The Art of Giving! 

  February 4th, 2014 by Dianne

Not only can praise brighten up someone's day in this sometimes thankless world, but you can also boost your own feel-good levels by dishing it out. It's a win-win situation and when you least expect it, even better!


416 Community Support for Women’s Case Management Worker’s are the ones behind the scenes, sometimes working many hours in a quiet unassuming way.  Everyone at 416 knows how hard they work and how dedicated they are to our membership.


Recently, 416’s Alex, Clinical Supervisor received these heartfelt thanks from Alena Marshal, MSW, RSW at CAMH Women’s Inpatient Unit and thought we’d like to share:


“Dear Alex, I don’t believe we have had a chance to meet, but I am the Social Worker on the Women’s Inpatient Unit here at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.  I really just wanted to take this opportunity, as it has been something I was meaning to do for a while, to thank you and your amazing team of case managers for being so incredible and caring towards the women I send over.  The partnership between our unit and the 416 team has been immeasurably helpful and reliable, preventing countless women I am sure from ‘falling through the cracks.’


Your team, Elena, Marcie and Rosaline has been nothing short of amazing to work with.  They are so quick to follow up with people and whenever clients come back as outpatients to the unit they rave about how 416 has in many ways saved their lives (which warms my heart to know they are in good hands outside of the hospital).  As I am sure you have come to know, you have some remarkable women on your team!  Their consistency and positive attitudes towards clients are nothing short of inspiring.  It is women like these who are the true unsung heroes of the community of providers dedicated to helping underserved women.  We look forward to continuing our partnership!”


416 beams with pride by knowing not only how much we appreciate having wonderful employees, but also how much others do too.  We have lost some of these remarkable women and added two more remarkable women, Sara and Effie who have joined our Case Management team recently. 


Note: Each morning, put five coins in your pocket. During the day, every time you recognize an employee doing something well, transfer a coin to your other pocket. While a little unconventional, it will train you to recognize exceptional employees and help you set an expectation of discovery beyond one or two individuals. This is an interesting exercise in the art of appreciation.  


As 2013 Ends……We Welcome 2014! 

  January 27th, 2014 by Rosie, Executive Director

416 Community Support for Women has gone through many changes over the years and will continue to be a safe and supportive environment for women to find a sense of community and hope. We have learned that the bonds and connections developed between our members, our staff and our volunteers has created a unique opportunity for all the women of 416 to reach their full potential for physical, emotional and mental well-being.

Programs and Activities

Our accomplishments over this past year are truly a result of the hard work of our dedicated employees, board volunteers and service volunteers. Their on-going efforts allow 416 to offer numerous support groups and recreational activities to our members. Our trusted fundraising efforts such as our yearly Silent Auction, our Tree Sales Event and our ongoing grants and donations provide the following list of just some of the many workshops and events available to women here:

Medical Clinics; Cooking to the Oldies; Gardening; Auricular Acupuncture; Chinese Medicine; Clinic; Podiatry Clinic; Art & Creative Writing; Addictions & Recovery; Anger Management;

Literacy; Yoga; Emotional Growth; Crafts & Beading; Karaoke; Meditation & Mindfulness;

Spa Day; Games Nights; Dances; Knitting & Sewing; Day Trip to Bronte Park; Thanksgiving; Dinner; Holiday Dinner; Pride Week Dinner

With generous donations from variousFoundations, we have been able to further strengthen our Volunteer Program this year. With a staff position focused on volunteers, we have been able to create an environment where staff and volunteers can work together to meet the needs of the 416 community.

House Improvements

This year our major house improvements have been the renovation of our basement and the installation of doors in the Drop In area. Both of these renewals have allowed for the improved health and safety aspects of our building and our programs. The transformation of our Food Bank, the washrooms and laundry facilities and our newly built storage space and closets are now all areas of organization and efficiency. Our new and improved basement and the reformation of our Drop In program area are now spaces where our members feel a new sense of welcoming and pride. These amazing upgrades are thanks to the wonderful donors and friends of 416. We could not do the work we do, without the support of so many. We continue to expand our programming, our food services and our medical services to further assist the women that walk through the doors of 416 each day.

Once again, we would like to sincerely thank our program participants, staff, volunteers, board members, donors and supporters for their dedication and hard work. 416 Community Support for Women has been honoured to work with so many groups and individuals in this amazing journey of 30 years of providing a stable place of hope and encouragement to a most deserving group of women. We look forward to the possibilities in 2014.

Rosie, Executive Director, 416 Community Support for Women


Thank you 416 

  August 27th, 2013 by Dianne

I have always been a compassionate person, helping anyone. My need to make sure everyone is okay, whether I can empower, motivate or direct, I realize now in my 50’s, that this is an integral part of my being and who I am as a person.

I was a single Mom raising two children, taking care of the home, working, driving duties, entertainment coordinator, Father, friend mediator and all the other responsibilities, not just as a Mother, but also a woman. My main priority was my children and being able to raise healthy and well adjusted kids. My needs were not even a thought during this time, life was tough but good, until, one day I realized my kids were grown, out on their own, married and having their own families. ‘What now’! The changes that ensued through self reflecting, many courses, many tears and learning to open myself to change surprised me. I always knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel, but didn’t realize the transformation that was about to happen……I decided to go to College, I know, after 40 years of working I couldn’t believe it either. My life was going to change. Something to be said for a 50 something women returning to the education system, surrounding her self with fellow students between the ages of 18 and 21. Best decision I ever made. Thank God for resilience and adaptability!

It was after my first year of College I realized I needed to find work during the summer months, that I first met 416 Community Support for Women. I put a call out on Face book and that’s when Rosie, ED of this wonderful organization answered my call.

I have been working at 416 for three months now and it has changed me. Changed my attitude, changed my direction in life and taught me a whole lot about addictions and mental health. So many things I have learned and continue to learn from the incredible women I work with and for. Here is this organization housed in a Victorian home in the heart of downtown Toronto serving the Regent Park area and what great karma. I have worked for many non profits, but feel 416 is unique, special and different than any other. At the helm of this organization, ED Rosie and colleagues, consisting of Case Management Workers, Office Staff, Program Coordinators, Kitchen Staff, Drivers and the many Volunteers, has created a well oiled organization, but the unique part is the inside of this home, a home environment in every sense of the word. For many of the women, they have no homes or family and 416 is all they know and if the laughter and smiles inside this home are any indication on how the women feel about 416, then to me 416 has set itself apart and the community needs to know about this wonderful organization and all the wonderful services and program it offers.

Its funny how, in this journey of life, even though we may begin at different times and places our paths cross with others so that we may share our love, compassion, observations and hope. This is what 416 Community Support for Women is and something that I truly appreciate and cherish……….

Thank you 416!



Celebrating 30 Years 

  April 19th, 2013 by Clarinda Brandao

We’re celebrating 30 years! I cannot believe we’re part of this incredible piece of history.  

In 1983, a woman by the name of Joy Reid decided to open up a home for the women in Regent Park.; a place that provided a day-time space for women looking for support while coping with isolation, mental health issues and other difficulties.  Their mission was simple…to help.

“We realize that we can’t change people. People change themselves.  But we believe that we can walk beside them and
help clear the way.”
- Joy Reid (1937-2010)
Image:Celebrating 30 Years

416 has gone through many changes over the years, from a name change “Friends of the Shopping Bag Ladies” to as we know it “416 Community Support For Women” and a complete kitchen, basement and front entrance renovation.  These amazing upgrades are thanks to the wonderful donors and friends of 416.  We could not do the work we do, without the support of so many of you.  We continue to expand our programming, our food services and our medical services to further assist the women that walk through the doors at 416 each day.

As part of this 30 years celebration we welcome you to join us at our open house anniversary event on Sunday, April 21st at 2:30pm-5:30pm, 416 Dundas Street East.


The Place of Energy Therapies in The Workplace of The Future 

  March 15th, 2013 by Genevieve Bailey

Pool of Oasis Islantilla Hotel

I think I may have officially came out of the "light worker closet" at work. My company launched a huge worldwide internal forum of ideas and I posted my vision of the workplace of the future.  Now this idea is so ahead of its time, it totally sounds like an utopia. I don't know how many people in this forum will read this, but my manager and half my department now know I am a Reiki Master.  At least I had the courage to share my idea. And who knows, it might become a reality one day.

Here is a copy of my post down below:

- - - - - - - - - -

The Place of Energy Therapies in The Workplace of The Future


We are all bombarded with stress all day long, at work and at home...Who doesn't face the challenge of maintaining a fulfilling work/life balance these days? Constant stress, with time, can take a serious toll on our body and how we feel.

I have this vision of the work place of the future where energies therapies would be offered to employees. I see an oasis area where we could go for quick energy breaks and get our 'batteries' recharged. 

Stressed out? Having a tough day? Feeling down? Preparing for a tough client meeting?  In need of inspiration to write your next presentation or new product development? Energy therapies, like Reiki, help re-balancing our energies, reduce stress, it can reduce pain, help relaxing, improve clarity of thoughts, help reach a state of well-being... They say happy, healthy employees are more productive...

I can see this oasis just like if I was there. I firmly believe it will happen one day. Will our company be innovative enough to be the first company to implement an idea like this? I sure dream it so!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post!

My deepest regards to all.

Geneviève Bailey

Reiki Master and Proud Employee



So, if you have great ideas and beautiful visions of the future, I encourage you to write them down and share them with other people.  It’s the best way to anchor them in the physical reality.  And who knows, our utopian ideas may become a reality in just a few decades, instead of a few centuries. I surely dream it so!



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All In a Days Work 

  February 27th, 2013 by Alex Branston

We offer support to women who have severe and persistent mental health and addiction issues. Our staff are committed to offering a safe haven for the women who come to us. Many of our members lack appropriate supports to help them cope with mental health/addiction issues and many of our ladies won’t access treatment options available to people with mental health and addictions.

From encouraging participation within our agency programs to accompanying the women on social activities around the city, the staff focus on engaging all of the women who use our services.  This helps our ladies build confidence and enhances there social networks with other members who use our service. The regular interaction with the staff helps to broaden the often very small support our ladies have.  

This commitment will be extended further in March, when the 416 introduces new programming meant to foster awareness and recovery for our ladies.

At our satellite office at 40 Oak, the outreach programs help provide more of a specialized focus on mental health and addiction for women who need more one on one support.

All things considered, as an agency we couldn't be more proud of our continued commitment to providing a safe haven for these women and giving them the tools to realize rich and meaningful improvements in their lives

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My Experience at 416 

  February 19th, 2013 by Clarinda

I work at 416 as the Volunteer Coordinator.  I recruit volunteers and develop programs for the women who are suffering with many serious and life changing challenges. It is great to give back and help those less fortunate; it really puts your own life into perspective.

Seeing the women that come through the doors at 416 really encourages you to reach out and help. Though I have only been here nine months, the ladies at 416 have been most welcoming, sharing their stories; who they were and who they are today.

These women come from various walks of life; there is no specific race, specific culture or specific religion that fills the drop-in at 416 each day. They come for a delicious meal and someone to talk with.  Many of the women that come through our doors have mental illness and/or a serious addiction.  

416 offers many engaging and interactive programs such as art, painting, music, gardening, yoga and so much more.  They even have a nurse on staff for those that can't get to a doctor.

I hope through my work at 416 I will be able to help expand the volunteer program and help grow the many upcoming projects in the coming year.  

Life can be hard sometimes… and for some it can almost be unbearable.

Do you have a skill or talent that you could offer to share with these women? Painting, Yoga, Music, Arts & Crafts, Etc.   Tell us about it.

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Feeling Good Inside & Out 

  January 24th, 2013 by Clarinda

In fall of 2012, we introduced a new program to 416.  A Feeling Good Inside and Out project that helps the women feel better about themselves by empowering them and helping them build their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-respect.

It started as a spa-afternoon on Thursdays where the women would get their nails done and a little makeup to lift their spirits.  This provided the women with a safe and social setting to engage in conversation with each other while feeling good with a little pampering.

Image:Feeling Good Inside & Out

The volunteers who facilitate the spa-afternoons are Melanie and Tia; both university students specializing in Mental Health and Social Work.  With experience in self-esteem workshops they decided to plan and execute a workshop at 416 that focuses on building the women’s confidence and helping the women voice their strengths and accomplishments big or small.

This past November they hosted their very first Self-Esteem workshop as they invited the ladies to talk about their experiences and future goals.  On small paper stars they wrote their goals and courageously posted them on the wall for everyone to see.  “To be happy” wrote one of the women as she carefully placed her star - a touching and yet simple goal.

These deserving women don’t ask for big lavish things, just to be cared for and to be happy.

A special thank you to Melanie and Tia and all our volunteers for their  dedication and commitment in making a difference at 416!
Image:Feeling Good Inside & Out

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Like Butterflies in the wind 

  November 28th, 2012 by Genevieve Bailey

Image:Like Butterflies in the wind

Have you noticed? It’s the best of time; it’s the worst of time.  I can’t open a newspaper or listen to the news without getting upset anymore. In the midst of chaos, can we view our struggles with compassion?  

We all have the power to reach for the strength and for the peace of our inner source.  As we cannot control the state of the world, we can at least hold on to the state of our inner peace.

We cannot judge what others choose to experience, as it is their experience.  And we don’t have to be pulled into their dramas, if we don’t have to.  But we can always land a compassionate hand if they want us to.

As the wind of change violently blows around us, it is futile to try to hold on to our hats and our old ways.   Let’s just be flying butterflies and be carried by the wind.

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Wake up call to get back into physical balance 

  November 6th, 2012 by Genevieve Bailey

Image:Wake up call to get back into physical balance

Our human physical body is such an amazing wonder!  Its engineering is a real work of art and I am astonished how I have been taking it for granted!  Being able to breathe with ease, walk with grace, see, hear and touch the beauty around me. Taste! Oh! The taste of good food! Oh! But what about the candies and junk food I’ve been eating lately? Have I been too busy to exercise or just too lazy? Hum…

Yesterday I said to my husband: “did you know they say Noah lived for 950 years? The human body truly has built-in capacities to live a lot longer than we are now?"

-“How long do you think you are going to live?" He asked.  

 -“I don’t know. As long as I will be needed on Earth, I guess"…

-“Well, if you don’t do anything about your fitness soon, you’ll head towards a heart attack and you may not live as long as you think.”

-“Yeah, yeah, you’re right…” I replied unsure if I really cared.

This morning, I got this inner guidance while meditating: “Why this longing to go back “Home”?  A big part of you already resides in the spiritual world. You’ve never really left.  So, enjoy this opportunity you have to focus on this physical experience. Taste it and enjoy it every minute of each day. Pay also more attention in the care of your body as it is the temple of a Goddess.”

Wow! Wake up call shock! The message was loud and clear. I cannot and will not dismiss this any further. I promise to exercise and to listen to my body as it knows perfectly well what its needs. I will ask it every day what its needs and if what I am about to eat is good for me or not.  I know this is the beginning of a rewarding friendship!

So, I decided to re-connect, in a meditative state, with all my organs to tell them my love and gratitude for everything they do for me. I got really surprised by their feedback!  All my body parts were so happy to be acknowledged! It was like: “Yeah!! She finally is paying attention to us!!”

I found out my eyes like to stretch and exercise like the rest of the body.

My lungs want me to breathe more consciously and breathe in light like a source of food.

My heart said to stop being so hard on myself.

My stomach loves to be massaged to help its digestive process and appreciates when I avoid the foods it has trouble assimilating.

But most of all, my body confirmed that it wants to move more, stretch and exercise. Breathing more deeply will help me feel less sluggish and tired all the time. It urged me to drink more water. To eat more slowly, in gratitude and appreciation of every bite for all the work, energy, and efforts done by all involved in growing and preparing that food so that I can be nourished… Simple and good habits that I have been neglecting for years!

Have you stopped and took  time to talk to your body lately?  You may be surprised by what it has to say! It just wants to be balanced, to be loved and to love you back. Don’t wait for your wake up call!


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