About Us

In 2010, we started a community safety project with North York Community House. We had to make digital stories about violence and safety in the Lawrence Heights community. And it had to be our own stories. We fought that. We were worried and scared about exposing our lives to the community. But as we shared our stories, we became empowered.

At the end of 2012, we began another digital story project. We had an even larger vision, and faced even more obstacles.

We called the project ‘Common Ground’ as our goal was to create a bridge between Toronto Police and youth in the LH community.

We partnered with the Lawrence Heights Community Centre for a winter break camp and worked with ten youth to help them tell their stories. We learned a lot more about the community through hearing their stories, their knowledge on certain places, and growing up in LH.

The second phase of the ‘Common Ground’ project was to work with three police officers and have them create their own digital stories. We initially faced many obstacles with the officer’s close-mindedness, defensive attitudes and many stereotypes and stigmatisms that LH and its residents face. The officers shared parts of their lives that we would have otherwise never heard. We were quickly reminded that police officers are people too. The officers showed their own apprehensions and vulnerabilities in sharing their experiences while wearing their uniforms. It was incredible to hear how they had initially did not want to be a part of LH to taking on such a huge role, some even on their own personal time.

The team ran three workshops with a Primary Response Unit, the Community Response Unit and the Major Crimes Unit at 32 Division.

Through these workshops, we began to improve the relationship between LH and the police. The community began to see a more friendly police presence and officers began attending meeting and events within the community that they previously had been absent from. The team has been invited and encouraged to return to 32 Division to hold five additional workshops with the remaining Platoons. Inspector Demkiw, at 32 Division, has referred to the workshops as “Training Sessions” for the officers. Through digital stories, we are working on building an open and ongoing relationship with the police where there has not been one before. They have succeeded in opening the communication and have started to reduce conflict between police and residents.

Since our presentations, there have been improvements in police services in Lawrence Heights.

The police horses and programs for youth will continue and be expanded, the police have attended an event in plain …

Throughout the project, we encountered many bumps

Throughout the project, we encountered many bumps, and we may have come out at the end with some bruises and …

Working with the communities was challenging.

We also worked with two other communities in Lawrence Heights – Neptune and Lotherton. Working with the communities was challenging. We usually …

We held digital story workshops in both communities.

We lead led them through the digital story process, its importance, and what the benefits of sharing stories were. It …