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Switchback Cyclery

by Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto
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Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery
Switchback Cyclery is so grateful for your support in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. We know that this pandemic has caused a lot of upheaval, fear, and insecurity for many of you.  The Switchback team is keenly aware that our employees with histories of addiction, chronic poverty, and mental illness are more vulnerable than ever right now. Your support is tremendously valuable and will help us offer them security and continuity while everything else is in flux.  Thank you so much for your generosity, and we hope that you and your loved ones stay well.
We'd also like to share an update on how our store is operating under COVID-19. We have been deemed an essential service by our provincial government. While we are pleased to be providing much-needed service and repairs at this time, we will also be operating with the health and safety of our own employees as our top priority. We also have plans in place to remain in compliance with government requirements and social distancing.
Currently we are operating as follows : 
  • only 1 customer in the store at a time, others are asked to kindly wait outside
  •  pit stops and emergency flat repairs can be scheduled by calling ahead for an appointment
  •  Bikes will be disinfected upon receiving intake as well as upon return to customers.
No employees who feel uncomfortable or are at higher risk are required to be at work, and we're encouraging people to stay home if that's the best choice for them. We have arranged our budget so that we can continue to pay wages to our staff who aren't able to come in, so they can maintain financial stability in this time of uncertainty.
Thank you again for your support.  We could not do this without you!
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Harvest Ride Fundraiser
Harvest Ride Fundraiser

Thank you so much for your support over the past few months. With our busiest season coming to a close, all of us at Switchback are breathing a sigh of relief. There's lots to be grateful for during the busy months of spring and summer when our shop is buzzing with activity. This year we're especially grateful for the success of our second annual Harvest Ride fundraiser (see picture above). But by the end of October we always feel ready for a rest! 

On the topic of rest and recovery, two of our staff members have realized that they want to take advantage of this quieter time of year by attending addiction rehabilitation programs to help them on their journey towards wellness. We are so glad that they feel empowered to make this choice for themselves and that their work at Switchback has given them the time and resources needed to make it possible.

With fewer hands needed in the shop, two of our recent hires are going to supplement all the amazing hands-on learning they did this summer with some professional development courses at Park Tool School this winter.

Finally, for the first time, our whole staff team will be going on a 3-day retreat in a few weeks for team and relationship building. We can’t wait!

Thank you for supporting our work and mission of providing dignified, stable jobs for people who have significant barriers to employment. In a world where success in business often demands a single-minded focus on profits, our little social enterprise that strives to make space for people who are marginalized and to build an inclusive, supportive community, is always swimming upstream. Knowing that there are so many people out there who are in our corner, cheering us on, means the world to us.

With much gratitude,

 

The Switchback Crew

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Dear friends,

Thank you so much for your support over the past several months!  We're right in the middle of the busiest time of the year.  The beautiful weather always inspires people to get their bikes in tip-top shape or come in to buy a shiny new ride! 

We've also recently welcomed two new participants to our team, and we're busy helping them adjust to their new roles!  Wanda* has joined us as a sales associate and we're really appreciating her warm and friendly demeanor in the store. She has been so excited to join the team at Switchback, and has shown a lot of enthusiasm for learning all about our inventory and what it takes to run a bike shop! Wanda has also purchased a bike and has been totally surprised by how enjoyable she finds cycling in the city. She thought cycling was going to be like going to the gym: hard, sweaty work, but good for you. She has been pleasantly surprised how good it makes her feel and how enjoyable it is. No breeze in your face in the gym!

We also brought on James* part-time to do janitorial work.  He brings a lot of energy and a passion for bikes to his work, and we hope that in time we might get him doing some work as a technician as well.

We are also so pleased to announced that one of our long-time participants has graduated from Tech level 1 to Tech level 2, which shows a huge amount of growth in his skill-set.  He has worked hard for this, and we are so proud to have been able to provide an environment where he can learn, grow, and thrive.

Thank you so much for supporting our vision for an enterprise that provides excellent service to a community while offering meaningful work opportunities for people with significant barriers to employment.  Our work would not be possible without the generosity of supporters like you.

With much gratitude,

The Switchback Crew

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Happy Spring!

Firstly, we want to extend a huge thank-you from the whole Switchback team for supporting our mission of providing dignified, meaningful work for people with significant barriers to employment in a supportive, community setting.

We’d also love to share a few of the highlights from this past quarter.

Employee Progress

  • As we reported last quarter, one of our employees, Blake*, has entered a four-month addiction treatment program.  We’re happy to report that he is progressing well, and we are in regular contact with him to offer support and encouragement as he takes this huge step towards his personal well-being.
  • Although Blake’s absence has left us a bit short-handed, we have been so happy that our employee Tom* has grown and flourished by stepping up to the plate in Blake’s absence.  He's shown more growth, initiative, responsibility and aptitude in the past few months than we've seen in the entire 6 years we've been open as a shop. His quality of work, productivity and personal growth has made Tom the most improved employee of the year!

Social Enterprise Development

  • Thanks to continued strong business, we are now looking to add 2-3 new barriered employees to the shop. We are really excited about extending our mission of offering dignified, meaningful, stable work to more people with significant barriers to employment. At this stage we’ve started the interview process and are thrilled at the prospect of having new folks join the Switchback team!

*Names changed to protect the privacy of our employees.

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A moment of levity between bike repairs!
A moment of levity between bike repairs!

Happy New Year!

Firstly, we want to extend a huge thank-you from the whole Switchback team for supporting our mission of providing dignified, meaningful work for people with significant barriers to employment in a supportive, community setting.

We’d also love to share a few of the highlights from this past quarter.

Employee Progress

  • One employee has been living with addiction for many years. Thanks to the support they have received and the confidence they have built through their work at Switchback, they were able to recognize their need to enter treatment. They enrolled and were accepted into a 4 month-long rehabilitation program.
  • Another employee was supported by their mentors and managers at Switchback to reunite with their family after two decades of estrangement.  As a result, their mental health is the best it’s been in their five years of working at the shop.
  • We were able to support another employee with finding new housing in order to develop their independence from an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship and escape an environment that was not supportive of their recovery from addiction.  They are now settling in to their new place!

Social Enterprise Development

  • This past quarter, Switchback started a new partnership with Butterfield & Robinson, a tour company that specializes in cycling tours.  The aim of this partnership is to offer educational opportunities for Butterfield and Robinson tour attendees to learn about social enterprises and the lives of the marginalized and oppressed community members employed by Switchback.  Tour attendees will have the opportunity to take classes on bicycle repair skills alongside our employees.  
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Organization Information

Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto

Location: Toronto, ON - Canada
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SanctuaryTO
Project Leader:
Kathleen Smith
Toronto, ON Canada

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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