The Riverdale Share Community Association defines what a community is.
By Kristen Gentleman
For eighteen years, the Riverdale Share Community Association has dedicated itself to bettering its Danforth-Riverdale community. Every December, it hosts the Riverdale Share Concert to raise money for people-in-need within the community, now a much loved start to the neighbourhood’s holiday celebrations.
Susan Baker, producer and co-artistic director at the Association (RSCA), says she hopes to expand it into a full-time community association, but is finding it difficult to find the manpower and time to do so.
“There are people who have and those who have not,” Baker says, “and I think there is an important role that we can play in connecting those two sides.”
The Share Concert was created in 1991 by Maggie Callandine and Bill Usher in partnership with the Danforth BIA (Business Improvement Areas), to showcase local talent and bring the community together. The first concert was such a success that even after the bills were paid there was money leftover. Knowing of individuals-in-need, they split the profit between them.
Today, under Baker’s leadership, the basis behind the Share Concert and the RSCA remains the same: to help those less fortunate in the community. Now the RSCA only funds programs that help the community. They fund about seven organizations a year. Past recipients include Broadview Community Youth Group, Dundas School Spontaneous Art Program (for more information, contact Joel Segal, 416-393-9565) and the South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre.
This spring marks the third annual Bebop-a-looza, an event Baker created to thank sponsors and to publicly hand out the grants raised from the concert.
Organizing these two events has become a full-time job for Baker, who also works part-time at RE/MAX. Baker wants to expand the RSCA, but that would require funding from the city that, being completely volunteer-driven, she doesn’t have the time or support to apply right now. The RSCA only has 22 regular volunteers.
Baker has already started other small community initiatives, including collecting old computers and donating them to grant recipients and students. She says she hopes to continue exploring these other avenues of community involvement and actually making the RSCA her full time job.
Until then she is busily preparing for this springs event and already looking forward to her next Share Concert. Visit this link to purchase tickets for the Bebop-a-looza and click here to find out when the next Riverdale Share Concert is happening.
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Lions, Bears, and Guinea Pig Tails: My grandmother remembers the Danforth of her childhood.
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