Volume 02 | March 2018
SISTERING CONNECTS
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Celebrate International Women's Day!
Fundraising has been working with several groups in the City who are excited to be holding events around International Women’s Day to raise awareness and money for Sistering!

Dr. Marnie Luck, a Naturopathic Doctor, is organizing an event at The Drake on March 8 – Vagina Dialogues – a fun filled informative evening about “everything health class never taught you". Sistering's very own Dr. Cheryl Rowe will be on the panel!

Nightwood Theatre Young Innovators are presenting Fempocalypse on March 9 – a feminist cabaret.
 
T oronto Women in Music and herHabitat present an International Women’s Day Celebration Concert with the awesome Skye Wallace, Lydia Persaud, Winona Wilde, and Merival.

And last but certainly not least …. Jennifer Lau of Fit Squad Toronto is presenting a workout event at Move All Women’s Fitness Club to celebrate International Women’s Day, March 8 from 7 – 9 pm.

You asked for opportunities to connect with each other outside of Sistering and we listened.

We'd like to invite you and a guest to attend the events - or put together a group of your Sistering colleagues and socialize with each other while you celebrate women’s achievements and contributions in Canada and around the world.

Here's the complete list of events. Check the list out here!

For tickets, please email: tcai@sistering.org by March 5, 2018 with the event you’d like to attend.

But don’t wait: tickets are limited!
Community Support
Teya and the team submitted an RFP for a Harm Reduction Housing Support Worker to the City of Toronto to provide additional support to some of our existing housing partnerships. We also asked for additional rent supplements for women who are using substances and are couch surfing or living in precarious housing and don't meet the criteria for the City of Toronto's available rent supplements. We should hear back by the beginning of April.

Great news! Two existing contracts with the City of Toronto for follow-up support and Hostels to Homes staff (4.5 FTE's) got extended to 2020 .

We're finalizing contracts with the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) for a one-year project working with newcomer women in an integrated model of case support and psycho-educational skill building using mindfulness and wellness recovery action planning (WRAP). MCI has indicated they're very interested in the model. The project will start slowly in the spring of 2018 with a full rollout in September.

The evening medical clinic is running smoothly and there's been good pickup/attendance for both primary care and trauma informed counselling.

We've experienced a flurry of housing activity: the Housing Worker and Case Support team helped 10 women secure private market housing and rent supplements in the first six weeks of 2018! Kudos to the team, Laura Mclean in particular, and especially to the women accessing Sistering services who hustled to find available housing units!
Toronto Drop-In Network Update
Sistering is a member of the Toronto Drop In Network (TDIN). TDIN is an active coalition of over 50 drop in centres in Toronto. TDIN has asked that all our staff create Personal Profiles on their website.

Here's how:
1. Go to the homepage of  www.tdin.ca < http://www.tdin.ca >

2. Click on < Join >

3. Complete the form that appears on the screen

You will be able to access resources, for example on harm reduction, housing and homelessness and sex work, and join or start discussion threads. Check out the Advocacy Toolkit, which Sistering helped work on! You can also easily see hours of operation, meal times etc. for all the drop ins.

Participants and Peers can join the website as well, if you'd like to pass this on and help them do it.
Advocacy Win!
The Fair Fare Pass will be implemented April 4! In the first year, those on social assistance will receive the senior and student discount, so $115.50 for a metropass - a savings of $30.50! - or $2.00 tokens on the Presto card, and there is no fee for the Presto card.

The Fair Fare Coalition, of which Sistering is an active member, and TTC Riders have been fighting for free TTC for those on social assistance, and a $50 metropass for low-income wage earners.

We're still fighting for this, but the Fair Fare Pass is a first step!
Volunteers in Action
Sistering's participation in the United Way Days of Caring resonated with the volunteers who spent time in the Kitchen. The takeaway? To quote two of them:
"Seeing the teamwork of the kitchen staff . . . how much they enjoy the jobs they do and knowing how much what they do matters."

"Working in the kitchen with my colleagues and members who use the services at Sistering who were also volunteers . . . I loved how the employees at Sistering knew the drop in members by name! That must make them feel like they have some sort of 'home' even if it's not permanent."

We're gearing up to celebrate International Women's Day with Sistering's trademark spirit!
Members of the University of Toronto chapter of Amnesty International are preparing something special for the women - details to come - and the group is also helping in the Kitchen the week of March 5 to 9.

Members of the University of Toronto chapter of Oxfam are coming back this month to offer bi-weekly Kitchen help on Sundays.

We have interviewed new volunteers for the Kitchen, both day and evening beading programs, and the yoga program. Once we have them confirmed, we'll send out an introduction so you can welcome them to the Sistering family.

And March 10 is Spa Day in Drop In from 2:00 - 5:00.

Our next volunteer orientation is on Saturday March 3 - the date of the annual IWD march!
If you have an idea for a program that could be supported by Volunteers, table it with your Coordinator and Zenia.
Outreach News

  Our seniors' workshops on mindfulness and ways to deal with depression continue to be well attended.

Samantha Channing, our Seniors Grant Facilitator, is hosting a trip to the AGO to view the Access to Art exhibition. "Creativity," say the exhibition's curators, "fosters emotional wellbeing, reinforces memory, cultivates a positive approach to life that enhances the immune system, and can help combat depression."

Outreach celebrated Black History Month, Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year with - you guessed it! - special activities and meals and treats that went a long way to brighten those dark February days!

We have welcomed some new participants, women from the women's shelter across the street.
Sistering in the Media

Sistering has been on the front lines all winter, lobbying and deputing for more shelter beds especially in women-only spaces. So it was no wonder that toronto.com asked if we would write a guest editorial. Melody Grant, Drop In Coordinator, crafted a strong plea for justice. "For those unable to navigate an over-saturated system," she wrote, "the folks being left behind and remaining in unsafe situations are often the most vulnerable of an already marginalized population. A commitment to ensure 1,000 beds are added this year is needed now – all Toronto residents deserve to have their basic human rights met." 
Stop the Presses

Second Harvest is launching its first-ever cookbook - and Sistering's uber delicious Sweet Potato Soup is featured! This is Second Harvest's first cookbook and the ai m is to publish it towards the end of summer 2018. It will be distributed for free to all agency partners and the jury is still out as to whether the cookbook will be available for sale.

Agencies were invited to submit a recipe featuring an ingredient found on the Second Harvest truck, and just under 80 agencies submitted recipes. Second Harvest then chose the agencies to be highlighted through photography shot especially for the book - and Sistering was one of them! Agencies were chosen based on a number of factors, including longstanding relationships, demographic served and size and scope of programming. Said Second Harvest's Keira Toffelmire, Senior Manager, Programs and Community Relations, "Sistering is a very special organization to me. I live in the community and admire greatly the work you and your team do, everyday. You are an irreplaceable service and space in this City."
Sistering in the Community

Patricia O'Connell, Carol Danis and Debra Neil were the featured speakers at a Stop the Violence Breakfast hosted by The Canadian Federation of University Women: Etobicoke. Patricia spoke to Sistering's role in supporting marginalized and at risk women, Carol presented a primer on intimate partner violence and Debra spoke of her personal experience as a survivor of violence. By all accounts the team made an outstanding presentation - Debra received a standing ovation - and opened new doors to community support.
Sisters Kitchen

In honour of Chinese New Year, we had 10 participant volunteers led by Yin and Mrs. Kwan making almost 1000 vegetarian dumplings for the special luncheon on Tuesday, February 13th. We served fresh fish and fried rice along with special Chinese sweets.

Valentine's Day was quite a hit! Thanks to Wendy and Marian, our awesome Fund Development team, we received 500 boxes of Russell Stover chocolate hearts! And thanks to the team for distributing and to Junior who coordinated pickup and delivery of the huge donation from Lindt.

To celebrate Black History Month, the Kitchen team, led by Ashanti, Myriam and Tia, hosted a special evening Friendship meal including oven-fried jerk chicken, rice, Jamaican beef patties, roti, homemade vanilla ice cream and fruitcakes.
On Wednesday, February 21st, Maureen, Tia and Sandy led the Kitchen team in preparing 175 lbs of goat curry, rice and peas, fried plantain, red bean soup with dumplings and coconut bars for dessert.

On Wednesday, February 28th Shantal, Maureen and Sandy coordinated an evening meal featuring Drumming as entertainment. On the menu: Red bean soup with dumplings, potatoes and salt beef , Jollof rice, baked chicken, fried plantain, steamed bok choy, cauliflower and carrots, Creole sauce, crispy fried jerk tofu and pastries.
Congratulations!

Congratulations and best wishes to Orly Bitov, Relief Staff at Sistering for 10 years, who is embarking on a new career as a therapist. Thank you, Orly, for your contributions and commitment to Sistering and the women we serve. You will be missed. Orly will be with us for this next rotation if you would like share your good wishes in person; after that she will only be taking shifts at Outreach.
On the Path

We offered a Micro-Business Workshop Series this February, which included guests from the ODSP Parkdale Office to talk about ODSP Employment Supports and from Rise Asset Development to talk about their Peer Mentorship Program and how to get a small business loan.

And On The Path continues to offer individual support for career development, job search, resumé-writing and support for volunteering, education and training.