Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities
Gail Strachan, Manager, Communications & Resource Development
Charitable number: 130364276RR0001
About this organization
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities is dedicated to meeting the holistic health needs of the communities of Scarborough by addressing many aspects of health including physical, mental, social, financial and environmental. Through the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the delivery of a diverse range of health and social services, we cultivate vital and connected communities.
We work to be recognized as not only a community health care organization but also a learning organization that teaches our communities how to more than just survive the day to day operations of life. In this ever changing metropolis in a global community, SCHC provides literacy workshops, facilitation programs for neighbourhood change, diabetes prevention, hospice assistance and wellness education. Our programs work together to address the holistic needs of Scarborough for a thriving and inclusive culture.
History of Organization
Originally founded as West Hill Community Services in 1977, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) is one of the most established and comprehensive community health organizations in the province. The organization owes its beginnings to 13 community agencies, a core group of community leaders and countless volunteers who identified emerging health and social needs within Scarborough.
Today, we employ approximately 140 staff, engage a core group of 350 volunteers and operate 38 distinct and integrated services across 10 sites, including our newest CHC and Head Office at 629 Markham Road, that work together to improve the health of our communities.
In order to remain a client-centred, integrated, engaged and proactive organization, we've continued to work closely with our community members, foster partnerships with initiatives that address pressing needs while setting new standards of excellence. We work tirelessly to offer programs and opportunities that profoundly impact the health of the communities we serve.
Accolades and Accomplishments
SCHC is proud to be accredited through the Building Healthier Organizations program which is a third-party review tailored to community-based organizations based on accepted organizational practices that promote ongoing quality improvement and responsive, effective community services.
Over the past two years we have had exciting growth in our locations and programs. Our buildings were not meeting the needs of all the members of our community and through the efforts of our senior leadership team, staff and clients, we have received much needed funding in order to provide a more accessible and integrated location. By August 2012, we expect that our new Community Health Clinic, Services for Seniors programs, Volunteer Program and administration offices will be housed at 629 Markham Road (at Lawrence Avenue East).
In the interest of the community and after many years of advocating, we received funding to open our Community Health Clinic at our Hub location at Brimley and Eglinton.
Lastly, for now, due to our organization being recognized for our leadership in community health, we were awarded Scarborough's Community Hospice and Caregiver Wellness program by the Central East Local Health Integration Network.
We are focusing on better integrating our programs to meet the complex needs of our communities, strengthening our infrastructure, forging new partnerships and collaborating with our valued stakeholders. Working with our communities, with each success we get closer to our goal of building strong and connected communities.
These programs and the opportunities contained within are organized in five key areas that work together to address the diverse health needs of individuals and families living within Scarborough.
Health Promotion and Education
The adage knowledge is power is especially relevant within a community health context. That is why health promotion is one of our priorities through the following schemes:
- Diabetes Education Workshops
- Counseling and Support Services
- Health Promotion Initiatives
Community-based primary health care is a proven model that benefits patients while supporting the larger health care system. We work with a wide range of primary health and community health professionals within and outside of our organization to provide clients with exceptional, accessible and coordinated care through:
- Community Health Centres
- Community Diabetes Program
Participation and Inclusion
As a community-centred organization, we understand the important role that participation and inclusion play in creating vital communities. Consequently, we’ve developed a number of inclusive programs that encourage meaningful individual and community participation through:
- The Hub – mid Scarborough
- Early Years Programs
- Seniors Active Living Programs
- Youth Engagement Programs
- Neighbourhood Development Programs
Our community support programs are geared towards our most vulnerable community members. We provide programs and opportunities that address their needs, recognize their gifts and increase their capacity such as:
- Home-Based Programs
- Food Bank
- Furniture and Clothing Banks
- Homelessness Initiative
- Food Access Program
Community Hospice and Caregiver Wellness Program
Our new Hospice and Wellness Program recently awarded to SCHC by the Central East Local Health Integration Network is a comprehensive hospice program, including:
- Palliative Program
- Bereavement Program
- Volunteers, Outreach and Training
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities Hospice and Caregiver Wellness Program is dedicated to providing compassionate care to individuals and families during the end-of-life journey. At the center of what we do is the belief that we LIVE until we die. Our newest palliative, bereavement care and wellness program is responsible for administering a compassionate and collaborate plan of life.
Our caring, supportive and qualified staff - along with trained volunteers help to make this difficult life passage more meaningful and comfortable. Through a holistic approach (responding to the physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual needs of the client and their family), we work collaboratively and build a trusting relationship with nurses, doctors, clinical teams and social workers to assist clients live their remaining days in dignity and comfort. It is our goal to support our clients through this journey and allow them the power of choice and control over decisions affecting the quality of living and dying.
Our service is free of charge and there is no waiting list. Our specialists will travel to the resident of the client at a private home, hospital, long term care facility, etc. to fully explain our service and assess the needs of the client.
Funding and Program Partners
Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) connects clients with the care they need, at home and in the community including specialized support services. They also provide clients with information about long-term care options if it becomes too difficult to live independently at home.
Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is the national voice for Hospice Palliative Care in Canada. Advancing and advocating for quality end-of-life/hospice palliative care in Canada, its work includes public policy, public education and awareness.
Our program supports the growing trend that 90% of people choose to die at home while under the care and responsiblity of a team of care givers including their family, nurses, doctors, social workers and bereavement and palliative specialists.
If not for this service, many families in the Scarborough community would suffer under the sandwich generation where the middle-aged are strained under the pressures of taking care of their growing families while coping with aging parents who are living longer but with more complicated health issues. In some cases, many families are facing cancer, advanced stages of diabetes, dementia and alzheimer's. Someone has to care for the caring and our program aims to release some of the pressures but also provide coping and relaxing mechanisms to keep the health of the caregiver at their best.
Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program
Under the Snapshot of the City at the street level, what strikes us as a growing trend is the management that the sandwich generation (those taking care of a young family AND their elderly parents) has to work with.
"6:00 AM Your day begins early; preparing school lunches, rounding up homework projects, making a quick call to your elderly father, who still lives alone and appreciates your morning call to check in on him. You are thankful that you aren’t trying to manage your family responsibilities all by yourself." (Toronto's Vital Signs, 2011)
Our Community Hospice and Caregiver Wellness Program alleviates this "management" need that families in the Scarborough area, many of whom live within limited resources are trying to balance on their own. In most cases, their good efforts put their own health and wellness needs at risk and thereby jeopordize their initial efforts to be an anchor for their families.
"Thank you again for caring for Dad. Whenever I dropped by to pick him up, I always felt good about him being there. Your staff are so caring. You provide wonderful leadership." Lynn, daughter of a member of our Adult Day Centre
Activities a donation will support
Your donations to our Community Hospice and Caregiver Wellness program will allow us to provide meaningful services, support and supplies to our clients. Recent funding for our program has allowed us to expand our transportation services in order to assist many of our clients to attend vital medical appointments. Further funding will grant us the capacity to train our staff and volunteers within the program, offer more support for wellness programs such as Yoga, social work assistance and opportunities to learn about budgeting and providing wellness resources for caregivers.
With financial support, the Community Hospice and Caregiver Wellness Program is able to provide fulfill the mission statement of our organization by addressing the holistic needs of the communites of Scarborough. By providing compassionate care to individuals and families dealing with advanced/life-limiting illness, dealth and bereavement this program gives the client the power of choice. Caregivers tend to focus on the tasks at hand and forgo their own needs. Our Caregiver Wellness Centre and Respite Program supports the many individuals and families caring for loved ones through their end of life.
Our food bank has been identified by Daily Bread Food Bank as the most used food bank in the GTA. We serve a diverse population of single parent-led families, seniors, newcomers and single adults. Our statistics show an increase of 20% usage over 2010 and that 27% of our users have at least one family member with Type II diabetes. Our recent Food Security project identified that there was a significant barrier to accessing healthy foods in southeast Scarborough. These issues are compounded by the increased challenges that arise during holiday seasons when schools and other support programs are closed. We are deeply concerned about these statistics and work diligently to not only extend food but to respect and support all of our food bank users.
Funding and Program Partners
Daily Bread and Second Harvest provide weekly deliveries of a variety of food including special needs for diabetic clients.
Daily Bread Food Bank is fighting to end hunger by providing food and resources for hungry people, mobilizing greater support, involvement and action, and creating social change to reduce poverty through research, education and advocacy. By working with the food industry, Daily Bread helped ensure that millions of pounds of wholesome food are donated to those who need it, rather than ending up as waste. Weekly deliveries to the SCHC food bank at 4100 Lawrence Avenue East are also included for the more than 900 families that are able to utilize this needed service.
Second Harvest is the largest food rescue program in Canada. For the past 26 years, Second Harvest has been picking up donated, excess food, which would otherwise go to waste, and delivering that food to 216 community agencies in Toronto. Second Harvest delivers enough food for over 18,000 healthy meals a day including our community members that utilize the food bank at 4100 Lawrence Avenue East.
If funding were not in place over 900 families would be struggling to find alternative food sources from an already underserviced community.
- Clients must live in the catchment area of Markham to Pickering Board, and 401 to the lake.
- Current number of families registered 926 representing 2800 people using the food bank a minimum of two times per month 5900 people fed per month
- Two times per week, Wednesday from 1 – 3:45 and Friday 9 – 11;45
Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program
"Social Assistance does not cover even the basic cost of nutritrous food and shelter for families and single households in the city, forcing many to rely on food banks." (Toronto's Vital Signs, 2011)
"Thank you. I didn’t think we would get through this year." (Marcia)
Activities a donation will support
We are not only providing a means to fill a need in households but through our community kitchen and festival market in collaboration with a partnership organization, our Food Bank staff and volunteers also teach our clients how to be self-sufficient and provide a means to look at alternative ways to create a new source of food supply, shop and cook in a healthy way and feel as if they are taking part in solving their challenges, not simply being given a handout.
If funding were not in place, over 900 families would be struggling to find alternative food sources from an already underserved community.