KGO ACT (All Community Together) Initiative
In 2015 the Toronto Trillium Foundation generously funded the creation of a three year place-based strategy to address structural and systemic barriers youth face to accessing the supports they need to thrive in Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park (KGO). This innovative project has been named by local youth KGO ACT: All Community Together.
KGO ACT is a neighbourhood wide project that supports service delivery organizations to increase their capacity to effectively engage youth. To do this, KGO ACT focuses on increasing meaningful opportunities for youth to engage in and influence the programs, services, and opportunities that affect their lives.
In order for youth to meaningfully influence their surroundings, they need supportive environments in which to hone their leadership skills. Therefore, fostering youth leadership is fundamental to the KGO ACT initiative. The development of leadership skills is primarily accomplished through the intentional support of youth-led ‘demonstration projects’ hosted by several different community organizations. The premise behind demonstration projects is that “bringing youth to the table” in a traditional sense has not often worked well. The “table” and the norms of social service organizing are not necessarily compatible with the passions, self-expression and work styles of youth. Instead of bringing youth into spaces dominated by adults, the demonstration projects support youth to:
- affect change in their communities through activating their own ideas
- build their leadership capacity
- learn about data collection and analysis and presentation
- understand how their neighbourhood is like an eco-system and that they and their peers can connect to it, influence it and benefit from it in multiple different ways
- strategically engage with organizations to articulate the changes, ideas and innovations they would like to see implemented in local youth programming
Demonstration projects include:
Let’s Inspire for Today (L.I.F.T.) – Youth develop their own leadership capacity in order to foster stronger youth-led civic engagement and action for change. Youth engage in and provide peer support in: group facilitation, project management, research methods, and more.
Youth Sports Unlimited – focuses on creating positive connections and sense of belonging amongst youth through sports and recreation.
Walk in My Mocs – focuses on addressing community issues through the lens and teachings of Indigenous culture. They aim to create greater access to information about programs and services and host events for marginalized youth by marginalized youth.
Art Fusion with KGO – a community arts mentorship program for youth by youth working to build skills and enjoyment in the arts and project management. They are currently working toward completing projects in 3 art forms: photography, theatre and culinary arts.
KGO ACT Network Meetings – If you are an organization of any kind that is interested in attending meetings or wants to learn more about this initiative and how you might be involved please contact Ewa Cerda-Llanos, Manager of Community and University Partnerships at the East Scarborough Storefront at 647-347-1693 ext. 30 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WaterWise, a festival to learn about and celebrate water took, place on Saturday September 17th, 2016 from 12-4 pm. WaterWise is a family friendly festival with games, face painting, food and many interactive activities designed to teach us about water. Come out to have some fun and learn all about water!
East Scarborough Run for Fun
On Saturday, September 19th, 2015, the first ever East Scarborough Run for Fun brought 150 people out to run, walk, or bike a beautiful 5K through Morningside Park from The East Scarborough Storefront to The Valley at The University of Toronto Scarborough. Our main goal was to activate our community with fun physical activity. The smiling faces and sea of blue and red T-shirts in the event day video below says we reached that goal!
Thank you for participating, fundraising, making a donation, or supporting us in other ways. You’ve helped ensure that kids in our community have places and opportunities to play.
Learnings from the KGO-UTSC Partnership
The UTSC/KGO Initiative is intended to foster mutually beneficial collaboration between UTSC and the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park (KGO) community with overall goals of:
- Sharing insights gleaned through academic and community work
- Using knowledge, opportunities and facilities available through UTSC to strengthen the KGO community
- Using the Storefront’s networks and collaborations to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement in the KGO community to UTSC students and staff
Storefront launch of evaluation of groundbreaking community/university partnership Summary: The first years of The Partnership (2011-2014) have been very successful, not only from the perspective of community residents, but also from that of partnering organizations, students, and faculty. The KGO-UTSC Steering Committee have laid out a plan for the next five years to help us attain our vision and mission.
- KGO-UTSC Partnership: Planning for the Future
- An Emerging Model for Meaningful Community-University Partnership: Evaluation of the KGO-UTSC Partnership (2011-2014)
Some of our activities included:
- Course: Mindfulness and the Arts
- Course: Writing Your Life
- East Scarborough Run for Fun
- Soccer-Baseball at UTSC
- Learn To Play Tennis 2014 Program
- Spring Tennis Program
- Summer Tennis Program
- KGO Kicks Soccer Club
- 2nd annual Community Connections Leadership Forum
- Understanding Your Environment – A 6 week course for residents of KGO
- Learn to Play Tennis – Summer program for youth
- Resident Rising, NAP and University of Toronto Scarborough Safety Project
- YouTube video: KGO Community Safety Project
- WaterWise: Every Drop Counts – A festival to learn about and celebrate water
- 1st annual Community Connections Leadership Forum
- The Lives of the Poet: A hands-on intro to writing poems
Click here to visit the Community Archives – a collection of essays written by students from the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.
The KGO-UTSC Partnership was awarded the Vital Ideas Award from the Toronto Foundation in 2014. Receiving the Vital Ideas Award has meant that we were able to share our reciprocal learning model with national and international university staff, faculty and students and community organizations. Special thanks to our supporters!
The Community-University Sports Connection is generously funded by the Jays Care Foundation. This initiative is a partnership between the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Recreation and Athletic Department and the East Scarborough Storefront. By participating in the program, youth from the Kingston Galloway/Orton Park community are able to access University facilities and professional training and coaching in baseball, tennis, soccer.