By Chie Takano Reeves
Community Outreach Worker
Hello everyone. My name is Chie and I am a JSS staff member managing the programs, volunteers and some counselling services. What follows is a summary report of the 2015 JSS programs. Time flies quickly and there is only a month left in the year 2015.
During 2015, JSS had to make many reviews and major changes to its systems in order to comply with the change in the various factors surrounding the organization (including the regulations) that governs our day-to-day operation. Therefore, we could not provide some programs that had been offered regularly (e.g. Nobody’s Perfect, a parenting program co-hosted with Toronto Public Health) in these past few years. On the other hand, other parenting programs are thriving. Raising Amuro Kids, a support program for parents who are raising a child with developmental/learning disabilities and difficulties, has been offered monthly. Our pilot project, Single Mothers’ Support Group (SMSG), finished its first term in the spring. While this pilot project was under review to determine its future, we had an outing session in October at a downtown Toronto park. (Thank you to those who attended, even though it was such a cold day!). We are very happy to announce that JSS is working towards re-opening SMSG as a regular monthly program from 2016!
As you may also know, JSS has a long-running friendly visiting program, Konnichiwa Program, in which trained JSS volunteers visit clients regularly to offer friendship, chatting and listening to clients’ stories, and doing activities or walking together. In 2015, there were 5 – 7 clients who received a warm visit from our caring and devoted Konnichiwa volunteers. (*We are currently looking for a potential Konnichiwa volunteer who can visit our client in Burlington. Contact Chie for more details.)
Not only for multi-session programs, but we also have put in an effort towards increasing the number of seminars and mini workshops for larger audiences. In the September, for the Power of Attorney and Will Seminar we invited a Japanese-speaking estate lawyer, and provided legal information on both legal documents and the importance of preparing them (see the JSS newsletter article). In a similar category, a new program, Advance Care Planning Workshop, was held twice in 2015, July and November, which provided an opportunity for the participants to explore and document their wishes regarding their health care services and to prepare for the time when they become incapable to express their wishes. Also in conjunction with New Japanese Canadian Association (current New Japanese Canadian Committee), we have provided Dementia Supporter Caravan: Supporter Training.
We also have collaborated with other community groups and organizations working together to provide workshops outside of JSS location, for better accessibility. For example, Raising Sexually Healthy Children, the Toronto Public Health program via Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS) and Hidamari Club, was delivered for Japanese-speaking mothers to promote the importance of talking to their children about all aspects of sexuality including sexual health, and to create an informed environment at home, for children to learn consent, respect and protection. The other collaborations which were successful in providing newcomers including temporary work-permit holders (e.g. working-holiday makers) and student visa holders was Rental Housing Seminar, a seminar that provided information on the Residential Tenancy Act, 2006 by explaining the points with which people tend to get into trouble. Another one was the Healthy Relationship Workshop, for women to learn the cultural difference in romance and dating, the importance of consent and building boundaries to protect themselves (facilitated by ACAS). These two events were hosted by the collaboration of JSS, Japanese Visitors Association (born out of JSS and later became independent) and Japanese Canadian Student Association (University of Toronto). JSS did and will continue to provide seminars with a wide range of topics for people in different generations or situations.
Because we believe it is important to provide opportunities for building social support networks, we started a new program in June, JSS Singing Club for people aged 55 and older. They gather and sing along to Japanese folk and school songs that conjure up lots of fond of memories. There is also the Wakagaeri (rejuvenation) Club provided on a continuous basis for seniors and people who are soon-to-be-seniors. This club has provided not only the monthly meeting but also the Ku-kai, to create haiku together at a beautiful park.
The programs that probably have been familiar to you for a long time, such as the Craft Club and Hot Lunch, have offered an environment where not only the service users but also our volunteers can together enjoy and build healthy and supportive communities. (*Note: Hot Lunch session became once a month since September 2015)
All JSS programs have been managed by 1.2 staff who also manage multiple roles and tasks. As you might imagine, it is almost impossible for this few people to run everything. Each program has dedicated and passionate volunteers who help plan and organize it towards success. You too can become part of our cause. Please feel free to contact Chie (myself) if you would like to join our volunteer activities and support JSS as well as the JC community.
The highlight of all of the JSS programs, of course, the Holiday Drive. Please learn more about it by reading my other article in this edition of the online newsletter. Please provide your generous gift and donations to support the community members who are in need.
Stay tuned for future JSS programs, including a brand new parenting program, Incredible Years (IY) from the end of January 2016 – another program with Toronto Public Health. IY focuses on behaviours of children aged 2-6, in which parents will learn why children act as the ways they do and how to handle misbehaviours. We are delighted to be able to offer this IY program first time in Japanese. Nobody’s Perfect program will also be back in September 2016.
*We would like to encourage you to give us your input or questions about JSS programs!
6 Garamond Court, Don Mills, ON M3C 1Z5
By Chie Takano Reeves