Volume 01 | February 2018
You asked for more communication and we listened! Welcome to the first edition of SISTERING CONNECTS, an e-newsletter designed to keep us all in touch with each other. Got a comment? Story idea? Photo to share? We're looking for input so please contact Tekla with all your good ideas.
Volunteer Update
Zenia has a roster of committed volunteers who support Sisters Kitchen, Medical Reception, social recreation programs and more, and January 27's Volunteer Orientation hosted 12 women eager to come on board. If you have an idea for a program that could be supported by Volunteers, table it with your Coordinator and Zenia.
Makeover Madness!
Over the next few months, the reception area and the exterior foyer will be getting a makeover! Stay tuned for more details and if you have questions, please see Tekla.
New Partnership
Sistering has signed on to the newly formed Parkdale Interagency Referral Network. The group’s goal is to create an accessible online referral access point making it easier to access legal services resulting in shorter wait times and way less anxiety.
Fundraisers Showed Us
the Love
Community fundraisers have raised over $30,000 for Sistering since March 2017! These wonderful folks act as Sistering ambassadors, increasing the public’s awareness of the good work we do AND raising vital funds for our programs. Supporters baked, organized dance parties and concerts - Wendy Bryant, pictured right, held psychic readings at Happy Soul - and sold everything from coffee to wedding dresses to help Sistering. Upcoming events include: Nightwood Theatre’s Cabaret Nights scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day and a Marathon run in May.
Outreach: Seniors Learn How to Say No and a Whole Lot More

Fifteen participants took part in an interactive workshop presented by Sarah from West Neighbourhood House on developing assertiveness skills to use when they feel taken advantage of or just want to say “NO” but find that difficult to do. Sarah also ran a group on social interactions and dealing with isolation - ice breaker bingo opened up great conversation and a lot of laughter!
Samantha Channing offered an innovative Art Therapy program, inviting participants to paint themselves as they see, feel and think about themselves. Then Samantha   went with 10 women to the ROM to explore galleries showcasing self-portraits. Group exercises were used to engage the women and open up discussions about how they felt during their recent work on self-portraiture at the Outreach.
Francine Dick, a financial planner and advisor, presented a workshop on budgeting on a low income. This topic clearly resonated because we had a full house: 15 women signed up to take part. 
Evening Medical Clinic Hours

Our evening Medical Clinic launched on Thursday, January 11 – hours are 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The clinic is staffed by Dr. Nikki Bozinoff, new to ICHA; she’ll see patients - no appointment needed – on the 3 rd floor, focusing on women who only access Sistering in the evening.
Amanda Ross from Jean Tweed will be with us every other Thursday on the 3 rd floor providing counselling services in 30- minute slots.Teya will be supporting the 3 rd floor team. Please let evening participants know.

Take note: We’re launching Harm Reduction programming at the same time – watch for an update later this month.
Drop In

A shout out to the team -- thank you for working so hard to reduce participant baggage in the Drop In, and to get rid of unclaimed bags. No easy task!
We’re planning special events to celebrate Chinese New Year (February 16) and Black History Month (February 1 – 28). We bet you also have some great ideas so step up and share them with your Coordinator.
Attention front line Drop In staff: TDIN is hosting a one-day conference March 20 at the 519 exploring current trends, critical issues and emerging best practices and policies. If you'd like to attend please alert your Coordinator so we can book Relief to cover your shift.

Sisters Kitchen

Nicolette and the Sisters Kitchen team create delicious and nutritious meals thanks in large part to partnerships that provide us with healthy ingredients. Kudos to:
Creating Health Plus, in partnership with Food Reach, who regularly supply us with milk, eggs, yogurt, vegetables, fruit and occasionally ground beef and chicken. We also receive extra fruit – apples and plums – and crates for eggs from Mazon Canada, supporters of the Creating Health Plus program.

Smoothie alert: we’re also getting a new VitaMix Blender through the CH+ Program, thanks to special funding.

And big thanks to Sunny Sharma, owner of Sherni’s Authentic Cooking Sauces (vegetarian Indian meal sauces) for supplying us with another scrumptious chicken curry dinner through his Foods That Heal Program. Want to cook with Sunny’s sauces at home? Or try out a recipe?
Welcome Aboard!

Melissa Troemel has joined the team as Office and Building Coordinator – pop by her office and give her a warm Sistering welcome. We’re also delighted to welcome three new Relief Staff for the Kitchen – Rai Daud, Deborah Reid and Michelle Goldfinger. They jumped in to help during the busy holiday season and continue to support the heart of our home. And Don Arsenault has come on board as our new Thursday driver and will also support Junior as a relief driver.

And a sad goodbye
Dr. Rowe, who has made a difference in the lives of Sistering participants for almost seven years, is leaving. At her going away party, Dr. Rowe said that Sistering was the first place where she felt she belonged. "It has been one of the greatest pleasures of my work career to be a part of Sistering and I thank you for allowing me to come," she said. We’ll miss her!
Myriam, Kate, Jocelyn and the Sistering team and participants have been on the front lines raising awareness of the shelter crisis and lobbying for an increase in women-only shelter space as well as an increase in affordable housing. Teya and Melody facilitated an afternoon work group exploring further action -- if you want to contribute to our advocacy efforts please speak to your Coordinator.

Tina S. continues to support the Fair Fare Coalition and recently deputed at the Toronto Budget discussions. Please see Tina for more information and ways to get involved.

Tekla is supporting Women's Habitat who is pulling together a variety of other feminist organizations and advocates to push the City to use the gender equity budgeting tool this year - they have committed to do so since 2016 but it hasn't happened.
Outreach: Arts Programming

Quilt making with Lorna Sayed continues each Friday and Marika Groenendijk will be running another sewing program, possibly on Tuesdays, teaching women fundamentals such as mending, hemming and sewing on buttons. Marika has held a preliminary meeting with participants to gauge interest and engage them in lesson planning.