What is NO CHILD TURNED AWAY?

East End Children’s Centre was founded by local parents in 1985 and served local families responsively for two decades before the East York child population boom in 2010.

Did you know that between 2006 and 2016 there was a 35% increase in the number of children under four in our immediate community?  And why not?  This is a great neighbourhood for raising kids!

By 2011, we were experiencing  a massive increase in local children, families and caregivers who needed us and we needed to meet their needs while continuing to deliver safe and relevant programming at our Kimbourne and Terry Fox Drop-in Centres.  We tried offering our program in two sessions. 50 children from 9 to 10:30 am and another set of 50 from 10:45 to 12. We served more children but we weren’t giving them a quality experience.

In 2014 we returned to the single session model, locking our doors when occupancy limits were reached. Children were turned away every day. Parents complained. Some of them wrote us letters telling us how demoralizing it was for them and their children to find themselves outside a locked door.  Our board of directors read every word written about the devastation caused.  Many families gave up on us. They weren’t prepared to subject themselves and their children to the stress of trying and not succeeding to get to our programs before the doors were locked.

In 2015, our board of directors decided: enough. We were going to find the funds to expand our programs. We called our program expansion campaign NO CHILD TURNED AWAY. In 2016, a petition was signed by over 700 community members.  Meetings were held with our local city councillor, Janet Davis, and the general manager of Toronto Children’s Services.  We’re so fortunate to have people at the City of Toronto who really care about families and children.  But they were (and still are) undergoing an extremely complex service re-organization and couldn’t entertain our request for a program expansion, as much as they would have liked to. Our board managed to fundraise, through a gala and donations, enough money to fund two additional days a week to our schedule during the cold fall and winter months in 2017.

As a result, we increased our child visits by 1035, or 21% from January to April this year!  We turned NO CHILDREN AWAY on Mondays and Fridays at both our sites and our program reached capacity less often on the other days of operation.  It’s been so successful that the community came together at our recent Prom Night Gala, to kick off the fundraising for NO CHILD TURNED AWAY days in 2018!

On Giving Tuesday, November 28th, help ensure that NO CHILD is TURNED AWAY by supporting the East End Children’s Centre.  We accept cheques, cash and online donations here.

 

No Child Turned Away – Our Doors Are Open!

TORONTO, ON (March 13th) — East End Children’s Centre celebrates the success of its No Child Turned Away project.

For over 30 years, East End Children’s Centre (EECC) has operated two Ontario Early Years Child & Family Programs in the East Danforth neighbourhood at Terry Fox Community Centre, and the basement of Kimbourne United Church.  These free drop-in programs provide an opportunity for children 0-6 and their caregivers to come together, network and learn from our staff in a safe, supportive, community building environment for families in Toronto’s East End.

Over the last decade there has been a surge in the child population in Toronto’s East End.  This placed a demand on our programs that overwhelmed the resources available to service local children and families in safe way at each of the facilities. By 2011, room capacities were being reached at both sites within minutes of opening each day. Since then, children and families were turned away almost daily, in increasing numbers every year since.

Parents spoke out – It was a devastating experience for children, when they leave their homes in the morning hoping to come and play, only to find themselves repeatedly outside a locked door. Beyond the tears of these children, there was a larger impact.  This action of turning away children, undermined the EECC’s commitment to supporting young families in this community.

In its strategic plan for 2016 – 2021, the East End Children’s Centre identified increasing community access to its programs as its highest priority, and the No Child Turned Away Campaign was born.

Because of the generosity of our community, The East End Children’s Centre was able to implement a limited expansion of its program at the Kimborne location, two extra mornings a week starting January 2017. This has resulted in reaching more children and families with our free, unstructured play program, offering  100 more child visits each week.

While there isn’t sufficient budget to operate both sites daily year-round, the East End Children’s Centre will offer these extra programming days during the coldest months of the year in 2017:  January through April and November through to December.

On March 31st, we will celebrate this achievement by sharing breakfast with some of our community supporters and donors to recognize contributions in this important step toward our goal of implementing year-round programing available at both of our locations.  With further new funding, EECC hopes to deliver a multi-year commitment to our Toronto’s East End to satisfy the community’s growing demand of programing for young families.

About East End Children’s Centre:

The East End Children’s Centre has served Families in Toronto’s East End for over 30 years with free, accessible play programs for the community’s infants, toddlers and preschool children. Our mission is to encourage a connected community of parents and caregivers focused on the optimal development of children 0 – 6 years of age.  Funded by the City of Toronto and Ontario Early Years, and governed by a community board of directors, East End Children’s Centre offers a safe haven for isolated families, early learning activities for children, a healthy snack, circle time, school readiness programs for 3 & 4 year-olds, as well as evening and weekend programs.

East End Children’s Centre served 1083 children and 1038 parents/caregivers in 2016, who made a combined 19,707 visits to their two sites at 200 Wolverleigh Blvd and 2 Gledhill Ave in Toronto.

For more information, follow us on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/East-End-Childrens-Centre-144350198908321/ or contact:  Cathy Wright, Manager of East End Childen’s Centre  eecc@rogers.com

We’re adding some program hours!!

untitledThat’s right!!  Starting in January, both our Kimbourne and Terry Fox sites will be open on Mondays and Fridays!  We’re using fundraised dollars to support this and only have enough to maintain these extra hours until the end of April – but we’re beyond thrilled that we’re creating 100 additional child visits per week!

Terry Fox hours will stay the same – 8:45 am to 12 noon.

Kimbourne hours will be 9 am to 12 noon. MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY!  January through April 2017!  The actual date of implementation is TBA but we’re hoping for January 6th.  We will update our calendars when dates are finalized.

Thanks to all who support our fundraising – you’re making a difference!!

GREAT GATSBY GALA – A Success!

Thank you to everyone who supported the success of the Great Gatsby Gala on October 15th at Todmorden Mills!  Proceeds totaled almost $19,000!

Here’s what it looked like:

 

We gratefully acknowledge the following event sponsors:

Gold Sponsor:  Forest Hill Lions Club

forest-hill-lions-club-scanSilver Sponsor:  Giuseppe Flammia

gf-logoBronze Sponsor:  Equus Fabrics

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Bronze Sponsor:  Charles Vilagut Photography

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We also thank Plank Road Market, Food Dudes, Culture Snap and Border Ladner Gervais for their generous support!plank-roadfood-dudesculture-snap