Ujima House at the corner of Weston Rd. and Lawrence Ave. holds a treasure-trove of resources for young and potential fathers. Ujima is a Kwanzaa principle that means Collective Work & Responsibility (To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together).
Officially opened on June 21, 2011, Ujima House is a non-profit organization that focuses on meeting the needs of African-Canadian men. However, the centre warmly welcomes men of all ethnic backgrounds.
The only father-focused centre in Canada, services include one-on-one mentorship, parenting courses, supervised visitation areas, cooking lessons and help with legal matters.
I spoke to Ed Gough Jr., Program Coordinator at the centre about why the centre was created and the impact it has had on members of the community. “A lot of fathers feel like they are not being listened to or heard,” he said. “Many of the men who come here did not have stable, supportive father figures in their lives. Ujima House provides a safe environment for men to talk, share experiences, and learn from one another on how to become a better father for their children. When men feel safe, they are bound to open up.”
As social stereotypes surrounding the roles men and women play in raising children continue to erode, it is encouraging to know that a place like Ujima House exists.
Quickly approaching their 10 year anniversary, the centre is focused on expanding the services it provides to men beyond the Weston community. One initiative the centre hopes to have up and running by September 2018 is a series of free webinars and talks. Not only will this help to young and potential fathers outside the Weston community, it will also allow people who are not able to visit the centre access resources anytime they need it.
This Sunday, June 17th, 2018, Ujima House is hosting a Fathers’ Day Celebration. The event will take place from 11 AM-5 PM. Activities include an Annual General Meeting (11 AM-12 PM), drumming, and a Daddy Olympics which include a diaper changing competition. All are welcome!
Ujima House is located at 1901 Weston Road #18, York, ON, M9N 3P5.
For more information please see the flyer below.