Tucked between a high-rise building and rows of stores and apartments on Weston Road is a single-storey building that is the current home to a powerhouse that has been in our community for the past quarter century. While the back of the building serves as a food bank (that’s a story for another day), Frontlines (naturally) occupies the storefront entrance at 1844 Weston Road. Frontlines is a child and youth outreach centre, financed primarily through individual donors, along with fundraising and grants from small foundations. It operates six days a week under the leadership of Kristy Grisdale, Denise Gillard and Felix Opoku.
Along with 20 volunteers, the team serves around 200 neighbourhood children through a wide range of after-school activities. In the summer, Frontlines employs local students and young adults to assist with week-long camp experiences as well as a wide variety of daily activities. That’s not all—in a typical month, this small building produces 140 nutritious cooked meals, 130 packed lunches and dozens of healthy snacks for the homework club run in conjunction with the Macaulay Child Development Centre. All of this is done at a cost of $350 per child per year.
Program Manager Denise Gillard says that there is a tremendous need for Frontline’s services and they serve the tip of a very large iceberg. A McMaster graduate, Denise is an ordained Baptist minister who believes that improving lives in the community begins with respect. Fostering of wellness and respect is achieved through building relationships and providing meaningful programs.
In order to address our community’s growing needs, fundraising is a time consuming but essential activity. For example, student-cooked items can be purchased each Saturday at Weston Farmers’ Market. In April, the annual dinner held at Weston Golf and Country Club raised over $10,000 from 90 paying guests with 17 sponsors generously covering all costs. Another way of fundraising involves individual sponsorships – for example, it costs $350 to sponsor one child’s activities for a year, $315 will send a child to camp for a week, while $2800 will employ a student facilitator for the summer.
Frontlines’ next major fundraisers are:
Community Summer BBQ bash this Saturday, June 18 at Frontlines. Time: 11 a.m. To 6 p.m. Featuring BBQ favourites, baked goods, vendors and entertainers as well as TC3 – the Toronto Children’s Concert Choir and Performing Arts Company. No ticket required.
BIG breakfast on Saturday, June 25th at Frontlines. Time: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Tickets are $12.00 and attendees can enjoy a delicious meal while finding out more about Frontlines and meeting staff and volunteers. If you would like to attend, please RSVP at 416-244-7017.
It has been about a year since the Pelmo/Swanek community members were abuzz with talk about the proposal to relocate St. John the Evangelist Catholic School to Swanek Park. This would have resulted in many of the residents surrounding the park losing their homes. Since then, things have been very quiet around the park. The playground remains in desperate need of a facelift.
Today, the Pelmo Swanek Community Association (PSCA) announced that Councillor Nunziata will be hosting a Community Meeting to discuss proposed upgrades and improvements to the park. City staff will be in attendance to gather community feedback and discuss the plans.
Date: Thursday, June 23, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Pelmo Park Community Centre, 171 Pellatt Avenue
For further information, please contact Councillor Nunziata’s office:
There has been yet another mugging by a gang of four suspects at the corner of Jane St and Lawrence Ave, according to Toronto Police.
Four young men approached three other young men at about 2:45 Wednesday afternoon. The four suspects demanded the victims’ phones and wallets. The suspects then fled.
This is the fourth time in recent months that a gang of four suspects has struck at this corner. Recently, a man was beaten unconscious by a group of four men. In the other three cases, a group of four men approached young men and stole their phones and sometimes their cash.
The Weston 2021 Design Initiative is convening again to discuss the results of the bean counters’ “Technical Assistance Panel”. The City, Metrolinx, and the Urban Land Institute will be releasing the results of their consultations and making further plans at the community update.
A design conference in May brought planners together with the community to make grand plans for the revitilization of Weston. Those plans were then taken to the the Technical Assistance Panel to be assessed for financial viability.
Everyone is welcome at the community update meeting. It will be held Wednesday, June 29 at 6 pm, at St John the Evangelist.
If you happen to know where these teachers are, would you lend a hand?
Ms. Linda Elliott, of H.J. Alexander Community School, Weston
Omar Petralis writes:
Ms. Linda Elliott taught my full-time kindergarten program, and was instrumental in my early development. She identified me as having a gift for reading, and encouraged me in this direction as other kids in my class played with blocks. I recall being sent to the library to do “research” — and above everything feeling encouraged without having been singled out.
I graduated high school, graduated university with a B.A., and found an entry level job working for IBM. On a whim in the mid-90s, I looked her up again and she was teaching ESL at the same school. I walked into her classroom unannounced, and 25 years after the last time she saw me, she recognized me in an instant. We caught up briefly, wished each other well, and I haven’t seen her since; but that feeling of being recognized, of being remembered after all this time still brings tears to my eyes.
Ms. Suzanne Abbott, of Weston Memorial Jr Public School, York, 1980s
Valerie Smith writes:
After second grade, where I experienced a change in schools and a teacher who was less than supportive in many ways, my self-esteem was very low.
When I walked into my Grade 3 class on that early September morning, I was greeted with a warm smile and a huge “Welcome to Grade 3!” I immediately felt comfortable in Ms. Abbott’s presence. She had patience and seemed to truly love her job. During that time, I was fascinated with Newfoundland and when it came time to do a project on a province of our choice, I chose Newfoundland! Ms. Abbott just so happened to be from Newfoundland and I was able to interview her and get valuable information from her for the project.
She was also my younger brother’s first grade teacher the next year (1990-1991) and he had the same wonderful experience as I did. After she taught my brother’s class, I believe she decided to move back to Newfoundland.
There will be a barbecue tonight from 5 – 7 pm hosted by 12 Division TAVIS initiative officers and Councillor Frances Nunziata. This is to let the community know that an additional 32 police officers have been made available during the summer for street patrol in the Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue area. Check out the PDF version of the poster here.