Post Contents

Deborah Helfand has gained confidence and new employment skills since joining DANI

Deborah obtained degrees from York University and Seneca College but still struggled to find her place in the world. Deborah has mental illness, and the social stigma created a seemingly insurmountable barrier. However, at DANI, she found a warm and inviting home, where she was encouraged to be herself. 

Deborah joined our supported employment program in 2014. With the help of our staff, Deborah was able to build the skills and gain the confidence that allowed her to succeed. If you enter our primary location, you might see Deborah preparing food in the kitchen, waitressing in the café or engaging with customers. She has worked in our greenhouse and is an integral part of DANI’s POP UP lunch program, where DANI participants set up a table at local offices and sell lunch items. Beyond that, she fundraises for our Charidy Day event and assists on anything else that we need. It would be hard to find a job offered at DANI at which Deborah hasn’t excelled. 

We asked Deborah about the effect that joining DANI has had on her life. Here’s what she had to say:  

“DANI gave me a life, a sense of worthiness and value. I have a serious mental health

illness and these illnesses have caused me to be ostracized from society.  At DANI, I feel like me, and I’m treated as a worthy individual with respect, dignity, as well as being given the opportunity to voice my opinions and concerns. I’m given responsibilities and allowed to make mistakes with no repercussions. At DANI, my hidden disability isn’t an issue. DANI empowers me and I’m forever grateful to the entire staff and organization.”

When the pandemic hit, we needed competent staff to continuously sanitize one of our campuses in order to prevent COVID outbreaks. Deborah took on that challenge too, and now plays an instrumental role in maintaining our meticulous standards.

Deborah has taken incredible strides since joining us. We continue to rejoice in her successes as we watch her continued growth at DANI.


Cheese Specials:

  • Cheesecake (4” x 14”)
    Choice of Toppings: Streusel, Chocolate or Plain
  • Individual Cheesecake (4")
  • Cheese Danish
  • Cheese Danish Loaf


  • Cheese with Strawberry Sauce
    $45/per dozen
  • Mushroom with Mushroom Sauce
    $40/per dozen

Salmon Plates:

  • Moroccan Salmon with Couscous and Vegetables
    $25/per serving
  • Salmon Skewers (2) with Cantaloupe Salsa
    $30/per serving

Savory Plates:

  • Quiche
    (serves 6 - 8) Mushroom or Spinach
  • Cheese-less Sweet Potato Quiche
    (Made in dairy equipment)

Cheese Lasagna:

  • 8" x 8"
  • 9" x 13"

Shavuot Gift Trays available upon request

Leave your details below and
we will reach out to you personally.

Tula Kerr-Knights

Tula uses a person-centered approach to design and implement innovative programming with a focus on creative, hands-on activities. She uses her experience with a variety of kinds of handiwork to bring fun and engaging activities to participants that give them the opportunity to experiment with new mediums and express themselves creatively!

Daniela Scerbo

Daniela uses a person-centered approach to design and implement innovative programming. She uses her work experience as a language instructor to continue bringing academic programming to our participants, such as a brand-new accessible Science program using games, hands-on experiments and more to make learning fun!

Rudy Barell

Rudy Is currently the Chief Operating Officer of DANI’s Place – a unique housing initiative for persons with cognitive challenges based in Ontario, Canada. His role is to oversee all operations, while creating a strategic growth and implementation plan to ultimately build-out this branch of DANI.
Rudy has been working for both the corporate and the not-for-profit sectors for the past 20 years, establishing himself as an expert in government relations, grant writing and strategic planning. He has had the great honour and pleasure to work with amazing organizations in various business spheres: manufacturing, health technology, medical associations, first nations, social service agencies and with all levels of government and their arms-length partners. He is most proud of his lovely wife, his three children and cannot forget his dear friend Disco Stu - his bunny.

Francesco Franzone

Francesco uses a person-centered approach to design and implement innovative programming that shares his love of sports with everyone! He uses team activities to foster positive relationships and cooperation among participants in a supportive environment. Francesco also oversees a paid vocational partnership with Stalco, where participants work independently as part-time employees.

Tal Bar

Tal started working at DANI in 2010 and has since become an integral part of the organization's journey. Today, as the Chief Operating Officer of DANI, Tal takes charge of various operations and services, as well as organizational development and community partnerships, which drive DANI's growth and enable it to make a significant impact. Tal is a firm believer in the power of inclusion, recognizing that every individual deserves the opportunity to participate, contribute, and be valued. Tal holds an MEd in developmental psychology and education and is currently enrolled in TMU's nonprofit management program.