A New Season of Hope

This time of year can be a gloomy time. Things are bad for a lot of people, whether it’s economically (growing inequality), socially (fear and vulnerability), municipally (city budget!) or internationally (you-name-it).

However, one of the wonderful things about a place like WoodGreen is we see solutions every day, whether it’s in our hallways or down at City Hall, at the local park or over at Queen’s Park. Like Mr. Roger’s mother said to him when he was scared, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Here are some of the things that make us feel optimistic:

  • Toronto is one of the safest cities in the world. We even do well in comparison to many other Canadian cities. Crime rates are down. Most people believe that most people can be trusted.
  • Civic Institutions like the Public Library and the public school boards shaping our city for the better. Our library is one of the busiest in the world and still finds time to put on art shows and deliver to shut-ins. Our schools are raising the academic achievement bar, at the same time they are levelling it so that all students have an opportunity to succeed.
  • Government has been pushing forward small but important policies for the people we serve: As of this month, single parents on social assistance will not have their spousal and child support deducted from their monthly payments. Students from low and middle-income families soon will be attending college and university tuition-free. Children under 12 now can ride our city’s transit free. Legislation to curtail the amount payday lenders can charge has been introduced.
  • 95% of people believe they can make their community a better place to live. Polls show growing confidence in charities, non-profits, private sector organizations and, yes, government. One-third of Canadians volunteered their time to a charity or non-profit in the past 12 months. The average is 110 hours (or just over 2 hours a week!). Two-thirds made a financial donation, and most of them gave to multiple charities.

Our city’s residents and institutions are proving that good people are everywhere. We just have to look for them.

Diane Dyson is Director, Research & Public Policy at WoodGreen