Community

Working for Change is a charitable organization that emphasizes the importance of work in the lives of people who have been marginalized. We operate social purpose enterprises including the Raging Spoon, leadership and pre-employment training programs, as well as providing community – based research and public education on issues related to poverty, mental health and addictions, violence against women and newcomer/refugee challenges.

 

otwcafeOut of This World Café and Espresso Bar

Originally a vocational rehabilitation program run by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Out of This World Café was divested to Working for Change in 2002 to be operated as a social purpose enterprise. In recent years, OTW has dramatically expanded its service, providing a range of delicious food items from its storefront location at 100 Stokes Street and from The Grill, which is located in the mall of CAMH at 1001 Queen Street. In addition OTW provides catering services to many customers within CAMH and in central Toronto.

Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises

Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises is a social purpose horticulture business that installs and maintains outdoor and indoor plants for Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), non-profit organizations, hospitals, the private sector, and community groups. PGTE works with customers to design plantings for streetscapes (large planters, hanging baskets and small gardens) and office/institutional interiors. The staff can recommend plants to accent an office’s architectural features, and respond to particular lighting conditions. Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises also provides grounds keeping services for the non-profit housing sector.

Grassroots Research

Individuals who live in or are part of a particular community are often very effective in carrying out research projects as they typically have an in-depth understanding of issues such as poverty and homelessness and they may be able to engage research participants more effectively than professionals. Working for Change trains community members to: participate in the development of questionnaires, interview research participants, facilitate focus groups and participate in data analysis. The community researchers learn a number of transferrable skills through the training they receive.

Voices form the Street

Voices from the Street provides economically, politically and socially marginalized individuals from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to bring their voices and perspectives to decision-making bodies that shape public policy. Graduates from the program are part of a Speakers Bureau that creates opportunities for members to advocate for societal change and reduce stigma and discrimination. Members of the Speakers Bureau are available to speak on various topics related to poverty, mental health issues, addictions, homelessness, domestic violence and newcomer issues.

Women Speak Out

Women Speak Out, was a leadership training program that operated from 2011 to 2014. It used a gender lens to explore social justice issues. Graduates of WSO are active members on a range of advisory committees and community boards and they have participated in international and national exchanges with other grassroots women’s groups. They are also members of our Speakers Bureau. In 2013, WSO won the Women Transforming Cities Best Practices Award for their work.