Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre

Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre is a community based organization driven by passion, innovation and a strong commitment to social justice, community engagement and collaboration.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre is a multi-service community based organization. With a strong focus on resident engagement, capacity building and anti-oppression we have a long history of innovation and response in Jane and Finch. Since 1976 the organization has been strategically building the health and well-being of Jane and Finch in strong collaboration with residents, community leaders, community groups, organizations and partners from within the local community and beyond. With a strong resident led Board of Directors, the Centre has always been a passionate and strategic organization which has won numerous best practice awards.

Accolades and Accomplishments

The Centre has much to celebrate. In the past year alone we have been acknowledged in the following ways:

  • Recipient of the Toronto Community Foundation’s Vital Ideas Award for the Women Moving Forward Program.
  • Recipient of the best practice award for newcomer support to the Spanish speaking community through the Hispanic Teacher’s Association.
  • Recipient of a best practice award for our HOST youth program which focusses on newcomer youth settlement through Ontario Coalition of Agencies Service Immigrants.
  • 2009 Member Agency Spirit Award recipient from the United Way Toronto.
  • Recognized as being at “lowest risk” by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services related to our organization’s administrative, financial and human resources functions.
  • 2010 Green Toronto Awards Finalist – City of Toronto.
  • 2009 Bayana Award for Team Excellent – The Spot Team (youth team of the Centre) – United Way Toronto.

Our Programs How We Do It

The Jane/Finch Centre provides the following services:

  • Community engagement and capacity building opportunities.
  • Youth leadership building, social and recreational programs.
  • Mental Health 
  • Financial Advocacy
  • Neighbourhood Building/Housing support.
  • Settlement and Post-Settlement support.
  • Women, seniors, youth and children support programs.
  • Outreach, information and referral.
  • Administrative support to small organizations, groups and residents. While all residents are part of our service mandate, those prioritized for service include: At-risk seniors, adults, youth and children;  Women, parents and caregivers of children 0 – 6 years old; Low income residents and Toronto Community Housing Corporation tenants; Newcomers, immigrants and refugees.

The Spot (Youth Satellite of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre)

The Spot, the youth satellite office of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre is a youth hub located at the intersection of Jane and Finch. The Spot offers a drop-in program that has allowed youth a safe environment to access resources and join after school programs. The Drop-in program runs from Monday to Saturdays. Youth can come in to The Spot and access resources and computers. We also provide after school programs that focus on leadership, team building, violence and substance abuse prevention, sexual health awareness and AIDS/STI prevention. Initiatives include: information, intake and referral services and youth led after-school programs. Part of the goal is to enhance partnerships and networks in the community and build youth leadership and capacity. We work from a prevention based and Peer to Peer mentorship model. The Peer to Peer mentorship model has been recognized as a best practice model in engaging youth. The Spot acts as a second home for young people in the community developing their capacity and self-awareness. The youth driven atmosphere gives youth a true sense of ownership and belonging.

Program Impact

The impact of The Spot can be measured in the positive behaviour of the youth we serve and involvement in civic participation:

  • There has been an increased number of youth planning on attending Post-Secondary Education
  • There is an increase in self-esteem and self confidence amongst youth
  • Increased numbers of youth attending youth programs and being apart of youth initiatives
  • Increased number of youth participating in youth specific training
  • There is a decreased risk of youth engaging in negative social behaviours

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“58.2% of Toronto residents reported a strong or somewhat strong sense of belonging to their local community; a sense of belonging tends to decline as the community becomes more urban and is highest among the young (77.45% of the 12-17-year age group) and weakest among younger adults (54.5% of the 18-29- year age group.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2009)

The Spot provides many opportunities for youth to become engaged and to build capacity. Programming allows youth to grow and become strong leaders. The graffiti transformation program gives us the opportunity to teach youth about their community through artistic eyes and also provides a new and safe outlet for young people to express their emotions. And through training and life skills programming, we are able to build on youth assets and provide accessibility to employment and post-secondary education opportunities.

Participant Vignette

"My name is Michael Mederos, I am 17 and I came from the third world, South American country Uruguay. In my life I had events and highlights that affected the way I act, my attitude and morals, my parents separating, and moving to Canada which I did not know anything about are some of these highlights. Like any newcomer I went straight to school, where I met my “friends”. These friends introduced me to the negative side of Canada being the crime, the drugs and the gangs mostly in the north western part of Toronto. At a later point in my life I came across the youth drop in centre “The Spot”. This youth drop in centre changed that negative way of live I earned from my friends and gave me skills through leadership programs to educating me about the community. This youth drop in centre made a huge positive change. Now my goal is to complete grade 12, graduate, obtain my diploma to be able to work at The Spot to influence other young people to make a positive change like the drop-in centre did for me."

The Green Change Project

This program seeks to engage Jane Finch residents to reduce their carbon footprint using a community development and capacity building approach. In partnership with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority our program develops the environmental capacity building of our staff, community partners and residents and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation to conserve energy and reduce waste for families. Through our train the trainer model, we are developing the capacity of community residents to become Green Change Agents. After completing a comprehensive 45 hour training program, Green Change Agents inspire others in their community to make a positive change to reduce greenhouse gas and smog causing emissions and better adapt to changes in their lifestyle caused by climate change.

Program Impact

The neighbourhood of Jane and Finch is challenged with violence due to the socio-economical struggles and endemic rate of poverty and underemployment. However, there are a number of opportunities to green this community, while at the same time ensuring that residents are able to participate in the economic opportunities that ensue from the emerging green economy. Our Centre’s catchment area is one of Toronto’s most ethnically diverse and heavily populated communities with a population of approximately 250,000. We anticipate producing savings of approximately 500kg/CO2 per household per year. Equally important will be the changed community spirit as residents work together on something so positive and healthy.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“More than a dozen neighbourhoods face the double challenge of poverty and high air pollution: toxic releases of air pollutants are concentrated in just 11% of the city’s 500 census tracts, which are also areas where poverty rates exceed the national average.” (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2009)

The Green Change Project helps to build the capacity of residents in the low-income neighbourhood of Jane/Finch to better protect the environment while providing an entry point for them to integrate into the green economy.

Participant Vignette

Duyane “Mr. Fresh “ Wright, is a local green entrepreneur and Green Change Agent. Mr. Fresh is a bright youth with lots of questions and ideas. Mr. Fresh started doing business when he was in grade 4. His career began by selling chocolates and he gained a lot of hands-on experience and developed his entrepreneurial spirit from his early experiences. Like many youth growing up in poor marginalized communities with limited opportunities, his life took a detour when he was seduced by the opportunities that the business of the street can offer. “It was getting involved with his eco-friendly business that saved my life.” said Mr. Fresh. “It took me away from selling drugs and being involved with guns and all the other aspects of life on the street.” He explained, “My name is Mr. Fresh. I’d like to be known as Mr. Fresh. It tells you who I am and where I am coming from. The community loves that. They gave me that name”. Mr. Fresh developed his environmentally friendly business, a line of 4 different air fresheners with 3 natural scents and an unscented scented one, when he realized that it was time to change his life and do something different. Mr. Fresh was introduced to the Green Change Project by the Coordinator, Zabrina Babbington. It was a natural connection. Mr. Fresh believes the Green Change Agent program changed his life because “it gave me a whole lot of ideas and a chance to become more conscious. I have come to realize that most of the products that we are using were killing us, like the drugs you buy on the street. That’s the reason why I am doing something different!” The main message Mr. Fresh learned from the Green Change program is “This is our only planet and we have to take care of it!

What You Can Do

 

Women Moving Forward

Activities a donation will support

A grant to WMF will help enable us to provide the various program components and supports for the WMF participants and graduates. The costs of books, supplies and resources for WMF participants will also be supported. A grant will support women by paying for career-related training, post-secondary applications and by providing women with scholarships. It will allow us to provide healthy meals for participants and make nutritional supports available for their families. It will help cover the cost of our annual graduation and socials, ensuring women continue to remain connected with and receive support from WMF.

Donation impact

A grant to WMF will allow the program to continue to support women in the Jane-Finch community move from poverty to prosperity. It will ensure young mothers gain the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to provide their children with a positive future. It will allow WMF to continue to support our graduates as they encounter challenges along their career paths. It will ensure the Jane-Finch community continues to grow and improve. Most importantly, a grant to WMF will help sole-support mothers provide their families with “a healthy and happy life rather than an existence” - Neikeishea, Cypris Morphos group.

The Spot (Youth Satellite of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre)

Activities a donation will support

A grant to The Spot will help enable us to provide program support which tackles issues such as poverty (hunger). Programs that will be supported include but are not limited to: Community Kitchen which allows us to address the hunger issue and allows us to provide youth nutrition/healthy eating tips. The grant will also support programs such as the young men’s program, Hear Me Out. This is a young men’s empowerment program where the young men are able to talk about issues that are affecting them in a safe space. Also, our non-funded basketball program supports 40 youth in a recreational sports program which is the largest non-funded basketball program in the Jane and Finch community.

Donation impact

The grant will support all youth led initiatives and support existing programs. The grant will enable The Spot to reach a larger youth population who are currently disengaged. It will assist The Spot in sustaining current programs and allowing new youth initiatives to grow and take place.

The Green Change Project

Activities a donation will support

  • Community Focus Group Sessions
  • Green Change Agent Training and Development Creation of a Jane and Finch Green Guide
  • Transportation Costs and Healthy Refreshments
  • Collect information/evidence of change from participants and
  • issue Green Change Vouchers Community Gardens in 6 Jane and Finch Neighbourhoods Green Change World Environment Day Event

Donation impact

A grant to the Green Change Project will help to consolidate the 45 hour Green Change Training Program. This program is designed to develop the capacity of staff of the Jane/Finch Centre (61% of which live and work in the Jane Finch community), community partners and community residents, including youth, to take leadership on the environment in their community. The Green Change Project also engages residents in positive activities that beautify, clean up, sustain, and improve the community, thereby sharing the responsibility for a clean community with residents and building community pride and a sense of ownership in the neighbourhood.

Contact

Michelle Dagnino
Executive Director
416.663.2733 x230
Charitable Number: 118972868RR0001

Finance & Governance

Annual Operating Budget: 
$ 3,573,490

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