The Ambassador Program is a PARC leadership and pre-employment program. It includes 8 PARC members who serve a 2 year non-renewable term. The focus of Ambassador work is improving quality of life, using advocacy and leadership activity to support equity and access for marginalized people in the Parkdale community.
The first Ambassadors team was created in 2007 to increase public awareness and endorsement of our Edmond Place supportive housing development. In 2013 a renewed Ambassadors Team was created – to engage the increasing food insecurity and unemployment confronting people who experience poverty, mental health, addictions and homelessness issues- and work to change these barriers. Now in 2019 advocacy remains a core element of the program however we have added an employment training component whereby Ambassadors rotate work placements at PARC.
The PARC Ambassador Team mission is to represent PARC to the community at large; to advocate and educate about oppression in Parkdale in a non-judgmental and inclusive manner. Ambassadors foster a dialogue about how to effect change and inspire trust and respect through their own lived experiences.
We envision a community where poverty and oppression no longer exist; human rights are respected and everyone lives with dignity, respect, safety and enough resources to achieve their potential.
|Laura Lesser has been a member of PARC since 2005. She was introduced to PARC by the Late Teador Flor (may she rest in peace). She started working in the kitchen as a volunteer for the OW subsidy. She became interested in the activities at PARC and joined the first Knowledge is Power group, and successfully completed it. She joined the Board of Directors in 2009 and completed three terms stepping down in 2018. In 2009 Laura also became a PARC Ambassador, spreading the word about Edmond Place to the Parkdale Neighbourhood. Currently Laura is in Nursing School pursuing a career as an RN. She loves music day on Wednesdays, and Making Room (arts and crafts), writing workshop, and movie night on Fridays.||William LeBlanc is a PARC Ambassador. He started as a volunteer 7 years ago in PARC’s kitchen. From there he moved up to his first job in the ‘dish pit’ as a dishwasher. He was then offered an opportunity to take a PARC course called ‘Knowledge is Power.’ One year after his graduation from ‘Knowledge is Power,’ he applied for and was successfully engaged as a PARC Ambassador. In January 2019, he was accepted to the George Brown Culinary Arts program to become a chef. One of William’s goals is to return to PARC as a chef after graduating from George Brown. He is currently engaged in tenant organizing and community benefits organizing through the Ambassador program. He continues to volunteer in the kitchen when the opportunity presents itself. William also supports the Parkdale People’s Economy with their website design.|
|Lisa Visconti is a proud Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre member! She has lived at Edmond Place (supportive living) since it opened and cooks for residences frequently. Lisa is a former Trans Formative Justice Conflict Facilitator working with PARC members by supporting them with their mental illness, addictions and poverty. Lisa is currently a part of the caucus and is a PARC board member. Her greatest joy is being a PARC ambassador where she can go out in the community to promote PARC services!!!||Ann Lapenna is a Parkdale Activity Recreation Center (PARC) member for over 18 years. She is a former director on the PARC Board, former Caucus Member and an Ambassador. Ann is a Peer Support Trainer for type 2 Diabetes at the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Center (PQWCHC). Ann holds Early Child Education (E.C.E.), Health Care Aide and Food Handler certificates and recently graduated from the Local Champions Leadership Program. She is a member of the Co-op Cred program for 4 plus years. She loves volunteering, knitting and dogs.|
|Rick Froude has been a PARC member for 25 years and a Parkdale resident for more than 35 years. He has worked in a maintenance position and has volunteered in the kitchen at PARC. He was a PARC Board Assistant for a year where he took meeting minutes, wrote agendas, and posted information about the meeting. Rick then joined the PARC Board of Directors for 9 years and had the privilege of Co-chairing for 3 years. Rick graduated from ‘Knowledge is Power,’ an anti –oppression training program offered at PARC, and has been a PARC Ambassador for the past 7 years where he participates in rooming house tenant organizing and community benefit organizing. Rick also supports the Parkdale People’s Economy with outreach at their community working group meetings.||Beryl-Ann Mark has recently graduated from the Knowledge is Power program. She is an Ambassador at Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre. Beryl-Ann is a Social Service Worker, a member of Parkdale Women’s Leadership Group, the coordinator of Parkdale Free School and was on the board of directors at Parkdale Community Legal Services and More Than Child’s Play. She received an award from Parkdale Community Legal Services for her selfless contribution to the wellbeing of the community of Parkdale. Beryl-Ann is passionate about helping people with their well-being.|
|Dave Langley is a proud Parkdalian who has been an active PARC member for over 4 years. He is a graduate of the Transformative Justice training program and practices conflict resolution in the PARC drop-in. Dave is a graduate of the Knowledge is Power training. Dave is actively engaged in the PARC music program. He sits on two PARC committees supporting advocacy on issues related to homelessness and mental health.||
Ko Hosoya has been a Parkdale resident for 14 years. She is passionate about accessibility issues and recognizes various physical barriers that affect those in her community. In response, she advocates for the improvement of the community to allow for safer access by all.|
She is a member of Parkdale Women’s Leadership Group, Community Health Group, and is a Local Champion Alumni. Ko is curious and open to learning new things.