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article imageOp-Ed: Can Toronto afford to cut programs at community centres?

By KJ Mullins     Dec 15, 2011 in World
Toronto - When preparing a family budget the numbers are pretty quick and dry. You have a certain amount of money that gets different allocations. When you're budgeting for a city it's a little different.
Trying to decide which programs to cut or expand can change the dimensions for more than one area.
Let's take a look at the city's community centres. At first glance providing funding for these centres may seem frivolous. Tax dollars going to fund tea socials? Parents going to play dates with their infants? Teens hanging out after school instead of going home to do their homework? Some may question why money should be going to these types of programming until you take a closer look.
That tea social is the only time that a senior leaves her apartment. The staff notices her fingernails are bluish. An ambulance is called and her life is saved.
At the play date a staff member notices one of the quiet moms sporting a black eye. After talking to the lady privately she breaks down in tears about the abuse she faces each night at her home. Phone calls are quickly made and the mother and her child sleep in safety at a domestic violence shelter that night, the first step in rebuilding her life.
Outside of the community centre's safety a young man is facing a decision that could change his life, to join a gang and have a sense of family or go shoot hoops with his friends from school. He chooses to shoot hoops instead of shooting a gun.
Toronto's community centres like Harbourfront Community Centre can change lives. They make a difference in the lives of youth, children and isolated adults each and every day. In Toronto they are also facing the hardships that could be coming in the following year because of the city's budget. Certain programs are under attack like the Community Partnership and Investment Program and the Drug Prevention Community Investment Program. These programs are very needed but without the funding from grants are unlikely to be able to continue.
At Harbourfront Community Centre this could bring an end to Room 13, an art studio run for and by area kids, youth activities and the Adult and Seniors Community Kitchen.
If you are concerned about how cuts that affect your local community centre contact your local City Councillor. Councillor Adam Vaughan is the person to contact if you live in the Harbourfront Community Centre area. (416 392 4044 or by email:
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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