Despite past successes, our work is not done. Kids still need us.
Toronto is still the Number #1 child poverty capital of Canada, and it’s on the rise in our very own backyard. That fact was echoed recently in Toronto Foundation’s 2017/2018 report, Toronto’s Vital Signs, indicating that child poverty is there and still hurting our most vulnerable.
For over 100 years, Moorelands has stood beside thousands of kids in need. Our job was then, as it remains today, to help kids grow as young leaders and to do so while providing them with safe and fun-filled experiences at a crucial time in their lives.
We intend to stay our course but to do much more.Reaffirming its earlier decision to Serve More Children and Youth, Moorelands’ Board of Directors and staff have begun the work of positioning Moorelands to be a stronger and better recognized voice and leader in the community. As part of a phased-in transition, Moorelands intends to accomplish its goal by expanding City programs beyond Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park to a new priority Toronto neighborhood before the end of 2018.
This expansion includes, for instance, introducing a Youth LED (Lead, Excel Demonstrate) for 13 and 14-year-olds and then expanding by offering our full BLAST (Budding Leaders After School) and VITAL (Volunteers in Training as Leaders) programs for 6 to 12 and 15-19 year-olds respectively, by early 2019.
In addition, for 2018 we will increase by 30% the number of children who we serve at Moorelands Camp and then by another 20% in 2019. The growth at camp can be achieved by fully utilizing our existing excellent facilities and adding one or more weeks to our summer program.
Other great things are happening at Moorelands.
First, we just celebrated our Camp’s 100th Anniversary. It’s an amazing accomplishment knowing that we have provided a wonderful and safe learning experience for thousands of kids.
Second, we are in the midst of rebranding Moorelands to give it a fresh new image while respecting our past heritage. This will include, for instance, a refreshed logo, and a new look and feel for our quarterly newsletter with the intention of increasing our profile and impact. We have also embarked upon a more formal Planned Giving program. You will hear more about these programs in the coming months.
Moorelands is much stronger today than it has been in the most recent past – we have a strong leadership team in our city After-School Programs, at Camp and in the office, our programs and messages are aligned, and our annual revenues are both meeting current needs and growing.
I close with a number of well-deserved recognitions and thanks. To our staff team who regularly exceed expectations in all they do. To our many friends and supporters – both long-term and new, including foundations, corporations and individuals in Leaside, at Kawagama Lake, from around the city, and indeed around the world. To our retiring Past President David Dorsch, who has been a wise leader and steward of Moorelands for many years and to our retiring Finance Committee Chair, John Tremayne, who has shared his skills, talents and insights with us.
Finally, thank you to the children and youth we serve and to their parents for trusting and having faith in Moorelands. You inspire us. You are the reason we exist.
President, Board of Directors
Moorelands Community Services