[Media Advisory] The 519 Presents 'Enough is Enough!' a panel discussion addressing anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate
Pride 2023 at The 519: Upcoming Programs and Events
Green Space Festival 2023: Neighbourhood Information
[Media Advisory] Toronto’s queer and trans communities to protest against anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBT)
Trans Day of Visibility: How can we commit to being visible allies?
[Press Release] The 519 to Honour Esteemed Author John Irving with Ally Award
International Women's Day 2023: Women, Life, Freedom
Re: Sentencing of Colin Harnack in murder of Julie Berman
In Solidarity with Ontario's Drag Performers
City of Toronto, The 519, and Homes First Society announce Toronto’s first dedicated shelter for 2SLGBTQ+ adults
In Solidarity; A Community Vigil Honouring Colorado Victims and Survivors
Public Statement on Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) 2022
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Status For All: Letter to PM Justin Trudeau and Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Sean Fraser
The 519 Board of Management Candidates 2022/23
Notice of The 519 Annual General Meeting 2022-23
[Press Release] 2SLGBTQ+ communities release Media Reference Guide as a tool for more inclusive journalism
Call for Nominations – The 519 Annual General Meeting 2022-23
World Refugee Day: Support LGBTQ+ Refugees Every Day
Green Space Festival 2022: Neighbourhood Information
Green Space Festival announces 2022 lineup: a Pride-weekend party in support of 2SLGBTQ+ communities
Pride 2022 at The 519: Upcoming Programs and Events
Lifting the Blood Ban: A Step in the Right Direction
Trans Day of Visibility: Affirmations and Calls to Action
International Women's Day: Our History, Our Reality, Out Future
The 519 Black Collective – Black History Month 2022: ‘Black Health & Wellness’
Joanne Chong-Kettle, our EarlyON Child and Family Centre Assistant, has been serving our EarlyON parents, caregivers, and their little ones for 20 years. Her infectious energy, love for her work, and her relentless commitment to the communities we serve is an inspiration to so many.
“Twenty years? I can’t imagine how the years have gone by!” says Joanne reminiscing about how it all began in the year 2000.
“I met the coordinator of The 519 Family Resource Centre (FRC) at the time, through a breastfeeding support group. That’s where I found out about a job opening at The 519.”
Joanne cares deeply about creating inclusive and affirming spaces. She remembers talking about it during her job interview.
“We spoke about homophobia and the importance of creating safe spaces. For me, my own experiences of discrimination as a person of colour shaped why it mattered to me so much. Joining The 519 where I could support others was extra special.”
When asked about her earliest memories at The 519, she had many to share.
“I remember coming to work and hearing very happy Spanish music. There are far too many marvellous people I have met and worked with over the years, people I have good memories of.” Joanne fondly remembers Kyle Scanlon who facilitated the Trans 101 staff training for her. “He was such a gentle person.”
The 519’s EarlyON Child and Family program has grown, and the space has evolved over the last two decades. Joanne has been a witness to all those changes.
“The walls used to be a soothing blue and the floor was linoleum before it was given the wooden makeover. They told us we could write anything on the floors before they covered it. I put my initials there.”
Joanne’s favourite part of her day is when the kids come in through those doors.
“The children so happy, and so are their parents and caregivers.”
Joanne admits that every time she holds a baby, her heart melts. Meeting parents and caregivers who used to visit the EarlyON program as kids is a very special experience for her.
“It feels so nice to see how they have grown to have families of their own.”
Looking back at the past 20 years at The 519, Joanne feels content.
“Families often write-in telling us how our work has helped them. Some even say that it helped save their lives. It really makes a difference when folks can find community and not be isolated. It saved my life when I needed support.”
The 519 staff – their lived experiences and their commitment to the communities we serve – is what makes this place so special. Thank you, Joanne, for being such an important part of The 519’s story.