UNITED CHURCH WESTON
Toronto West Presbytery
The goal of our ministry in Weston is to live out our faith
through our witness and actions. "Witness and action" is shaped by
the needs of our community which has evolved rapidly into a neigbbourhood with
many "inner city" characteristics and needs. The situation is
compounded further by the fact
"Witness and Action" is shaped by
the needs of our community
that this is one of the most under serviced
areas for municipal and social services in the city of Toronto. Our location on the former Main Street of Weston (now Weston Road) provides a high profile.
readily accessible community meeting place.
Our first initiative was the
sponsorship of a 119 unit not-for-profit seniors housing project known as the
Central King Seniors Residence. This was built on church property leased to the
project, and adjoins the church itself.
First opened in 1994, CKSR has become a
model of its kind for the quality of its facilities, the caring community it
has become and its effective, responsive administration and management.
second initiative, started some seven years ago, was to host a community dinner
on Tuesday evenings. The purpose was to provide a hearty wholesome meal and an
opportunity to meet friends in a warm welcoming environment. This program has
expanded over the years to include the provision of a variety of services to
meet the needs of our clientele. These needs include good used clothing, help
with finding housing, replacing lost identification documents, health issues
(including HIV, AIDS and drug issues), immigration concerns, etc. With the
introduction of federal funding through the Supporting Community Partnership
Initiative Program (SCPI) administered by the City of Toronto, we received grants to expand
our work. Our neighbourhood centre is now open three days a week and we have a
full time program coordinator and a part-time street worker on staff. We have
also upgraded our equipment and facilities to provide better service to our
clients. Our upgrades include the provision
of shower and laundry facilities.
We are currently completing Incorporation as the Weston King Neighbourhood
Centre to help us obtain funding grants far the ongoing operations of the
Centre in the future.We have also developed two seasonal
programs in partial response to the needs of children in our community. Due to
the lack of parks and Recreation programs in this area of the city, four or
five years ago we started "fun Fridays" for children in the months of
July and August.
The purpose was to provide a hearty wholesome meal and an
opportunity to meet friends in a warm welcoming environment.
In order to serve more children we have a separate
registration (or each month which allows us to work with approximately thirty
children per month. "Fun Fridays" include such activities as
handicrafts, games, a nourishing noonday meal, swimming in a private pool, and
a month-end outing, generally to Toronto Island. Response from the children
and their parents has been most rewarding, and we have received service club
and corporate funding in recognition of the value of the program.51 the winter
months, far the last couple of years, we have provided "Welcoming
Wednesdays," working with children from the public school across the
street from us. We give one-on-one homework help far children referred to us by
the school. This program is limited hi numbers, depending upon the availability
of volunteers. The program begins after school and includes a snack, with most
time spent on specific assigned schoolwork and concludes with a story time.
Students, parents and the school have been vocal in their appreciation of this
In conclusion, it must be stressed that
these last three programs would not exist without the help we receive in
planning and operations from the volunteers of neighbouring Westminster United,
Weston Park Baptist St. John's Anglican and Weston Presbyterian Churches, as
well as volunteers from the community at large. Further, many of the services
available to our service users through our neighbourhood centre are prΆΡvided by partner community and city
agencies, such as the Syme-Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre and
"The Works" - the Toronto Public Health Department. Our experience is
that by working with other like-minded people in the community we can accomplish
things none of us could do on our own.
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