by Amanda Young
“Three fruits, three vegetables, something salty, and something sweet,” I hear Josie D’Agostino, Program Coordinator at 1900 Sheppard’s Young Parent Resource Centre say to Thakchoe the Childcare Specialist (who’s kind of like Madonna, because she doesn’t have a last name and has acquired a sort of celebrity status among the clients and staff) as they prepare snacks for the evening’s programming.
Food is a reason to bring people together but it certainly isn’t the reason why tenants and community members continue to frequent 1900 Sheppard’s programs. Tonight’s program: creating a giant community canvas to represent the 1900 Sheppard community. Youth begin to trickle in and look at the pictures splayed out on the table for them to choose and artfully cut up for the canvas. Paints, beads, and glue decorate the floor where they will all gather together to create a masterpiece. As they look through the pictures, the wealth of experiences they have shared together becomes a source for great conversation and they quickly begin to take trips down memory lane. Overnight camping, BBQ’s, awards ceremonies, and tons of pictures of children elicit laughter and conversation amongst the youth. Soon enough they sit down begin the art project for this evening’s program, which is being facilitated by one of the tenants who lives in the building. As the youth sit and complete the canvas together they talk about what they did that week, share childcare tips, and their summer plans. By the end of the evening, there is a giant canvas filled with memories, words of encouragement, and paint. It’s a nice feeling when most of the youth take out their phones to take pictures of what they all created together.
I get so excited when I find a community-based program that is really awesome. Shameless has a great blog, and I thought it should have some highlights of some great programs available in Toronto. The atmosphere at 1900 Sheppard is warm, honest, and welcoming. As a volunteer, I have some inside scoop about the program, the staff, and the tenants. 1900 Sheppard holds a very special place in my heart. So, as my first program profile, I chose 1900 Sheppard. Here it is, friends!
Who and What is 1900 Sheppard?
1900 Sheppard’s Young Parent Resource Centre is managed by Humewood House in partnership with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). (more inside…)