Renée Roth Memorial Speakers Bureau 

Donate today

Donate now to support people who have experienced poverty and homelessness by contributing to the Renée Roth Memorial Speakers Bureau.

The program helps participants to speak publicly from their lived experience raising awareness and igniting action about the issues facing people who are marginalized in our community. Participants also develop increased confidence enabling them to achieve their personal goals including returning to school or gaining meaningful employment. 


“The Renée Roth Speakers Bureau assisted me in improving my public speaking skills, enabling me to be myself when speaking both in front of an audience and one-on-one.”
John Keddy, Speakers Bureau and VSA graduate


The program is offered to a small group of graduates of the Ve’ahavta Street Academy (VSA) twice a year, over a period of two months.  After completing the initial training program, graduates continue to improve and hone their skills through ongoing monthly sharing meetings. Piloted in 2016, past participants have gone on to become involved in such activities as working on the city’s poverty reduction strategy and paid work opportunities with programs serving other marginalized individuals. The Speakers Bureau’s graduates have also shared their stories at numerous public events, including Ve’ahavta’s anniversary gala Starry Nights, as well as on CBC Radio. 

This year, we are excited to be partnering with volunteers from Toastmasters who will facilitate the workshops. The program will be offered once a week for 6-8 weeks focusing on various aspects of public speaking.  A Toastmaster Gavel Club will also be created to provide ongoing support for program participants to to improve their public speaking skills and boost their confidence. 

In Memory of

Renée Roth

The Speakers Bureau was initially funded through a generous donation in honour and memory of Renée Roth, who sadly passed away in 2015. Renée was a valued member of Ve’ahavta’s Board of Directors from 2012–2015. She was a much-loved volunteer facilitator with VSA in career development and résumé writing, where she inspired students and championed their success. Renée had an esteemed 20-year career in the radio industry including an Associate Professorship at Humber College where she taught Radio Sales Development.

She is missed by all who knew her.

Booking a Speaker

The  Renée Roth Memorial Speakers Bureau is a unique opportunity to have someone who has lived experience with poverty and homelessness speak to your congregation, school, youth group, or other community group. Having someone from the Speakers Bureau engage with your community can lead to a deeper understanding of the crisis of homelessness in Toronto, fosters empathy, and will motivate your community to act for tikun olam (repairing the world).

There is a $250 fee for this program. We recommend booking a tikun workshop in conjunction with the speaker. This combines an education workshop with a first-person story.

Please complete the form below to request a speaker. We request a minimum of two weeks advance notice for booking a speaker.

For more information, contact Janis Seftel at or 416 964 7698 x 214.

Download the Speakers Bureau digital brochure.