Scarborough community members in need of help with voting or understanding politics can go to the Scarborough Civic Action Network.
The classes take place on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well as Wednesdays at the same hours. The program was organized to teach community members about politics. During elections, voting is promoted to prepare the members to go and vote.
Farnaz Behrooz, co-ordinator of the Scarborough Civic Action Network says the program, located inside Agincourt Community Centre, helps people in Scarborough with the voting process.
“When there is an election we hold training sessions on how to vote and also how to register to vote,” Behrooz said.
“We provide guidance on where they can go to register and what they will need to bring with them.”
We develop tools and resources for grassroots initiatives in Scarborough and that’s helped build the capacity
— Farnaz Behrooz
Behrooz says the Scarborough Civic Action Network is an alliance of grassroots groups that promote civic engagement and advocacy at all three levels of government for people who live in Scarborough.
“We do that by offering civic education training. If there are elections happening, we organize debates around that or we help others promote all candidates debates as well,” said Behrooz.
“The other thing that we do is we develop tools and resources for grassroots initiatives in Scarborough and that’s helped build the capacity.”
“For instance, if you’re interested in learning more about how to grow a campaign, we do provide guide books and we do provide monthly workshops on how to do that. We also provide training on how to write grants, how to develop budgets and work plans, on how to speak to the media.”
One example of grassroots initiatives, Behrooz said, is a group of people who wanted to start a program for a group of senior newcomers from China.
“They would come and say ‘We don’t have a lot of money, we’re just two people but we’re dedicating a lot of time to this program because we feel passionate about it.’ So we try to find ways to connect them to the resources,” said Behrooz.
Behrooz is certain this program is beneficial to people who live in Scarborough.
“The knowledge that we share plays a big factor in what people do and what people continue to do in Scarborough,” said Behrooz.
“Just by helping people to get informed on things like why you should vote and how policy effects everyday life, it gets people to think in a certain way and gets them more involved beyond voting. We promote voting and we promote things like writing to your MP.”
“We promote a very broad civic engagement and framework for people so we find a lot of people do want to get involved. A lot of people feel more empowered and more motivated to do something for themselves in their neighbourhood and schools.”