Learn about CDI's Taste of Home program and how we're supporting our families over the holidays.
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Making Spirits Bright

Thank you to everyone who is helping to make the holidays extra special for our children and families. We are so grateful for your support.

Featured Program: Taste of Home

CDI's Taste of Home program launched four years ago in one Toronto shelter and has since expanded to three shelters across the city. 

As the sun set and the snow fell, a flurry of activity began in a large kitchen at a shelter in Toronto's core. CDI and shelter staff, volunteers and children residing at the shelter carefully put together the finishing touches on a five-course dinner they eagerly prepared for everyone to enjoy.

These children are part of a weekly drop-in program operated under CDI's Family Violence Services. Taste of Home is a unique and innovative after-school cooking program that helps children living in shelters develop a healthy lifestyle: throughout the 25-week program, children learn how to prepare healthy, budget-friendly meals. The program also focuses on various stress management techniques to help children better manage the stresses of everyday life.

Each week, children and youth make simple, healthy recipes from CDI's Taste of Home cookbook.

“For many children, living in a shelter can be challenging. Taste of Home not only teaches children and youth  valuable life skills but also opens the door for them to access other children’s mental health services, if needed.” said Lisa Sura-Liddell, Family Violence Program Manager. “We have child and family therapists, along with our school liaison worker, who all work in tandem to provide children with the individualized support they need during this time of transition.” 

Our Taste of Home staff and volunteers Cordelia, Amanda, Leonie, Damian and Kaitlin (listed clockwise) proudly display the cookbook shared with program participants

By creating a meal together and sharing it in a family setting, the program also helps shelter residents feel a sense of stability in their temporary home. As volunteer Leonie puts it, “Through this program, I've gotten to build lasting relationships with the residents. It really comes to feel like home,” she added.

CDI's Taste of Home program currently runs at three shelters in the city and will soon be offered in-house as part of our Transitions program.

To learn more, visit our website.

Family Holiday Fun!

CDI's annual holiday party is a chance for our clients to participate in a day of family-friendly fun.

On Saturday, December 6, families joined us at our Euclid location to celebrate the holidays with a visit from Santa, face painting, a magic show and a Mad Science demo. For some of our families, this is their main holiday event of the season, and we are so happy they were able to join us.

Thank you to the volunteers who so generously donated their time and to Scotiabank for providing the stuffed animals the children received from Santa.

The Holiday Spirit

Thank you to the  organizations and individuals who help make the holidays joyful for these families. Your generosity truly makes a difference.

More than 50 families are being supported through our Adopt-a-Family program, and many of our families will be receiving toys through the CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish and Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund programs.

If you are interested in supporting any of our holiday initiatives, please contact Tammy MacDougall at or 416-603-1827, ext. 2307.

Thank You to All of Our Donors!

Photo credit: January Baby

Thanks to a generous donation of toques, scarves and smittens (a genius design that helps mittens stay put on kids prone to losing them) from January Baby, the children at our early learning centre at Fraser Mustard will be toasty warm all winter long.


Photo credit: National Ballet of Canada

Through the National Ballet of Canada’s Share the Magic program, our families took part in a classic holiday experience: a live performance of the Nutcracker ballet at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Since its inception in 1986, Share the Magic has provided tickets and brought the joy of dance to over 64,000 audience members.

Give the Gift of Joy

Looking for a gift for the person who has everything? Making a donation to CDI in the name of a friend, colleague or family member is a creative approach to gift-giving that not only sends a powerful message but also makes a contribution to your community. To make a donation, click here

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Our mailing address is:
Child Development Institute
197 Euclid Ave
Toronto, On M6K 2J8

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