For over 30 years, East End Children’s Centre (EECC) has operated two Ontario Early Years Child & Family Programs in the East Danforth neighbourhood at Terry Fox Community Centre, and the basement of Kimbourne United Church. These free drop-in programs provide an opportunity for children 0-6 and their caregivers to come together, network and learn from our staff in a safe, supportive, community building environment for families in Toronto’s East End.
Over the last decade there has been a surge in the child population in Toronto’s East End. This placed a demand on our programs that overwhelmed the resources available to service local children and families in safe way at each of the facilities. By 2011, room capacities were being reached at both sites within minutes of opening each day. Since then, children and families were turned away almost daily, in increasing numbers every year since.
Parents spoke out – It was a devastating experience for children, when they leave their homes in the morning hoping to come and play, only to find themselves repeatedly outside a locked door. Beyond the tears of these children, there was a larger impact. This action of turning away children, undermined the EECC’s commitment to supporting young families in this community.
In its strategic plan for 2016 – 2021, the East End Children’s Centre identified increasing community access to its programs as its highest priority, and the No Child Turned Away Campaign was born.
Because of the generosity of our community, The East End Children’s Centre was able to implement a limited expansion of its program at the Kimborne location, two extra mornings a week starting January 2017. This has resulted in reaching more children and families with our free, unstructured play program, offering 100 more child visits each week.
While there isn’t sufficient budget to operate both sites daily year-round, the East End Children’s Centre will offer these extra programming days during the coldest months of the year in 2017: January through April and November through to December.
On March 31st, we will celebrate this achievement by sharing breakfast with some of our community supporters and donors to recognize contributions in this important step toward our goal of implementing year-round programing available at both of our locations. With further new funding, EECC hopes to deliver a multi-year commitment to our Toronto’s East End to satisfy the community’s growing demand of programing for young families.
About East End Children’s Centre:
The East End Children’s Centre has served Families in Toronto’s East End for over 30 years with free, accessible play programs for the community’s infants, toddlers and preschool children. Our mission is to encourage a connected community of parents and caregivers focused on the optimal development of children 0 – 6 years of age. Funded by the City of Toronto and Ontario Early Years, and governed by a community board of directors, East End Children’s Centre offers a safe haven for isolated families, early learning activities for children, a healthy snack, circle time, school readiness programs for 3 & 4 year-olds, as well as evening and weekend programs.
East End Children’s Centre served 1083 children and 1038 parents/caregivers in 2016, who made a combined 19,707 visits to their two sites at 200 Wolverleigh Blvd and 2 Gledhill Ave in Toronto.
For more information, follow us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/East-End-Childrens-Centre-144350198908321/ or contact: Cathy Wright, Manager of East End Childen’s Centre firstname.lastname@example.org