Community Volunteer-Led Programs
We want to thank our volunteers Olga and Nayan for giving generous gifts of their time and energy to our after school programs. Olga has been running the Fun with Numbers program for children JK through Grade 4 and Nayan is facilitating an interactive science program for children Grade 1 through Grade 4. Due to COVID-19, both these programs are currently being offered online through Google classroom and Google meet.
On the topic of COVID-19 and the way they have adapted the classes, Olga said:
“The COVID-19 challenges didn’t stop us from having fun with our classes, with more than 10 children taking part in weekly activities such as counting, number craft, and interactive math puzzles. All which have been recently conducted through video classes on Google classroom. We laugh, socialize, and explore in every class. If you want your child to gain new knowledge, and simply love math while making new friends,; the Fun with numbers class is perfect for them”.
Interested in joining these programs? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Access St. James Town Tax Clinic
The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO), The Corner, Health Access, Sri Lankan Accountants Association of Canada and a volunteer group from The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program have recently provided an online tax clinic for the St. James Town community. Amid growing COVID-19 concerns, the tax clinic was provided to more than 60 vulnerable residents who do not have access to a computer or other means to complete their taxes. This would not have been possible without the help and expertise of Shawn Sarvaa, CPA/CGA of the (SAAC) and his team, and Amanda Chen who led the volunteer-led tax clinic.
St. James Town Service Providers’ Network and COVID-19
It has been widely argued that the global COVID-19 pandemic has been a “great equalizer” of sorts in how it has become a shared experience across streets, borders, and oceans. While true, the pandemic has also been a great amplifier of pre-existing inequities, hitting the most socially and economically vulnerable communities the hardest. COVID-19 has brought to the surface the discrepancies that have ailed our neighbourhoods, cities, and countries for generations. And amidst the tragedy, opportunities have arisen to meaningfully address local and systemic shortcomings in a robust manner with a long-term, social justice and public health-oriented outlook.
The St. James Town Service Providers’ Network (SJTSPN) is a collective of diverse agencies focused on service coordination and integration in partnership with the St. James Town community. In lieu of widespread physical distancing protocols, many SJTSPN agencies have been delivering creative solutions to allow accessible services to continue uninterrupted. Meals are being cooked and delivered to home-bound residents and drop-in food programs (including pet food delivery) are actively running. Phone, text, online chat, and video supports, both one-to-one and in groups (and in many languages), are available for mental health and addictions, harm reduction, seniors, newcomers, families, prenatal, and immigration and settlement needs, amongst others. Employment opportunities for personal support workers (PSWs) are on the rise through virtual job fairs and recruitment events. And much more!
Services are being constantly adapted to meet evolving health and social needs, which, under COVID-19, have been changing by the minute. The SJTSPN continues to lead the way in collaborative service innovation, setting an example that we hope can be followed by other communities in Toronto.
For more information, visit www.stjamestown.org/sjtspn
- Robb Johannes, SJTSPN Co-Chair