Stories

Partnerships in the Community

 Dave and Michelle from TCM with Jack from St. Paul's Bloor Street

Dave and Michelle from TCM with Jack from St. Paul's Bloor Street

Remember the feeling of being anxious about school starting, mixed with the excitement about your new set of back-to-school clothes and school supplies? Some of the children and families in the communities we serve experience only half of these mixed feelings. New sweaters and school supplies may not be possible for families who struggle against the impacts of poverty.

Over the Summer, St. Paul’s Bloor Street ran a school supply drive to benefit the children in the St. James Town community. The congregation collected hundreds of items including lunchboxes, backpacks, pencil cases, crayons, paper, geometry sets, and more!

St. Paul’s Bloor Street also runs a snack program for the Kids in Community (KIC) after school program. Once a week, volunteers come together and prepare healthy snacks for the kids, including sandwiches, fruit, and juice boxes.

Thank you St. Paul’s Bloor Street for your generosity. We look forward to continuing this partnership as well as growing our community of partners and supporters. If you are looking for a chance to get involved, please check out our opportunities or get in touch with us!

 

Vanessa's Birthday Gift to TCM

We received a large gift of supplies for programs from Vanessa, below is her story on why she asked for gifts-in-kind for her birthday. Thank you, Vanessa!

We love when our supporters get creative. This story is about our supporter Vanessa who, for her birthday, opted for supplies for KIC in lieu of birthday presents. Here is her story

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

The quote is a simple reminder to all of us, we do not necessarily need all of the luxurious all the time, there are many less fortunate people in this world who are in need of basic needs such as food, clothes, school supplies, and shelter. Many of us take for granted the things we have and receive, while these things mean the world to others.

Last year was the toughest year of my life. It had many ups and downs that eventually placed me at rock bottom. Throughout my struggle, I was strengthen by the spirit of God and by the people that surround me. I began to realize that my life was not the most difficult life that some other people have to face. There are millions of people in this world that are faced with a lot more difficulty in their lives. Life can sometimes be very difficult – just remember that God will never let you walk alone.

I am deeply thankful and grateful by the blessings that God has given me. For this reason, I wanted to do something special for my birthday this year, not for me, but for others in need, especially kids. A week before I invited my friends for a birthday dinner at my house, I notified them that I did not wish for any gift for myself, but I would like gifts and donations to help the kids at Toronto City Mission. To my surprise, I received an overwhelming amount of support and I collected more items than I would ever expect. Delivering happiness to the kids at TCM was a great gift.

I am not looking for recognition or praise by sharing this story. I simply share my story to encourage others to not only help others in needs but also to share the love with those around us – even with just simple little things.

God bless you

-Vanessa Witania

Lyka Talks About Youth Extreme

By Elita Fung, Outreach Worker at St. James Town 

I had the chance to sit down and catch up with Lyka.

Q. How are you involved with Toronto City Mission (TCM)?
A. With TCM, I am currently volunteering at KIC (Kids In Community) and I also attend Youth Extreme every Monday night.

 

Q. When and how did you get involved?
A. My friend Charmaine started to go to KIC when we were in grade 4. So I knew what KIC was. A couple of years later when my brother was in grade 6, he started going to KIC. Then when I was in grade 9, I bumped into Elliott Shin at McDonald’s where he invited me to got to Youth Extreme. I went that week and now I have been going there for two years.

Q. What are your highlights from volunteering, helping with the kids?
A. My highlights from volunteering with the kids would be my experience during March Break Camp and Sonshine Day Camp. I remember when I first started volunteering at KIC, I was this shy, quiet person, but now I am very outgoing as I have grown closer to the kids.

Although if I were to choose, my greatest memories came from volunteering for Junior Extreme Camp during the summer (with the kids in gr. 7).  I am grateful for the friendships that I have made with the kids, TLCs (Teens Leading Communities), and leaders.

Q. I know last year you and your friends weren’t quite sure what you believed. How has that changed in the past year and what caused that change?
A. Every year, Youth Extreme has their yearly March Break Camp Retreat in hopes for us students to strengthen our faith and to enjoy each other’s fellowship. When I went on the retreat in grade 10, I was more focused on myself than my faith. Since I was sick, I did not enjoy going to worship, or doing bible time.

When I went to retreat this year, I listened to every sermon and had my “eureka” moment when I realized that God knows who I am, that I should live my life to glorify God, and to share His Word. A year ago, I was living in blind faith. I remember going to the retreat and there was this one question that basically asked where we were at in our faith. I remember saying that I kept up with my faith by going to church, and praying, but I would not see the importance in it.  Today, I would definitely say that my faith has strengthened. Some of my friends think that I’m crazy or some Jesus freak, but they do not know the importance of God, or they have not learned how to accept him in their lives. If I were to have one wish come true, it would be for kids at TCM, and for my non-believer friends to realize that God can and will do amazing things for you.

Q. What do you hope to be in the future and why?
A. When I grow up, I hope to become a teacher. I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was 3 years old. This summer, I had the choice between two summer jobs: working at Sonshine Day Camp, and working at Centreville. I decided to work with TCM. Ever since my co-op placement for teaching, and volunteering for KIC, I have realized that I am a natural with kids, and teaching. I chose to stay with TCM because I currently love what I do. I am very grateful for my TCM family.