York-TD Community Engagement Centre celebrates Catalyst Grant recipients

Working partnerships between York University and the Jane-Finch community were recognized through the Catalyst Grant program on May 10, when the York University-TD Community Engagement Centre held a reception for the recipients.

Grants are intended to provide one-time project startup funding up to a maximum of $10,000, with most grants for $5,000 or less. The number of and amount of grants are dependent on the amount of funding available each year and the quality of grant applications received.

Projects include initiatives that: foster academic innovation in teaching and learning through community-engaged pedagogy and experiential education opportunities; support postsecondary educational attainment among community residents and the
development of academic pathways; or enhance the capacity of York faculty/students and community partners to work collaboratively on community-based research.

This year, the third year for the program, the University celebrated five projects:

Jane Finch Community Research Partnership (JFCRP), Coalition of Residents and York Librarians and KMU
• The JFCRP hosted a one-day community conference to address the challenges in accessing research conducted in and about the Jane-Finch community. This follows a successful workshop held in June 2016. The conference culminated in setting up the foundation for a community-based research collection and a community-based ethics process, guided by a central community-based steering committee.

Young Inventors Initiative, Harriet Tubman Institute and Tech Spark, Access Alliance Multicultural Community Health Centre
• This March Break program exposed youth in Jane-Finch to the design and development of technology. During the program, 15 youth aged 15 to 18 spent their mornings delving into the rich histories of African inventors through various activities. In the afternoons, students spent time in the technology lab theorizing about design and creation. Students successfully participated in and benefited from ongoing reflection, social networking, career development and community engagement.

The Probability of Employment Standard Violations in North-West Toronto, CLASP and Jane Finch Resident Advisory Group
• This research project collected data from individual stories as well as claims made to the Ministry of Labour as a means to depict the true picture of Employment Standards Act violations by temporary agencies in the city’s north-west. The project aimed to collect evidence to help bring accountability and liability to agencies’ operation in Jane-Finch that violates workers’ rights.

Making the Connection, The Spot (Jane-Finch Centre) and Professor Natalie Coulter
• This project focused on developing ways to increase the overall participation of young women within youth spaces in the Jane-Finch community, first by understanding the issues and concerns young women face in accessing youth spaces, and then by collaboratively creating strategies of inclusion and engagement for young women in community programs and drop-in spaces.

Parents Involved Support NetworkEducation Involved Advocacy Group and Faculty of Education (not present for the award)
• The goals of this project were to support parent engagement in the Black Creek Community elementary and secondary school and to establish an ongoing support network where parents can successfully engage in their children’s education through access to resources, assistance in the navigation of the system, and participation in regular activities and discussions with other parents in the community.

Vice-Provost Academic Alice Pitt

“One of my favourite events of the year is learning about the results of the Catalyst Grants,” said Vice-Provost Academic Alice Pitt during her congratulatory remarks to the recipients. “The research teams are asking very good research questions and wrapping well thought out methodology around them. The outcomes and impact have been fantastic this year.”

Launch of Community Engagement website

The event also highlighted the launch of York University’s Community Engagement website at community.info.yorku.ca, which serves as a resource for York University community-related programs, news, events, research, services and more.

For more information about the next round of Catalyst Grants or how to get involved with the York-TD Community Engagement Centre, email yorkcec@yorku.ca.