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The retail industry may be disrupted, but it is certainly not collapsing. This was a key message at a recent roundtable that brought together retailers and non-profits to discuss how community-based training initiatives can help fill the hiring gap.

This May, youth from across the city who are facing economic barriers will come to New Circles to shop for the perfect prom outfit. There are many ways to get involved, from organizing a Prom Drive, to donating clothing, to making a financial contribution.

"This morning, I reflect on a journey that started out with hesitant, tentative steps. We see just how far we have come...it has been an honour and a privilege being part of this journey with you all."

Where can you see a knight in shining armour, Captain America, and a Storm Trooper all in one room? At the annual Spooktacular, of course!

On August 19, twenty-one newly-certified Retail Associates graduated from New Circles’ youth retail skills program after seven weeks of learning and more than 45 hours of work experience in GLOW.

“No young person should be held back due to financial barriers.” These are the words of 18 year-old Vicky Vo, a recent high school graduate and aspiring neurologist

Notebooks. A fresh pack of pencils. New gym clothes. These are things many kids look forward to picking out before the start of the school year – and that also help them get the most out of their education.

In June, Sheqofah and her daughter Nazanin sat down with New Circles to share their family’s settlement journey.

It may be the hot, hazy days of summer but 20 energetic and enthusiastic young people aged 15-18 are spending their days learning the ins and outs of retail and customer service.

Check out this student-produced video from Ali Jiwani, highlighting the experiences of some of our teen Prom Boutique shoppers.

The Prom Boutique is one of New Circles' clothing services designed especially to help youth transition to the next stage of their lives. To learn more about the Prom Boutique, check out this blog post.

Gift baskets from donor familyMany of New Circles’ clients and donors come from Toronto’s Muslim community. Eid al-Fitr is one of the most significant holidays in the Muslim calendar. Occurring on July 5 this year, this holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Families celebrate Eid by breaking their fast with a celebratory meal, engaging in spiritual observance, and undertaking acts of charity. Our Giving for Eid program offers an opportunity to directly support families who may not otherwise have the opportunity to mark this occasion, because of financial and other barriers.

Three years ago New Circles’ recently-hired Executive Director Alykhan Suleman met with key volunteers and funders to brainstorm the next step in the organization’s evolution.  His vision was to use the clothing bank GLOW (Gently Loved Outfits to Wear) as a platform to offer training in retail skills, noting, “Developing employable skills is an investment we can make to provide longer term solutions for our clients.” 

On Friday June 24th, the dream became a reality when 14 participants graduated from the first Retail Foundations program.  Thirteen of the participants also passed the Retail Council of Canada’s online exam and are now certified Retail Sales Associates. 

New Circles' GLOW clothing service is the largest clothing bank in Toronto. We help 12,000 people of all ages annually.