Today is one of my favorite days - Giving Tuesday! In case you haven't heard of it, Giving Tuesday is dedicated to encourage giving back and volunteering what you can. As an avid volunteer myself, I have always committed to volunteering my spare time. Before being elected, I had the pleasure of serving as the first President of Renew Scarborough and as President of the Centennial Community & Recreation Association.

Over the past year, I've had the privilege of learning more about the local organizations making an impact in our City – and particularly, my riding of Scarborough – Rouge Park. If you are thinking about donating or getting involved with an organization this holiday season, or as part of your new years' resolution – I encourage you to take a look at the following five!

1) Youth Link - Celebrating its 105th year in 2019 – YouthLink employs over 70 staff and provides support to over 8,000 young people in Scarborough each year. Programming is primarily directed to supporting vulnerable youth involved in the criminal justice system or struggling with homelessness through providing shelter and employment supports. Staff at YouthLink provide 1-1 support by listening, setting goals and then connecting youth to resources in pursuing these goals. This can be done in the form of identifying stable affordable housing, grant funding to pursue schooling and trades training opportunities.

To learn more about YouthLink, their impact and services, click here!

2) Muslim Welfare Canada (MWC) - Headquartered in Scarborough - local programs include supporting individuals in need with food, shelter, free healthcare services, and culturally sensitive communal living. MWC also offers a free grocery program to the families of students in our school system via the School Nutrition Program.

MWC's local impact extends internationally – where the organization is involved in the fight against child labour and poverty, promoting literacy through our free schools and striving to end hunger.

To learn more about the Muslim Welfare Canada locations in Scarborough, Whitby or Mississauga, click here!

3) DEEN Support Services - Located in our home of Scarborough – Rouge Park, DEEN Support Services offers support for individuals with disabilities. Operating a day-program, drop-in program and a collective impact network alongside service delivery partners – DEEN has the goal of meeting social, cultural and spiritual needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.

To learn more about the story behind DEEN Support Services and programming, click here!

4) Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care - The Tony Stacey Centre is a vital hub in the lives of veterans. The Mission of Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care is to provide the highest quality of long term care for our Veterans, their families and the community.

This Centre provides wide range of services to suit client needs from 24 hour monitoring care as well as a therapeutic pool and a chapel for all denominations. Services and care are available in multiple languages including, French, Polish, Italian, Tamil, Cantonese and Tagalog.

To learn more about the Tony Stacey Centre, click here!

5) TAIBU Community Health Centre - TAIBU calls our community of Malvern home. TAIBU Community Health Centre is a community led organization established to primarily serve marginalized populations across the Greater Toronto Area as its priority population.

TAIBU is a Kiswahili word is used by well-wishers as a greeting that means, “Be in Good Health”. The name encapsulates the vision of TAIBU, which is promoting “healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities creating our own solution.”

I've had a wonderful time joining TAIBU for their senior's luncheons and community events – to learn more about how to get involved, click here!

I am a strong believer that simple act of kindness can make a major difference in someone's day. Take some time today and over the holiday season to give back. It could be as simple as giving a stranger a compliment or even extending a warm smile. I am delighted to hear what you plan to do – I encourage you to share with me in the comments!