Scarborough Women’s Centre (SWC) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Since 1982, the centre has been a reliable resource for women transitioning into economic and emotional independence, and freedom from violence. These women have faced hardships like abuse, isolation, and poverty, but with the tools and programming available in their community through SWC they develop achievable goals and go for them. SWC is doing remarkable work for people who need it most.

That’s why we were honoured to receive Scarborough Women’s Centre’s application for Uplift 2020-2021.

What is Uplift?

Every year, we provide our communications services pro bono to one charity or non-profit. We call this initiative Curious Public Uplift because it gives voice to our belief in the importance of all of us working together to uplift and build our communities. As part of Uplift, Curious Public worked with SWC to refresh its narrative, update communications materials, and better connect the centre with its audiences, including women and families, donors, local businesses and supporters.

“I liked the application form because it was easy to fill out, and I remember sharing that we’re ‘the little engine that could,’ and even though we’re small, we get a lot done and have an impact in our community,” said Lynda Kosowan, Executive Director of Scarborough Women’s Centre. “From the beginning, we were very welcomed. We were listened to carefully by Lloyd and Tracey and others to really understand what it is we’re doing, challenges that we face and then, using that, help us design a narrative and address some of those issues. It was tailored to our specific needs and realities, rather than some cookie cutter solution.”

Understanding their challenges

From Curious Public’s interview process, we found one of the challenges SWC faced is the misconception in their community that they work as a shelter rather than a resource centre. It was also important to get the word out about their services amongst those who could use them. In fact, middle-aged women who visited and used the centre tipped off the SWC team to reach out to young women. One saying if she’d known about these programs at age 15, she wouldn’t be here now in her 40s. “That’s why we developed a young women’s program,” said Lynda. “And now, some of them come back ten years later to volunteer or get involved in other ways, so it’s working.”

What we did

Members of the SWC community we interviewed enjoyed the process. It was a chance to share their insights, but they also came out saying they felt really great about what they’d been able to contribute, and it helped renew their support and energy for the centre.

Curious Public’s support will culminate with a new website the SWC team is set to launch this fall. Lynda also continues to use the narrative to ensure funding requests with foundations and governments are consistent and effective. She shares the main messages Curious Public helped develop with the SWC communications committees as well so all parts of the team are working from the same page.

Good vibrations

Curious Public was honoured again when SWC chose us to be the recipient of their “Volunteer of the Year” award. “The award is given to someone that we feel has really made a difference for the centre,” said Lynda. “Curious Public was hands-down the top choice unanimously for board members and staff.”

We thank Scarborough Women’s Centre for the chance to work with you and support the incredible opportunities you create for women in your community.