In 2017, the WCC (then called the Toronto Writers Collective) was the subject of a Ryerson University pilot study overseen by clinical psychologist, Dr. Kelly McShane. Funded by an Ontario Trillium Foundation SEED Grant, the study measured the personal, health, and community impact of the organization’s programs in the lives of participants and facilitators.
Key findings of the WCC-Ryerson pilot study included:
Attendees of our workshops experienced positive changes:
Positive change was documented in the areas of: hope, self-expression, well-being, resilience, creativity, empowerment, leadership, self-esteem, mood, sense of community, writing skills, connection, distress, and stress.
Attendees reported other improvements:
Including in the following areas: social isolation, self-expression, healing and recovery, self-worth, empowerment of voice, and resilience.
Facilitators of TWC workshops experienced positive changes:
Facilitators reported positive change in the areas of: sense of purpose, career exploration, leadership, compassion, creativity, emotional intelligence, communication, sense of community, self-care self-efficacy, satisfaction, writing skills, and open-mindedness.
TWC facilitators reported other improvements:
Including in the following areas: satisfaction, sense of purpose, empathy, facilitation skills, listening skills, organizational skills, professional development, career development, and sense of accomplishment. In addition, 9 of the facilitators were originally participants in the workshop.
Both participant writers and volunteer facilitators reported improvements in:
Well-being, sense of connection, confidence, and writing skills.
More than 50% of WCC trained facilitators are from the communities we serve and a number of WCC writers and WCC peer facilitators have obtained employment within their partner agencies and/or communities. This is further evidence of the positive impact and power of the WCC’s programs.
WCC and Dr. McShane have now embarked on a multi-year study to continue measuring the impact WCC has in the lives of its writers, facilitators, and the communities it serves.
In addition, during spring 2020, WCC initiated an Implementation study with Dr. McShane’s team to study its pivot to virtual programming and online workshops.