Word-Play is a charitable non-profit organization that relies on the financial and in-kind contributions of individuals, organizations and foundations.

All of our programs are offered free of charge thanks to the generosity of our donors.

We encourage children in our community to gain confidence and skills by providing a safe, creative, inclusive environment where learning is fun. Working with schools, teachers, parents, children and teachers in training, we are creating programs that help build a strong, connected community.

Many thanks to the publishers who have donated books to our Word-Play collection in the past. Children in our programs are able to borrow these books to read and discuss with their peers, our staff and volunteers. If you’re a publisher and want to contribute to this important Word-Play project or want to discuss other ways to get involved, please contact us here.



Thanks also to TD Wealth Private Client Group for their generous contribution to our programs.


Word-Play is a volunteer-run organization. We rely on these dedicated individuals for planning and supporting our programs, fundraising, events, promotion, serving on our board of directors and ensuring Word-Play programs are safe and inclusive.

Our volunteers are people who care deeply about engaging elementary school children with reading and writing. They range from high-school students in search of community service hours to adults of all ages. We encourage the participation of volunteers who represent the rich ethnic and cultural mix of our city.

We have a limited number of volunteer positions in our after-school programs. Our volunteers abide by all the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Volunteers are expected to work collaboratively with program leaders and other volunteers. They may also act as a mentor or support to children in the program. They are expected to participate in debriefing/brainstorming sessions at the end of each week’s session.

What our volunteers say….

“Writing in the City encourages children’s literacy, creativity, and free thought.  The program motivates children to think outside the box and to find their inner voice through storytelling, art projects and interactive games.  It is an environment where participants’ voices are heard, valued and respected and where children learn to have compassion for others.  I have learned so much from being a teacher candidate at Writing in the City and I consider myself very fortunate to have been involved in such an inspiring program!”
—Hollie Stevenett, Teacher Candidate, York University

“When I first became involved there were just four of us on the Steering Committee and we met often to imagine what Word-Play might be. How amazing to realize what has come into being! After three years volunteering with the reading program I now have the pleasure of working with Writing in the City and watching Grade 6 children blossom as writers. Some of the same children keep coming to the different programs and it’s exciting to observe their writing and reading skills. Word-Play is an organic, community-based organization that is deeply linked to the community, and I look forward to what the future will bring.”
—Volunteer program coordinator, Writing in the City, Brenda Johnson

“Writing in the City is always a delightful surprise! Through using art, music, role play, creative movement and a ton of fun, participants go on adventures to find their lost submarine, or to climb vegetables that are as tall as trees. The program is always ready to inspire young people to express themselves, share their ideas and feel proud of the unique voices and stories that they create. Writing in the City has truly changed my way of looking at creative writing—and vegetables.”
—Jenny Tran, Teacher Candidate, York University

“I was a reluctant reader who came to love reading.  I wanted to share my love with others.  Being able to design a program is a great experience that has made me the envy of my practicum class.”
—Reading in the City Teacher Candidate, York University

“I learned so much as a Teacher Candidate and a Torontonian!  I stepped out of my comfort bubble and tried something that I’ve never imagined before!  I also learned to interact with people of different ages, cultural, and educational backgrounds.”
—Reading in the City Teacher Candidate, York University