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January 2017
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A Note from Neil
Even through the cold and darkness of winter, I have a great sense of optimism and hope for what happens daily at Dixon Hall, and for what lies ahead in 2017.

Every night throughout the winter, we rely on the work of selfless volunteers to run the Out of the Cold program. In churches, mosques and synagogues across the GTA, thousands of people seek and find shelter, refuge and something to eat. Volunteers from all religions open their sacred spaces and work together so individuals seeking refuge can find it in the kindness of a volunteer.

Volunteers choose to be there because their conscience, faith, and values compel them to act.  They transform their love of community and its people into the tangible -- a safe, peaceful night for someone in need. Through Out of the Cold, we meet an immediate need with food and shelter, and take steps toward a better future through case-management and housing assistance. We know that providing people with decent permanent housing is possible and we support our community’s most vulnerable as they work their way from hostels to homes.

Hope can be found in all areas of Dixon Hall’s work. Every business day, the talented staff of our Employment Centre are able to assist someone in finding employment. This year, we will be serving our community at additional locations now that we’ve secured the long-term tenure of 188 and 190 Carlton Street. With two new locations, we're expanding programming and support work, creating a campus of care in downtown's east. We are also very excited to  break ground on a new youth centre in Regent Park this year, thanks to the tremendous work of our Campaign Cabinet, led by The Honourable Bob Rae, Vivien Dzau and Patrick Gossage, and the incredible support we’ve received from donors, including a lead gift of $1-million from Cathy and the Honourable Bill Graham.

From the energetic youth to the diligent job seekers, to the vibrant seniors, to the selfless volunteers, our goal is empowerment. Because empowered communities inspire change. And change is a powerful force that gives all of us hope for a brighter future.

Read on for exciting details about the return of our signature event – Dixonlicious, a culinary celebration in support of our vital food programs. Tickets are available now and we hope to see you there!
 
In Partnership,

Neil Hetherington
CEO, Dixon Hall

If you have any questions or comments about Dixon Hall and how to get involved, please feel free to contact me at neil.hetherington@dixonhall.org. I would love to hear from you. 
Empowering Girls Through Activity: The Girl Fit Club
Our Children and Youth team recently launched the Girl Fit Club (GFC) to promote healthy living, empower young women and create an uplifting, supportive community.

On Thursdays from 5PM - 8PM, female youth participate in a mini workshop, covering an aspect of wellness such as sleep, personal hygiene, or healthy food choices. Following the workshop, Candice Todd, a naturopathic doctor leads a 45-minute workout which can be easily transferred to home spaces. Candice has been a positive female role model to the girls and has developed fulfilling relationships with the group.

Post workout, the girls prepare a healthy meal together and sit down for a discussion with Youth Workers Ivi and Aleshia on an issue that young women face today -- from healthy relationships, self-worth, coping with stress and other difficult emotions, and navigating social media.

The GFC has created a safe space for young women to connect with, relate to, grow with, and support each other.
 
Support our programs for Girls & Young Women
Dixonlicious Returns!
Empowering Seniors through Expression: "The Life of I" Project
Seniors in our community have seen the world change quickly and technology advance spectacularly. Despite the many changes they’ve witnessed, it’s almost uncanny how universal themes of the human experience remain constant from one generation to the next.
Recently, the Senior Services team launched a partnership program called "The Life of I" with the Employment Services team. The Life of I paired seniors in the Adult Day program with youth from the Career Skills Incubator Program. Participating seniors shared their life stories from childhood to adulthood with the youth, who captured their memories through video and other digital technology.

This innovative initiative merged the old with the new, and gave seniors an opportunity to narrate the stories of their lives, leaving a legacy of their most profound memories. Seniors were engaged by this productive and oftentimes cathartic activity, allowing them to connect meaningfully with youth.

This intergenerational project proves that technology can be used in a meaningful way to connect with seniors and breaks the myth that the old and young cannot relate to one another. Rather they can learn from each other, establish friendships, share experiences, and grow together respectfully.
 
Donate now to Senior Programs & Employment Programs
Empowering Students Through the Arts: Dixon Hall Music School
Art has long been a tool for self-expression, an outlet for emotions, and a chance to share our experiences. Music is no exception. Students in our music school experience the confidence-fostering, friendship-building benefits of performing arts through their music classes.

Our annual fundraising event Music For Life is the culmination of many hours of hard work and benefits students long beyond the night of performance. This year's show took place on December 1st at Ada Slaight Hall. The young musicians behind the genre-blending event performed everything from rap, to solo piano, to drumming, and a touching symphony tribute to our First Nations people.

The excitement continued throughout the month of December and into January with an end of year music camp hosted at Hart House Farms in Caledon. Twelve students attended with our Music School Director Bob McKitrick, including alumni who have since graduated and are in University. Despite changing life stages, the power of music prevails and youth cherish the moments of catching up, enjoying fresh air, and playing music with their friends again. The camps have been a huge success in bringing students together, creating life-long friendships, and learning the true meaning of making music together.

And finally, the new year is off to a great start with 15 new students enrolled in music lessons from our waiting list! We have now added another piano teaching day to the schedule with a total of 42 music classes weekly. Between the new students and another day of classes, there are countless moments to witness the power of music to change lives.
 
Learn more about our Music School
Empowering Volunteers Through Recognition
Dixon Hall wouldn’t be able to provide the life changing programs we do without our wonderful volunteer support. Annually over 1200 people donate their time and talent to our organization, and though it seems daunting to adequately express our appreciation... we decided to try anyway!

We hosted our Annual Volunteer Holiday Celebration at the end of November. Over 100 volunteers joined us at the Ramada Plaza Hotel downtown for an evening filled with laughter and goodwill, accompanied by delicious food and drinks, scrumptious desserts, and recognition for our amazing volunteer teams. We were proud to honour our two Volunteers of the Year, our Corporate Team of the Year, our Placement student of the year, along with every single one of the special people who have volunteered for us.

We also turned the spotlight on our volunteers to find out why they choose to volunteer with Dixon Hall. Their answers surprised and delighted us, warmed our hearts and gave us perspective. Here's a selection of some of our favourites:
 
New volunteer opportunity:
Alzheimer Day Program Assistant
Help the Alzheimer Day program staff run the Alzheimer Day program by doing things like setting up the room, serving morning coffee and snacks, serving lunch, and engaging with participants.
 
See Full Details and Apply Now

 






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Dixon Hall · 58 Sumach Street · Toronto, Ontario M5A 3J7 · Canada