As communities change and grow, Working Women Community Centre works closely with clients to ensure that we provide responsive, culturally-sensitive and effective programs and services. Our Community Development programs are key to healthy, engaged and successful communities.
We are committed to providing opportunities for newcomers and immigrants to become more involved in their neighbourhoods and communities, and build on their existing skills, assets and ideas to develop their leadership skills. We do this community development work through a range of self-run groups, leadership training, peer-led trainings, and volunteer development opportunities. These are the projects and initiatives that fall under our Community Engagement and Leadership Development Program:
We work actively with our clients to encourage and support them to become more civically engaged. Through volunteering and participating in community development activities, newcomers and immigrants improve language skills, develop leadership capacity, breakdown social isolation and volunteer in their communities. The program does this by developing and coordinating volunteer opportunities, developing peer led programming, catalysing new initiatives, providing and coordinating leadership training, strengthen WWCC participation in networks and collaboration, and developing innovative new partnerships. It also provides backed in supports to our other programs through volunteer coordination, leveraging resources, and integrated community development principles in to programs. Some of the key activities are: computer club, conversation club, public education, belly-dancing, yoga, Pilates, caligraphy, Chinese choir, and a community kitchen.
Oriole Community Garden
The Oriole Community Garden was established in 2005, and is run in partnership between Working Women Community Centre and the Advent Lutheran Church. It is located at the intersection of Sheppard and Don Mills, a neighbourhood with many newcomers to Canada who face high levels of food insecurity and social isolation. Our community is predominately automobile-oriented, with little publicly accessibly green space. Our garden’s mission is to welcome and support newcomers to Canada, by using community gardens as a tool to reduce social isolation, promote food security, and increase publicly accessible environmental initiatives.
Our community garden is approximately 3,000 square feet, it is located at the tip of the southern peanut island of the neighbhourhood. It is bounded on the north by the Church and Oriole Park, and on the south, east, and west by Don Mills Road. There are over 100 plots servicing over 500 people in the area. Located in the inner suburbs of Toronto-in a neighbourhood dominated by high-rise apartment buildings and automobile traffic-our garden is a hub of environmental and social activity. The Oriole Community Garden is known by the entire community to be a publicly accessible green space; on summer evenings upwards of 60 people come to the garden to relax, meet friends, eat dinner together, let their kids play, and work in the garden.
In the summer of 2013, we ran a Stewardship Project in which 10 seniors were trained as Stewards for the Oriole Community Garden and 13 youth were trained with the support of the Stewards to become “apprentices”. This was an Intergenerational project where 100 senior gardeners participated in the activities introduced by Steward and approximately 550 participants benefited from the project. A manual has been created by the participants of the Senior Steward training that can be shared with other gardeners and organizations. In the past years, as a partner with Flemingdom Health Centre and North York Harvest at Oriole Foodspace (located at Oriole Community Centre) we have been able to focus on gardening workshops and food related trainings.
There are monthly potlucks, regular meetings and a Harvest Festival to help wrap up the end of the gardening season.
Seniors in Cyber Space
Seniors in Cyberspace is a program designed by the Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships of Toronto, and focuses on matching high school youth with a senior wishing to learn computer applications and simple use.
Working Women Community Centre partnered with TIGP to deliver the program in the Don Mills/Sheppard /Peanut Town community and more recently since 2008 in the Jane Finch community. Our Don Mill/Peanut Town program runs once a week- with 20 youth and 20 seniors. In our Jane Finch Community program we partner with Seneca College’s Yorkgate Campus who provides two full computer labs with 20 computers, and Black Creek Community Health Centre works with WWCC staff to recruit youth and seniors.
The program brings youth and elderly together in a warm and friendly environment. To date over 100 elders have participate with equal amounts of students. The program is also run in Mandarin and Farsi for those elders who have not mastered the English language.
Walk & Talk
Walk & Talk offers the opportunity for community members to share stories, interests, cultural knowledge, and skills with other community members while practicing conversational English.
- We recommended a minimum of one hour per week, at least for 3 consecutive months.
- Monthly follow-ups are required, a volunteer supervisor will contact you, once a month via e-mail, to make sure things are running smoothly, or if additional support is required.
- Every 2 or 3 months we hold a meet-up party; although not mandatory, it is a great opportunity for mentors and participants to share their experience with others in the program, and to get tips and tools to enhance your journey with us.
Location First interview will be at the Downtown WWCC location. It’s an opportunity to know our space and the people who are working with the program but, more importantly, to offer both mentor and mentee a safe space for their first meeting. The following meetings, mentor and mentee will choose their location according to their convenience. We recommend meetings at public places such as: parks, libraries, our office, free events or coffee shops.
- Develop your leadership, interpersonal and communication skills
- Satisfaction from helping others succeed in improving their language skills
- Opportunity to give back to your community
- Learn or improve a second language of your choice (if available)
- Letters of reference (upon request)
- Certificate of Appreciation
- Gain new cultural knowledge
- Make a new friend
- Get to know your city
- Access to free events
How does it work? A mentor will be paired with a mentee and, once paired, participants will make their own time and location arrangements for meeting. Participants will decide when and how often they would like to meet (e.g. once a week/twice a week / etc). The meetings are informal and should provide an opportunity for mentees to practice their spoken English, as well as for both participants to share cultural perspectives. KEEP IN MIND As a mentorl Please be advised that: We do our best to ensure that a compatible pairing is made taking in consideration the interests, expectations, and commitments of both members. We also encourage mentors to take a lead role in ensuring participants meet regularly. Most newcomers need extra support; they are living through many changes. A little encouragement goes a long way. To work on these partnerships we ask patience and dedication from all participants so that lively and interesting conversations can flourish.
|THE PERFECT MATCH Beatriz having signed up to be a mentee, and Kalpana having joined to be a mentor, the two found themselves matched by the Working Women Community Centre’s Walk and Talk program.|
For more information email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Like us in Facebook: Walk & talk
English Conversation Circle
Another component of the Walk & Talk is the conversation circle, this group provides newcomers with the opportunity to ask questions and learn Canadian idioms while conversing in a group setting. This group is facilitated by an ESL volunteer instructor.
Currently looking for a volunteer facilitator
Computer One-on-One Tutoring
Our computer classes are offer in English, Spanish and Portuguese; classes are designed for individuals whit little or none experience with the use of a computer. We work base on the needs of each student. Classes are offer by volunteers. If you interested in becoming either a student or a instructor Schedules are assigned according to student’s needs and volunteers availability.
Painting class Taller Sol & Luna
Taller Sol y Luna offers weekly painting classes. This class is an introduction to painting, suitable for the novice painter or as a refresher for those who have not painted for some time. The class focus on the fundamentals of colour theory, composition, perspective, paint handling and application, while developing one’s own creative and perceptual skills. With plenty of guidance and individual attention, students have the choice to paints from still life and photo references.
Classes are free and some materials are provided.
Classes are hold Fridays from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Registration is required.
Artisan Group “Mujeres Creativas”
Artisan group “Mujeres Creativas” is collective of immigrant and refugee women. Each participant in the group is a peer with skills to share “Mujeres Creativas” has worked with many different media such as; knitting, crochet, can tab, beading, leather jewelry and more. While the group is mostly made up of Latin American women, all interested women are welcome to attend. By developing and sharing skills, the objective of this group is to build self-sufficiency and mutual support in creating handmade crafts from mostly recycled or reclaimed materials.
“Mujeres Creativas” has participated in sales at many farmers markets, , holiday bazaars and festivals selling their products.
“Mujeres Creativas” is open to any women interested in learning or sharing creative skills. We are always learning new artistic processes and new ideas are welcome! If you have questions, contact us by phone or email.