Last month, KEYS’ participants were happy to show off their cooking skills for several community supporters by hosting them for a delicious and nutritious Bistro Lunch. The event was featured in Bloor West Snapd, a local magazine.

KEYS in Snapd

19 Jan 2016


KEYS celebrated 5 Years in 2016

Check our Facebook page for some great pix and stories from this past summer!

KEYS is looking forward to the next 5 years and beyond, with new activities in all three pillars designed to help our adults to continue to develop and grow in their community. 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 3 pillars of KEYS are:

  • On-Going Learning / the Arts
  • Work / Volunteer Experiences + Community Contributors
  • Social / Recreation / Fitness


On-Going Learning / the Arts

Lunch ‘n Learn at KEYS means a lot of great cooking based on healthy meal planning, local shopping and dining together. KEYS’ participants lead and learn as they prepare recipes for themselves and community guests. Growing and eating our own tomatoes and herbs this year was a great gardening project enjoyed by all. Literacy and numeracy practice daily is seamlessly built into all activities. Celebrity Chefs join us often to teach new skills and share good times.

The Arts in the form of music sessions and art expression are an important part of the KEYS’ program. A certified Art Therapist leads our participants in creative exercises that help connect feelings with different media.


Community Contributors

Our goal is to create win / win situations for business owners and our adults who have so much to offer in a business / service environment. This summer to our on-going group volunteering we have added Safehaven where we cooked and baked for the children and staff. We continue monthly to contribute at Habitat for Humanity ReStore, FoodShare and Safe Haven Project for Community Living. For individual placements we welcome our new partner Ola Daycare on Dundas.  More and more the value of our dedicated KEYS’ Community Contributors is being recognized.

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Social / Recreation / Fitness

Yoga classes, community walks and regular outings to the YMCA keep us fit as well as reinforce community navigation skills. Special seasonal outings to pumpkin orchards and nature trails all enhance our appreciation of the beauty of the countryside around us. And of course everyone loves a party – KEYS celebrates birthdays with friendship, fun and fabulous food!



Picture17 KEYS was created by families to advance our mission of facilitating employment, volunteer work, learning and recreational opportunities for people with an intellectual disability, to maximize their potential through integration into our west Toronto community.

07 Oct 2015

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.

As such, the 3 pillars of KEYS are:
• Ongoing Learning / the Arts
• Work / Volunteer Experiences
• Social / Recreation / Fitness Read more!

07 Oct 2014

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.

Earth Day with Larissa in High Park was a wonderful way for KEYS to contribute to a greener community. The “Blue Glove” patrol collected garbage for several hours and then had treats at the café..what a great way to  be clean and green.

1 Read more!

24 Jun 2014

Yes – it’s cold outside but contrary to what you might think, KEYS is focusing on “Keeping our Cool” ! Participants over 6 Saturday mornings got great coaching from Vita facilitators who gave individual pointers to all for how to deal with negative feelings – in a positive way ! THANK You Magda and Desmond. Check out our Facebook page for more pictures.


Lunching together after planning, shopping and prepping is the pivotal activity for KEYS – we welcomed  Joanna for a special Valentine’s baking session- such a treat! Thank YOU Joanna for your BIG heart! And how lucky are KEYS to have Celebrity Chefs Amanda, Kathy and Rob making from scratch pasta dishes, soups and even a little decadent brownie with whipped cream.


Contributing to our Community at various businesses is a key focus area for many of our participants. New local businesses opening their doors to KEYS’ participants include Pandemonium with Neill Cunningham being a great partner on Dundas Street in the Junction. Please do pop by and let him know how much we appreciate his support.


As a group KEYS started volunteering at Habitat for Humanity Re-Store where Leona and James welcomed us with a lesson on safety and HfH tee-shirts. We cleaned, swept, drilled, dusted and are very happy to come in regularly to lend a hand.


Safety, Inclusion and Respect are always our priorities whenever we are together. KEYS now looks forward to warmer weather to make getting around our neighbourhood  a little easier and to the promise of new spring adventures

07 Mar 2014

Yes – winter is here! And KEYS kicked it off with a trip to the Royal Winter Fair to learn about our food sources and farm animals. The horse show, feeding goats and seeing all the agricultural food produce were all big hits! Check out our photos on KEYS Facebook page.


Lunching together after planning, shopping and prepping is the pivotal activity for KEYS – we are so fortunate to have our guest Celebrity Chefs complement Kristina’s menus. Chefs Kathy, Amanda and Joanna  were cooking and baking with us these past few weeks, each bringing delicious and nutritious learning occasions to KEYS. It was also great to have our families share their favourite dishes at our annual KEYS’ Families and Friends’ Christmas party….yummy food and lots of laughter, singing and friendship.

Contributing to our Community at various businesses is a key focus area for many of our participants. In order to hone their business skills and set them up for success we held a workshop on Helpful Hints for a Successful KEYS’ Community Contributor.


THANKS to Amanda, Victoria and our new Community Contributor Co-ordinator – Kristina for teaching our young adults good business conduct.

KEYS embraces new learning opportunities and ways to engage with our community. This new year we will be exploring new KEYS’ group volunteer work as well as finding individual placements for our participants to meaningfully contribute to local businesses.


Safety, Inclusion and Respect continue to be our priorities whenever we are together. We look forward to learning from “Keeping your Cool”, a six week course from VITA  running January through February for all of our participants.  We see this year as another stepping stone to independence and more personal growth and development of life skills, our friendships and our contributions to our community.

01 Jan 2014


After a fantastic summer exploring the city and learning new skills, KEYS kicks off Fall with lots of fun planned to continue lunching, learning and contributing to our community.

Lunching together both at the Junction and in the ‘hood is a great way to connect daily. Eating yummy meals that we prepare ourselves is of course great, but so is the planning, shopping and socializing that envelops every meal. We are so fortunate to have Celebrity Chefs cooking with us this Fall – Monica from Espresso Mi Vida, KEYS’ Directors Amanda and Kathy, each bringing delicious and nutritious learning occasions to KEYS.



Learning about nature and how the season’s change in a fun way at Camp Tawingo was awesome! KEYS spent one fantastic fall weekend full of fun activities – canoeing, hiking, archery, crafts, rope mastery, cookouts, sports and a spectacular talent show at the family campfire night.

talent show


Friendship and fun for everyone! KEYS THANKS Kristina and Rob for their smiling support and energy !


13 Oct 2013


Learning and appreciating where our food comes from is a key point Kristina and our Celebrity Chefs repeat. A Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup made from scratch with chef Joanna showed KEYS how to make your own broth and discussed a variety of ingredients that could be used in soup. Chicken Caesar Salad with KEYS’ own anchovy dressing and croutons didn’t scare anyone from enjoying the salad. Homemade chocolate ice cream was a delicious treat from chef Monica – all plates were licked clean.

keys_2Learning about plants and what they need to grow was a great workshop taught to KEYS by Terri and Ron from the Toronto and Parkdale Horticultural Societies. They brought earth, buckets, petunias and pumpkin seeds for everyone to dig in and have fun.


keys_4Learning to express feelings through Art with Alex – KEYS participants decorated a quilt with words and thoughts on how they would like to be supported when they felt like they were in need. A KEYS’ talking stick was painted to be used as a listening tool so that all KEYS’ participants listen with respect to whomever is holding the talking stick.

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Learning to take good care of our teeth to have healthy smiles – The Dental Hygieniuses Natalie and Joanne came with their brushes, big teeth and floss to teach us the dental “jiggle wiggle” to best clean our teeth..and even to brush our tongues.

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KEYS now looks forward to July and August with themed Lunch ‘ n Learn cooking and excursions in and around our great community. A fun and safe summer is wished for all with great stories to share in September!


28 Jun 2013

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!

Smock Café and Wonder Workshop en-HH


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.

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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!

Lauren with Janice

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.



10 May 2013

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.

CEC_AwardFitness 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!

13 Mar 2013