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Working in small teams, Fellows develop their capacity to lead collectively and create change against a city-building issue. The 2010 Fellows organized themselves into five teams and worked on the following projects:
Enabling community-based mental health services and solutions.
Project Host: Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
Project Team: Suhail Abualsameed, Fabio Crespin, Jasvir Nijjar, Tanya Rumble, Raj Sohi, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Niranjan Vivekanandan
Supporting and celebrating Toronto’s diverse community-engaged artists.
Project Host: Neighbourhood Arts Network (NAN), Toronto Arts Foundation
Project Team: Colin Lacey, Gelek Badheytsang, Melanie Smith, Saumya Gautam, Tinashe Mafukidze
Vision & Mission:
Toronto’s vibrant and diverse arts and culture sector inspires, transforms and differentiates our city from other metropolitan areas. Community-engaged artists and arts organizations add to the city’s mosaic and hold the unique power of revitalizing neighbourhoods, connecting new Canadians with long-time residents and inspiring communities to come together in all their diversity to make positive social change the grassroots level.
As DiverseCity Fellows and city builders we support and celebrate Toronto’s diverse community engaged artists by applying principles of collaborative leadership and adding value through our unique perspective. This will help push forward conversations & initiatives that can significantly improve the quality of life for all Torontonians.
Community arts programs play a crucial role in promoting inclusion, social equity and positive employment outcomes in creative industries. This project seeks to strengthen NAN‘s most crucial communication tool (online resource) to expand their artists’ networks with the aim of creating opportunities for them within their communities and across the broader arts and culture sector in Toronto.Goals & Objectives:
The project will provide strategic recommendations and support to NAN on ways to strengthen, promote and expand the membership of community-engaged artists on the NAN website. By increasing NAN’s membership through information sharing, gaining organisational commitment and marketing, this project will help connect artists with each other and to cultural sector organizations and harness the transformative power of art to improve the lives of artists and their communities. Through collaboration with NAN, we aim to strengthen Toronto’s arts and culture sector through:
Toronto Arts Council, City of Toronto, Theatre Passe Muraille, National Ballet of Canada, Luminato and more have expressed interest in participating in various ways including online links, venue space, funding and subject matter expertise.
Inspiring and informing youth on how to pursue career goals that might be unknown or feel unattainable to them.
Project Team: Inka Bari, Sharaf Sultan, Adaoma Patterson, Nishanthini Nagaratnam, Hena Prasanna, Bilal Khan
According to Toronto’s Vital Signs 2008, by the end of Grade 9, 23% of students from Toronto’s lowest income neighbourhoods were at-risk of dropping out of school and there is a clear relationship between neighbourhood income and application to university. Clearly, many youth in the GTA are disconnected from the economic and social opportunities that exist in the region as a result of systemic barriers and an inability to imagine a better life for themselves and their families.
In addition, the current educational system requires youth to make choices that impact their future at an early age and many young people in marginalized communities and neighbourhoods are not exposed to the diverse options available to them. The result of this is often poor or misinformed decisions that impact their lives forever and doors that never open to them because they are not connected or afforded the same access as youth in families that have higher incomes.
The Invest Toronto document, Toronto’s agenda for Prosperity, identifies economic inclusion as a key part of the strategy for ensuring Toronto has a strong economic foundation. The report notes that Toronto’s youth population (aged 15 – 24 years) numbers about 320,000 and that Toronto’s youth unemployment rate hovers around 15% which is twice the rate for the general adult population. Recently, the OECD reported that many countries including Canada have experienced dramatic increases in youth unemployment in the past twelve months. For example, the unemployment rate for youth in Peel is at an all time high of 20%.
Economic development is about the process and policies that nations implement to improve the economic, political and social well-being of its people. The purpose of this proposed project is to engage a select number of youth in at-risk communities in the Greater Toronto Area. This project will expose them to business leaders, educational paths and careers they may not consider attainable that will expand their networks and leadership skills as well as encourage them to become active in effecting change in their neighbourhoods.
This proposed project supports one of the recommendations from Invest Toronto namely to ‘support community labour force development and increase opportunities for all Toronto residents to participate by building on public-interest partnership program models and provide demand led, individualized and community-focused employment supports and facilitate youth recruitment and retention.’
Creating innovation within tomorrow’s future leaders.
Project Team: Farheen Khan and Karen Kun
This two-person team came together early on in the fellowship with a shared passion for developing business skills and social enterprises within the 16-24 year old demographic in the city. Our experience told us this was an under-developed area with great potential in the GTA for city/skill building with a focus on creating innovation within tomorrow’s future leaders. Our research, which we will share with the DiverseCity panel, showed us what we suspected was correct.
Developing a P3 framework to resolve maintenance and upkeep issues within Toronto Community Housing properties.
Project Partner: Toronto Community Housing
Project Team: Wendell Adjetey, Julius Nyarko, Katie Rabinowicz, Salima Rawji, Melissa Tapper, Jasmine Tehara
TCH is largest social housing provider in Canada, the second largest in North America with164,000 tenants in 58,000 households. Average annual household income of TCH tenants is five times lower than the average Toronto residents. According to the TCH Community Management Plan, many TCH units and buildings are in need of large scale repairs placing a significant strain on TCH. Further, maintaining buildings will require an annual investment of $100 million per year. In light of these challenges, Toronto Community Housing is interested in exploring ways to leverage their land assets to solve the infrastructure gap.
Our project goal is to develop and implement a Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) framework that can be used to resolve maintenance and upkeep issues within TCH physical properties. Based on direction from TCH, we will use the O’Connor Parkview site as a case study, and intend our framework to be scalable across the TCH portfolio.