Applegrove Community Complex
Our Impact Why We Exist
A non-profit multi-service community centre established in 1979, its high quality, innovative programs, are geared to the specific needs of its community. Applegrove's catchment area is from Jones to Woodbine Avenue, and from the Lake to the Railway tracks. It is a diverse community, both culturally and socio-economically. Many of our participants are newcomers who have limited financial resources with language barriers. Our community is made up of people who speak the following languages: Chinese, Punjabi, Urdu, English, Bengali, and Hindi. The neighborhood also includes a number of housing co-ops and Toronto Community Housing Corporation subsidized housing units. Applegrove provides services, free of charge or with affordable fees, that address some of the challenges experienced by families in our community. Services cover the age range, with programs for infants, children, teens, families and older adults.
Our Story What We Do
History of Organization
In the 1970's, the City of Toronto, Board of Education and local residents mobilized the neighbourhood and utilized community renewal grants to initiate services for families, children, youth and seniors. Applegrove was incorporated in 1979. In 1983, it became a City-funded community centre, one of the AOCC’s (Association Of City-funded Centres). Growth during the 80’s was followed by a major review and reorganization in 1988. Although provincial funding cutbacks in the 90’s reduced programming and staffing, starting in 1999, the agency focused on strategic growth and program expansions. In 2007, the agency sustained a serious setback in children’s programming after a prior partner withdrew, but sustained these programs and strengthened them. In 2009, Applegrove was designated an Elderly Persons Centre by the Ministry of Health and has expanded programming for older adults. Strategic planning processes in 2006 and 2009 have focussed program development, outreach and facility renewal efforts.
Accolades and Accomplishments
School readiness is better in our area than expected. We believe that these results show the positive outcomes of our integrated programs for families with young children. Helping Our Babies Grow starts them off with nutrition and support. Family resource programs are learning opportunities for children and their parents and caregivers. Over the Rainbow provides early intervention to children who are showing difficulties in their development or relationships.
Applegrove’s 2009 planning process found that the center’s core competencies included:
- Developing and managing a range of programs and events that welcome, support, and meet the needs of the neighbourhood as a whole and of the individuals within it, particularly families with young children, school age children, and teens.
- Recruiting, developing, retaining and valuing volunteers, staff and Board members.
- Understanding, supporting and working with the community to reduce isolation, meet needs, build connections and engage individuals, all of which contribute to a healthy neighbourhood.
Applegrove’s Executive Director, Susan Fletcher, has been invited to work with Toronto District School Board and provincial government groups on issues related to community use of schools.
Our Programs How We Do It
- 2 Family Support Programs: drop-in programs in 2 locations for parents or care-givers and their children up to age 6. The Applegrove Parent/Child Drop-in is at our main location, and The Edgewood Connection is located in the Parish Hall of Corpus Christi Catholic Church at 1810 Queen Street East.
- Helping Our Babies Grow: prenatal nutrition, information and support, continuing until babies are 6 months old.
- Over the Rainbow: therapeutic play intervention for children 3-5 plus parent group.
- After-school programs for 6-12 year olds.
- The Applegrove Summer Adventure day camp for school-age children.
- The Summer Leadership Adventure for young teens.
- Evening activities for teens.
- Older Adults Clubs and activities for seniors weekday afternoons.
- Seasonal income tax clinic.
- Community development, including special events such as our Applicious Fall Festival, supporting new services, and participating in coalitions.
The Edgewood Connection
This free family resource program supports children’s development in the crucial early years, creates connections between families, and nurtures a sense of community. 2 days weekly, the staff plans age-appropriate activities for 30 to 35 children from infants to age 6, provides snacks for the children, and a listening ear and coffee for the their parents and caregivers.
Within the program,
- puzzles help children’s brains develop,
- singing songs and reading stories help literacy and language,
- playing with other children helps them share, take turns and make friends,
- crafts and painting help children express emotions,
- the sand table and riding toys help develop motor skills.
Meanwhile the staff,
- welcome and support adults,
- refer them to other resources, and
- help them feel part of the community.
From a participant survey:
“Excellent community spirit; respectful environment. Wide, wonderful array of [children’s] resources. Support for me as an adult, helps me support the child.”
“Preparing them to go to school, socialize with peers, learned educational, physical, mental and social interaction. Helped [my child’s] developmental stage, skills in listening, reading, participating, communicating and socializing, learned to explore and discover enhanced his knowledge.”
“I have learned a lot about parenting from staff, parents and guest speakers. My children [had previously had] a difficult time making new friends. The drop-in staff has encouraged their social skills and praised accomplishments.”