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Archive for the ‘Program Updates’ Category

New pilot program at Nellie’s Shelter teaches web skills

Posted on: May 31st, 2017 by Nellie's No Comments
Allisha Ali, Developer at Hubba, teaches coding for a pilot program run by Nellie's Shelter. It has partnered with Ladies Learning Code and Hubba to give marginalized women a foot in the tech world by going beyond basic computer skills to offer coding. - Justin Greaves/Metroland

Allisha Ali, Developer at Hubba, teaches coding for a pilot program run by Nellie’s Shelter. It has partnered with Ladies Learning Code and Hubba to give marginalized women a foot in the tech world by going beyond basic computer skills to offer coding. – Justin Greaves/Metroland

For 12 weeks, nine women will take part in a pilot program that will give them the web skills they need to be members of the tech community with the help of Hubba and Ladies Learning Code.

The program is offered through Nellie’s Shelter, an east Toronto community organization committed to providing shelter, education and advocacy for all women and children.

The three organizations have teamed up to offer a computer program teaching relevant computer and web skills to marginalized women at 129 Spadina Ave.

The program, which goes beyond learning computer basics, gives women the chance to learn skills like depth coding, web management tools, website building, HTML and graphic design.

“We’re helping them put viable skills on their resume. We wanted to do what was important for the world today and the future and that goes beyond Word and Excel. Web coding is the new literacy,” said Stephanie Little, the lead co-ordinator for the program from Hubba.

The program, which consists of three-hour classes once a week, is the brainchild of Little, who launched it with the blessing of Hubba’s CEO Ben Zifkin last month. Little said creating the program was always a personal interest of hers and is happy to see the nine women, who wouldn’t be able to enrol in a program like this, be more web literate.

“I think women in the shelter systems and other programs are looking for a fresh start and a lot of them have been through quite a bit and I think what helps with a fresh start is confidence and that’s what we’re helping with, by providing this program.”

Nellie’s Shelter was approached by Hubba, a network where retail buyers can find, post and discover information on different products, to offer the free course. Its program manager Marlene Bell, immediately agreed since she knew how badly the women who use the shelter wanted to learn more advanced computer skills but didn’t have the means to do so.

“We can’t always find computer classes that are free of charge in the city, so clients may have to decide between food and courses,” Bell said.

“And if you have to make that decision, the basic needs come first.”

The program’s curriculum was created by the team at Ladies Learning Code, an organization that helps women and girls develop coding skills from as young as eight years old across the country.

Hubba approached them to develop the curriculum for the program and they were excited to help.

“Our work is about engaging women and youth, but especially for the most under-represented group,” explained Melissa Sariffodeen, the CEO of Ladies Learning Code.

“So we love giving women the chance to be in a tech community and be surrounded by the tech culture and see what their skills can be applied to.”

Participants are given a laptop to use.

“I hope through this program women are able to acquire more marketable skills they can use out in the community. We’re really excited about it,” said Bell.

by Hilary Caton

Hilary Caton is a staff reporter with and Metroland Media Toronto. She can be reached at Follow the Parkdale Liberty on Twitter and Facebook

WEAV Pre-Employment Workshops

Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Nellie's No Comments


Have you experienced or witnessed violence or trauma? Are you just starting to think about getting back to work? We can help! Come experience a group of women working together to support each other and build networks.

 Activities to help you identify the best path for you to find the work you want the most

 Amazing mentoring opportunities

 Many resumé and portfolio building activities

 Build your communication skills, confidence and leadership abilities

 One on One, independent and group activities

 Fun group building activities

This is a 3 day a week program that includes time for you to work and research independently. Not everything will be a classroom setting.

Program starts October 14, 2015 and runs until April 28, 2016 Classes are every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9:30 am — 2:30 pm

To apply please contact Anna Morgan at or call 416-461-0980 Tokens provided when necessary. This program is for women identified participants

Women’s Outreach Programs – February 2015

Posted on: February 8th, 2015 by Nellie's No Comments




  • Supper Surprise,  2 pm – 4 pm, supplies are limited so please contact us ahead of time to pre-register for this Program


  • Police Report Forum, 10.30 am – 12 noon, 754 Queen St East


  • Supper Surprise, 2 pm – 4 pm, supplies are limited so please contact us ahead of time to pre-register for this Program


  • Police Violence, 10. 30 am – 12.00 noon, 754 Queen St East


  • Supper Surprise, 2 pm – 4 pm, supplies are limited so please contact us ahead of time to pre-register for this Program


  • Employment Law, 10.30 am – 12 noon, 754 Queen St East

For more information please call 416-461-2052 or email

Harm Reduction Workshop

Posted on: April 30th, 2014 by Nellie's No Comments


Thank you to the trainers from South Riverdale COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program, from left, Rhiannon, Mona & Debbie for giving a wonderful full day workshop to Nellie’s staff on “Women and Harm Reduction Workshop” on  April 28, 2014.


Thank you to all of Nellie’s staff who attended the COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program workshop!


Women Experiencing Abuse and Violence (WEAV) 2014

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 by Nellie's No Comments


On April 2, 2014, Nellie’s began the Women Experiencing Abuse and Violence (WEAV) group. The group will run every Wednesday for 12 weeks at our Community Support and Outreach Office.

The first week began by having women discuss their own goals in attending the group. One goal that many women identified was developing the tools for self-empowerment and to improve self-esteem and self-confidence. The participants also wanted to learn about healthy relationships and recognizing signs of an abusive relationship. The participants of the group also spoke about the importance of gaining support from other women who have gone through similar experiences. One woman stated that attending the group means, “knowing I am not alone and finding strength in leaning on each other.”

Week 2 of WEAV addressed systemic forms of violence and how society is shaped by patriarchal social relations as well as by racism and oppression based on class, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender identification, place of origin, religion and record of offences (only to name a few). Participants in the group unpacked how their own experiences are based on fundamentally unequal power structures. For example, participants spoke about the unfair pressure on women to “have it all”, be seen as objects and one woman stated “I now see that no one can tell me I need to do all the chores because I am a woman, it should be 50/50.”

Week 3 explored the topic of different forms of abuse that goes beyond thinking of abuse as being only physical abuse. The different types of abuse participants named were: psychological abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, using children, social abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, cultural abuse, intellectual abuse and financial abuse. Participants in the group related to experiencing most of the different forms of abuse that were discussed. Participants spoke about not recognizing the different types of abuse when in the relationship, but how important it was to see their experience reflected in this activity and to see all the different forms of abuse they experienced validated.

Goodbye to our Program Manager!

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by Nellie's No Comments


It is with great sadness that we have to communicate that Rebecca Rogers; Nellie’s Program Manager for over 7 years has presented her resignation effective May 2nd, 2010.

Rebecca’s  passion, commitment, integrity and skills are shown in the many partnerships, programs, services, position papers, staff development opportunities that she developed during her time at Nellie’s

Her strong commitment to gender equity and  Social Justice issues affecting the life of women and children we serve, makes her an excellent leader.

Her departure from Nellie’s will be greatly felt by staff, residents and our community partners.

In a persona l level, we will miss her sense of humor, her energy, her integrity.  We are losing an excellent working partner!

We wish her the best in her new life path.

Women Experiencing Abuse & Violence (WEAV) Group

Posted on: January 24th, 2014 by Nellie's No Comments


WEAV is a 12 week psychosocial support group for Women and Trans women who have or are currently experiencing violence and/or homelessness.  The group operates from an Integrative feminist, anti-racist/anti-oppression framework. The scope of the group will cover dynamics of abuse, power and control, cycle of violence, systemic violence, power and privilege, safety planning, impacts of trauma, coping mechanisms and self-exploration and healing.

We are currently accepting participants for the spring session. The spring session runs every Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm, from April 2, 2014 until June 18, 2014. Pre-registration and interview is required. For registration or more information, contact Adriana Pelayo at 416-461-2052. To view interview questions, please click here to download PDF file.

Nellie’s Holiday Party: A magical night for all

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by Nellie's No Comments

Enjoying the holiday festivities.

Generosity of spirit, compassion and gratitude filled the room at the Ralph Thornton Center where we held the annual holiday party for the women and children who access our community programs last night.  We know this can be a very difficult time of year for the families we support.  This celebration brings together the community and last night we all witnessed the magic that the holiday season can bring.  We witnessed children smiling from ear to ear playing games, tears filling women’s eyes during inspirational musical performances, tables filled with yummy food and a true kindness and compassion shared by everyone present.


Craft table volunteers.

A special thank you to our Community Outreach Worker Adriana. The amazing work you do through your programs was so evident with over 120 women and children in attendance this year at the celebration.  Thank you for all that you do to make the celebration so meaningful.  A special thank you to all your wonderful volunteers and students who donate their time year after year to make this night so magical.


Dinner is served!

A very special thank you to the donors, Peggy Chan and crew and Tony Roost and the One Fire Movement artists. For the past 4 years Peggy has provided support and leadership to ensure we have a beautiful spread of food and yummy treats, as well as countless volunteers to help to make sure the evening runs smoothly.  This year we were so lucky to have beautiful vocal and dance performances by Tony Roost and the One Fire Artists.  Music filled the room and the hearts of women and children.


Tony Roost and One Fire Movement.

At the end of the evening one of the women came up to me and asked that I share this message, “Tonight I am reminded of hope, love and of courage. Holidays are hard for me and my children because that is when I came to the shelter years ago.  Nellie’s is like my family and tonight I am reminded of the true meaning of the holidays.  Thank you Nellies.  My heart is happy.”  -Rebecca Rogers, Nellie’s Program Manager


Peggy Chan and friends.

Summer Camp: Week 5

Posted on: August 21st, 2013 by Nellie's No Comments

We had another fun week at Summer Camp!

We started off the week by preparing our pinatas that we’ll be cracking open on our last day next week. Now they’re all painted and ready to be stuffed with goodies. Each camper painted their own pinata however they liked. We spotted a Ninja Turtle and even Spiderman in the bunch.

Swimming is always a well-loved activity. Our campers are very respectful when we go to the pool and do a great job of following all the rules. We’re always proud of them after a trip to the pool. This week was no exception.

Kids Camp Week 5 baking

We baked this week, and the brownies got rave reviews! Baking is a great activity to get everyone involved no matter what the camper can do. If egg-cracking isn’t your thing, there’s always room for decorating!

Another successful art workshop with self-portrait trading cards let the campers explore what they dream of for their futures. Lots of imagination and high aspirations came through their drawings! The campers also explored a brand new splash pad and park in our area. Afterward, we hit the library for face-painting and games.

Kids Camp Week 5 Pop art

We ended the week with a PJ party and movie day just to bring everything to a close. This was a great week — there was such a positive energy and a lot of caring to go around.

Summer Camp: Week 4

Posted on: August 2nd, 2013 by Nellie's No Comments

This week our campers have been running around all over town!

We’ve had some great excursions to Riverdale Farm, the Bata Shoe Museum and the Ontario Science Centre. We even went to The Beaches to fly our kites — it was a breeze!

go fly a kite

We began this week with another successful art workshop about life drawing with Meghan, our OCAD leader, and an impromptu rain-day movie. We finished off the week with pinata-making and swimming. All in all it was a busy but fun week. The campers were very cooperative and willing to participate in all the activities and excursions.

at the science centre

 Even though we were out and about, we still found time for our regular suggestion circle. This week’s topics were respect and the differences between inclusion and exclusion. The campers had great ideas and were always willing to share their contributions.

sharing in the suggestion circle

Next week we’re looking forward to our self-esteem workshop and the activities to be put on by our friends at One Fire Movement.