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Feature Agency of the Week: Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

We mentioned on our last blog entry that we are going to start featuring agencies and organizations that showcase a commitment to being an inclusive, welcoming, safe and positive space. For this week, we are featuring Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services!

Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services  improves health outcomes for the most vulnerable immigrants, refugees and their communities by facilitating access to services and addressing systemic inequities. Access Alliance offers an LGBTQ+ newcomer inclusive environment at three locations across Toronto, providing programs and services that include primary healthcare, nutrition and mental health counselling, settlement services, women’s programs, youth programs, a resource centre, as well as volunteer and research opportunities.

Working from an anti-oppressive framework is key to the services provided, creating safe, welcoming spaces to foster healthy communities.  As part of this, Access Alliance recognizes that LGBTQ+ newcomers face particular challenges in a new country.  Access Alliance’s commitment to safe, positive and inclusive space is reflected in its policies and procedures. Pride is taken in offering programs and services for LGBTQ+ newcomers that help ease this adjustment.

Access Alliance takes innovative approaches to programming for LGBTQ+ newcomers.  In addition to the programs and services listed above, LGBTQ+ focused projects include:

  • The NewTQs project, working to enhance social connectedness, increase access to health and settlement services and provide meaningful opportunities to contribute to community development.  This program offers monthly drop in groups, roof top gardening at our AccessPoint on Danforth location, field trips and a community forum in January which focused on creating awareness and building capacity on working with LGBTQ+ newcomers
  • Eat, Learn, Connect for Healthy Living which involves yoga and meditation workshops and a rainbow kitchen where LGBTQ+ newcomers can connect with others and gain skills for lifelong healthy living;
  • Expressive arts program that allows LGBTQ women who are recent immigrants and refugees to use art to explore issues and experiences that are important or meaningful to them.

Past programs for LGBTQ+ newcomers included the Among Friends Initiative which was a training and capacity building project that supported other community-based agencies to create positive and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ newcomers. The volunteers who identified as LGBTQ+ developed and delivered the Among Friends activities, providing training, workshops and resources to partner organizations.  The two-year Stepping Up to the Plate project addressed issues of violence and community safety for LGBTQ+ newcomer, immigrant and refugee women. It identified promising practices in arts-based programming to combat these issues and, through it, programming was developed as well as a toolkit that continues to be used by other service providers.

Access Alliance also collaborated with OCASI’s Positive Spaces Initiative in organizing two forums on LGBTQ+ newcomer issues: Identity, Migration and Politics: Journeys of LGBTQ+ Newcomers held in June 19, 2012 and recently on January 22, 2013, Creating Awareness & Building Capacity: Working with LGBTQ+ Newcomers. Both events were attended by many service providers from across the GTA!

Access Alliance has also invited PSI to do a workshop in March for their Student Training Program. We are looking forward to the event!

For more information on Access Alliance's LGBTQ+ newcomer programs and services, visit: http://accessalliance.ca/services/lgbtq

Access Alliance’s continued commitment to providing LGBTQ+ newcomer inclusive programs and services is exemplary that’s why we decided to feature them this week.

Tune in next week to see who we will feature next! J

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