TO Wards Peace (TWP) aims to increase effective interventions to mitigate violence in Toronto using a risk-driven, multi-sectoral model that is driven by a community-centric, public health approach. TO Wards Peace will contribute to the advancement of action 2.1 of the SafeTO: A Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. It focuses on the collaborative efforts between community groups, local grassroots organizations, community health centres, hospitals and the City of Toronto to advance actions for the interruption, intervention and prevention of gun violence in the city.
The city’s north–west sites are led and driven in the community by Rexdale Community Health Centre (RCHC), local anti-violence grassroots groups including, Think 2wice in Rexdale and Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E) in the Jane & Finch neighbourhoods.
Grassroots groups include Violence Disruption Workers (VDW) with relevant lived experience with anti-black racism, trauma and violence to work on integrated teams consisting of community and City resources.
These integrated teams will identify escalating situations of risks and pivotal points for violence intervention and violence interruption. The teams will coordinate access to a spectrum of resources and services to further mitigate the potential for additional risks, violence and increase life-stabilizing protective factors.
Learn more about the groups below.
Rexdale Community Health Centre (RCHC) has a vision for a healthy and empowered community. Their doors are open to support and advocate for the physical, economic, social and mental health and well-being of our diverse community. RCHC works together with our community and partners to improve equitable access to quality care and services.
Think 2wice Intl is an organization that provides trauma-informed, culturally relevant initiatives and programming to incarcerated individuals as well as youth and communities who are impacted by gun violence worldwide. Think 2wice has supported a large number of incarcerated young people as well as youth and families in the community. In their 15 years of operation and with approximately 20 partners, they have provided various initiatives and support in eight federal institutions and multiple Neighborhood Improvement Areas (NIA’s) throughout the GTA.
Founded in 2007, the Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E) is a community organization that seeks to engage children and youth from all communities – particularly those from marginalized and poor under-resourced communities through participation in year-round comprehensive programming and activities such as academics, athletics, recreation, technology and the arts. Y.A.A.A.C.E’s mandate is twofold: to build capacity in all children and youth thus enhancing their capacity to become 21st-century learners and global citizens.
Generation Chosen is the community partner within TO Wards Peace that is supporting Peace Projects in Black Creek (Jane and Finch) communities. Generation Chosen is a not-for-profit organization devoted to helping youth from underserved and racialized communities interrupt and examine intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty.
TO Wards Peace is risk-driven intervention model that focuses on violence interruption, intervention and prevention. It was first proposed to Toronto City Council in 2018 as part of the Immediate Steps to Address Gun Violence (CC44.14 ) Plan, was approved by Council on October 2, 2019 (MM10.2 ), and will contribute to the advancement of action 2.1 of SafeTO.
The TO Ward Peace model was developed based on research and reviews of other proven models such as Cure Violence , Advance Peace ,
Community residents, leaders, youth and adults with lived experience—of anti-black racism, trauma and violence— including organizations, elders and faith-based leaders were consulted and engaged in the design, development and implementation of the model.
City staff have also reviewed violence interruption, intervention and prevention models in jurisdictions across Canada, amongst others, to inform the development of this made for Toronto risk-driven interruption model. The models reviewed include:
Last August the City launched the inaugural MASTERPeace Artist Project in partnership with R.I.S.E. Edutainment. After an open call, 12 local Toronto artists from communities affected
by violence and advocating for peace and unity were chosen for the program. Their works reflect deep insights into the impacts of violence on communities, resilience and their lived and living experiences overcoming systemic barriers.
Participating artists will be featured in a showcase event this month, and free tickets are available online.
Date: Saturday, January 20
Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
Location: 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education
918 Bathurst St.