Civic Engagement and Community Development Initiative (CECDI)


Resident engagement is vital in effective community development, as residents possess the unique ability to “facilitate interaction that cuts across class and other divides, serving to connect local citizens” with community agencies and local governance (Brennan, 2007). CCL&D sees engagement and democracy as a catalyst for community development, but also as an important component in the educational and economic success of marginalized adults in low-income communities. Our Civic Engagement and Community Development Initiative will allow these residents to learn about today’s most pressing issues in Canadian neighbourhoods and their crucial role in solving these problems by becoming civic members of their communities. This is a strategy to address, through adult education processes, some economic and social exclusion challenges faced by marginalized populations in Regent Park, Moss Park and St. James Town.

What is CECDI?

CECDI is a part-time community-based training program that piloted in 2010. The program runs for 6 months and takes up to 15 residents from Regent Park, Moss Park and St. James Town. Through this initiative, we hope to develop a cadre of up to 15 lead community facilitators with increased awareness, knowledge, community engagement skills and a commitment in playing a meaningful role in facilitating the development of skills and knowledge of others to engage in community development and/or become more active citizens.

Training components include:

  • Critical thinking,
  • Digital storytelling
  • Planning community-based activities (leadership learning circles, workshops and more)
  • Information and Referral (certificate)
  • Access Equity and Human Rights
  • Board Governance
  • Volunteerism
  • And more

What are the learning objectives of the program?

  1. To promote active citizenship in the community by educating participants on community issues and activities” – Our goal is to encourage community engagement through adult education processes. These processes, such as informal discussions groups and digital storytelling, will be interactive and innovative in order to successfully engage the trainees.

  2. “Encourage participants to share their community-related experiences and challenges among the group” - Through information-sharing and networking, participants will develop a higher level of social awareness as well as a stronger social support system. Their sharing of knowledge will also be spread through the rest of the neighbourhood, which will further promote a collective form of social consciousness.

  3. “Train participants to solve problems with a critical mind and a personal cause for change” – We want to train our participants in critical thinking, giving them the ability to solve problems, but also allow them to develop their own perspectives on each individual problem; allow them to develop their own personal cause for change.

  4. “Facilitate leadership development and skills-based training” – Leadership development is one of the most fundamental goals in this initiative. Our goal is to train effective leaders residing in the affected communities by educating and encouraging them in goal-setting, self-advocacy, self-confidence, group dynamics, networking and more.

Who should apply?

Residents of Regent Park, Moss Park and St. James Park with an interest in participating in community development and strengthening civic engagement and volunteerism are encouraged to apply.

Successful applicants...

  • Must have good oral and written communication skills in English
  • Must have intermediate to advanced computer skills
  • Fluency in a second language is an asset
  • Knowledge of how to use various multi-media tools is an asset
  • Must be open to exploring new ideas
  • Must be committed and prepared to
    • Attend 15 hours of training a week (Tuesday-Thursday) for at least 6 months
    • Participate in community activities such as workshops and forums
    • Committed to completing all requirements of the program (in-class attendance and participation, community fieldwork etc.)

How to apply...

The application process is currently closed and should re-open in the summer of 2013. Please check this page again. For more information, please contact Alison Chan ( / (416) 968 6989 ext.102).

CECDI would not be possible without the generous contributions from the Catherine Donnelly Foundation and City of Toronto (AEHR).

o   Committed to completing all requirements of the program (in-class attendance and participation, community fieldwork, etc.)