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Connecting and Celebrating our Seniors

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This year, The Stop undertook a community needs assessment to help us design more supportive programs for our dynamic community. Among many fascinating insights, the assessment found that rates of poverty among seniors were higher than the city average within many of the neighbourhoods we serve—including Dovercourt-Wallace Emerson-Junction (19%), Weston-Pelham Park (20.8%), Wychwood (23.5%), and High Park North (18.9%).

These statistics were echoed in the Toronto Foundation’s 2018 Vital Signs Report, which also found that as Toronto is getting older, it’s also becoming more isolated.

To strengthen the social networks of low-income seniors in our community, and to connect them with helpful resources, The Stop’s Community Advocacy Planning Committee offered up a series of engaging group sessions and events this July. From a housing solutions workshop, to a lively fiesta celebration complete with salsa dancing, the series was an opportunity to bring seniors together, reduce their feelings of isolation, and build their community supports.

Four events were held across three sites, thanks to the support of community partners like Wychwood Open Door, Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre, the Toronto Public Library, West Toronto Community Legal Services, Streets to Homes, and Crisis Outreach Services for Seniors (COSS) at Reconnect Community Health Services.

These fabulous events were entirely organized by the Community Advocacy Planning Committee, which is made up of graduates of The Stop’s Community Action Training Program, many of whom are seniors and all of whom have lived experience of poverty or maginalization. Participation in the committee is part of their learning process, as Planning Committee members develop hands-on skills with teamwork, event planning, and community outreach and engagement strategies.

The committee uses public events to bring chronic issues they’re encountering the Advocacy Office to the community level, reaching more people with more information. In the past, the Planning Committee has held events and information sessions on vital issues like immigration and housing access.

What’s next for The Stop’s Community Advocacy Planning Committee:

The Good Food for All Festival - Join the Committee on September 22nd for a community march through Davenport, where together we’ll raise our voices in support of good food for everyone!
2018 Toronto Municipal Election –  Building on The Stop’s engagement work for the recent provincial election, the Committee will connect our participants with information about the issues facing our city.