COSTI’s work in the community continues to be a high priority.
COSTI recognized the need to continue its work as an active community member, especially during the ever-changing environment of COVID. COSTI remained a strong advocate for newcomers and disadvantaged individuals through its collaboration and connections with local, provincial, and national committees, advisory groups, and ad hoc coalitions.
COSTI’s vision and mission extend to working with partners who have complementary services and resources so we can realize transformative impact by leveraging their ideas, resources, and capabilities. During 2021/22 COSTI expanded its community development and transcended delivery to encompass virtual connections in conjunction to in-person activities. Disbanded seniors’ programs launched into virtual delivery and engaged seniors living with dementia and their families through virtual therapeutic activities and weekly phone calls, including 215 virtual exercise sessions, 210 virtual rosary sessions, 182 virtual drawing sessions, 29 virtual tombola sessions, 23 virtual singalong sessions, and over 200 hours of telephone conversations.
COSTI’s Volunteer Coordinator continued to work with existing and new volunteers to forge community partnerships in support of client’s settlement needs. Volunteers supported virtual conversation classes and provided 432 hours of facilitation to individuals unable to attend full-time classes due to the impact of the pandemic. COSTI continued to work with the Together Project in the family-matching initiative that saw Canadian host families paired with refugee families and Muse Arts in offering the Youth Photography program as well as Music for Hope to help participants reflect their culture, use music as an activity to express themselves, network with their peers, and find sanctuary and resilience. During 2021/22, COSTI engaged 211 volunteers and coordinated the delivery of 10,128 volunteer hours.
COSTI expanded its partnership with London Cross Cultural Learning Centre, Muslim Association of Canada, and Muse Arts in combating Islamophobia. The Youth Together project supported the outcome of removing stereotypes and preconceptions of the Islamic community. The curriculum introduced the Islamic faith and provided a mode for conversations and knowledge awareness about the Islamic community, empowering participants to be advocates for anti-Islamophobia.
In an effort to remove the digital divide, COSTI initiated a Digital Literacy program with support from the United Way Greater Toronto and Tides Foundation and subsequently Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The program assists individuals in developing basic digital literacy skills to support daily living and employment search. COSTI developed and implemented an iPad training program to help seniors learn how to operate tablets and use applications to engage in social interactions through virtual phone calls and meetings. COSTI leveraged Let’s Get Together, Renewed Computer Technology, and the Toronto Public Library loan program to gain access to affordable devices to enable individuals to connect to vital services during COVID.
In the upcoming year, COSTI will place an emphasis on expanding research projects to gain better insight in refugee, newcomer and disadvantaged individuals’ issues and challenges, to advocate and support discussion on policy and regulation change, and in turn expand community connections to support program and services growth.Learn More About COSTI & the Community