Changing Spaces, Changing Lives Capital Campaign

With your help we can provide thousands of low-income children, youth, seniors, newcomers and people who are homeless with life-changing support.


Imagine a space alive with the energy of children from diverse backgrounds laughing and playing; social/recreational clubs for active but isolated seniors; inner-city youth enjoying a game of basketball; our city's homeless with an indoor recreation space to call their own; newcomers with a comfortable classroom for learning English and local theatre and community groups finally with a space for events or performances - all in an energy-efficient, accessible, controlled environment with state-of-the-art equipment.

Can you see it? We do! St. Stephen's Community House has a bold, new vision for our facility at 91 Bellevue Avenue. Plans for this Victorian building in the heart of Kensington Market include renovating the ground and lower levels to improve and expand programming. We ask you to share our vision for this space.

Fifty years of wear and tear have left important service areas in need of improvement. As a result, space is being greatly under-used. Upgrades are vital to allow us to make better use of the building and increase the number of individuals we can serve effectively.

The childcare program requires more space for the children to play and the kitchen needs significant upgrades. At the same time, increasing demand for services and recreational programming has outgrown the available space in our other facilities used by youth, seniors and people who are homeless.

The renovations to 91 Bellevue will provide more usable space for current programs. And it will also accommodate the overflow from St. Stephen's other facilities and provide much-needed recreational space.

Who benefits:

Children will be physically active
Seniors will be more active
Homeless will have indoor recreation
Youth will express themselves
Newcomers will learn easier

To make a secure online donation, click on the DONATE NOW button and you will be directed to CANADA HELPS, or call Ann Evans directly at ext 223.

Naming Opportunities

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Children will be physically active
St. Stephen's provides high quality childcare facilities for low-income families. More than half of the children come from single parent homes and rely on the services so they can go to work or school. The programming encourages each individual child to grow and develop to his or her full potential.

The 85 children who attend St. Stephen's daycare receive careful nurturing and a program of stimulating and educational activities that includes hot nutritious meals prepared by on-site cooks.

Last year in the childcare program:

  • 53% of the children were from single parent families
  • the vast majority were from low-income families
  • 45% were newcomers to Canada
  • we served 52,000 hot, nutritious meals

The Bellevue renovations will provide:

  • more play space, so important in a time of increased childhood obesity rates
  • vastly improved space for programming with enhanced lighting and better air circulation
  • an upgraded commercial kitchen
  • a stage for children's performances and guest performers
  • a larger arts and crafts room and a small kitchen for cooking projects

"As a working parent and dropping off the kids daily at St. Stephen's, there was nothing more comforting than to know that my children were well cared for in a clean, fun and safe environment."
- Linda DaSilva

Seniors will be more active
St. Stephen's plays a vital role in keeping seniors living independently in the community, and out of costly institutional care (estimated at as much as $650 per day). A comprehensive program of social/recreational activities and nutritious meals helps isolated Chinese, Portuguese and Korean seniors - most of whom are living on a limited income - stay healthy and connected to the community.

Last year in seniors services:

  • 1,200 seniors participated in programs
  • weekly social support groups provided information and referrals to seniors on topics ranging from health care to housing
  • we offered 77 frail seniors specialized care and support through the Adult Day Program
  • peer volunteers prepared 3,000 nutritious meals for program participants

The Bellevue renovations will provide:

  • space to double the programming for health and wellness activities, providing opportunities for more volunteers and peer leaders
  • space large enough for dancing, singing and exercise classes
  • a stage for traditional musical and dance performances so we'll no longer need to rent costly outside space
  • opportunities to launch intergenerational programming with daycare children and seniors

"Arriving in Canada from China we experience culture shock, sometimes feeling depressed, language barrier and many difficulties. When we come to St. Stephen's, we feel like we are back home - the warmth, the help we get to overcome our difficulties, the friendship formed help us to walk out of the 'forest'."
- Golden Age Garden member

Youth will express themselves
St. Stephen's Youth Arcade is a hub for teens aged 12-19 who live in the inner-city neighbourhoods of Kensington, Alexander Park, Chinatown and the Annex. Many of today's youth are struggling with depression, eating disorders, unhealthy relationships and drug and alcohol use. Some are getting into gangs and finding themselves in trouble with the law.

The Arcade provides a supportive environment and the resources to make this time of transition one of learning, growth and new opportunities. Youth want and need outlets to express themselves physically and creatively. The current Arcade space is too small and does not lend itself to these kinds of activities.

Last year at the Youth Arcade:

  • the number of at-risk youth using our services rose to over 1,000
  • on an average day, 50 youth attended the peer-led after school snack program encouraging healthy eating
  • 90 youth who had been suspended or expelled from school were helped to complete their courses and 95% successfully re-entered the school system

The Bellevue renovations will provide:

  • space for hip hop classes, basketball games, boxing and other physical and recreational activities that promote active lifestyles
  • a stage to mount theatrical and musical performances

"I learned that I should stay out of trouble. I learned that when I see trouble coming I should just walk away and do positive instead of negative."
- Youth Arcade participant

Homeless will have indoor recreation
St. Stephen's Corner Drop-in provides life-sustaining services to hundreds of homeless men and women, six days a week. Members are provided with laundry facilities, showers and a hot meal program. In addition, they can get addiction counseling, physical and mental health services, financial trusteeship and housing placements.

Last year at the Corner Drop-in:

  • we served 100,872 meals
  • we helped 500 people find housing
  • we prevented 60 evictions through the trusteeship and harm reduction program
  • we referred 250 members for addiction treatment
  • we organized a summer soccer club for the homeless

The Bellevue renovations will provide:

  • year-round indoor recreational activities like basketball and floor hockey
  • a music program for the many visitors to the Drop-in who play instruments
  • opportunity for an isolated population to socialize and build support networks through team activities

"Being part of the soccer program at the Corner has improved my self-esteem. I now have a different approach to life: it helped me to stop using drugs, I've met new friends, am meeting people from many different cultures and I feel part of the community."
- Jesus Andres Robles

Newcomers will learn easier
St. Stephen's has been providing English language training to new Canadians for 45 years. Each year Language Training and Newcomer Services helps newcomers adapt to life in Canada with English classes, information and referral services and employment preparation. These services provide an essential stepping-stone for immigrants and refugees to secure employment and participate in the economic and civic life of our City.

Last year:

  • 2,928 individuals received English language training
  • 2,508 newcomers benefited from individual counselling and group support in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish
  • We introduced an English class geared specifically for seniors
  • Assisted newcomer participants attending English classes with childcare support

The renovations will provide:

  • A spacious classroom with improved ventilation
  • Larger windows to allow for more natural light and better indoor lighting
  • An area where hot drinks and snacks can be prepared

"I have enjoyed working as an adult ESL instructor at St. Stephen's for twenty years. Classroom space conditions have been a challenge. However the staff at this community centre have always been friendly and cooperative."
- Lourdes Braga Almeida

Looking for more good reasons to donate? See what Our Friends have told us...

For more information regarding the Capital Campaign, please contact:
Ann Evans, Capital Campaign Manager at ext. 223 or Liane Regendanz, Executive Director at ext.239.

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