St. Stephen's partnership with the community includes supporting independent community groups and projects. Our neighbourhood includes many successful community groups that organize festivals, picnics and events enriching the arts and diversity of our neighbourhoods. St. Stephen's Community House provides support and resources (staffing, space, photocopying and trusteeship) to community groups, residents, businesses, projects and initiatives as needed, according to our available resources. Access to resources, including space, promotes leadership, self-sufficiency and mutual support.
The Neighbourhood Support department is often the entry point for community members to access services or volunteer with St. Stephen's programs. Volunteer Orientation Sessions are held monthly and an Orientation Package, which includes the Application Form, is handed out. For more information on volunteer opportunities, please refer to the Volunteer Section.
In partnership with members of the community, the Kensington Alive project produces accessible multi-media materials and events that promote the living history of Kensington Market. A Kensington Alive website is available, with historical information, self-guided tours, classroom units and fun activities. It is a pictorial history of Kensington Market based on the book Kensington, published by Boston Mills Press, written by Jean Cochrane with photographs by Vincenzo Pietropaolo. For more information, please refer to Kensington Alive. Kensington Market walking tours are offered to newcomers and upon request.
Recently, Neighbourhood Support worked with local artists through a "Community Arts Residency" project. Community arts reflect the multicultural richness of our neighbourhoods and the creativity of all our participants. This was funded by the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council through their community arts programs.
The Neighbourhood Support Program works with other St. Stephens programs to develop capacity-building and leadership training opportunities, provide education materials, and offer opportunities for community involvement, as identified by the participants. These opportuntities enhance and build upon people's skills, increase the level of civic participation of our communities and maximize the use of volunteers in all our programs.