Working for Change is a grassroots Social Justice organization, built by community members to create our own solutions to poverty, stigma and various forms of marginalization. Rooted in the psychiatric survivor and mad pride movement, Working for Change believes strongly in the wisdom, value and skills of people with lived experience of mental health, addiction, homelessness, trauma, new comer/refugee challenges, and many other barriers.
Working for Change serves as the umbrella organization for several social enterprises. A social enterprise is a business that creates training and employment opportunities for low-income and marginalized individuals. We operate using business principles, but also focus on the social impact of employment. By selling goods and services we invest the money we make back into our business. This allows us to tackle social issues, improve people’s lives, and support communities. We also offer leadership, pre-employment training programs and run a speakers bureau.
Out of This World Cafe
Originally vocational rehabilitation program run by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Out of This World Cafe was divested to Working for Change in 2002 to be operated as a social purpose enterprise. In recent years, we have dramatically expanded our service, providing a range of delicious food items from our storefront location at 100 Stokes Street and from the Grill, which is located in the mall of CAMH at 1001 Queen Street West. In addition we provide catering services to customers within CAMH and in Central Toronto.
The Raging Spoon
The Raging Spoon has provided catering services to the Greater Toronto Area for over 16 years while offering employment opportunities to people with mental health or addiction issues who have interest in food service related employment. We deliver throughout west-end and central Toronto areas, offering a variety of appetizers, hot and cold entrees and deserts We accommodate meetings, conferences and special events. office/institutional interiors.
Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises is a social purpose horticulture business that installs and maintains outdoor and indoor plants for Business Improvement Areas, non-profit organizations, hospitals, the private sector and community groups. We work with customers to design plantings for streetscapes and office/institutional interiors.
Voices from the Street
Voices from the street provides economically, politically and socially marginalized individuals from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to bring their voices and perspectives to decision-making bodies that shape public policy. graduates from the program are part of a speakers bureau that creates opportunities for members to advocate for societal change and reduce stigma and discrimination. Members are able to speak on a various topics related to poverty, mental health issues, addictions, homelessness, domestic violence and newcomer issues.
Women Speak Out
Women Speak Out, which was established in 2011, provides a 12-week leadership training program using a gender lens to explore social justice issues. Graduates of WSO are active members on a range of advisory committees and community boards and they have participated in international and national exchanges with other grassroots women’s groups. They are also members of our Speakers Bureau. In 2013, WSO won the Women Transforming Cities Best Practices Award for their work.
Relief Worker Program
There is increased recognition in the social service sector that people with lived experience bring valuable skills, empathy, and an ability to relate to and support others who are accessing the social service system. The opportunity to work allows people who are living in poverty to change their economic status and feel empowered by their contribution to society. Our program is one of the few that provides in-depth training that prepares people to work as relief workers in shelters, drop-ins and housing programs.
Food & Horticulture Program
We offer a 12 week training program focusing on employment in either the food or horticulture sectors. In addition to receiving pre-employment training which focuses on assisting people who have been out of the workplace for extended periods, participants also have on the job training in their selected area. Some of the graduates of the program find work in our social enterprises, Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises, Out of This World Cafe, and the Raging Spoon Catering Company
Support during Covid-19 Program
We offer a 10- week program focusing on wellness. We will connect with participants who are struggling and in urgent need during the COVID-19 crisis—people who are socially isolated, experiencing mental health issues, poverty, and in need of community resources including food or financial resources.
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Shelter Peer Support Program
The Peer Support Shelter Programs will train people with lived experience of poverty and homelessness, who are distant from the labor market to obtain positions in City shelters. Peer work gives our graduates the opportunity to gain experience and move on to full-time employment in the social service sector.
For employment opportunities contact the businesses directly
Help us to build independent lives
Donations can be made to Working for Change or to the social enterprises and leadership groups directly.