When Filsan came to Canada, she came as a woman with great hope for her and her family. Settling in Regent Park, all Filsan could see was opportunity — her father had raised her and her siblings to be community-minded. But the reality of settling into Canada began to take its toll as Filsan’s husband had difficulty finding employment and she was unable to find an avenue to launch her dream – to form a sewing club business. Many years later, with the dream almost dead, Filsan connected with a YSM Community Development Worker. In a few short months, a sewing club was formed with Filsan providing the training. This group, and the community, has thrived, growing from making small, community-based sales to developing marketable products through a partnership between YSM AND OCAD UNIVERSITY. All of the revenue generated is put back into the business and divided amongst the women to help support their families.
Among our Neighbours
of Toronto residents live in a Neighbourhood Improvement Area
of young adults feel a strong sense of belonging in their community vs. 70% of Torontonians
of female single parents live with poverty
Community is so much more than a shared postal code. It is a sense of belonging, with a web of connected relationships that impacts our health, sense of value and very importantly – our ability to thrive and realize our goals. Yet, community is on a rapid decline. A 2015 Angus Reid survey on belonging found that our experiences of community have been declining since the 1960s. This is uniquely challenging in the communities that YSM supports (currently Regent Park, and Moss Park) because they are composed of people who are further isolated or marginalized in our society due to cultural, economic, or social barriers. Regent Park is one of the 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas defined by the City of Toronto in 2014 that fall behind and require special attention. These communities are composed of people who have many gifts to offer the community but cannot find an avenue to contribute. This is a tragic loss for all of us as the potential to build healthy thriving communities sits idle in people until they become frustrated, disillusioned and ultimately apathetic as they begin to believe there is no way out.