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ABOUT

During Cindy Blakely’s 40 plus years working as a social worker in Toronto, she witnessed the impact that the lack of affordable clothing had on children. She noticed that this was even more prevalent in areas with high rates of poverty and with newcomers to Canada. Wanting to give back to her community and offer support to families and children who were struggling, Cindy founded New Circles Community Services in 2005. Her mission was to ensure that local families struggling with poverty could meet the basic need for adequate clothing and essential items. Within the first year, New Circles Community Services helped 775 people. Since then, Cindy has worked tirelessly to expand its impact and reach. The organization now offers multiple platforms to provide families with not only warm clothing and necessities but also hands-on educational resources, such as free skills training and settlement support programs. Through these initiatives, Blakely is working to build strong communities and individuals who can integrate socially and economically into the world with confidence. What started as a grassroots initiative has grown into a platform that helps over 10,000 people each year. Cindy’s passion and resourcefulness have taken New Circles to new heights: With 15 full-time employees and a new, bigger facility, it will continue to grow and help more families rebuild their lives in Canada.

NEW CIRCLES COMMUNITY SERVICES

New Circles Community Services is a multi-tiered initiative that provides essential support to newcomer and low-income families by helping them establish themselves as contributing citizens, both economically and within the community. The organization offers multiple free programs to ensure that families receive essential goods, in addition to platforms that help to build skills, training and education. GLOW—which stands for “gently loved outfits to wear”—is a service that provides clothing to those in need and has grown to become the largest clothing bank in Toronto. It offers a retail shopping experience that provides high-quality, gently worn clothing to families in need. Recognizing the need for newcomers to be able to enter the workforce, New Circles Community Services also offers free certificate training programs such as retail and customer service skills and settlement support, which helps newcomers settle successfully by offering a helping hand in finding housing, childcare and more