusing attention on these three communities, and working collaboratively with community partners and government agencies, everyone benefits.
Our aim is to move towards creating an environment where no one is left behind.
To learn more or to contribute to our DEIB journey please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Jeanie Argiropoulos, Chief Executive Officer
Building a Vital and Inclusive Community with The Mid Scarborough Hub
As we reflect on the past year, we are delighted to share the remarkable progress SCHC and the Hub partners have made in animating the Mid Scarborough Hub once again after the challenges posed by the pandemic. We have revitalized this space into a thriving hub that advocates for positive change and supports our local neighbourhood and community. At the heart of our mission, we strive to create inclusive spaces where everyone feels welcome, valued and can access a comprehensive range of culturally aware health and social services. To achieve this, we have taken significant strides in engaging community stakeholders and re-establishing key partnerships. By fostering a sense of belonging, aiming to address systemic issues prevalent in our neighbourhood improvement areas, and making a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve.
This year, we organized an array of exciting initiatives that brought excitement and enrichment to our community. We kicked off the summer with an immersive in-person camp for children and youth, providing them with a safe and encouraging environment to grow and learn.
In the Fall we held a free community Halloween Haunted House which brought a spooktacular experience to all ages fostering a sense of togetherness and celebrating the spirit of the season. We also hosted an open house to invite community residents and workers to learn more about the services the Hub offers. During the holiday season, we hosted a memorable free Community Holiday Dinner, where families gathered to enjoy a delicious meal and create lasting memories. With a turnout of 196 people, this event exemplified the power of community unity and cohesion. To further support our community’s young population with their education, we re-established a free homework club for children in grades 1-8, ensuring they receive the guidance and resources needed to thrive academically. Recognizing the importance of recreation and physical activity, our youth leaders organized and facilitated a free March Break Camp, where children and youth had the opportunity for engaging and exciting experiences for children during their break from school. Youth leaders infused the camp with creativity, energy, and a deep understanding of what children enjoy. They carefully curated a diverse range of activities that catered to various interests and abilities. The youth leaders not only organized the activities but also actively participated, ensuring that the children felt supported, encouraged, and inspired throughout the camp. They fostered an inclusive and welcoming environment where every child felt valued and included, regardless of their background or abilities. This camp not only provided children with an exciting break from their regular routines but also showcased the incredible potential and leadership abilities of young individuals in our community. It was a testament to the power of youth engagement and the positive impact they can have on the lives of others.
Halloween Haunted House
In light of SCHC’s priority on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, we are particularly proud in supporting the launch of a new resident-led, Afro-Centric Neighbourhood Group which provides a platform for Afro-Caribbean cultural celebration, knowledge, and empowerment. Additionally, our Tamil Heritage Movie Night and three Black History Month event celebrations, Afghan Seniors Group, and Vasantham Tamil Seniors Group bring cultural awareness and appreciation to the Hub’s forefront. Furthermore, our Afro-Centric Dance Classes and Saturday Yoga empowers individuals to express themselves through movement and provides a platform for cultural expression. Supporting such initiatives showcases our commitment to embracing and honouring the diverse heritage within our community.
None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the unwavering support of our donors and volunteers. Your contributions have enabled us to make
a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and families in our neighbourhood improvement areas. We are immensely grateful for your continued support, and we invite new donors and volunteers to join us on this transformative journey.
As we look to the future, we remain committed to nurturing a vibrant and inclusive community at The Mid Scarborough Hub. By addressing systemic issues, fostering belonging, and providing enriching opportunities, we aspire to create a neighbourhood where everyone can thrive, flourish and be proud of celebrating our diverse cultures and identities. Together, let us continue to build better, more equitable and healthy communities for all.
Written by Charanjit (Cha-ren-jeet) Singh, BA, MSW
Community Wellness & Engagement Manager
Afro-Centric Neighbourhood Group (ANG)
ANG members modeling their outfits.
The Community Ambassador
Vaccine Engagement Project
The Community Ambassador Vaccine Engagement project lasted for two years (April 2021-April 2023) and increased vaccination rates by over 20% in South Scarborough (for people fully vaccinated: two doses). It has allowed SCHC to build strong and lasting relationships with well-established and grassroots organizations in Scarborough, plus community and private institutions. The project provided many newcomers and immigrants to Scarborough with job opportunities and the chance to have their first job in Canada.
Through this project and because of the diversity of our team, we were able to better connect with equity-deserving and marginalized communities, especially the Latino, Middle Eastern and Black African communities.
Some of the main achievements of this group in the year 2022/23:
Organized 278 community vaccine
clinics and info booths.
Administered 10,031 vaccines through our mobile community clinics and thousands were referred to home vaccination and nearby clinics and pharmacies.
Hosted 29 webinars and hosted
over 614 attendees.
Connected better with seniors through
planning social and health events
at their buildings “COVID Talks,
Treats and Snacks”.
Organized a series of health-related webinars in Spanish, attended by
over 200 people.
Latino team participated in an interview
on Linea Uno, a Spanish-language radio show in Radio Ondas FM, and 1610 AM, Voces Latinas.
Ambassadors worked over 40,000 hours doing engagement and outreach throughout the period of the project.
Reached approx. 142,000 residents in
South Scarborough throughout the
period of the project.
Children and adults
attending different pop-up clinics in Scarborough
at the HUB
Celebrating the end of the project in the kitchen preparing a delicious meal
Youth Vaccine Engagement team hosted a Back to School Event in partnership with TPH and Toronto Police Services: 400 residents came out to enjoy a BBQ lunch, receive a backpack, get vaccinated and enjoy the community.
HPCS Nurse Nancy with a group of Seniors at an Ask a Nurse event.
Celebrating the holidays with Pumpkin Carving and cookie decorating to get youth and families our and aware of resources and vaccines.
Participants at a Holiday Cookie decoration event hosted at the Hub by the Youth Vaccine Engagement Team.
Golden Ticket Winner: Over 80 youth who were vaccinated at an SCHC clinic were entered into a draw that sent five lucky families on an all expense paid trip to a local attraction: Ripley's Aquarium, The EX, The Movies, Wonderland, Blue Jay's Game.
Latin Wellness Fair: Over 60 participants learned about resources from more than 5 community partners, businesses, and organizations.
In the High Priority Community Strategy project team provided case management support to 233 clients during COVID Isolation.
As the focus shifted from COVID, the team also developed campaigns to better inform the community about health prevention programs and services available. The team did over 10 Cancer Screening presentations, attended information booths with staff from the Diabetes Education and Prevention team and launched “Ask a Nurse” (see article in Spring 2023 newsletter). A public media campaign was developed to help support these initiatives and direct our community to our central intake line if needing services.
Written by Hana Bourgi and Amy Stephenson
System Improvements and Innovations
Health Information Network Provider Designation (HINP):
One of the major complaints from clients and providers when coordinating care amongst different organizations or physician groups is how to share information, with client consent. SCHC’s HINP designation has helped to address this!
Different healthcare and community support organizations have different systems that hold important health information about their clients. These systems do not interact with each other. Many times, those clients access many different services and supports from ourselves and our partners. Not having access to those different systems is a long-standing barrier to optimizing care coordination, communication and timely person-centred care. In response to this, SCHC embarked upon becoming the host of common data, and in particular, personal health information for clients accessing multiple agencies. We did this by developing a platform leveraging cloud-based technology, whilst strictly adhering to the laws of privacy to keep safe and secure critical personal health information yet unifying partners to work collaboratively on one platform. One particular area was centralized palliative access where we could receive all referrals for Scarborough palliative care across the region for multiple care teams including the hospital, home and community care and of course SCHC’s palliative care services. The outcomes revealed previously hidden insights into where clients had been falling through the cracks and why, and expedited service delivery higher quality care. The co-designed development of this particular platform pushed us to achieve what is called a Health Information Network Provider status, whereby an agency holds data for two or more other agencies and SCHC is the first organization in the Scarborough-OHT to achieve this status, opening up the doors for so many different areas of care requiring integrated coordination across multiple partners in a much more seamless fashion.
SCHC’s Community Based Research (CBR) Strategy:
As part of our reflection on having achieved zero unmet criteria from our last Accreditation in 2022, a key feedback item was that our well-established ethics framework was truly integrated into our organization’s practices, which we continue to lean on to guide us from the front line to organizational ethics. As such, we turned our attention to conducting a visioning retreat with feedback from staff, clients and community partners on our evolving role in research. Through consultation, analysis and in response to our new strategic priorities, we committed to further adapting the Community Based Research methodology into how we uplift the voice of the community in an equitable and inclusive way that results in actionable supports. We recruited the support of the Centre for Community Based Research to guide us as a whole organization and ensure we are on the right path, not just in building our capacity but understanding more deeply, our role in bridging capacity in the community. Our journey will land us on research priorities and effective initiatives that ensure our improvement projects are community-centred, participatory and action-oriented as well as sustainable. Furthermore, we have an established hub of academia, private and public partners, entrepreneurs and other community leaders and agencies bringing innovative solutions to further propel new opportunities to long-standing and already well-researched issues with our community. We have the only community member seat on the SHN Research Ethics Board and are the community partner for the SHN Research Institute. We look forward to igniting the voice of our community at all tables.
Written by Callum Tyrrell, VP of Innovation, Improvement and Engagement
Food Security Needs on the Rise
SCHC, like many other food banks, hit a record high for visits to our programs, logging 50,000 visits this past fiscal year. We have seen a rise in service users but a drop in donation levels; as everyone feels the effects of inflation, rent increases and job loss or stagnate incomes. Our program continues to try and maintain providing service users with 3 to 4 days’ worth of food each week, however, our reserves have depleted, and we will soon need to adjust this to meet the growing need. In past years we supported a steady 300 households each week that number has now grown to 400 households, with family sizes ranging from 1 to 11.
During the past year, SCHC implemented various food security programs across our organization to help take some pressure off those who are food insecure; including initiatives like hot takeout meals, food box deliveries, emergency food hampers and a virtual platform for individuals to select items for pick up, along with our choice based physical food bank; but we know that these programs are not enough to tackle the root cause of food insecurity. We turn to our donors and community to share our message and to support our efforts to increase awareness of food insecurity and access to food.
We often have conversations with clients that start off with… “without the food bank I would not be able to…” this is then followed by statements like; “pay my rent”, “heat my home”, “put a meal on the table” or “feed my children” and various other statements that speak to the intensity of the issues and some go beyond the need for food supports.
We are so thankful and appreciative of the community members and corporations that continue to support our food security programs and would truly not be able to continue to meet the communities’ needs without each and every one of you.
If you wish to help the food bank by doing a food drive or donating food items, email email@example.com or phone (416)-847-4147.
Written by Shivana Sankar, Community Services Manager
Impact of Collaboration
A New Place to Call Home
The new ADC is located right beside The Hub, where you can clearly see our logo.
After a few years of dreaming, we are excited to announce the opening of our new Adult Day Centre (ADC) space in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto (AST) at 2568 Eglinton Avenue East—right next to our Hub location! The ADC serves adults 55 years of age and older who are frail, have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, are living with a disability, and/or are socially isolated. The program provides a range of therapeutic and recreational activities to clients, while caregivers can enjoy a few hours of respite.
In addition to our traditional ADC, we are operating our “Active Minds Club” with the AST at the same location. This is a unique day program, specifically for adults diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia, with the intent to extend the cognitive independence of these individuals. Moving to this new location allows both of these programs to expand and grow together. Additionally, we are pleased to mention that the space was specially designed to be dementia-friendly. Everything from the paint colours to the furniture was selected with the assistance of our clients, their families and our staff to ensure its suitability.
Both SCHC and AST are looking forward to further strengthening our existing relationship and we expect that the colocation of complementary services will benefit both clients and staff of the two organizations by improving access to wrap-around supports for those who need them. We cannot wait to welcome everyone inside to explore!
Written by Michelle West-Martin, VP of Community Services & Strategic Partnerships
SCHC Partnership with South Riverdale CHC and the expansion of Safe Opioid Services to Scarborough
We have heard numerous times in the press, on social media, and in our social circles about the impact of the pandemic on the communities around the province, and around the world for that matter, but the full impact will not be known for many years to come. For those who live in Scarborough, the pandemic only exacerbated issues that have been long-standing due to poverty, anti-black racism, community violence, and other impacts on the social determinants of health. At times it may feel daunting to address these significant issues. But to quote
a movie “hope floats”. Over and over again we saw the Scarborough community rise to the challenge in so many ways. From small grassroots groups feeding their communities to large organizations like our hospitals and other community partners. We really had a “can do” attitude. Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) was right there alongside our community members as we have been for the last 45 years and we’re not about to stop now that the crisis of the pandemic has ended. In fact, we are busier than we have ever been before! During the pandemic, and now during the recovery stage, SCHC has seen exponential demand for team-based primary care supports for those who are precariously housed, newcomers and refugees, and those who have complex needs. Our Interprofessional Primary Care Team (IPPCT) has been providing Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Social Workers, Mental Health Workers, and Chiropody to organizations that serve these equity-deserving populations in shelters, supportive housing, and organizations serving newcomer and refugee communities. These included:
Scarborough Village Shelter
705 Progress Ave – Men’s Shelter
Warden Woods Respite Shelter
And the demand keeps coming! Our Mobile Health Unit (MHU) has been busier than ever serving the community who would not usually access services in the traditional “four-walled” way provided much-needed toiletries and harm reduction supplies as well as linking residents to supports within and outside of SCHC.
For those living with substance use disorder, the pandemic had a significant impact, particularly on opioid use. During the first two years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021) there were a total of 5,328 deaths related to opioid use compared to 3066 deaths in 2018 and 2019 (Public Health Ontario). To that end, SCHC has partnered with South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) in the Safer Opioid Supply Program. This program is a new approach to addiction treatment that provides people who use opioids with prescriptions for regulated pharmaceutical options. In addition, we are collaborating with our IPPC team and SRCHC to connect people with primary care (family doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses) and social care (case management, health navigation, and counseling). Safer Opioid Supply aims to lessen the harms associated with opioid use but to also move program members from surviving to thriving by helping them find their voice and be their best selves.
Written by Lynn Muir-Wheeler, Director – Community Health Teams
Stories tell us so much more about the impact of our work and we’re proud to share just a few of these with you.
Our Community Health Centres continue to provide exemplary service to Scarborough residents.
“Gratitude, vitality, and joyfulness are very much embodied in Ms. Zi Jin Zhao! Her gratitude for SCHC is the core reason why she wanted to share her story and present SCHC as a role model to healthcare providers. A loyal ambassador and client of Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities SCHC since 2016, she treasures life while looking after her health and the health of her family and community.
Zi Jin keeps a journal to display the many examples of respect and care shown to her and her husband over the years. The numerous anecdotes she collected consistently showcase a humanism and compassion that is seen through attentiveness and efficient turnaround time for test results (often within 24hrs). She remembers thorough attention to record-keeping and support during her husband’s navigation of leukemia. They were both incredibly grateful to Kaycee (SCHC medical secretary) for phoning the pharmacy directly for an order of medication and then contacting Zi Jin and her husband directly when their medication was available for pick up. One cold November afternoon, Zi Jin and her husband were bundled up and were leaving SCHC when they heard their names being called. They turned to see Vivien (SCHC registered nurse) running towards them and calling their names. They had forgotten their immunization cards at the clinic and both Zi Jin and her husband were so moved that Vivien went the extra mile to run out into the cold in her indoor clothes so that the records could be returned to them immediately. While Ms. Zhao only communicates in Mandarin, SCHC always provides translation services for Zi Jin, and for that, she is always kept up to date with her health appointments and queries. She has great respect for the many SCHC professionals who have contributed to her health journey. For Ms. Zhao, SCHC’s healthcare providers go above and beyond the notion of “doing a job”.
IN MEMORY OF ROLAND WALKES
Over the Easter weekend of 2022, SCHC lost long-time volunteer, Roland Walkes. Roland became an official volunteer with SCHC back in the fall of 2014 and contributed over 100 volunteer hours each year. He taught the art class to Seniors in the Active Living Centre and everyone who knew Roland was aware that he went above and beyond. The group of artists that came to know Roland over the years praised him for not only his artistic talent but his generosity of spirit.
A few of the people in the art group wanted to offer these tributes to Roland. Please see below:
"Roland was so generous with his time as a volunteer. When Diane Elkin could no longer lead the class he stepped in. An excellent artist in his own right, he offered guidance with kindness and encouragement. We all benefited from his instruction."
"Even before he became our instructor, he would take our finished creations home and varnish them. He would even frame some of our paintings on the spot. At our annual art show, he was there to help set up the venue. We benefited so much from Roland’s attention and expertise. We definitely have a void with his absence."
"Roland was a wonderful person and I appreciate everything he did for us. He was there when you needed him with help and advice. He was a kind, generous person.
We will miss him dearly."
Roland’s impact on this program will live on for many years as will the memories of his immense talent and influence on many local artists. We offer Roland’s family our sincere sympathy and hope they can take comfort in the fact that so many remember him fondly. For more information on our art program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Lori Beesley, Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement & Student Placement
Listen to Dorothee Chopamba, a social worker at SCHC for over 12 years that has endured many challenges in her personal and professional life. In this video, we spoke to Dorothee who shared her honest thoughts and experiences when it comes to dealing with racism, her thoughts on the organization, and her successful stories.
Dorothee and colleague Dr. Ullanda Neil launched a special program for caregivers of individuals with disabilities developed in partnership with CAMH. Dr. Neil reflects on the need for this program.
“Brenda walked into the exam room and sat down heavily in her chair. She looked up at me, heaved a big sigh of defeat and said, “I’m tired”. She looked tired. I sat down trying to figure out how I could help. It occurred to me that this mother was not only physically tired, but emotionally exhausted too.
After looking into the eyes of so many exhausted caregivers, I felt driven to look for a way to help these parents. I wanted an evidence-based intervention that could help caregivers struggle less with difficult things in their life. That’s when I learned about Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) for clinicians through CAMH. This is a group intervention designed to help caregivers struggle less with difficult things in life and mindfully connect with the things that are most important. After attending the intensive facilitator training, we successfully ran our first 5 session series of virtual group therapy in March 2022. These workshops are facilitated by one parent with a child with an intellectual disability and the other facilitators are the social worker and myself."
Dorothee Chopamba and Dr.Ullanda Niel
The Mind and Spirit Youth Leadership (MSYL) achieved significant milestones in the past year through its various programming. They were able to re-kickstart our in-person homework club which served as an important community program for children and families as it assisted them with completing and understanding their homework with volunteer high school students free of cost. They also organized a highly successful Halloween event that attracted over 200 attendees, providing a fun and safe experience for families. During Black History Month, the program hosted engaging performances and awarded prizes, celebrating the rich heritage and achievements of the black community. Additionally, working with Sounds Like a Plan (SLAP) community event planning members, MSYL organized a walk on Red Dress Day that was televised on CBC Toronto. This walk commemorated Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & 2 Spirit (MMIWG2S), with over 60 community members participating, highlighting their commitment to community advocacy, and building awareness of social justice.
Written by Behishta,
Child/Youth Program Coordinator