The Spot

Located in the Jane/Finch neighbourhood, the Spot is a community drop-in centre for young people aged 13 to 30 years. As part of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre (JFCFC) youth programming, the centre serves as a safe and welcoming place for children and youth to hang out, participate in after-school programming/drop-in programs, and receive information and referrals about substance use, sexual health, and local youth services.

Organized activities at the centre are aimed at promoting healthy lifestyle choices. The centre offers social, educational, art, and recreational programming, after-school programs, leadership and mentoring programs, drop-ins, outings, and volunteer and employment opportunities.

Accessibility

The Spot and its activities are accessible for a wide range of youth in age who reside in the priority neighbourhood of Jane/Finch. It provides a safe sanctuary for youth, thus reducing their vulnerability to substance use and violence.

As service provider, the JFCFC conducts outreach in the community to improve access to services offered by the Spot.

Newcomer Involvement

The centre involves its participants in a variety of ways. It combines art and education with recreational activities, which, among other things, reduce health risks resulting from inactivity. The youth explore topics such as peace-building and violence prevention; anti-racism, anti-classism, and anti-sexism; sexual health; peer mentoring; self-expression via art; alcohol and drugs; healthy relationships; and community development.

Parental involvement is also an important component of the programming. Periodic family nights are included as part of the regular activities.

Stakeholder Collaboration

The Spot works with numerous partnering organizations and community groups both locally and throughout the City of Toronto to deliver even more programs to youth by sharing space, providing support, and collaborating on program development. These partnerships provide significant in-kind support to the work that the centre does. In addition, staff collaborate with new and emerging community groups through trusteeship and administrative support to provide alternative supports to local youth.

Accountability

With multiple funding sources and differing reporting requirements of each, the Spot has established numerous mechanisms to ensure that it remains highly accountable. They include participatory approaches to evaluation which allow for ongoing service improvements and a sign-in system which allows the centre to track attendance. A youth Advisory Committee helps to inform program priorities and strategies related to the Spot. As such, the centre has won numerous awards for leadership, team leadership, partnership, and services to newcomers.

The Spot team works closely with the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, partners, and residents in defining priorities and strategies for positive community change.

Positive Outcome

Benefits of the Spot activities for participating youth include making new friends, gaining leadership skills, participating in training and development, getting community service hours, contributing to the community, having fun, and opening one's mind to new ideas (concerning violence prevention, anti-racism, sexual health, peer mentoring, and alcohol and drugs).

The Spot serves more than 15,000 Jane/Finch youth annually

Transferability

As a one-stop youth service centre, the Spot can be transferred to other neighbourhoods in Toronto and other Canadian cities with a concentration of newcomer and racial minority youth. It should be noted that the centre has an extremely flexible model that is adaptive to new and emerging community needs. Thus, any transferability would need to take into consideration the unique needs of other communities.

Background

Service Providers
Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre (JFCFC)
Funders
Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, and United Way Toronto
Scope
Local
Locations
Toronto, Ontario
Year of Launch
2006
Languages of Delivery
English, French, Arabic, Karen, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, and Urdu
Newcomer Groups Served
13 to 30 years
Expected Results
Information and Orientation (Newcomers make informed decisions about their settlement and understand life in Canada)
Welcoming Communities (Newcomers receive help to establish social and professional networks so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities)
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