Juno Zavitz

Juno Zavitz

2022 Innovation & Creativity Award - Greater Toronto

Breakaway Community Services

Nominator Comments:

In January of 2021, Juno (they/them) co-founded a new initiative to respond to the burnout, trauma and grief experienced by frontline workers and community helpers in the overdose/drug poisoning crisis in Toronto. This initiative is the first of its kind – delivering wellness and support services, training and crisis response to the frontlines. Part of what made this initiative successful was Juno’s capacity to have a critical analysis of this complex issue while being driven by the hopefulness of what could be made possible. Juno advocated at the municipal level through deputations to the board of health to center the impact of the overdose crisis on workers. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, they developed innovative methods of engagement. They consulted with community to understand the diverse needs and impacts of this crisis; they organized the harm reduction sector to come together to coordinate around worker wellness; and, they helped to secure funding to develop and implement a creative and ground-breaking response to this community need. Juno has supported a community where traditional theories and models of grief do not reflect the disenfranchised, compounded and marginalized grief associated with overdose deaths. They have made space for these unique experiences, challenged mainstream discourses that further marginalize our community, and supported the community to develop

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