Sherbourne Health: Mosaic News - Spring/Summer 2019 Edition

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mosaic news Spring/Summer 2019

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2019 edition of Mosaic News, Sherbourne Health’s newsletter. Subscribe to receive biannual updates on our diverse programs and services.

Sherbourne Health is accredited with perfect marks! Sherbourne Health meets the highest possible standards in our programs, services and operations. That is the verdict of Accreditation Canada, whose representatives carried out an intensive three day ‘survey’ visit at Sherbourne in November. Accreditation is a voluntary process in which trained health professionals assess the quality of other organizations, based on a set of requirements and best practices developed across the Canadian health sector. (Continued on page 2)

in this issue 2

Sherbourne Health accredited with perfect marks


Exciting updates & events at Supporting Our Youth


Volunteer Spotlight / Spring Gathering in St. James Town


Community events spotlight: local initiatives support SOY


Health Bus expands in Moss Park / Launch of Self-Compassion group


Distorted Reflections workshop / Food programs at Sherbourne


Looking ahead: theatre, bowling & RHO 2020 Conference

A note from the President & CEO... Hello, and thank you for reading this Spring/Summer edition of Mosaic News! As always, it’s my privilege to share exciting developments from our Sherbourne family. Over the last few months we’ve launched innovative new mental health groups, held a public gathering to collect feedback on the wellbeing of the St. James Town community, and continued the evolution of our youth programming to better serve the health and wellness needs of our city’s young people. Donations from dedicated individuals, groups and companies help us sustain our work and take bold new approaches to serve our service users, and we’re pleased to spotlight just a few great ways that our community gets involved through fundraising. Finally, we celebrate the outstanding result of our recent accreditation survey, a tribute to our staff and providers who live Sherbourne’s values and go above-and-beyond every day. – Hazelle Palmer, President & CEO, Sherbourne Health

‘Sherbourne Health is accredited with perfect marks’ continued... Over five hundred standards are inspected, covering everything from clients’ views on their healthcare experiences and feedback from community partner agencies, to client and staff safety initiatives, leadership and organizational governance practices. In the lead up to Accreditation Canada’s visit, working groups from every area of Sherbourne collaborated to ensure that every standard is met. This included conducting surveys of services users, staff and providers, organizing client focus groups, updating policies and procedures, and gathering evidence for the surveyors’ visit. Although Sherbourne has been accredited since 2012, this time around we achieved our highest standing yet, and in fact, the best rating possible, with 100% of standards achieved! As proud as we are of our accreditation result, improving the quality of our programs and services is a constant journey, and we are always eager to hear from service users and other stakeholders about how we can do better. Keep an eye on our website and community notice boards within our centre for opportunities to participate in our ongoing Client Engagement Forums, or send your feedback to


A designated Accreditation Canada banner is proudly displayed outside Sherbourne’s main entrance. Sherbourne Health was awarded Exemplary Standing with a score of 100% following a survey visit from Accreditation Canada in November.

“For me, this underlines the incredible work that our staff and providers deliver every day for our clients. Preparing for accreditation is a very involved process and I am so proud of everyone’s dedication and commitment to quality, which is reflected in this incredible score.” Hazelle Palmer President & CEO Sherbourne Health

Updates & events: what’s happening at SOY?

[From left] The SOY staff team, who works together to support the health and wellbeing of LGBT2SQ youth ages 29 and under through groups, programs, events and one-on-one support; SOY GET OUT participants have a blast skiing on the slopes at Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski resort.

At Supporting Our Youth (SOY) we create opportunities for local LGBT2SQ youth and young adults to find others like themselves, explore experiences and goals together, and share feelings, ideas and resources.

Community health & wellbeing SOY’s collection of health and wellbeing focused programs and services continues to respond to the needs of youth in our LGBT2SQ communities. We offer identity based Evening Health and Wellbeing Groups where LGBT2SQ youth can find one-to-one support, a nourishing meal and safe spaces to build community. In January we launched Intersections, a Tuesday night health and wellbeing hub that offers LGBT2SQ youth from many backgrounds a central place to honour their experiences and resourcefulness, decrease isolation, connect with diverse services, and support their goals. Intersections provides a meal, workshops, a creative space to chill or make art, and the opportunity to connect with youth resource workers, mentors, mental health counsellors and community guests. The Black Queer Youth and Express drop-ins are now both on Wednesday evenings. Youth share a meal and foster community as they build afro-centric supports, explore their journeys as newcomers and refugees with other youth from across the globe, and embrace their whole selves. On Thursday evenings, SOY and fellow

Sherbourne teams provide programming dedicated to trans and non-binary people. Participants from SOY Trans_Fusion Crew, Mature Trans Sisters, Trans Men’s Surgical Support Group, Voice Modification Group and Gender Journeys come together to share a meal and socialize, helping to build an intergenerational community. This initiative supports the development of a trans community health and wellbeing hub.

ID clinic for trans communities Alongside Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) and Blakes, Sherbourne recently piloted a two-evening all ages Trans ID Clinic as part of its Thursday evening programming for trans communities. We supported 17 individuals with their questions and forms, including Sherbourne clients from multiple services. Thank you to PBSC, Blakes, and Sherbourne’s crossdepartmental support from SOY, the Newcomer Health Team and the LGBT2SQ Clinical Team.

SOY goes skiing! There’s no better way to celebrate new experiences, new friendships and the thrill of winter than on the slopes of Mount St. Louis Moonstone! Thank you to SOY’s GET OUT participants for joining us on March 2nd, and to OUTSLOPES Toronto for making this trip possible! GET OUT is a health and wellbeing series that promotes connection to our bodies and the world around us through group adventures. To learn more contact Patrick at


Volunteer Spotlight

Anna is a volunteer mentor with the Supporting Our Youth (SOY) Group Mentorship program, a stream that supports SOY youth at community health and wellbeing groups. She welcomed this new role in January. Anna directly supports Tuesday evening’s weekly Intersections health and wellbeing hub, where she greets participants at the door, helps with group meals by cooking, doing dishes and serving food, and hangs out with youth participants in the different workshops and discussion spaces. As a new mentor, Anna was inspired to volunteer because of her familiarity with Sherbourne and to share in the important work being done by SOY: “Growing up queer in Toronto, I’ve known for a while about the amazing work that happens at Sherbourne and SOY and really wanted to contribute as a volunteer, to help support the creation of spaces for queer youth to feel safe and access community resources.” Anna also completed a required training course in anti-racism and antioppression practices to prepare for her role as mentor.


SOY mentor

“I completed the volunteer mentor training last year and learned a lot about anti-oppression and creating safe and accountable spaces for queer youth. In my short time as a volunteer so far, I’ve really enjoyed putting some of what I learned into practice and continuing to learn from the amazing SOY staff and youth who participate in the program.” The learning opportunities are just one of the joys that Anna appreciates: “The programming that staff put together for Intersections is really great every week, as is the food we eat together for dinner! It’s fun to be in the space with youth, other volunteers and staff, helping out where I can.”

Fresh ideas ‘spring’ to mind for St. James Town As the lead of Health Access St. James Town (HASJT), Sherbourne led the coordination of the 6th annual Spring Gathering on March 23rd at Rose Avenue Public School. Over 150 residents and 50+ service providers gathered over a meal to discuss ideas, strategies and wishes for the wellbeing of the St. James Town community. Hosted by HASJT and the St. James Town Service Providers’ Network (SJTSPN) in collaboration with residents, the event aims to stimulate discussions and gather feedback for service providers to create services in response to communities’ needs. This year’s theme of ‘Resident leadership and collaboration’ reflected the collaborative efforts of HASJT and SJTSPN with residents to plan out specific initiatives for the community, including resident leadership programming, income generating activities, harm reduction strategies


Residents and service providers give feedback and discuss the wellbeing of the St. James Town community at this year’s Spring Gathering.

and ways to connect newcomers to services. Residents contributed to the event structure, and received small group facilitation training leading up to the event to guide discussions alongside service providers on the day itself.

Sherbourne staff led small group discussions on harm reduction, and our community dietitian planned healthy snacks and a meal with local catering. Our health promotion and systems specialist coordinated the planning committee.

Community events spotlight: Local businesses & musicians support SOY! Many people choose to give back to the community by raising funds for Supporting Our Youth (SOY). Their creative ideas are inspiring and we wanted to share some of the generous and fun ways our community has raised support for our queer and trans youth programs.

says event co-organizer Paola Loriggio. “It’s important to us to support and participate in the communities we live in. We’ve also seen the erosion of some supports/basic rights for LGBTQ+ youth in the last year and we wanted to do something to help.”

Your Nonna’s Needles

Get involved!

Small business owners Natalie and Marco Stellisano have been generously donating $5 from the sales of their ‘Respect the Spectrum’ t-shirts from their Etsy shop Your Nonna’s Needles to SOY.

Thank you to everyone who has supported SOY and Sherbourne Health!

“Our idea in designing the t-shirt was to empower and support Toronto communities that have been historically under represented,” says Marco. “We wanted to donate some of the proceeds to a local organization working to support the LGBT community, and we love the fact that SOY works with the population at a time in their lives when they need the most support.” Natalie and Marco feel strongly about how local businesses can help with local level impacts: “We think that small business in particular has the opportunity to interact directly with their community and affect real change.”

If you would like to plan an event or activity in support of Sherbourne, contact Catherine at to get involved.

For every sale of its ‘Respect the Spectrum’ t-shirts, Etsy Shop Your Nonna’s Needles donates $5 to Sherbourne’s Supporting Our Youth program.

‘Taking Back Valentine’s Day’ Musicians and bands rallied together for SOY on February 14th. At the ‘Taking Back Valentine’s Day’ concert, a crowd of about 125 people attended a sold-out show at Handlebar in Toronto. Local bands performed cover songs in an emo tribute night, inspiring folks to have fun with the day dedicated to love. The show raised almost $1,200 for SOY! “We wanted to donate to SOY because SOY helps one of the most vulnerable groups of people at such a pivotal—and potentially difficult—time in their lives at the local level,”

Local musicians, including members from bands Hollerado, Tokyo Police Club and Weak Hands, play to a sold-out crowd at ‘Taking Back Valentine’s Day,’ a concert fundraiser for SOY at Kensington Market’s Handlebar venue. (Photo by Atsuko Kobasigawa / Exclaim!)


Health Bus expands in Moss Park

primary care, such as a lack of health coverage or ID, prioritizing other needs like food and shelter and experiencing stigma in traditional healthcare settings,” says Clayo Laanemets, IPC Team program coordinator. “The Health Bus is critical for reducing such barriers to deliver a model of care that is accessible, convenient and non-judgmental to this population.”

A Nurse Practitioner examines a client and offers care on the Health Bus.

Sherbourne’s Health Bus program is working with Street Health to expand health services to homeless and under-housed populations in Moss Park through the Moss Park Interprofessional Primary Care (IPC) program. Funded by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, this initiative increases access to primary care and mental health services on evenings and weekends for individuals who experience homelessness or are under-housed within the Moss Park area. Health Bus program evaluations noted the need for these specific services, especially during evenings and weekends. “Those who are homeless or under-housed often face multiple barriers to accessing

On December 11th, the IPC team made their first stop in Moss Park, and has since expanded to offer four stops, operating four days a week. A team of nurse practitioners, case managers and community support workers collaborate to provide services like the diagnosis and treatment of conditions, case management, harm reduction supplies, overdose prevention, and healthcare and community referrals. The Health Bus will also continue to offer daytime services, with a focus on health promotion initiatives driven by an interdisciplinary team from Sherbourne. Monthly stops at partnered agencies will offer wellness and preventative care, such as foot care and STI and PAP tests. Weekly and monthly stops at various access points will also offer connections to Hep C testing, treatment and care.

Being softer on ourselves: new group offers space to learn about self-compassion Sherbourne launched in January a new SelfCompassion group for trans, non-binary and Two-Spirit folks ages 30 and up, which offered participants the skills and space to learn how to cultivate compassion for themselves and those in their life.

This nine-week initiative was led by mental health counsellor Faith Chaput, who was inspired to bring more abundant programming specifically for adults 30+ years old who identify as Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary or gender queer. Facilitated by Faith, mental health counsellor Ronnie Ali and community member Rebecca


Benson, the group is centered on the principle of self-knowledge. Participants examined their relationship with their inner critic from multiple angles, including past experiences, feelings, boundaries, intimate relationships and family. “A huge fear we can carry is that we don’t deserve self-compassion. This is often a feeling that extends into other realms of our life,” says Faith. “However, we know that being vulnerable and open to ‘good’ and nourishing things actually increases our ability to heal from trauma and anchor our sense of worth and belonging.” Self-Compassion is set to run again in early fall.

A body image workshop for queer & trans guys On March 2nd, Sherbourne held Distorted Reflections, a full-day interactive workshop for queer and trans guys to explore relationships to their body, food and exercise. The group also examined the challenges of navigating a culture that emphasizes rigid ideas of beauty and how this can impact mental health and interpersonal relationships. Hosted by Sherbourne’s mental health counselling student Nolan Blodgett and mental health counsellor Rahim Thawer, five participants came together to discuss messages received about their bodies as men and queer folks. They also reviewed videos and online articles on queer body image to spark thoughts on body image, preferences and masculinity. “It’s challenging to facilitate these conversations as social workers when we, as queer guys, are also part of the same communities as our participants,” says Nolan. “But we hope that

difficult conversations around body image can instill our culture with new messages, like ‘being healthy is not solely measured in body mass,’ and ‘sculpted bodies don’t promise connection in the way we like to imagine.’”

distorted re fle



This interacti ve workshop wil body image l guys explor help queer and trans e their relati on food, exerci se and interp ship to connection ersonal in emphasizes a culture that rigid body ide als.


A small interactive setting and singular activities helped participants learn about their own body image and begin to create individual change in WHAT TO EX PECT CONT the ways they think about their bodies, food and ACT relationships. Similar workshops are planned to run annually in the future. Distorted Re fle facilitated by ctions will be cotwo queer soc workers. Th ial e for individual exe mat will include rcises, discu short video s and group ssion, work. Be prepared to do growth work some personal and loosen your grip on “behavio r change” go als.


Saturday, Ma rch 2nd, 2019 9:30 am–3 :30 (Lunch includ pm ed)

Sherbourne He 2nd Floor, Gre alth at 333 Sherbou Hall rne Street

This is not a drop-in group Registration . is required. Please con tact: Nolan Blodg ett 416.324.41 , MSW (Cand.) 00 ext. 32 79 nblodgett@ sherbourne

Food programs to nourish the mind & body Our food programs at Sherbourne aim to promote healthy eating and active lifestyles. During March’s Nutrition Month, the Dietitian Team launched a new community program called Learning Kitchen. This monthly workshop series highlights a different nutrition topic each month, and combines classroom-based nutrition education with opportunities to practice and develop food skills in the kitchen. Topics include Protein & Budget, Reducing Food Waste, and Healthy Hydration. Learning Kitchen is open to anyone interested in healthy eating and nutrition, and was created based on feedback from clients and staff who wanted more focus on food literacy and skills. The program is led by Sherbourne’s Newcomer Health Team dietitians Nikki MacLellan and Christina Tran, and complements other foodrelated programs at Sherbourne Health like the FoodFit program.

Did you know…

FoodFit is a 12-week program that highlights three major pillars: nutrition knowledge, healthy cooking and physical activity. The program is for people living on low incomes who experience barriers around healthy eating and physical activity, but who are motivated to make positive lasting changes to their health. At Sherbourne, we offer the unique combination of a registered dietitian and kinesiologist to facilitate each session. Dietitians Cindy Tsai and (Continued on page 8)

FoodFit Facilitator Cesar Calero demonstrates muscle strengthening exercises to help FoodFit participants stay fit, active and healthy.


Sherbourne’s food programs continued... Christina Tran offer evidence-based nutrition expertise, and kinesiologist Cesar Calero instructs on physical activity.

to overcome certain barriers such as having limited mobility, limited resources, or discomfort when active outdoors or in public spaces.

“One of my favourite things about the program, besides the food, is teaching people the many ways of being active,” says Cesar. “With proper form and supervision, participants get a taste (no pun intended!) of different exercise and physical activity classes, and hopefully develop the tools they need to start their journey.”

FoodFit is a nationwide program funded by Community Food Centres of Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada. As a grant recipient, Sherbourne Health has so far delivered six out of the eight cycles on offer over a two-year span, to roughly 45 individuals.

Cesar’s professional background is beneficial for FoodFit participants, as he helps modify a variety of exercises that can be done indoors with minimal equipment. This allows participants

From March to May, the FoodFit team will work to complete the last two 12-week cycles. ‘Alumni groups’ for all FoodFit program graduates will also continue to run to promote continuity, and build social support and community.

Looking ahead: theatre, bowling & more!

You’ve probably heard the buzz for the Tony award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen, a compelling and must-see show that challenges audiences to confront issues such as youth suicide, mental illness and social isolation.

We are hosting Sherbourne’s third ‘A Night at the Theatre’ event on May 7th, featuring a special reception and performance of Dear Evan Hansen in support of Sherbourne’s mental health and wellness programming. The pre-show reception takes place at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto and features an opportunity to network and meet over 150 likeminded friends of Sherbourne. Tickets are sold out! Get on the waitlist at: Perhaps a night at the theatre isn’t up your alley, but heading to a bowling alley is! Save the date

Have feedback? We love hearing from you! Email

for our annual SOY Bowlathon taking place on Saturday, October 19th at the Ballroom Bowl in downtown Toronto. Last year was a hit as 130 bowlers on 24 teams helped raise $45,000 for SOY. We hope to see you and your friends or coworkers on the lanes this year. Check out for registration to open in the summer. To hear about all of Sherbourne’s upcoming events and fundraisers, connect with us on Twitter @shctoronto and Facebook @SherbourneHealth.