“I’m looking for a job but I don’t have any Canadian experience,” said GLOW volunteer Richeline, who is among the first cohort of participants to enroll in our new Retail Foundations course.
Richeline, a mother of three who came to Canada from Haiti, is the ideal candidate for this program which launched in February and is geared to newcomer women facing barriers to employment.
Spring came early for New Circles on Tuesday, March 1st. About 50 die-hard supporters showed up at 6:30am to welcome BT’s Live Eye host Jennifer Valentyne and help launch the 2016 Prom drive for our 9th Annual Prom Boutique.
A number of special guests joined us as well:
New Circles Community Services is pleased to announce the receipt of a $248,500 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to support its core program GLOW (Gently Loved Outfits to Wear). Over the next three years, the grant, part of OTF’s new Grow grant program that enables organizations to build on proven programs in the community, will help New Circles expand its free clothing bank to meet the needs of 12,000 vulnerable residents each year.
A wonderful celebration at Centennial College took place this month to honour 10 new graduates from our Business Office Skills program, offered in partnership with the college and Goodwill Industries. Michelle deCoste, the Dean of Continuing Education and Alykhan Suleman, our Executive Director, were joined by Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who brought greetings on behalf of the Mayor, to celebrate this accomplishment. Tabinda spoke on behalf of the graduating class, noting how she appreciated learning about Canadian business norms such as making eye contact and having a firm handshake, as well as having improved her public speaking skills and gaining confidence for her job search.
In response to the humanitarian crisis, New Circles has opened its doors to welcome Syrian refugees arriving in the City of Toronto. Working with Lifeline Syria and other partner agencies, we have made a commitment to provide free clothing to the refugees for up to two years. Not only will families receive quality clothing, they can also access social programs, language tutoring and training opportunities offered at no cost by New Circles.
Clothing, along with food and housing, is a basic necessity. “With so many initiatives taking place across the city, we are in a unique position to provide extended support to help families meet this particular need. We have lots of capacity to sort and distribute clothing, a great team of volunteers and a wide network of clothing donors and agency partners.” says Alykhan Suleman, Executive Director.
Excitement filled the air as students poured into the Prom Boutique to select the perfect outfit for their special night.
On February 12th, 10 women shared a milestone as the first graduates of our new Business Office Skills program.
New Circles re-opened for service on January 19. Meeting this deadline was no easy feat and made only possible through a generous team of volunteers. Amongst these volunteers, was the Professional Organizers of Canada (POC), Toronto team. On January 7, POC brought 15 enthusiastic volunteers to sort, hang and organize clothing, shoes and accessories in preparation of setting up our clothing service.
This particular team was just the right group for the job: orderly, methodological, system-oriented and perhaps most importantly – kind-hearted!
Within just 6 hours of work, the POC team had truly moved mountains…of donations that is! Special thanks to Dennise Conforti and Rachael Kalinsky for helping coordinate this initiative.
We are so grateful to all our volunteers and staff who contributed to this major effort in the past six weeks.
The Holiday Angel Program 2014 proved to be a success, with 183 families (530 individuals) served.
When Sawsan signed up for our new Business Office Skills program, her biggest worry was the math section. Three weeks into it, she’s surprised to find that’s the part she likes the best. “The minute you start really knowing and solving the problem, it comes really interesting and you want to do more.”
The Business Office Skills program, launched for the first time in September, is an innovative approach to support newcomer women like Sawsan, a volunteer at New Circles, to enter the workforce. Developed in partnership with Seneca College, Skills for Change and Golden Mile Employment Services, the 20 week program combines classroom instruction with on-the job learning through a placement at New Circles or one of our partner agencies. The curriculum includes core business and customer service skills including basic math, English, MS-Office and effective communication.