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OPIRG Toronto | Tools for Change Fall and Winter Training Series
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Tools for Change Fall and Winter Training Series

Tools for Change Fall and Winter Training Series


A project of Earthroots, Greenpeace Canada, OPIRG Toronto, OPIRG York and the George Brown Student Association, Tools for Change helps you develop skills to campaign for social, environmental, and economic change.

We host over 20 workshops a year. Workshop costs range from $20 to $50. George Brown, York and U of T students can attend all workshops for free as members of OPIRG or the Student Association of George Brown. Volunteers of all the sponsoring organizations can also attend workshops for free.


Monday September 26, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: York University

Understanding our own identities is essential and ongoing work for any of us who seek to do good in the world. Join us for an interactive inquiry into the past that will help you contextualize your relationship to these lands in the present.

Trainer: Arabi Rajeswaran, a daughter of the Tamil diaspora, was born on Dish with One Spoon Treaty Territory aka Toronto and has ancestry rooted in Sri Lanka. She is a passionate youth culture worker who aims to create dialogues among and within young people from various backgrounds and experiences. Raised in Toronto’s west-end neighbourhood of Rexdale with many years of experience as a facilitator, mentor and youth leader to her peers and community, Arabi has collaborated with many organizations across Turtle Island and beyond. Arabi is passionate about photography, yogic medicine, traditional knowledge and yummy food. She is also a student at York University pursuing Indigenous Studies with a focus on Human Rights and Equity. Her belief in solidarity and her feelings of compassion continue to motivate her in her journey.

Tuesday September 27, 2016 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Location: George Brown College
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In this workshop, activists will learn how to harness the power of mainstream and indie media through snappy press releases, letters to the editor, and solidarity statements.

Trainer: Nora Loreto is a freelance writer and activist, and the author of From Demonized to Organized, Building the New Union Movement (2013). Nora is the editor of the Canadian Association of Labour Media, a political blogger and an executive member of her union, the Canadian Freelance Union – Unifor. She is a member of her local coordinating committee for Québec solidaire. Nora spent a decade as a student activist at Ryerson and with the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.

Thursday September 29, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: George Brown College
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Figure out how to target audiences, choose strategies and tactics, set realistic goals, plan to win and sustain longer campaigns.

Trainer: Nora Loreto is a freelance writer and activist, and the author of From Demonized to Organized, Building the New Union Movement (2013). Nora is the editor of the Canadian Association of Labour Media, a political blogger and an executive member of her union, the Canadian Freelance Union – Unifor. She is a member of her local coordinating committee for Québec solidaire. Nora spent a decade as a student activist at Ryerson and with the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.

Thursday October 13, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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Planning an event or action and want to get the maximum online impact? This workshop explores the key elements to a solid social media strategy, specifically when planning an offline action or an event. As part of this workshop participants are encouraged to bring relevant upcoming events to discuss how best to promote these online.

Trainer: Sarah Wilbore is the Senior Digital Strategist at Greenpeace and leads the Digital team in Canada. Sarah has designed digital strategies for international Greenpeace campaigns, ship tours and big Greenpeace actions in Canada. Before that Sarah worked at a series of Canadian startups until finding the perfect intersection of her passions for digital and environment at Greenpeace Canada.

Thursday October 20, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: York University 
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Visual images help us communicate complex ideas, reach new and different audiences, reinforce our key messages and inspire people to join social change movements. Join us for a hands-on workshop that will explore design theory as well as different processes for envisioning and creating elements that will bring attention to your cause or event. Together we will practice making either a poster or a flyer. We’ll also discuss ways to ensure our designs are following best practices around accessibility. Participants will be provided with resources for sourcing free and open source images. Please bring your creative ideas and a laptop if you have one.

Trainer: Ryan Hayes is a Toronto-based artist and activist who works with grassroots social movements. He is a member of the Radical Design School and renter at Punchclock Printing, a shared screenprinting space founded by movement activists. Ryan developed his craft as a graphic designer and printmaker while organizing with No One Is Illegal – Toronto, working alongside community-based artists who generously shared their skills.

Thursday November 10, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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This workshop will present one activist’s recent experiences (and victories) with filing complaints through social justice tribunals and other quasi-judicial tribunals.

Trainer: Troy Armstrong is a queer pangender person of colour and a long-time activist. Much of their work has been in support of queer communities, including founding the Pride Centre for LGBT persons at the University of Ottawa in 1996. Their recent work focused on seeking changes to laws aimed at improving access to gender-affirming health care and recognizing beyond-binary gender identities on government-issued identification documents.

Saturday November 19, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: University of Toronto 
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Having a clear vision, goals and strategy are key to the success of any group. Designing and facilitating these processes demands an understanding of what makes groups, movements and campaigns thrive. Join us to learn about useful tools, techniques and templates for facilitators seeking to help others map out their visions in fun, empowering and engaging ways.

Trainer: Aruna Boodram is a first generation settler/immigrant that has been involved in community organizing for the past 12 years in Toronto and Kingston. She is a licensed paralegal and Community Legal Worker at the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario. She is also an independent consultant and facilitator that specializes in anti-oppression, consensus and facilitation training and strategic planning sessions for non-profits and grassroots organizations. She is the News Editor for Indigenous Waves Radio Show in Toronto on CIUT 89.5 FM. She enjoys reading science fiction, DJing and exploring her foodie lifestyle.

Sunday January 22, 2017 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: University of Toronto
Accessibility: This is a barrier free space. Subway tokens available to attendees by request. IMPORTANT: This workshop is movement-based. Please contact Lukayo at opirg.toronto@gmail.com by January 15th, to discuss how to make this workshop as accessible as possible for you. 
Register for this workshop

Join us for an intro to ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, a model that uses games and techniques developed by Brazilian theatre director, writer and politician Augusto Boal. These participatory ‘popular education’ tools motivate us to deepen our understanding of social injustice and empower us to break the cycle of oppression. These techniques will provide participants with a diversity of community-building strategies that address interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, team-building, empathy and personal and collective healing and growth. This workshop is intended for anyone interested and committed to social justice and keen to apply arts-based practices in life and work. No previous theatre experience necessary.

Trainer: Teddy Syrette is a 2-Spirit/Gender-Fluid Ojibway artist, writer, social worker and community advocate based in Toronto. Raised on Rankin Reserve of Batchewana First Nation, he grew up with close urban ties to Sault Ste. Marie. Openly gay at a young age, Teddy was met with much adversity and oppression. Drawn into theatre, Teddy worked with the Garden River Art Committee and the Debajehmujig Theatre Group. As a writer he has collaborated with the Manitoba Indigenous Writers Collective and assisted in developing the Sault Indigenous Writers Collective. As an event organizer, writer, performer, and trainer, Teddy offers storytelling workshops and exploration of anti-oppression and equity through theatre. Teddy collaborates as a contractor and advocate alongside groups such as Thinking Rock Community Arts, 4RS Youth Movement and the North Shore Tribal Council.

Saturday January 28, 2017 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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Having many brains, hearts and minds in a room together is an opportunity for building community and creating dynamic spaces for generative solution making. We’ll go over tips on what makes events run smoothly. We’ll also explore different ways to design workshops, meetings and trainings that engage and draw out the collective wisdom in the room. Together we’ll explore different models of working with groups large and small, including Open Space Technology, Collective Story Harvesting, World Cafe and more.

Trainer: Christopher began his career as an inner-city elementary school teacher with a passion for equity and social justice. Now he works as a coach and convenor to empower individuals and organizations to reach their fullest potential and act in alignment with their principles.

Saturday February 4, 2017 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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How can we sustain a group that is accountable to its vision and equitable for participants? Whether you are in an established group exploring restructuring or incorporation, or a newly formed collective seeking resources to build accountable and equitable processes, this session has you covered. topics to be addressed include: different types of group structures and decision making methods, their pros and cons, as well as steps we can take to foster trust, accountability and equity through structure and process.

Trainer: Kristiana Clemens is a communicator and facilitator with experience developing policy and process for non-profit groups large and small, including charities, co-ops and collectives. She is currently President of the Community Media Advocacy Centre, Chair of the City of Kingston’s Art Advisory Committee, and a member of two new collectives formed to organize a music festival and community arts event in Kingston, Ontario.

Wednesday March 1, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you’ve suffered from burnout at some point in your life. Perhaps you have also witnessed friends, colleagues, or even whole organizations in various levels of exhaustion. In this workshop, we will examine what burnout looks like, how it can be prevented, and ways it can be addressed. You will be invited to examine what resiliency looks like for you and together, we will explore various tips and tools to ensure when things get tough, we can all bounce back a little faster.

Trainer: Demetria Jackson wants to live in a world where self-care is seen as a collective responsibility and where the body is seen as a gateway to liberation. As a body acceptance and wellness educator/facilitator she shares ancient medicinal practices like yoga, meditation and reiki energy healing to help people come home to, feel safe in and access the infinite wisdom of their bodies. Her self-care workshops explore the root cause of burnout and offer both immediate, long-term and preventative first-aid techniques to help alleviate the main and subtle symptoms of burning out. Learn more about Demetria – and check out her current projects – at DemetriaJackson.com.

Tuesday March 21, 2017 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: York University
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This workshop will discuss various issues in group conflict, including: how group conflict can start; how it can escalate; and how to resolve group conflict in lasting ways. It will draw on several models for conflict resolution including: group facilitation, peacemaking circles and community mediation. It will also include exercises to practice ways to address conflict in groups.

Trainer: Pippa Feinstein is a Toronto-baed lawyer and mediator dedicated to promoting social and environmental justice and helping to build more compassionate communities. Through her practice, she works in a interdisciplinary way to collaborate with, and respond to the needs of, diverse grassroots and not-for-profit organizations.


Wednesday April 5, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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In activist groups and organizations we are often faced with conflict that can feel overwhelming to deal with, but avoiding conflict can have a negative impact on our work when left unaddressed. This workshop will explore ways to sit with the overwhelm in order to prepare for difficult conversations emotionally and strategically. Doing this work can help us feel more confident to talk about our political and personal disagreements, name harmful behaviour and develop a deeper understanding of different perspectives and experiences in a group.

Trainer: Brook Thorndycraft has taught Interpersonal Communication and Restorative Justice at George Brown College, and has been involved in resolving conflicts in a number of community, personal and work settings. She sees conflict as an important part of communication, and enjoys figuring out how to make it constructive, rather than destructive.

Sunday April 9, 2017 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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This training will cover the principles of workshop design and delivery including how to create a comfortable learning environment, manage workshop logistics, and choose content and tools that caters to different learning styles and levels of participation. This workshop will specifically focus on methods and tools for active participation in trainings. The workshop will explore strategies to deal with common challenges workshop leaders face. Participants will have the opportunity to create a simple workshop design, practice delivering tools and get feedback.

Trainer: Sharmeen Khan has 15 years experience facilitating workshops on a variety of topics such as anti-oppression, media skills and grassroots financial management. She currently works for CUPE 3903 and the Media Action Research Group and edits Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action. She is also a 2015 fellow with the Training for Change Judith C. Jones Fellowship.

Sunday May 28, 2017 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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In this workshop we’ll be sharing stories and examples from real-life direct actions and discuss everything that goes into planning and executing them successfully. You’ll be given tips of what to think you’re planning and strategizing and together we’ll share anecdotes and stories that will hopefully leave you feeling prepared, uplifted and inspired to take action.

Trainer: Taylor Flook is a settler of english and welsh descent studying to become a medical herbalist. She dares to identify as an anti-capitalist and an anarchist, even tho she files taxes. She endevours to work on decolonization both within and what that means in practical terms for the people of Turtle Island. She bases her work and her life around ways to sustain and repair her relationship to Indigenous people and all oppressed peoples, as well as the land itself. She has been involved in organizing and community engagement from ~10 years. With many lessons and mistakes, she aims to share her adventures in Direct Action for the benefit of those who seek the liberation of all beings. 

Tuesday May 30, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: Greenpeace Mobilization Hub, 33 Cecil Street
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Do you work with a group who are too spread out to meet in person, but you still want to build good relationships? Suffering from endless email-list overload? Ever wonder if the people on the other end of the phone are really listening, or just sitting on their laptops? If so, this is the workshop for you. 

We’ll cover (and practice!) some simple tools and techniques for activists who need to facilitate meetings and discussions using video or audio-conferencing tools (like phone, Skype and Google Hangouts). And we’ll make your meetings fun!

Please note: You can join us in person, or you can join online from anywhere, however you must have good wifi. If you register, you will receive login details via the email the week prior to the workshop. 

Trainer: Anna Kennan got her start in activism in her student years in the Australian climate movement. In 2008 she transitioned to international movements, working with Avaaz.org and Greenpeace International – first as a climate and energy campaigner, and then as a volunteering network developer, with a focus on bridging the online-offline gap to build strong activist communities. Since 2015, Anna has worked as a freelance campaign consultant and facilitator. 

Sunday June 4, 2017 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Location: Greenpeace Mobilization Hub
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Whether you are planning a march, a sit-down, a picket, a meeting disruption, a banner or a blockade, it is often important to check out the location in advance. Scouting the location well can help you plan an action that is safe, effective and less likely to be foiled. This workshop will introduce you to the basics of scouting for situations where you are trying to go unoticed to maintain the element of surprise.

Trainer: Mark Calzavara has scouted and coordinated direct actions for the last twenty years. He is currently the Ontario-Quebec organizer for the Council of Canadians.

Wednesday June 7, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: University of Toronto
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In this workshop, participants will learn about a tool for crafting strong messaging for the media and practice quick sound bites that will resonate. We will also explore different social media platforms and each of their strengths. Working with the knowledge in the room, we’ll create a list of best practices using real life examples and challenges. 

Trainer: Loveleen Kaur Kang is a content creator and Courage and Creativity coach with over a decade of experience as a community organizer, political campaigner, podcast producer and documentary filmmaker. She holds a M.A with a focus on decolonization and activism. On any given day, you can catch her whizzing around on her shiny, red bike named Hedwig, envisioning her next creative project or dreaming about her next backpacking trip.