Author Archives: Miriam Vince

Start2Finish Guelph is Successful Recipient of our Meeting 10 Cheque!

Meeting Two of Year Three!

Three informative and inspiring presentations and one successful charity!

In case you missed the meeting, here’s a recap…
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If you still have to submit your cheque, payment instructions are at the bottom.

You are now able to make payments online, as well!

 Our Tenth meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph reinforced the commitment of our 151 members, to giving generously to local community charities!  We welcome our new members and thank everyone present for their thoughtful questions. Most important, we would like to thank all of you for your continued generosity!

Last night we listened to well-prepared presentations from three enthusiastic nominators:

  1. Wendy Clayson presented on behalf of Start2FinishGuelph.  Start2Finish Running and Reading Clubs provide a supportive environment for children to accomplish academic and physical goals, as part of a 32 week program which culminates in the Start2Finish 5K Running & Reading Challenge, at the end of the school year.
  2. Irene Szabo presented on behalf of Trillium Waldorf School, an institution which provides a developmentally appropriate and experiential-based approach to education, to inspire life-long learning and enable children to fully develop their unique capacities.
  3. Carol Tyler presented on behalf of The Seed, a collaborative initiative of community partners in Guelph & Wellington with the shared vision of strengthening the local emergency food system through the distribution of healthy fresh food to local providers and their clients, community kitchen & garden programs, and healthy food education and cooking programs

Diane Nelson congratulates Wendy Clayson, nominator of Start2Finish Guelph, the successful recipient of our Meeting 10 donation.

After these thoughtful and informative presentations, the membership voted, and our selected charity was Start2Finish Guelph. When pledges come in from all members, our contributions will provide a substantial portion of the $20,000 start up costs for the new Westwood Public School running and reading program, including the purchase of books, running shoes, and t-shirts for up to 60 kids. We look forward to hearing about that impact at our next meeting on April 10th, 2017.  You can read more about the program in Tannis’s press release by following this link.

While we were waiting for the results of our voting, members had the pleasure of listening to a heartfelt presentation from Randy Betts, Head Parenting Coach, and a volunteer for the Guelph chapter of APSGO (Association of Parent Support Groups Ontario). His talk was an inspiring description of the significant contribution APSGO has made to supporting the lives of parents and young people in crisis. Randy expressed gratitude for the contribution that 100WWCG made at their October meeting.After the meeting, many of those in attendance joined us for our after-meeting networking event sponsored by our very own members, Sandra Lastovic of The Mortgage Centre and Irene Szabo of Royal City Realty.

A Thank You from Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington

Thank you to “100 Women Who Care” for donating over $15,000 to support Minds in Motion in Guelph.

Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington executive director Michelle Martin expresses thanks to 100WWCG for their July donation.

Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington executive director Michelle Martin expresses thanks to 100WWCG for their July donation.

What is Minds in Motion?  Minds in Motion is a program that incorporates physical and mental stimulation for people living with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, and their care partners.  Two main components make up the social program.   45 to 60 minutes of physical activity led by a trained physical activity program leader and 45 to 60 minutes of mentally stimulating activities facilitated by a Minds in Motion coordinator and volunteers.

The two hour program is a great opportunity to establish new friendships with others who are living with the same experiences.  People can be seen for who they are, not someone with dementia.  People are in a truly safe environment where they will not be singled out, made fun of, stared at or ridiculed in any way for having a strange behaviour, saying something out of place or not being able to follow the moves.  They are in a truly accepting environment where they are free to be who they are.  This is a critical step in having people access programming.

What is the benefit of the program?  Combining physical, mental and social stimulation can decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and may slow the disease progression.  For the person with dementia, Minds in Motion can improve balance, mobility, flexibility, alertness and can lead to an increased sense of confidence.  For the care partner, the program is an opportunity to focus on their own health, and to find support from other care partners.  And for both the person with dementia and their care partner, Minds in Motion provides an enjoyable activity that can reduce their sense of isolation.

Your support will provide 66 people with 24 weeks of programming.  This is a phenomenal impact for our community.  You are providing an inclusive program where people can thrive.

Minds in Motion is a province wide program that has been extensively evaluated.  Here are some interesting results:

  • 96% of participants report they enjoy the program
  • 99% report that they felt they were treated with respect while participating in Minds in Motion
  • 98% felt they were listened to during the program
  • 95% of participants enjoyed the physical activity
  • 91% enjoyed the therapeutic part of the program
  • 97% felt the program facilitators did a good job
  • 95% would recommend Minds in Motion to others
  • On average, participants endurance improved by 20% and strength by 15%
  • 90% of recreation centre staff and program volunteers identify an increase in their knowledge related to older adults and dementia

I would like to welcome Thayna Walter, Coordinator of Minds in Motion, to share some personal client stories.

Thayna’s Testimonials

Thayna Walker, Minds In Motion program co-ordinator, Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington

Thayna Walker, Minds In Motion program co-ordinator, Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington

From D

I am pleased to be able to say a few words about the Minds in Motion program. This is the fourth time I have been participated in the program and I am so pleased I have had the opportunity to be part of the program again!

I am not an expert on dementia but I have been living with it, and am always looking for a way to live my life as normal as possible.  When we heard that the Alzheimer Society was presenting a program designed for persons with memory problems, I remember saying “that’s for me”!  The mind portion would keep my mind busy and the motion portion would keep my blood circulating.  From the reading I have done, I understand that keeping the blood flowing through the brain and being social is an excellent way to keep the brain agile.  These are two things that could possibly help –  how can you go wrong!

From L

I remember the first time we went to Minds in Motion and being really excited to find out that it was not only okay, but important to really set the bar high for physical exercise with people with dementia…. not demanding it, but inviting it.

I was such a relief to be socializing with other couples who were facing the same thing. There was no worry about others feeling uncomfortable in a social setting with us as a couple (as so many of our friends did at that point). That was one of the most difficult things to experience as our friends gradually got used to my husband’s dementia and we all got used to not being able to be together in the same social settings that we had always taken for granted. It was such a joy to have fun together as a couple again with other couples.

Meeting other families living with dementia has led to some very deep and mutually supportive friendships as couples and as care partners. I have been meeting with the same group of women privately every two weeks for a couple of years now. It is extremely important to us and every time we think maybe we don’t need to do this, so often a crisis happens to one of us and we reach out for support. The Alzheimer Society is instrumental in helping people connect with each other because they support us in such a healthy way.

I think that finally I want to say that being involved in such a group which focuses on a positive way of living life as fully as we can gives us hope, not maybe over the final outcome, but definitely on the journey being manageable and even often enjoyable.

alzheimerThe Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington is so appreciative to “100 Women Who Care”.  Your generous gift is truly making a difference for our community.  Let’s help everyone to have their best day.

Meeting 9 of 100 Women Who Care Raised $15,000 for the Association of Parent Support Groups of Ontario (APSGO)

Our Ninth meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph kicked of 100WWCG’s third year!

Our membership count now stands at 150 committed membership pledges. We welcome our new members and thank everyone present for their thoughtful questions and all of you for your continued generosity!

On the evening of October 3rd 2016, we listened to well-prepared presentations from three enthusiastic nominators:

  1. Irene Szabo presented on behalf of Trillium Waldorf School, an institution which provides a developmentally appropriate and experiential-based approach to education, to inspire life-long learning and enable children to fully develop their unique capacities.
  2. Robin Smart presented on behalf of Victim Services Wellington, in support of their Project Lifesaver  program, which provides wrist transmitters to families dealing with members suffering cognitive impairment due to a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Down’s Syndrome and acquired brain injury.
  3. Rosemary Fernandez-Walker presented on behalf of the Guelph chapter of the Association of Parent Support Groups of Ontario.  APSGO is an organization of parents of disruptive youth who have joined together to provide support and empower parents to deal with their situation. The organization provides weekly meetings, workshops and other resources to assist parents in acquiring the skills to help themselves and their children.
Sharon Lewis presents our Meeting 9 donation to Rosemary Fernandez-Walker, nominator of the Guelph chapter of Association of Parent Support Groups of Ontario (APSGO),

Sharon Lewis presents our Meeting 9 donation to Rosemary Fernandez-Walker, nominator of the Guelph chapter of Association of Parent Support Groups of Ontario (APSGO),

 

After these fascinating and inspiring presentations, a vote was taken, and our selected charity was Association of Parent Support Groups of Ontario ( APSGO)  When pledges come in from all members we will be contributing $15,000 to fund a conference in Guelph. We look forward to hearing about that impact at our next meeting on January 9th, 2017. You can read more about the program in Tannis’s press release online.

Executive director Michelle Martin and program co-ordinator Thayna Walker express their thanks to 100WWCG for their July donation.

Executive director Michelle Martin and program co-ordinator Thayna Walker express their thanks to 100WWCG for their July donation

 

We had the pleasure of listening to an inspiring presentation from Michelle Martin, executive director of  Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington and Thayna Walker, program co-ordinator.  They gave us a moving description of how our July 2016 donation to their Minds in Motion  program has improved the lives of people with dementia and their care partners. Our $15,100 donation has really made a difference and changed some lives!

Post-meeting networking is a great way to connect!

Post-meeting networking is a great way to connect!

 

 

After the event, many of those in attendance joined us for our after-meeting networking event sponsored by our very own members Sandra Lastovic of The Mortgage Centre and Irene Szabo of Royal City Realty.

A Thank You From the North End Harvest Market

Thank you 100 Women Who Care Guelph for your wonderful donation. Because of your generosity, we have been able to stabilize the market for six months, feeding 200 to 250 people a week.

market pics3

Your donation also symbolizes the care and compassion of your organization to not only feed these families, but to share in the compassion, openness and dignity these families deserve without prejudice. Your donation provided $500 a week for produce.

Harvest Sign

In the last six months we have spent a total of $16,209.01 on food, registered an average of 173 people per week, distributing $623 in food per week which averages out to $3.30 per person per week.

Barb McPhee, manager of the North End Harvest Market and Harvey, the Market's mascot.

Barb McPhee, manager of the North End Harvest Market and Harvey, the Market’s mascot.

The following testimonials are from some of our Market users.

“I am a senior living on ODSP and being able to get at least a few fruits and vegetables makes me happy – I can then use my money for other nutritious items like bread and milk. My health is improving slowly, but my sense of dignity is improving faster because of the North End Harvest Market.”

“I am so thankful to the Gang at the North End Harvest Market for not only giving us fresh fruits and vegetables, but they make sure that they provide them to us with dignity, discretion and a whole lot of fun.”

canada day

Canada Day at the Market

 

 

 

“My kids just love coming to the North End Harvest Market. They ask every week if they can come – they have so much fun and get treats and get to join in the entertainment.”

 

 

 

shopping cart

 

“Thank You North End Harvest Market for giving my family a chance to get out and have some fun, my kids love the entertainment – if only for an hour, it makes our day.”

 

child

 

 

“My kids are actually starting to take an interest in vegetables as they get to pick them out themselves and the great volunteers talk to them about how good they are for them and how they can help mom cook them.”

 

 

“I suffer from a terminal illness that affects mainly my lung function, but there is nothing more soothing and therapeutic for me than to come and sing at the Market and watching the children dance.  Thanks to the Market for giving me this.”

guitar

Meeting 8 of 100 Women Who Care Raised $15,100 for Alzheimer Waterloo Wellington’s Minds in Motion Program

Our 8th meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph raised the bar on donations higher than ever before!
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Barb McPhee, manager of the North End Harvest Market and Harvey, the Market's mascot.

Barb McPhee, manager of the North End Harvest Market and Harvey, the Market’s mascot.

Thank you to all of the women who joined us on the evening of July 11, 2016.  We had the pleasure of listening to an inspiring presentation from Barb McPhee, manager of the North End Harvest Market regarding the impact of our April 2016 donation to the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, in support of the market.  Our $14,600 donation has really made a difference to their day to day operation and changed some lives!

Prior to the presentation by North End Harvest Market, we selected three of our nominated charities at random and heard from our three nominating members as to what our support for that charity could contribute to the community.  Below is a list of the selected charities and their nominators:

  • Robin Smart presented on behalf of Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington, in support of their Minds in Motion program, which incorporates physical activity and mental stimulation for people with early to mid-stage signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and their care partners.
  • Paula Alblas presented on behalf of Civil K9 Youth Services, a  non-profit charitable organization focusing on the use of service dog training as a means to mentor youth, specifically boys aged 12-18 years old.
  • Karen Bilton presented on behalf of Victim Services Wellington and their program which provides support to victims of crime, accident or loss, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round.

All three charity presentations were thorough and enthusiastic. The audience was fully engaged and asked thoughtful questions. In spite of the fact that all three charities were worthy contenders, a choice had to be made!

As we listened to Barb McPhee’s presentation, votes were tallied and our selected charity was the Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington. When pledges come in from all members we will be contributing $15,100 to their Minds in Motion program.  We look forward to hearing about that impact at our next meeting on October 3, 2016.

Here’s a photo of your combined donation and our nominating member.

Alzheimer cheque

Diane presents a cheque to Robin Smart, the nominator of Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington.

Meeting 7 of 100 Women Who Care Guelph Raised $14,600 for  Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition’s North End Harvest Market

Our 7th meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph raised the bar on donations!

Thank you to all of the women who joined us last evening to hear from Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County Executive Director,  Sheila Markle who helped us to understand the far reaching impact of our donation to their pilot fund to assist young adults make the transition from supported living in foster care or other teen programs to independent living in a moving presentation.  You can find a transcript of Sheila’s talk on our website here!

Prior to the presentation by Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County, we selected three of our nominated charities at random and heard from our three nominating members as to what our support for that charity could contribute to the community.  Selected charities were:

All three charity presentations were thorough and enthusiastic. The audience was fully engaged and asked thoughtful questions.  In spite of the fact that all three charities were worthy contenders, a choice had to be made!

Meeting 7 pic 2

Nominator Linda Cowbrough and Member / Sponsor Irene Szabo showcase our Meeting 7 Donation to the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition in support of the North End Harvest Market.

As we listened to Sheila Markle’s Thank You presentation, votes were tallied and Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition  was this month’s successful recipient!   They will receive this meeting’s quarterly donation to fund their North End Harvest Market.   Here’s a photo of your combined donation and our nominating member.

Harvest Volunteers

North End Harvest volunteers pose with a big cheque from 100 Women Who Care

Some additional great news from the April 11th meeting; We’ve had a number of new members sign up over the past 4 months, so this month’s donation reflects our Voting Membership count which now stands at 146, meaning when all the pledges come in, our donation will total $14,600!

Congratulations to all of our 100+ Women Who Care for making a real contribution to your local community.  (Once again, we didn’t even have an accurate count on new members when we filled out the big cheque!)   Congratulations as well to Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition!

 

 

 

Another very important outcome from this meeting

was the result of the vote on removing the restriction on Operational funding. After a thoughtful presentation by Cathy Barr of Imagine Canada and our own Diane Nelson, the members in attendance voted overwhelmingly in favour of removing the restriction. 83 % of the votes cast were YES to removing that restriction.

Our membership’s generosity is an inspiration….

Harvest Sign

North End Harvest Market Sign

Following Meeting 7 we enjoyed a fun Social & Networking hour sponsored by members Sandra Lastovic and Irene Szabo  (see our sponsor’s page for more details.)

Didn’t stay after this meeting? We hope you can stay after the next one so you can make some new connections, enjoy some refreshments and have a fantastic time.

And thank you again to all the women who participated.

Together we are all making a difference!

 

A Thank You From Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County

It is my pleasure to be here this evening to thank you in person for your very generous donation of almost $13,800. You may need to consider changing your name to “more than 100 women who care”.

meeting 7 pic 1

Sheila Markle, Executive Director, Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County

This approach to raising funds in our community is not only creative and efficient but it also helps to bring women in our community together to have a very large impact on the health of our community and at the same time network and get to know one another. In this time in our world, it is this kind of creative thinking that will help us go that extra mile in our community.

Our organization is very grateful to have been the recipient of your donation at your last meeting. I want to thank Laura Greenway-Balnar for what I have heard was a very heartfelt plea to support the youth who have previously been in our care and are no longer formally involved with us when they turn 21.

 

As Laura indicated to you, this is a very difficult time in a youth’s life particularly when they often have little in the way of support from family and friends.  Laura talked to you about the fact that in Canadian Society, more and more young adults are staying with their families well into their twenties.  In 2006, 44% of young adults between the ages of 20 and 29 lived in their parent’s home, up from 32% just twenty years earlier.  The figure is much higher if one looks at those aged 20 to 24, where 60 % are living with their family.  More adult children also return to their parental homes within five years of first leaving, at triple the rates of two generations ago. During those years, parents continue to provide resources and support as young adults pursue higher education, find employment and become independent.

For many of our youth this is a very difficult time. Most don’t have those strong networks of support. They can’t take reassurance that when something goes wrong, someone will be there to support them or give them a hand. Without the networks of support from family and friends, they often feel lost, alone and scared.  Without people in their lives to help them navigate these years of transition to adulthood many experience further difficulties.  Youth leaving care are over-represented in almost every way – in the justice system, in mental health services, addiction services, they are under-employed, under-housed and often become parents far too soon.

Our youth with fewer networks of support struggle to graduate from high school, stay in post-secondary programs if they happen to make it there in the first place, find jobs that pay well or places to live that aren’t fraught with lots of other difficulties. Without parents to support them, they often don’t obtain drivers licenses.  Without a license or a car, many jobs are not attainable. The list of difficulties that one encounters when you are young and don’t have the typical support systems that many Canadian youth do, goes on and on.

Our main goal is to assist our youth to leave us with those networks of support – to have at least one adult in their lives who will unconditionally care about them well into their adult years and hopefully forever. We are really focusing on that as we believe that holds a big part of the secret to success.  When people feel loved, cared about and important to at least one person or to many – they tend to do much better. Many of the youth we work with deal with relational poverty*….not having those special people in their lives. (*reference work done by Bruce Perry related to relational poverty)

While the money you provided will not assist our youth in having people in their lives to care for them, at least not directly, it can be used to assist them in small but meaningful ways that may help them to overcome barriers that are in the way of their success.  The following are some examples of what we have done to support older youth:

  • Access to Financial Literacy Education which is geared to their unique needs
  • Emergency gift cards to Walmart or Zehrs
  • Assistance purchasing work related clothing/tools
  • Driver education costs towards a road test
  • Dollars for education costs that are not covered by provincial programs
  • Housing or transportation assistance so that they can access training programs

Stories:

In partnership with Conestoga College and Second Chance Employment we offered the Child Welfare Youth in Skilled Trades Program (CWYST) which provided participants academic upgrading, as well as accredited training in a skilled trade.  As the program continued, one of the students who lived in Wellington County, indicated that he was having transportation issues and was no longer able to drive in to attend classes at Conestoga College.  We were able to obtain housing for him at the University of Guelph and were also able to arrange for him to be picked up on Monday and returned to his County accommodation after class on Friday so that he could continue in the program.

A young man who participated in the program to obtain welding credentials had some significant challenges adhering to the schedule and study plan.  He completed the program and managed to obtain the Conestoga Certificate but did not have sufficient welding skills to obtain the his official CWB ticket which he needed to apply for work.  He worked to obtain a valid driver’s license (which many of the students also did not have) and then approached us for some assistance to redo the welding exam.  Given the kind of training which was provided – it took thinking outside the box while exploring available options which would provide the specific skills this young adult required.  In the end, we helped him to access 2 weeks of further welding training so that he could retake the welding test.  He now holds a CWB ticket.

Having access to funds that can be used specifically for these older youth allows us to be creative in helping them to problem solve and overcome barriers that keep them from being successful.

Future plans

Extended Drivers Education Training

We are really excited about this because having a drivers’ license is such an important step in removing future barriers. If you don’t have parents with a car, don’t have money to buy a car, don’t have people in your life who will teach you to drive, how do you learn this valuable skill? If you don’t drive, many careers, education programs, opportunities are not available.

So it is our goal to ensure that every youth who leaves us has their license.  However, we know that there are many who have left us that don’t. We will be approaching companies in Guelph to ask them to partner with us in offering an extended program to ensure that youth without access to a car can learn to drive and be successful on a drivers’ education test.  We will assist with the cost of this program and the cost of obtaining the G1 license and test. As you know Driver’s Education is a significant cost and is unattainable for those living in poverty.

On behalf of all of the youth that your donation will assist, I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. This donation is the first in establishing a separate fund to assist those youth over 21 who may need to come back for a helping hand from time to time to be successful in reaching their goals.  We can’t thank you enough.

Sheila Markle,                                                                                                                                   Executive Director, Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County