Building His Future: Joel’s Alumni Story

When Joel was five years old, he entered the BLAST after-school program at Moorelands Kids. For him, this was a safe place to go after school while his parents were at work. But as Joel grew older, his journey with Moorelands Kids continued— from BLAST to middle-school and high-school programs, and then to working as program staff and encouraging other kids along their journey. Now, at 21 years of age, Joel reflects on the lasting impact that Moorelands has had on his life.

“Growing up, I lacked confidence, and I had difficulty interacting with others,” says Joel. But when he entered BLAST in Grade 1, it gave him an outlet for expressing himself. It was a place where he could make friends, learn more about himself and how to interact with other kids his age.

Joel participated in BLAST until he finished Grade 5, then continued in Moorelands’ LED for middle-school students, and finally VITAL for high-school youth. “Looking back, I see the leadership skills that I gained in the programs. It gave me the confidence to seek out opportunities to lead and to inspire others to lead.”

In Grade 11, more than 10 years after he first began at Moorelands, Joel applied for a program leader position. “It was a full-circle thing,” he says. “I started BLAST in 2006, and became a staff member by the time I graduated.”

As Joel progressed through high school and embarked on his journey to university, he realized how invaluable the skills acquired at Moorelands were for his growth. Now, Joel has recently graduated from the commerce program at Queens University and will begin his career as an Insurance Associate this September.

When asked what advice he would give to his younger self, Joel’s answer is simple: be yourself. “If there is one place to know your interests and know who you are, it would be Moorelands,” he says. For kids who are currently attending Moorelands Kids’ programs, Joel encourages them to see Moorelands as a valuable tool for the future—and a place to have fun and make friends.

“I think that Moorelands does a great job of making sure that a child’s journey, from elementary to secondary school, is well thought-out and intentional. Regardless of your age, there is always something that Moorelands can provide for you.”

“I think that Moorelands does a great job of making sure that a child’s journey is well thought-out and intentional.”

Joel, After-School and Staff Alumni

Do you have your own Moorelands story to tell?

Lynda’s Letter

There’s an age-old question posed to children when they return to school: “What did you do this summer?” For many children, their answer will include, “I went to camp!”

That is true for hundreds of kids who attended Moorelands Camp this summer. They made friends, tried new things and played in the great outdoors. Children and youth gained skills as they enjoyed just being a kid and exploring new activities!

It was evident that even in this post-Covid era, with doors wide open and people engaging in activities again, for many of our families, the door is only open a crack; there is still fear and angst when it comes to getting involved with others. Many children who attended camp needed extra support and some children opted out of the opportunity altogether.

As fall approaches, we trust that the schools we serve will ensure that the doors will be wide open to children, families and Moorelands Kids, as we endeavour to build healthier and stronger communities together.

Lynda Tilley
Executive Director
Moorelands Kids

Prepping for Camp With Choice Properties

This past summer, 50 volunteers from Choice Properties travelled to Kawagama Lake to help prepare Moorelands Camp for the arrival of our campers. Together, they cleaned the beach areas, cleared debris from the property, and raked leaves to ensure a safe and welcoming camp for the start of the summer. In just one day, they were able to complete more than a week’s worth of tidy-up work and participate in fun team-building activities facilitated by our Moorelands Camp Director, David.

Later, as campers gathered excitedly at the bus site to depart for Kawagama Lake, 10 Choice Properties volunteers helped our team check the kids in and make follow-up calls to families.

Thank you to Choice Properties for helping us pull off another great summer at camp!

Saying Goodbye to Baby Bundles

As Moorelands Kids sets out on a path of growth, modernization and sustainability, we have made the challenging decision to close our Baby Bundles program as it does not fit with our vision and the age demographic of those we serve. We are steadfast in our commitment to empowering children and youth through our unique leadership learning programs.

Moorelands Kids will continue to concentrate on core programming for children and youth through Moorelands Camp, after-school programs and Holiday Sharing. Please consider supporting these core programs.

We appreciate your support of the Baby Bundles program over the past 111 years, and we look forward to growing our mission while remaining true to our values in working with disadvantaged children and youth.

Finding Purpose at Camp: Mia’s Staff Spotlight

Meet Mia, who recently arrived from Ukraine as an experienced nurse who has found purpose within the caring community at Moorelands. Her journey began with a friendly encounter with neighbours who informed her about Moorelands’ impactful work with children and youth. With a background in the medical field, Mia was intrigued and inspired to join the cause when a position for a camp nurse opened at Moorelands Camp.

“It’s different, but it’s my dream,” says Mia about her transition from Ukraine to Canada. With a postgraduate diploma and having worked as a nurse for two decades back in Ukraine, Mia recognizes the importance of language proficiency to continue her nursing journey in Canada. Her goal is to enhance her English skills and pursue further education in a Canadian medical college. In her position as a camp nurse, Mia was able to receive support in navigating her new role while gaining confidence in her language skills.

At camp, Mia was welcomed into a close-knit team and quickly built strong bonds with both her colleagues and the campers. Despite language challenges, her determination to contribute and learn helped her adjust. She describes the camp community as “friendly” and “very, very helpful.”

“Children are very sincere and lovely,” says Mia, who enjoys working with children and witnessing their growth at camp. In two words, Mia describes the essence of Moorelands: “Love and empowerment.” With a deep connection to the children, her colleagues and the camp itself, Mia has found a sense of belonging in our caring community.

Looking Forward to Giving Tuesday

As the weather cools and the leaves change colours, we once again prepare for our annual Giving Tuesday campaign on Tuesday, November 28! Our longtime supporters, the Ward Family Foundation, will be matching donations up to $35,000, and we invite you to take part in this unique opportunity to double your impact.

This year, our goal is to raise $100,000 towards our mission to help empower kids to realize their potential. We are incredibly grateful to the Ward Family Foundation and our community of donors who have rallied to support our Giving Tuesday campaign in the past, and we look forward to another great giving season.

Subscribe to our email list here to receive updates on Giving Tuesday and other ways to make an impact:

An Update on Holiday Sharing

Is it too soon to get excited about the holiday season? This year, Moorelands Kids has chosen to rename our Christmas Sharing program to Holiday Sharing in order to better represent the diversity of Moorelands’ families who come from a variety of religious, ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Join Holiday Sharing 2023 and help families feel connected to our Moorelands community.

Holiday Sharing 2023 Calendar

September 18
Adopt-A-Family program opens. Sponsors can sign up here.

September 25
Volunteer sign-up begins.

November 1
Deadline for sponsors to contact us for Adopt-A-Family program.

November 24
Deadline for volunteers to sign up to help with Holiday Sharing.

December 4-6
Receiving days for all gifts and donations at Moorelands Kids’ office.

December 14-15
Distribution days for families at Moorelands Kids’ office.

Moorelands Wish List

Leaf Blower …………….…..…$2,500
Mini Van ……………………….$60,000
Tractor ………….$25,000 – 35,000

By making a donation, you give kids the opportunity to experience community, security, strong friendships and the joy of learning. How to donate:

  • Donate online by clicking the link below.
  • Make a gift over the phone, using Visa or MasterCard: at 416-466-9987 ext. 314;
  • Send a cheque in the mail, made out to Moorelands Kids to 251 Consumers Road, Unit 601, Toronto, ON M2J 4R3.

Connect with us!

Keep up with Moorelands Kids on social media – FOLLOW, LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to take part in the fun. Get all the latest information, from program updates and upcoming events to stories from our kids. Check us out @moorelandskids!

416.466.9987 ext. 300
251 Consumers Rd., Suite 601 Toronto, ON M2J 4R3
Charitable Registration
#11923 0241 RR0001