Guelph Public Library is the Successful Recipient of our Meeting 14 Donation

Our Second Meeting of Year Four

Three inspiring presentations yield one successful charity!

If you missed the meeting, we’re happy to provide a recap…
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 fourteenth meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph once again reaffirmed the commitment of our 136 members to supporting local community organizations!  In spite of inclement weather, members turned out for an opportunity to listen to inspiring speakers making enthusiastic presentations for their chosen charities.

We started off the evening with our new pre-meeting networking event sponsored by Irene Szabo of Sotheby’s Realty and Sandra Lastovic of The Mortgage Centre, valued members of 100WWCG.

Following this valuable get-together, Sharon delivered brief remarks and informed those present that our donation total is now $157,225.  She also took this opportunity to remind members that if they have missed making a quarterly donation there is always an opportunity to make it online through our website.

We listened to presentations from three articulate and  enthusiastic nominators:
  1. Lisa Hood presented on behalf of Guelph Public Library, Ontario’s oldest free public library, with a membership of more than 59,000 people.   At least 39,000 are enrolled in programs at the library annually, with at  least 25,000 hours of learning logged, making GPL a leader among library participation within Ontario, for the past 7 years.  The library’s ongoing mission is expansion of collections and programming, including new technology and equipment.
  2. Tara Kanerva presented on behalf of Beginnings Family Services, a charity which provides pregnancy counseling and adoption services to clients of all ethnic backgrounds, religious affiliations, and walks of life.  Services also include life skills training and provision of basic supplies for new parents.  This organization also implements educational programs within the local school boards.
  3. Barb Tremblay presented on behalf of Hope House, a poverty relief organization which provides compassionate assistance, with the emphasis on providing clients with “a hand-up, rather than a handout”.  This organization’s initiatives include backpack and hamper drives, art therapy programs and a free choice food market, as well as a community garden/horticulture therapy program  for those experiencing addiction, trauma or loss.

A wholehearted shout out to everyone who provided thoughtful and insightful questions after each presentation.  Your engagement with our presenters is essential to our mission!  Most important, our members continued generosity is key to 100WWCG’s success and the success of the charities we sponsor.

After these inspiring presentations, members voted, and the selected charity was Guelph Public Library.  When pledges come in from all members, our contributions will be directed towards expanding digital workshops for senior adults and providing additional literacy computers for the young.  We look forward to hearing about the impact of that donation at our next meeting, on April16, 2018.  You can read more about these exciting plans in Tannis’s press release online.

 While we were waiting for the results of our voting, members had the pleasure of listening to an inspiring presentation by Ann Caine, nominator of Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre, who gave a very moving “Thank you!” to the group, for our October donation. She emphasized the significant impact our financial assistance will bring to the kids Sunrise serves, through the purchase of a new horse (which she assured us would be done as soon as one that is temperamentally suitable can be found).  The funds also sponsor horses and classes, providing subsidies which will make it possible for more children to enjoy the freedom, camaraderie and exhilaration of spending time in nature, engaging in physical activities and experiencing the joy of connection with the animals they love.

If you missed the meeting, you’ll find instructions about how to send in your cheque below.

Please arrange to make your donation as soon as possible.

Finally, Sharon and Stephanie Birt of Blue Ocean Office Supplies & Solutions presented three year pins to all members who had fulfilled a commitment to donating to chosen charities for a full three years.

Blue Ocean is 100WWCG’s newest sponsor, committed to supporting our commemorative pin program.  We are proud to engage in this exciting partnership because we believe that the mission alignment between both organizations will allow us to have a big positive impact now.  As the video on their website demonstrates, 100WWCG members who make purchases through Blue Ocean Office Supplies & Solutions, will see their chosen charities benefit as well!

Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre says, “Thank you!”

Ann Caine. President and Volunteer Fundraiser says, “Thank you!” on behalf of Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre.

It is my pleasure to bring you a report  on the impact of your financial support for Sunrise, in the form of a power point presentation, (which is presented below).
As most of you know, our program focuses on the empowerment experienced through human animal bonding and a farm activity program.
With your support we are fulfilling our mission.
“My grandson is isolated in his day to day life.  At Sunrise he experiences total acceptance from each horse he works with and rides, which is empowering.Also he has made friends in our supportive community of young people “
I would like to introduce Dallas, the therapy horse you are sponsoring this year.  We are still actively seeking new horses, and when we find one to buy with your funding, we will forward a photo.
Special Education classes come to Sunrise on a rotating basis, throughout the Fall and Spring.
You have enabled 4 classes to participate, through the scholarship fund.  Teachers and students are active in sending thank yous!
Throughout the year hundreds  will find friendship in our stable! Not only riders but a huge team of volunteers — and the many visitors who see the stall appreciation plaques.
To quote a long time rider “ Sunrise is not just my source of therapeutic activity, it’s my stepping stone into the world “
Thank you again for partnering with Sunrise to empower those with special needs in our community .
Ann Caine.
Sunrise Board President
Volunteer Fundraiser



Press Release from Jan. 15, 2018 (Year 4. Meeting 2.)

Guelph Public Library Receives Funding from Women’s Group

 The Guelph Public Library is the latest charity chosen by 100 Women Who Care Guelph to receive their $10,000+ donation. Our library, the oldest public library in Ontario, has been serving Guelph for 133 years. It has also held the record for highest per capita use in Ontario for the last seven years. As such, it reaches deeply into our community, bringing together a huge cross-section of Guelphites.

In all that time, the ways in which they serve the citizens of Guelph has changed dramatically, expanding well beyond the loaning of books. The public library has turned into a key resource for access to today’s digital technology. That access is becoming increasingly important in our society, and if you don’t have a computer at home, or are ill at ease with their use, then the library is there for you. 

This is where 100 WWCG can help. Thanks to their generous donation, the library will use a portion of the funding to work with seniors who may feel uncomfortable using modern technology. They will provide tech and digital workshops offering a number of services; teaching a grandmother how to connect with her grandchildren on facetime; introducing you to borrowing ebooks as they continue to grow in popularity; if you need a little help at their Tech Bar using a 3D printer, they can help you with that process too.

 As they say, this is not your grandmother’s library.

 The remainder of the donation will be used to fund more early literacy stations for very young children. There are already 25,000 hours of learning per year, reaching out to moms and toddlers and delivered at all the branches in Guelph. Now they can expand those critical programs.

 The Guelph Public Library is there for everyone, at any stage, connecting us as a community and helping us grow. Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and 100 WWCG is delighted to help with that process.

 To find out more about 100WWCG, see their impact on our community, or to become a member, visit their website at




On Behalf of Project Lifesaver, VSW says, “Thanks!”

Victim Services Wellington/Project Lifesaver Program


As you have probably heard from the presentations Project Lifesaver started in the United States and when I was told about it in 2011, I could not understand why we did not have more of these programs across Ontario! I am still baffled by this today.

Liz Kent, Executive Director of VSW says “Thanks!” to 100WWCG for their July donation to “Project Lifesaver”.

My name is Elizabeth Kent and I am the Executive Director of Victim Services Wellington. We have 3 full time staff and approximately 85 volunteers. We provide on scene assistance to victims of crime and tragic circumstance 24/7 365 days a year! We are dispatched to assist victims by emergency services.

Missing persons calls are one of the calls we respond too when called by emergency services. I have no problem saying I have attended to assist a family whose mother /grandmother was missing and I never want to do that again! It was awful, this person was missing 22 hours and it was not only hard on the family but on everyone involved. As time went on and the hours ticked by you knew the chances of finding this person alive was less and less. This mother /grandmother had dementia so we knew she would not find her own way especially after being gone so long. This call for me was many years ago but when I heard about Project Lifesaver I was brought right back to that living room and the many tears! Please note there was a successful conclusion she was found alive! However, the pain and anguish the family went thru was awful.

When I was approached about Project Lifesaver, I did not see how we could not want this service in our community especially with our aging population. Therefore, with the help of my Board, volunteers and the Police Services (Guelph and Ontario Provincial Police Wellington) we made it happen in late 2011.

Sharon Lewis presents a 100WWCG cheque to Liz Kent of VSW and Robin Smart, the nominator of our July chosen charity, “Project Lifesaver”.

Since receiving word that we were the recipients of 100 Women Who Care we have had four searches two in Wellington County and two in the City of Guelph. One of the searches the elderly man lives in the area by Eramosa Zehrs and was located out by Costco in 36 minutes from the time he was reported missing. Another search in Fergus was for an elderly person who left the retirement home in the morning and they did not realize she had not been back until 5:30. This program assisted the police in locating her in under 40 minutes. In total, we have had 16 searches and found people quickly.

I would like to thank everyone for being part of this group and supporting the agencies in Guelph and especially for supporting our program. You are helping to give caregivers/loved ones a peace of mind and that is invaluable! I look forward to being a member of this group.


Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre is the Recipient of our Meeting 13 Donation!

Our First Meeting of Year Four!

Three outstanding presentations yield one successful charity!

 If you missed the meeting, we’re happy to provide a recap…
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 thirteenth meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph once again confirmed the commitment of our 141 members to supporting local community charities!We started off the evening with our new pre-meeting networking event sponsored by Irene Szabo of Sotheby’s Realty and Sandra Lastovic of The Mortgage Centre, valued members of 100WWCG.Following this valuable get-together, we listened to presentations from three animated and eloquent nominators:

  1. Ann Caine presented on behalf of Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre, a Puslinch-based organization whose mission is to develop the full potential of children and adults with special needs and lead them closer to independence through therapy, recreation, horse riding, life skills and farm related activity programs.
  2. Marissa Teeter presented on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph, a child and youth mentoring charity.  Big Brothers Big Sisters facilitates life-changing relationships that inspire and empower children and youth to reach their potential, both as individuals and citizens.  In co-operation with local school boards, the Guelph chapter has been working hard to expand its efforts to include in-school mentoring programs.
  3. Laura Greenway-Balnar presented on behalf of Hopewell Children’s Homes, a residential program which provides service to individuals with varying developmental needs, who require complex medical or behavioural support. Their facilities and care model  offer individualized services, providing meaningful lives for children, youth and adults, as well as support for their families.

Thank you to everyone present, for your deliberate and well considered questions.  Your engagement with our presenters is essential to our mission and your continued generosity is key to 100WWCG’s success and the success of the charities we sponsor!

Liz Kent, Executive Director of VSW says “Thanks!” to 100WWCG for their July donation to “Project Lifesaver”.

After these thoughtful and enlightening presentations, members voted, and the selected charity was Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre. When pledges come in from all members, our contributions will be directed towards purchasing and sponsoring therapy horses for the centre. Funds may also be directed towards sponsorship of riders and development of facilities for horse care.  We look forward to hearing about the impact of that donation at our next meeting, in January 2018.  You can read more about the program in Tannis’s press release online.

While we were waiting for the results of our voting, members had the pleasure of listening to a fascinating and touching presentation by Liz Kent, Executive Director of Victim Services Wellington, describing  their Project Lifesaver program.  Liz noted how challenging it is nowadays, for charities to secure grant money and how thankful she was to receive the donation made by 100WWCG in July.  Funds have been used to purchase new transmitters, eliminating the need for a waiting list for clients who qualify for the Project Lifesaver program, along with additional receivers for emergency services personnel within our community.  She described the positive outcomes that she has observed through the program and was happy to report that remaining funds will be directed towards purchasing more equipment to support the program in Guelph.

Co-founder Sharon Lewis (left) and nominating member Robin Smart (right) present the 100WWCG big cheque to Liz Kent of VSW for our July chosen charity, “Project Lifesaver”.

If you missed the meeting, you’ll find instructions about how to send in your cheque below.

 We are also offering the option of making your payment online!
Please arrange to make your donation as soon as possible.

Press Release from Oct. 16, 2017 (Year 4. Meeting 1.)

100 WWCG Invests in Horses for Kids

Sunrise Therapeutic Riding and Learning Centre can now go shopping for another horse, thanks to 100 Women Who Care Guelph.

With the benefit of a member presentation on behalf of Sunrise, each 100 WWCG member was given a window into the challenges a special needs person faces.

Isolation. Loneliness. No control. The “other” among us.

These phrases are so often found linked in describing the lives of children and adults coping with either physical or cognitive special needs. The world becomes a very small place, with little opportunity for socialization, the making of friends, or the opportunity to take control of some aspect of your life, and denies them all the benefits those things accrue.

Fortunately there are helping hands out there in our community, a valuable one being Sunrise Therapeutic Riding and Learning Centre. There, Therapeutic Riding Association certified instructors, along with an army of volunteers, have helped create a community where through weekly riding lessons those with special needs aged 3 and up can develop muscle strength, improve balance and concentration, make friends, and develop a sense of achievement and independence resulting in increased self-esteem and self-confidence.

It has always been a simple formula: Kids + Horses = Magic.

With a donation of over $13,000 from 100 WWCG, Sunrise can now purchase one more therapy horse, thereby shortening their waiting list, sponsor more individuals to the program, and expand their barn areas which allow the kids to work with their own horse.

This donation marks the beginning of the fourth year of supporting Guelph charities for 100 WWCG, reaffirming their compassion for others and their connection to community. For more information or to join, visit


Ed Video Says “Thank you!”

Dawn Matheson, interdisciplinary artist and former board member of Ed Video, says a wholehearted “Thank you!” for our April donation, which purchased audio and video equipment to support upcoming local video projects.



Hi. First of all I am in awe of this huge movement of women who support community organizations and initiatives.

When women come together, look out, I tell you! Every year that I age, I recognize the power of women more and more. Amazing.

In summation, your commitment is fantastic and we are all overwhelmed by your generosity.



My name is Dawn Matheson and I am a past board member of Ed Video and I am currently a working artist who has been involved in a number of outreach and production projects with Ed Video over the last decade and a half.

Just at this moment I am producing five videos in partnership with Ed Video, The Guelph Film Festival and Guelph Museum called Transported: Objects of Significance and the Immigrant Experience—the objects themselves are to be displayed in the museum screened alongside the videos that tell the stories of the objects and the people who treasure them.

I’m also researching how to get more people in to Ed Video making videos- people living with disability and difference, and especially those in the Deaf community whose language is visual, where video is a natural medium.

For nearly 20 years I’ve been producing video with community members in Guelph beginning with my first workshop on documentary production in my 20s at Ed Video where a group of us went on to record over 70 interviews with long term Guelph residents- seniors- who shared their lived experiences in our town, now used and stored as a valued digital archive of everyday life in Guelph’s history.

I was asked to speak to you because I understand the value and importance of your donation to Ed Video.

As someone who works in the arts and towards a more compassionate understanding and accepting society through art production and community collaboration, funds are not easy to come by.

Art is not always awarded monetarily, and yet art is costly to produce. It takes skill, the labour of the artist, space to create, time, and the materials necessary to create— which brings me to your donation.

I wasn’t involved in the acquisition of the equipment, but Liz and the Ed staff tell me that thanks to the generous donation from 100 Women Who Care, we have purchased filmmaking equipment that enables us to undertake multiple media projects including story production with and for Guelph’s Syrian refugee community.

Our focus has been on providing a versatile selection of cameras, lights, and audio recording equipment that improves upon or augments Ed Video’s existing gear. We purchased two cameras: the Panasonic GH5 and G85, both easy to use but also capable of producing beautiful broadcast quality video and photos. We chose these cameras for their cutting edge features, and also because their acquisition provided us with a matched set with our previous Panasonic GH4, allowing for multi-camera shoots.

These cameras are supported with multiple new lenses, making our collection well-rounded and higher quality. We purchased multiple lights to fit various situations, a versatile three-light kit ideal for both interview and narrative style filmmaking, a powerful battery-powered light that can be used for portable filmmaking, and a small easy to use light kit for emerging filmmakers.

We have added a pro-level audio recorder that is simple enough for anyone to operate. With this project, participants can record great sounding audio and conduct multi-person interviews.

Liz Dent, director of Ed Video and Interdisciplinary Artist Dawn Matheson pose with a big cheque which represents the April donation from 100WWCG!

To bring all of this great gear together we have purchased a selection of microphones, tripods, stands, and a selection of other supporting technical equipment.

We have additionally upgraded one of our computers so projects can be edited with ease.

This array of equipment purchased makes a great impact to what we are able to provide, and whom we are able to support.

Your funds have given us the means to support our refugee community in creating and telling meaningful stories, and the tools to produce work that helps them to connect with the local and greater community.

The extended network of Ed Video members and artists and creatives in Guelph and surrounding areas will also benefit greatly.

Ed Video knows that just having equipment, while it is critical for work to be produced, it isn’t the only piece, or maybe not even the part you are interested in.

It does take engaging the right video artists, the subjects and the time to set up production.

The outreach work has begun to work with Syrian community in Guelph. We expect two or three different projects to begin this fall:

One partnering with Lakeside Hope house working directly with Syrian women in their newcomer program,

Another is being developed to connect refugee youth and Canadian youth– to help build skills, create friendships and foster a sense of belonging in a community through art production and story-sharing,

And the third is a project engaging a local Guelph- Syrian woman to act as interpreter and to aid individuals on a one- to one basis in telling their stories of migration. Her preference is to do this individually and we’ve followed her lead: taking an approach that is sensitive to how different cultures work and how they wish to be represented.

It’s a slow process to start, but I can attest that these production projects can make a huge difference to the participants’ lives. It takes a long time to create and produce video especially where we are looking at skill development and relationships and most importantly, building trust. Work done right with mutual respect and empowerment might take a year or two in development.

So, with this in mind, Ed video doesn’t yet have any videos to show you tonight.

To give you a sense of the work Ed Video does- Liz has asked me to take a few minutes to tell you about one of the projects I am currently working on as Lead Artist in partnership with Art Gallery of Guelph and Ed Video.

The project began a year ago and will continue on to a Phase Two beginning next spring.

In A Sense of Wonder I partnered with Deaf youth and kids with hearing loss (ages 8 to 22) in Guelph and throughout Ontario engaging with multimedia, performance, and video in an effort to provide access and insight into d/Deaf arts – what was really an exploration of the presence of deafness over the absence of sound.

This was done through multiple experiential workshops where the participants led the content- they decided what interested them and how they wanted to express themselves and share their world.

Four successful workshopped projects from A Sense of Wonder were just installed as videos by myself and Ed Video at The Art Gallery of Guelph and downtown  at 10 Carden in a window projection across for City Hall for four Months.

The long-term goal is for the Wonder troupe of children to be empowered artistically, socially and culturally, to build a future of personal narrative, a sense of owning story and representation and possibility, and to collaborate on a deeper level across differences and ages to address barriers to inclusion for everyone through the experience of art-making.

Much the same as the goals of Ed Video.

Ed Video will be working hard to create the same kind of links to the refugee community in future productions, thanks to all of you.

In closing I just want to thank you again for your kind donation and assure you that your money will have an impact at Ed Video for many years to come.

Victim Services Wellington’s Project Lifesaver is the Recipient of our Meeting 12 Donation!

Meeting Four of Year Three!

Three phenomenal presentations and one successful charity!   In case you missed the meeting, here’s a recap…
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 twelfth meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph demonstrated once again, that our 146 members are steadfast in their support of local community charities! Thank you to everyone present for your thoughtful and attentive questions.  We appreciate your engagement with our presenters and as always, we would like to thank all of you for your continued generosity!

Last night we heard from three articulate and enthusiastic nominators:

  1.  Claire D’Arville presented on behalf oFocus on Nature, a local organization which brings trained volunteers and photographers into classrooms to engage students in creative workshops, hands-on nature and photography activities, plus photo editing and feedback sessions.  Their mission is to inspire young people to explore and connect with the natural world, using these outdoor experiences to enhance development of technical photographic skills.
  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 Syndrome and acquired brain injury.
  3. Suzanne Longpre presented on behalf of Better Beginnings, Better Futures, a community hub located in the Shelldale Centre.  Their multicultural approach strives to meet the needs of the Onward Willow community, offering programs and client support in more 29 languages.  Specifically, they offer residents of this underprivileged neighbourhood a variety of programs including preschool and early literacy programs, a breakfast club and a women’s circle.

Diane Nelson congratulates Robin Smart, nominator of Victim Services Wellington’s “Project Lifesaver” program.

After these engaging and informative presentations, members voted, and the selected charity was Victim Services Wellington, in support of their Project Lifesaver  program. When pledges come in from all members, our contributions will be used to purchase new transmitters, which would eliminate the need for a waiting list for clients who qualify for the program, as well as additional receivers for emergency services personnel. We look forward to hearing about the impact of that donation at our next meeting in October 2017. You can read more about the program in Tannis’s press release online.

Dawn Matheson, interdisciplinary artist and former board member of Ed Video, says a wholehearted “Thank you!” for our April donation, which purchased audio and video equipment to support upcoming local video projects.

While we were waiting for the results of our voting, members had the pleasure of listening to an inspiring presentation from  Dawn Matheson, an artist and past board member of Ed Video. Dawn delivered a wholehearted “Thank you!” to the group for the donation made by 100WWCG in April.  Funds were used  to purchase video, audio and lighting equipment and to enhance computer storage capacity, in support of current and upcoming video projects within our community.

Many of those in attendance joined us for our after-meeting networking event sponsored by Irene Szabo of Sotheby’s Realty and Sandra Lastovic of The Mortgage Centre, valued members of 100WWCG.

Press Release from July 10, 2017 (Year 3. Meeting 4.)

Project Lifesaver gets a boost from 100WWCG

Guelph families who live with the fear of a loved one wandering due to Alzheimer’s, autism or other types of cognitive impairment received a helping hand from 100 Women Who Care Guelph.

The Project Lifesaver program, offered by Victim Services Wellington, can give these families great peace of mind. By wearing a small wrist transmitter which sends out a radio signal 24/7, 365 days a year, specially trained police officers are able to quickly track down the most vulnerable among us.

All too often in Canada those with a tendency to wander lose their lives, in spite of frantic searches conducted by family and emergency services. Time is of the essence, and by wearing a wrist transmitter, that time can be reduced to as little as 30 minutes, 95% less time than without.

As with all things desperately needed, there is a waiting list of families waiting for a transmitter. With a gift of over $12,000 from 100 WWCG, more transmitters can now be purchased to deal with that backlog. Project Lifesaver is not a replacement for a caregiver, but with a successful find rate of 100%, it can reduce the stress on family members immeasurably.

This donation marks the end of the third year of supporting Guelph charities for 100 WWCG, reaffirming their compassion for others and their connection to community. For more information or to join, visit


Start2Finish says, “Thank you!”

Marie Dennison, Regional Director of Guelph’s Start2finish Running & Reading Clubs, says “Thank You!”

Thank you 100 Women Who Care for inviting me here this evening. My name is Marie Dennison, Regional Director of Guelph’s Start2finish Running & Reading Clubs.

We at Start2Finsh, would like to extend our deepest gratitude to 100 Women Who Care Guelph whom so generously donated to the Running & Reading Clubs of Guelph. The money you have donated was allocated to the launch of our new Running & Reading Club at Westwood Public School, equipping an additional 60 children living in poverty in Guelph with the building blocks to graduate and succeed.  The funds will go towards running shoes, t-shirts, fitness equipment, books, and the year-end 5K Running & Reading Challenge in May where the children will have the opportunity to achieve the goals they have been working so hard towards over the past months.

Our mission at Start2Finish’s is to break the cycle of child poverty by providing ongoing educational support to Canada’s at risk children throughout their school years, nurturing mind, body and social health so they are empowered to succeed and become role models for change.

Marie Dennison from Start 2 Finish displays the backpacks that our donations helped to purchase.

In 2000, Brian Warren, former CFL All-Star and Grey Cup Champion, founded the Start2Finish program by distributing backpacks filled with quality schools supplies and books to children in at-risk schools, and hosting literacy festivals. In his broad survey of research and through many years of experience working with kids both in the USA and here in Canada, he knew that a weekly component to the program was critical to seeing meaningful change. Supporters like retired Olympic marathoner Silvia Ruegger, Alison Rochon, and others were very crucial in helping put together a comprehensive 32-week program of fitness and running. The reading portion was combined with the physical activity as a critical complement to help kids address low literacy, an accurate indicator as early as grade 1 of those prone to dropout in high school (Children living in poverty are 50% more likely to drop out before their high school graduation). Putting these two unlikely components together, the Start2Finish “Fitness Literacy Model” was addressing what he coined as the “BIG 7” – seven factors that correlate with students’ success and are tied to socio-economic status.

These factors are:

  1. Health
  2. Vocabulary
  3. Effort & Energy
  4. Cognitive-Capacity
  5. Mind-Set
  6. Relationship and
  7. Stress

Some quick facts to share:

  • 1 million Canadian children, or 1 in every 6, lives at or below the poverty line. 
  • Regardless of the community, the average low income family in Canada lives on only $24,458 per year (family of 4)
  • The cost of poverty to the Ontario taxpayer is $13 billion a year when looking at health care, criminal justice and lost productivity. 
  • The Start2Finish Fitness Literacy Model is a comprehensive, strategic approach that produces long-term social change
  • We have a $17 social return on investment for every $1 donated. The benefits of this investment in human development accrue to the individual over a lifetime. 
  • Start2Finish has empowered 100,000 Canadian children and families living in poverty since 2000. 
  • Our Running & Reading Club Fitness Literacy Model is currently operating in 38 diverse communities of complexity nationwide, including 4 schools in Guelph. 
  • Evaluations done at the Running & Reading Clubs by our Scientific Advisory Group volunteers and school administrators have shown the following results:
    • 62% improvement in fitness
    • 87% of children achieving grade level literacy scores and/or improving in literacy by 1-2 grade levels
    • 85% improvement in non-cognitive character development* (qualitative data)

          through the combination of physical activity, learning and mentorship, participation in the Running & Reading Club program is resulting in:

      • Less absenteeism
      • Less bullying
      • Better behaviour and performance in school
      • And  76% lower potential of children dropping out of school

“I struggled in school, I struggled with my confidence, I struggled to develop discipline, I struggled to set goals for my life because I couldn’t see beyond the community that I lived in; I couldn’t see beyond the poverty that was such a reality to me. It seemed at the time that there was no other way for me to go and no other doors that were open to me. I had no idea what I was capable of doing and what I was capable of being. Start2Finish played an important role in my life because they helped me re-shape my future. They helped me carve out a plan for myself, and they motivated me to succeed.

Now they have inspired me to change my country for the better. Today, I am a university graduate, I recently graduated from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Training Academy, and I have been posted to British Columbia as a Constable. Now I’m advocating on behalf of other kids who can’t speak for themselves. Thank you, Start2Finish, for paving the Pathway of Hope and helping me build my cycle of success.”

Start2Finish Scholarship Recipient and Program Graduate

Thank you again for inviting me to join you this evening and you’re supporting our children in Guelph through Start2finish Running & Reading Clubs.