In 2020, the IDERD Strategic Innovation Initiatives Award (Group) was awarded to the Enhancing Access through Youth Community Partnerships team led by Danielle Dinunzio, Program Coordinator at Hart House. The initiative supports numerous programs that help provide access to under-represented youth at the University of Toronto.

Along with Danielle, other Hart House recipients included Tom Moss, Olivia Allen, Carlie Baylis, Michele Cheh, Alejandro Vargas-Samboy, Zoe Dille, Jessica Rayne, and Professor Janelle Joseph from KPE, who is the current Chair of the Hart House Board of Stewards. 

Each year, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) Awards are given to University students, staff and faculty for their work in support of anti-racism.

Students from BEE in front of Hart House.
Students from BEE outside of Hart House.

Enhancing Access through Youth Community Partnerships includes workshops exploring social justice in communities around gender identity and race, podcasting, visual arts and wellness activities such as food preparation and participation in physical activity at the Hart House Fitness Centre. Students engage with Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers as well as current U of T students and alumni. They have the opportunity to explore Hart House initiatives such as Black Futures, Hip Hop Education as well as Hart House Theatre shows and student-led groups. In the past year, there have been over 2,000 of such experiences for youth participants. 

Some of our youth members now regularly attend the Hart House Fitness Centre on their own time, and as a result of being involved with this programming, we have also engaged in other collaborative work with other community groups who are part of the program.

The Native Youth Resource Centre

Working with on- and off-campus partners, the program brings youth from local communities to explore campus life and to interact with University of Toronto students. The aim is to build authentic, sustainable relationships with youth and community partners through programs and activities in the arts, debate and dialogue, recreation and sport and social justice. The focus is on engaging with groups that are under-represented in post-secondary education such as Indigenous and Racialized youth, Black male youth, and LGBTQ2S identified youth.

We have appreciated how the members of [the Enhancing Access Through Youth Community Partnerships] team have worked thoughtfully together with us to co-create various programs, activities and events that allow newcomer LGBTQ2S groups and trans-identified youth and young adults to engage in programming at the UofT downtown campus and Hart House Farm.

The 519

Additionally, this program has contributed to scholarship that explores issues of access and community engagement for marginalized communities. Sharing the success and learnings from this work helps support ongoing community-university partnerships, and it is hoped, will also lead to the expansion and broader acceptance of such innovations. 

Students walking on a trail at Hart House Farm.
Students walking a trail at Hart House Farm.

Enhancing Access Through Youth Community Partnerships

Project Lead

  • Danielle Dinunzio, Program Coordinator, Integrated Learning and Community Engagement, Hart House

Staff Partners

  • Tom Moss, Manager, Wellness, Fitness & Recreation, Hart House
  • Olivia Allen, Membership Services & Recreation Program Facilitator, Hart House
  • Carlie Baylis, Coordinator, Staff Relations & Professional Development, Hart House
  • Michele Cheh, Event Coordinator, Hart House
  • Alejandro Vargas-Samboy, Program Assistant
  • Zoe Dille, Senior Program Coordinator, Hart House
  • Jessica Rayne, Program Associate, Hart House
  • Lydia Gill, Recruitment Officer, Equity Outreach & Support
  • Robin Waley, Assistant Manager, Co-Curricular Diversity and Equity, Faculty of Kinesiology & PE
  • Janice Assimwe, Student Life Programs Coordinator, Woodsworth College
  • Michael Auksi, Research Coordinator, Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health

Faculty Partners

  • Same Tecle, Director & Lecturer, Engaged Learning, New College
  • Professor Ashley Stirling, Vice Dean, Faculty of Kinesiology & PE
  • Professor Janelle Joseph, Faculty of Kinesiology & PE
  • Professor Penney Gilbert, Faculty of Arts and Science, Cell & Systems Biology
  • Professor Lance McCready, OISE, Transition Year Program
  • Professor Franco Taverna, Faculty of Arts & Science, Human Biology

Current Research Team

  • Professor Simon Darnell, Faculty of Kinesiology
  • Daniel Eisenkraft Klein, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Kinesiology & PE
  • Greg Yerashotis, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Kinesiology & PE

Community Partners

  • 519 Community Centre
  • St. Albans Boys and Girls Club
  • Native Child and Family Resource Centre
  • Wellesley Community Centre
  • CultureLink
  • The Kickback Community Program
  • TDSB - Oakwood Collegiate & Central Toronto Academy; Scarborough Guidance Department
  • MLSE Launchpad