5 Toronto-Based Organizations Working To Improve Lives

While donating to international relief efforts and national political action is important, we also don't want to forget about the organizations doing work in our own local communities. Each of these groups is based in the Toronto area and provides vital services for people in need, both at the local level and throughout Canada. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Compassionate Organizations Based in Toronto

Name Focus
Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area Works with volunteers and community partners to help working, lower-income families build strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership
Nanny Angel Network Provides free, professional childcare to mothers with cancer, offering support to families throughout treatment, recovery, palliative care and bereavement
Animal Alliance of Canada Works to promote a harmonious relationship among humans, non-humans, and the environment through lobbying for legislation that better protects animals, and operates a rescue network for lost, stray, and abandoned cats and dogs at risk of being sold for research
Adopt4Life Represents the voices of adoptive, kin, and customary care families, performs outreach and awareness work, provides peer and professional support, and creates partnerships with local organizations and agencies to share knowledge and connect families to the best resources and services available
Easter Seals Canada Canada’s largest local provider of programs and services for the disability community, working to ensure that everyone living with a disability has access to the equipment, programs, and support they need to make the most of their abilities and live their lives to the fullest

Adopt4Life Ontario's Parent2Parent Support Network

Moving Books About Adoption & Foster Care

Title Author
1. Three Little Words Ashley Rhodes-Courter
2. Every Time We Say Goodbye Jamie Zeppa
3. The Marvelous Journey Home John M. Simmons
4. Things to Do When It’s Raining Marissa Stapley
5. Everything You Ever Wanted Jillian Lauren
6. Waiting in the Wings Jeanette Vaughan
7. Dreams of My Mothers Joel L.A. Peterson
8. All I Love and Know Judith Frank
9. Choosing to SEE Mary Beth Chapman
10. Ginny Moon Benjamin Ludwig
11. Hope’s Boy Andrew Bridge

The Impact of Nanny Angel Network

In Depth

From finding affordable housing, to making sure the environment and all of its living creatures are protected, to creating a more accessible world for all, tackling difficult issues is a community effort. Luckily, for those who are located in and around the city of Toronto, there are organizations in place that can help. In no particular order, here is a list of groups fighting to create positive change.

At #1 on our list, Habitat For Humanity Greater Toronto Area believes everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home. Founded in 1988, they help working, lower income families build strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership. With the help of volunteers, donors, and community partners, they have built over 400 homes for families all over the Greater Toronto Area.

Qualifying families are able to purchase an affordable home from Habitat for Humanity GTA at fair market value, most often with no down payment required. Approved applicants must contribute "sweat equity" of 500 volunteer hours. These hours can be spent helping to build their own house, other people's homes, or working in the Habitat ReStores. Every household is given the opportunity to attend financial education workshops to prepare themselves for first-time homeownership. As families pay off their mortgages, money is reinvested back into the program so as to continuously provide people with tools, workshops and support.

These hours can be spent helping to build their own house, other people's homes, or working in the Habitat ReStores.

Next up at #2, Nanny Angel Network is a registered charity providing free, professional childcare for mothers with cancer who are located in the Greater Toronto Area. NAN cares for children 16 and under, and offers compassionate support to families throughout treatment, recovery, palliative care and bereavement. Committed to opportunity and accessibility for all, they believe all mothers, irrespective of race, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, should receive the childcare they need during their cancer journey.

The board of directors at NAN have a vision of a world where mothers in need no longer feel alone during cancer treatment. They believe that providing compassionate support encourages resilience, strength and a speedy recovery. The caregivers at NAN ensure that the children they serve get the attention they need so that they feel less anxious, and are able to share their feelings in a safe environment.

At #3 on our list, Animal Alliance of Canada is a federally incorporated organization committed to the protection of pets, wildlife and the environment. As a non-profit, they employ electoral politics and lobbying strategies to encourage legislators to pass sound animal and environmental protection laws. AAC was founded in August of 1990. They have supporters across Canada and are funded entirely by private donations.

AAC was founded in August of 1990.

Since its inception, AAC has worked to create long term, positive changes for our non-human friends and the environment that we share with them. In 2005, they created the Animal Protection Party of Canada, North America's first federally registered political party focused exclusively on environmental and animal protection. They also founded Project Jessie, a rescue network for lost, stray and abandoned cats and dogs. This initiative rescues and rehabilitates canines and felines who are at risk of being sold to research and testing labs. Whether it's fighting against cruelty in the treatment of livestock, or ending the commercial and recreational slaughter of wildlife, AAC continues to fight injustice on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.

Moving on to #4, Adopt4Life is an organization dedicated to the support and advocacy of adoptive parents and caregivers. It is a community of people who share their experiences so as to strengthen and empower similar parents and caregivers to achieve permanency for their adopted children. They offer in-person counseling, buddy and mentor matching, online community meetings, and interactive webinars. Adopt4Life creates partnerships with local organizations and agencies to share knowledge and link families with the best possible resources and services.

Julie Despaties is the organization's founder and executive director. Her commitment to supporting permanency for adopted children and youth grew from her own personal journey. After she and her husband adopted a sibling group of three older children, Julie soon realized that adoptive as well as kin and customary care families in Ontario would benefit from more resources, advocacy and community connections. In forming Adopt4Life, she created a unified voice and useful peer network for adoptive parents and permanent caregivers.

Her commitment to supporting permanency for adopted children and youth grew from her own personal journey.

#5 on our list, Easter Seals is Canada's largest provider of programs, services, leadership and development for the disabled community. Since 1922, Easter Seals Canada and its provincial member organizations have been working to create a more inclusive and accessible society that honors the contributions and potential of Canadians of all abilities. Serving a broad range of people with varying physical, intellectual, sensory and learning disabilities, they help to ensure that every Canadian has access to the equipment, programs, services and support they need to make the most of their skills and experience their lives to the fullest.

What are typically seen as the simple everyday routines and rhythms of life can be fraught with barriers and obstacles for people with varied ability. Easter Seals responds to the needs and aspirations of Canadians living with all kinds of challenges by providing services and support to promote access, inclusion and opportunity. Working together, Easter Seals Canada and its provincial members strive to increase awareness, research and investment in disability issues to improve the lives of Canadians nationwide.