We are a committed group of west Toronto families helping our adult family members and friends with intellectual disabilities reach their potential. We believe that neighbourhood opportunities for knowledge and work / volunteer / social experience are KEYS to the successful creation of strong vibrant communities which include people with an intellectual disability.
KEYS’ new Program Co-ordinator Kristina and new staff support and Job Coach Rob joined us in April. Kristina partners her passion for holistic nutrition with helping our young adults grow and learn in our community. Rob brings his field experience and love of fitness and technology to work with KEYS. Welcome both to our KEYS’ team!
KEYS’ Community Contributors celebrated three new placements started at Pollock’s Home Hardware, Wise Daughter’s Workshop and at Smock Café and Wonder Workshop. THANKS to Victoria, our Community Contributor Co-ordinator for helping with these!
KEYS’ Volunteer Appreciation Lunch was held on April 26 to honour the wonderfully generous people who regularly give so many hours of their time to help support our daily activities. Their help is so appreciated on a weekly basis by all staff and participants! KEYS served them a delicious pasta primavera lunch and then KEYS was treated to a Button Beading workshop by our volunteer Jan.
Earth Day at High Park meant that KEYS put on their gloves and grabbed garbage bags to leave High Park a cleaner and greener site! We thank our friend Larissa for leading several walks, Lunch ‘n Learn days and FUNction@the Junction nights. Happy trails to Larissa as she settles in Calgary with the Alberta Association for Community Living.
Community Spirit Award from CEC presented to Lauren! KEYS was so proud of Lauren for winning this award. Her generous and kind spirit makes her very deserving of this recognition. BRAVO!
KEYS now looks forward to the next few weeks with enthusiasm as we welcome our community friends and partners to share new opportunities for growth and personal development. We strive for a positive, upbeat learning environment where Safety, Inclusion and Respect (SIR) are always our priorities.
March 12, 2013 – The last few weeks of winter at KEYS were full of sunshine and smiles. Under Jenny’s leadership and Victoria’s assistance the weeks flew by with fitness, good food, friendship and work placements in the Junction business community.
KEYS’ Workshop for Workplace Success led by Victoria and Amanda was instructive and fun. Lots of role playing and games helped bring to life the helpful hints for workplace success created for our Community Contributors.
Our Community Contributors were honoured to receive from the Provincial Council of Exceptional Children, the CEC 2012 Business award. KEYS prepared a delicious feast and songfest for the award presenters at our March Community Lunch.
Fitness is a regular part of KEYS and we were thrilled to add a new KEYS’ group membership at the West End Y. We kicked it off with a splash doing aquafit and swimming. Regular visits to the Y are now part of our monthly schedule.
At Lunch’n Learn, “Celebrity Chefs” have been visiting us regularly to teach us new recipes. Chefs Joanna, Chris, and Lupé have joined Chef Monica to share with KEYS’ safe food handling and tasty lunches made from wholesome ingredients.
The highlight of our Eating Out day this month was going to the restaurant where Lauren works. She greeted her KEYS’s friends and even took a small break from her duties to join them at lunch!
During Art with Alex, KEYS has been exploring many media including making masks for self expression.
With the days getting warmer, KEYS now looks forward to a Spring filled with new learning, working and recreational experiences ….stay tuned!
KEYS was re-charged and ready to kick off 2013 with healthy goals while having fun! Our weekly walks and workouts are a great way to stay fit. KEYS’ participants enjoy taking turns leading the exercise, stretching or doing yoga!
After a great holiday it was back to KEYS in early January for our young adults. Under Jenny’s leadership and Victoria’s assistance they were energized to start the year off with healthy habits – fitness, good food, friendship and contributing to the Junction business community.
Work placements at neighbourhood businesses and services resumed with enthusiasm. The unusually warm days of January allowed neighbourhood walks to complement the regular workouts at rpm where the spinning, stretching and sports are enjoyed by all.
Smart shopping for healthy foods to create yummy lunches is an important skill we learn every week. Using local food store flyers helps us practice reading and good money skills. Vegetables and choices based on Canada’s Food Guide are a big hit with KEYS!
KEYS’ participants share their food preferences and like to try new flavours. We thank Monica, our celebrity visiting chef from Espresso Mi Vida for introducing us to yummy South American flavours. KEYS also enjoyed our monthly eating out day at the Espresso Mi Vida winterlicious lunch.
The highlight at the end of the month was preparing our Community lunch where our guests Pastors Lagud and Nestor, from the Halleleujah Church where we cook temporarily on Wednesdays, as well as Christine from the Junction BIA, Monica, and our webmaster Adam joined us for a Friday feast…yummy!
KEYS now looks forward to a February filled with new learning and recreational experiences ….stay tuned!
It was a joyous and fun KEYS Family Christmas Pot Luck this past week at the Junction. We all enjoyed the many and varied delicious food contributions put on the table for all to share. The festive atmosphere was created with singing and the musical chair game where it was a race to the end between Sean and Michelle beating out all other adults, with Sean having the last “seat” J. Lots of laughs and good giggles for all!
We took a few minutes to recognize the invaluable leadership provided by Jenny as Lunch ‘n Learn Leader and by Victoria as our Community Contributor Co-ordinator as well as L’n L support. THANK YOU!!
Importantly, we also value the BIG hearts of our volunteers who regularly come out to lend a hand. Katie Saundercook, Agnes Arbuckle, Monica, Chris, Janis and Adam Fore all are part of our KEYS family now. In particular, one volunteer has made a tremendous difference as a helper, a teacher and an exemplary KEYS’ ambassador, Caroline Orr. As Caroline moves on to her new life in Newmarket we wish her only the best and will always welcome her visits to KEYS. THANK YOU!
KEYS has been fortunate to have many wonderful and generous family and friends who support us with their time, their ideas and their finances to help achieve full, active participation for our young adults in our west Toronto community. THANK YOU!
KEYS looks forward to 2013 as a year to continue facilitating employment, volunteer, learning and recreational opportunities for young adults with all levels of ability.
On behalf of the Board, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year! Enjoy the holidays. We kick off the new KEYS’ term on Monday January 7, 2013! - Cheerz, Hélène
West Toronto KEYS to Inclusion, together with their many friends and supporters, celebrated on the evening of Wednesday Oct 3 2012 at the Community Junction, owned and operated by Community Living Toronto.
KEYS stands for ( Knowledge + Experience = Your Success). We believe that neighbourhood opportunities for knowledge and work / volunteer / social experience are KEYS to the successful creation of strong, vibrant communities which include people of ALL abilities.
And there was cause for celebration:
1. KEYS is celebrating its first Birthday of Lunch n Learn at the Junction. – 5 years ago a dream was shared by 8 families whose young adult was graduating from high school and wanted to be active and visible in the community. Lunch n Learn kicked off in September 2011 with Meghan Bruni as the Leader. Today the many talents of Jenny Saundercook lead our participants to new discoveries about themselves, their community and nutritious and delicious meal planning and preparation. Much of this has been made possible because of our second success –
2. KEYS’ wonderful partnership with Community Living Toronto who so generously have given us the beautiful shared space at Community Junction to use daily for KEYS’ Lunch ‘n Learn. In addition, Community Living Toronto has provided invaluable volunteers to assist at Lunch’n Learn as well as collaboration with KEYS to create choices for our young adults…the most recent being – the monthly Friday night social called Function at the Junction..you are welcome to attend – if you are under 30 J.
3. Our most important success is KEYS’ participants and their abilities– A picture is worth a thousand words so let’s watch this 5 minute video – created by Ihor Macijiwsky. It captures the spirit of our stars and KEYS to Inclusion!
Thank YOU to all of our friends…including the many prize sponsors who are listed at the end. It is through your generous support that our participants continue to have keys to good cooking, to continued learning, keys to friendships and keys to community placements in the neighbourhood.
An evening like this could not have happened without the tremendous team effort of the Friendraiser Planning team led by KEYS’ Treasurer and Fundraiser extraordinaire Susan Spencer Macijiwsky. Cindy Abols, Christine Miokovic, Janis Todd, and Amanda Salzberger all contributed over the last three months their creativity, their contacts and their energies to make the evening magical – THANK YOU!
We believe that neighbourhood opportunities for knowledge and work / volunteer / social experiences are KEYS to the successful creation of strong, vibrant communities which include people of ALL abilities.
The monies raised will give us more keys to help open doors of opportunity for our young adults with an intellectual disability…doors to learning, friendship and active community participation.
We hope YOU can join us at our next celebration – stay tuned!
Hélène Paulyn Murray
We gratefully thank our very generous and kind
PRIZE DONORS AND SPONSORS
The Abols Family
The Basket Company
Kristina Beaubien Massage Therapist
The Brady Family
Breathe Yoga Studio
Butcher by Nature
Cappucci Hair Salon and Spa
The Changing Nest
Cheri di Novo
Cinelli Hair Salon
Downward Dog Yoga Studio
Guelph: Bulk Barn / Everyday Style / Food Basics / Freshco / Roy’s No Frills
Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo, along with the West Toronto Junction Historical Society’s Brendan Fitzpatrick, were special guests at a luncheon hosted by the West Toronto KEYS to Inclusion, prepared by adults with intellectual disabilities.
DiNovo and Fitzpatrick dined with KEYS (Knowledge + Experience = Your Success) participants at their monthly meal, Friday, Dec. 23.
The Lunch’n Learn activity is the first initiative KEYS launched in September after its move to 2934 Dundas St. W. in the heart of the retail strip.
“We cook every day together,” said KEYS Lunch’n Learn co-ordinator Meghan Bruni. “On Fridays, we cook a meal together and we share it with people in the community who have supported KEYS.”
So far, KEYS has five members in its new space, which is run by the members’ parents, said Bruni.
Since its inception last year, KEYS continues to strive to help create neighbourhood opportunities for learning, work, volunteer and social experiences for people with an intellectual disability, according to its president Helene Paulyn Murray.
“KEYS believes this is integral to the successful creation of strong and vibrant communities, which include people of all abilities,” she said.
KEYS’ aim is to ensure that its partnership with Community Living Toronto is highlighted through its work at the Junction location. The goal is to provide services to people with an intellectual disability within the community they live.
KEYS was founded by about a dozen families, who banded together to help their adult children with intellectual disabilities reach their full potential. The creation of KEYS was in response to a lack of activities for developmentally handicapped adults, one of its founders, Patricia Patterson, told The Villager in an interview last year.
The Lunch’n Learn activity is comprised of a two-hour lunch that involves cooking, meal planning and shopping together, said Bruni. It offers participants crucial life skills, she explained.
KEYS’ mission is to increase its relationship with the business community while providing a physical space for young adults to call their own.