By Natalie Leibowitz, Social Work Summer Student
100in1 Day is a global festival of civic engagement where people unite to participate in small initiatives to better their community. This year, 100 in 1 Day Toronto was held on Saturday June 6, and included 134 interventions lead by 228 people across the greater Toronto Area (toronto.100in1day.ca).
To celebrate 100 in 1 Day, Riverwalk Wellness Centres hosted a coffee-house style open-mic (no-mic) event in Aurora, where several individuals from the community came together to share their music and poetry. A giant board full of positive messages and affirmations was created. This board will be kept on display in Riverwalk’s art gallery and will be an ongoing initiative where individuals can contribute positive messages at any time as they feel inspired.
This event is just one way in which Riverwalk Wellness Centres is working to create a supportive peer culture in our community. It provided an opportunity to connect with the community over music, poetry, and other forms of expressive art. Individuals shared stories of hope and recovery with the group, creating a supportive environment for people to feel less alone in their struggles. Formal support groups have their place in creating a culture of recovery. However, less formal types of peer support such as this open-mic event or other expressive art forms, are a very effective way to encourage involvement from people who might otherwise be isolated in their mental health struggles. The event was met with positive feedback from those who attended, as they left with a sense of hope.