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July 17, 2015

Author: Simona Rajani, LIST Student

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill

New Circles has been giving this opportunity to many families and has helped families reinvent themselves. It is a non-profit organization run by determined volunteers who take this as a pathway towards stronger community.

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.

award recipients

New Circles hosted the second annual Community Service Awards on September 15, 2015, where six youth were recognized...

group photo

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October 16th marked New Circles’ 2nd annual Spooktacular Event – an opportunity for some of our youngest shoppers to visit us and select the perfect Halloween outfit!
 
Over 100 children ages 0 – 12 were able to have their Halloween wishes come true – expressing their inner princesses, superheroes, goblins, ghosts and much more.
New Circles doubled the number of participants served this year, due largely to the sourcing efforts of event organizer Poppy Phioukham, for whom the celebration resonated personally. “I remember growing up with parents who had made the difficult journey to Canada themselves. As a child it is so easy to feel different or that you don’t belong. This is made so apparent if you don’t have the means to participate in a childhood rite of passage. It’s amazing what one outfit, whether it be a suit for an interview, a prom dress for graduation or a Halloween costume for a school parade can mean to someone.”
 
Prom Boutique youth participants

Excitement filled the air as students poured into the Prom Boutique to select the perfect outfit for their special night.

Breakfast Television comes to NewCircles

March 24, 2015 – Jennifer Valentyne, Breakfast TV’s Live Eye host, regularly stops by New Circles to drop off clothing donations.

Graduate of Business skills program

On February 12th, 10 women shared a milestone as the first graduates of our new Business Office Skills program.

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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.

Holiday Angel Program Brings Much Needed Support to Families

The Holiday Angel Program 2014 proved to be a success, with 183 families (530 individuals) served.

On October 3rd, we welcomed an energetic team of 20 Deloitte employees for a second year to mark their annual Community Impact Day. Given the high degree of expertise in the group, we’d thought we’d tap into their knowledge this year as well as their labour and invited them to to take part in a “Think Tank” to help us develop a social media strategy for our upcoming Giving Tuesday campaign.
 
While half of the group helped out in our Clothing Program, organizing clothing donations and assisting clients to shop, the others joined the Think Tank session, bringing a a range of expert skills in graphic design, social media and strategy to the task. To keep it interesting, we turned it into a competition, creating two teams who would pitch their ideas to a voting audience of fellow colleagues, staff and volunteers.      
It all started with a milestone birthday celebration a few years back. Carolyn Langill was reflecting on her life and the pending milestone. An avid volunteer and philanthropist, Carolyn has been involved in an array of community initiatives as a volunteer and donor, including New Circles and the Heart to Hand program, a project that has also provided support to our clients.
 
Carolyn decided to host a birthday party. The catch? Every guest was to bring a coat and/or gently used clothing for New Circles. Cocktails for Coats was born…the rest is history.
 
Carolyn has continued with this initiative, collecting more and more each year. With a network of about 80 people, Carolyn reached a new record this year, collecting 248 coats and other clothing donations, filling 2 U-haul vans and three cars! She has now contributed over 1400 coats to New Circles through this wonderful event.