The Massey Centre for Women

The Massey Centre for Women is an inclusive organization that strives to achieve healthy outcomes for all families as they work toward their goals. We nurture empowerment, independence, and growth for pregnant and parenting teens and their children by providing transitional housing as well as education, community programs, services and supports for all families.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

For almost 110 years, the Massey Centre for Women has provided home, hope and refuge for hundreds of young women and their infants; it is the longest-serving agency of its type in Toronto.

Massey Centre provides support for pregnant and parenting teens and through the provision of specialized services including residential care; supportive housing; life skills training; on-site secondary school education; health services; infant care; residential activities; and emotional support.

To facilitate the provision of these services, and to better meet the needs of our clients, the Massey Centre was incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in November of 1989 and became an accredited Children’s Mental Health Centre in 2002; we were re-accredited for a further four-year period in December 2009.

We are proud to serve some of our community’s most vulnerable citizens – pregnant teenagers and infants. These young women are often isolated, discriminated against, homeless, and face many hurdles to becoming fully contributing members of society. We know that, together with our community partners and supporters, we can, and we do, make a difference.

The Massey Centre for Women … new lives start here.

Accolades and Accomplishments

1901 - The Door of Hope founded and housed in the parsonage of Metropolitan Methodist Church(now Metropolitan United Church) in downtown Toronto

1947 - The Massey Centre moves to its present location at 1102 Broadview Avenue

1989 - Incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization

2002 - Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award, the Atkinson Foundation

2002 - Accredited by Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) as a Children’s Mental Health Agency

2003 - Became Toronto-Danforth Riding Lead Agency, Ontario Early Years Centre

2009 - Reaccredited by CMHO as a Children’s Mental Health Agency

Our Programs How We Do It

At the heart of Massey Centre lies service to our clients – pregnant and parenting teens in our residential, transitional, educational, and community. We also serve our larger community by promoting education and understanding of the social, economic, and mental health issues that surround and impact those we serve.

Massey Centre provides the following programs and services:

  • Residential (Pre- and Post-Natal) Program
  • Community Program
  • Clothing Bank/Donations
  • On-Site High School Program
  • Early Learning Centre
  • Massey Centre Ontario Early Years Centre
  • Volunteer Program

Focusing on Early Intervention – Enhanced Childhood Development

The children in the Massey Centre residential and Early Learning Centre programs range in age from newborn to 3-1/2 years. Most are the children of adolescent mothers; a large body of research has shown that these children are at an increased risk of neglect, as well as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. They also have an increased risk of future involvement in crime, drugs, poverty, non-completion of high school, and adolescent pregnancy.

We are seeking the support of community members to partner with us in the provision of enriched early childhood development opportunities in the residential and Early Learning Centre programs at Massey Centre to maximize the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development of the children in our care.

We anticipate this programming will support the high-risk infants and young children we serve to develop the self-esteem, confidence, and learning skills to allow them to become functional, happy, and educated adults. This would be seen in increased initiation of play, ability to play well with other children, decreased aggressive and disruptive behaviour, and an increase in attention and ability to stay on task.

The concurrent parenting skills program will benefit the adolescent mothers and community families in both programs. The program will teach them the skills and resiliency necessary to become better parents and overcome the challenges a past of poverty, neglect, and abuse can pose to future success. This results in increased confidence in decision-making, ability to respond to challenging behaviour appropriately, and improved self-management of anger and impatience.

Funding and Program Partners

Massey Centre is grateful for its partnerships with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in provision of its residential services, and with the City of Toronto in providing the programs of the Early Learning Centre.

Program Impact

The vast majority of young women Massey Centre serves live well below the poverty line, and will continue to do so upon leaving our programs. This, coupled with their age and general emotional immaturity, poses great risks to their infants. A large body of research reports that these children have a much higher risk of negative outcomes as they grow up.

Through the provision of enriched child development and parent training, Massey Centre is seeking to provide the young women we serve – and their infants – with the tools and resiliency they will need to overcome these challenges once they have left our care.

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

“Based on the Low Income Measure, the number of children (0-17 years) living in poverty in Toronto declined from 2009 by almost 2% to 165,060 in 2010. However 53% of the children in lone-parent families (almost 70,000 children) were poor. (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2012)

For the most part, this is the present reality and future prospects for the vast majority of Massey’s infants and young children.

Participant Vignette

A refugee from a country torn apart by Civil War, Anna came to Canada in search of a better life. Her discovery of her pregnancy tore her life apart a second time. Her family disowned her and she was left homeless. At first she feared that she and her child would end up on the streets, but she found a refuge at Massey Centre.

Unfortunately, Anna experienced more difficulties when the Children’s Aid Society apprehended her newborn son. Rather than give up, Anna decided that she would prove to everyone that she was a good mother. He was soon returned to her care, and together they live at the Centre while Anna works to turn her life around.

Today, she is a university student with plans to pursue a career in nursing. A co-founder of the Resident Support Group, Anna continues to counsel and advocate on behalf of Massey Centre residents. She is also a Massey Centre Ambassador, speaking at events and community functions about her experiences as a single mother and the importance of Massey Centre in her life.

Breakfast @ Massey

Breakfast @ Massey is a recently-initiated program that brings our residential clients together over a meal each weekday morning to socialize, share plans for the day, stock up on essentials for themselves and their babies for the day, and receive support from staff and peers.

Funding and Program Partners

Massey Centre is a grateful partner of the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services in the provision of our residential programs.

Program Impact

The vast majority of young women in Massey Centre’s residential programs come from backgrounds of poverty, neglect, and abuse, often without familial or other supports. Their lives were often disorganized and lacking structure. Without appropriate role models, many of our young women lack the tools to create this structure in their lives and the lives of their infants.

Breakfast @ Massey has become an important tool in creating, maintaining, and modelling structure in the daily activities of our young women.

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

“Overall, more than three quarters of Toronto youth (aged 12 - 19) felt that they belonged to their local community in 2011, although economic and social exclusion may significantly diminish a strong sense of identity among immigrant youth. 79.1% of youth in the city report a somewhat strong, or strong sense of belonging to their local community." (Toronto’s Vital Signs®, 2012)

Most of the young women at Massey Centre come from chaotic backgrounds lacking a sense of belonging and “family”; they also tend to have problematic and unhealthy relationships with their peers. Breakfast @ Massey seeks to create a safe environment in which our young women can interact, support, share and learn how to create and maintain connections; we work to ensure they carry that sense of ‘belonging’ out into the larger community.

What You Can Do

Focusing on Early Intervention – Enhanced Childhood Development

Activities a donation will support

A grant to Focusing on Early Intervention will provide program materials, ongoing staff training, access to community experts to ensure program effectiveness, transportation subsidy for community-based parents, child minding services, refreshments, and participant access to ongoing support.

Donation impact

At the Massey Centre for Women, we believe that every young mother – and every child – deserves the opportunity to become the best, most resilient and confident individual it is possible for them to be. Through grants to Focusing on Early Intervention, we will be able to provide our young women with the tools they need to become the successful and healthy mothers they most likely did not have in their own lives, and to ensure their infants grow into confident, competent, and self-aware adults.

Breakfast @ Massey

Activities a donation will support

Grants to Breakfast @ Massey will cover the cost of providing breakfast every day (as the program participants are pregnant and/or new mothers, we want to serve them a healthy, balanced, and nutritious meal) and purchase supplies and equipment the young women need for themselves and their babies (transit tokens, school supplies, infant formula, diapers, wipes, etc.).

We would also welcome the opportunity to host guests or speakers at the program who could share with our young women strategies around such things as time management, parenting, and other skills the staff might identify as needs for the group.

Donation impact

Breakfast @ Massey provides our young women with so much more than a meal – it’s an opportunity for our young women and their babies to connect and support each other, to share plans for the day and forge healthy interpersonal relationships between themselves and with Centre staff. By providing a school- and work-week structure for our residential clients, we are teaching them the skills they will need to cope in the community and manage their lives once they leave the Centre.


Charitable Number: 119283678RR7000

Finance & Governance


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