July 2020 Brings Our First “Virtual Meeting”

Our Three Nominated Charities Make Their Pitch!  

Due to ongoing COVID 19 concerns, 100 Women Who Care Guelph decided to replace our “in person” July meeting with a “virtual” nomination and selection process. To that end, we invited nominations for local charities to make presentations to our group. New nominations were vetted and previously qualified charities were also considered.   Sharon and Tannis drew names from a hat and created a video announcement which was circulated to members. 

Just in case you missed the opportunity to see the nomination draw, you can follow this link. 

We may not have a meeting room or a microphone for this meeting, but as part of our “virtual” nomination and selection process, the three charities selected in our nomination draw have been invited to make a brief written presentation to describe the work they do and how they would make use of a donation from 100 Women Who Care. 

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Karyn Kirkwood presents on behalf of 

Children’s Foundation of Guelph-Wellington

Follow this link to see Karyn’s written presentation.

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Cyndy Forsyth presents on. behalf of

Guelph Community Foundation’s Youth Hub Flow Through Fund

 Follow this link to Cyndy’s written presentation.

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Lorna Ronald presents on behalf of 

Lakeside Hope House

Lakeside HOPE House

Follow this link to Lorna’s written presentation.

July 2020 Brings Our First “Virtual Meeting”

Our Three Nominated Charities Make Their Pitch!  

Due to ongoing COVID 19 concerns, 100 Women Who Care Guelph decided to replace our “in person” July meeting with a “virtual” nomination and selection process. To that end, we invited nominations for local charities to make presentations to our group. New nominations were vetted and previously qualified charities were also considered.   Sharon and Tannis drew names from a hat and created a video announcement which was circulated to members.

Just in case you missed the opportunity to see the nomination draw, you can follow this link. 

We may not have a meeting room or a microphone for this meeting, but as part of our “virtual” nomination and selection process, the three charities selected in our nomination draw have been invited to make a brief written presentation to describe the work they do and how they would make use of a donation from 100 Women Who Care.

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Karyn Kirkwood presents on behalf of

Children’s Foundation of Guelph-Wellington

I joined the Children’s Foundation team six years ago, and in that time I’ve had the privilege of seeing first-hand the profound impact donors have on the lives of thousands of children and youth living in poverty in our community. Life can be challenging when there is barely enough money to cover basic human essentials like housing and proper nutrition. For many families in Guelph and Wellington, the reality is that ‘barely enough’ seems like a luxury. 

Thanks to donor support, our four core programs nurture the well-being of the whole child – physically, mentally, socially and emotionally – by giving kids equal opportunities to be nourished with healthy food, to play and develop valuable life skills, to be educated, and to have the hope and inspiration they need to not only dream of a brighter future, but to have the building blocks to achieve it for themselves.

When COVID-19 first hit, our immediate concern was for the kids who rely on food support through our Food & Friends student nutrition programs. For many, the food they receive at school is their primary source of nourishment for the day. To respond to this emergency, we created a new initiative called Fresh Food for Kids which is currently delivering about 5,400 family food kits weekly to over 1,400 children and youth in Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin. This food support is continuing into the summer months due to the urgent food insecurity that needs to be addressed beyond the usual school year.

Now, we are providing even more support by adapting our Free to Grow program to bring physical and creative activities, learning, and fun to kids’ doorsteps this summer. Normally, our program helps kids participate in recreational programs and life-skill activities, but with so many cancelled this summer, our Free to Grow at Home initiative is providing kits that will get kids’ hands and feet moving, spark their imagination, and support their learning and healthy childhood development, while also providing some respite for parents who have been parenting and teaching 24/7 during the shut-downs.

As a potential first-time recipient of 100 Women Who Care, the timing couldn’t be better as the need is significantly increasing while our fundraising through signature events has been negatively impacted with COVID restrictions. Your donations would be put to work immediately by purchasing supplies from local retail partners to bring nutritious food, fun, creativity and learning to kids this summer. 

What gets me up in the morning is making a real difference in the lives of kids and their families. But what keeps me up at night is the thought of having to say ‘no’ to any child because of lack of funds. We currently have 423 kids on a wait list to receive a recreation kit. With your donations, you would be reducing our wait list significantly, saying ‘Yes!’ to bringing books, games, puzzles, arts and crafts, and outdoor games to 150 kids, as well as bringing nutritious food to 100 kids.

Beyond the crucial, tangible support provided during this time, your donations would also show the kids and their families that there are 100+ women who care about them and their health and well-being. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, I would be happy to speak with you.

Karyn Kirkwood

For more information regarding Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington, follow this link to the original written presentation.

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Cyndy Forsyth presents on behalf of

Guelph Community Foundation’s Youth Hub Flow Through Fund

A serious problem for youth in our community has become a crisis, and it needs our collective support.

The basic problem is this. Canada’s health care system is a jigsaw puzzle with many different pieces that can be very hard to navigate – even for health care professionals. For youth seeking help, navigating the system can be a nightmare, and it often fails them. This was a serious problem before Covid, but now with the added mental distress from lockdowns and uncertainty, it has become an even bigger and more urgent problem in helping our young people to cope.

But there is a solution at hand, and our 100 Women Who Care Guelph team can help move it forward with our donations.

The solution is most simply described as having “Youth Hubs” where young people can access a range of services through one place. More technically, here in Guelph Wellington we’re building an “Integrated Youth Services Network.” The intention is to provide INTERVENTION and PREVENTION services utilizing the service providers we already have in our community, so we are all working together. In fact, over 30 community organizations have already come together in this shared vision. The Youth Hubs are being designed to be welcoming spaces that provide help to young people in navigating the system, both physically and virtually. Youth Hubs are not a magic bullet that will solve our youth crisis, but they are a piece of the puzzle that will make it easier for youth to access services.

Here in Guelph Wellington, we’re building on successful Youth Hub experiences from other Canadian cities and regions, and we’ve enhanced the local model to have not only one centre but SEVEN locations in Guelph Wellington where youth between the ages of 12 and 26 can have immediate access to services, including tutoring, housing support, employment counselling, primary care, mental health and substance abuse. The seven micro-sites will be networked together so service providers can access files, and youth will not have to repeat their story each time they request help. Furthermore, youth will be deeply engaged in the design of these sites to serve them in the most meaningful way.

This Guelph Wellington Youth Hub program is a highly significant new development for our city and county, partnered with CMHA-WW (Canadian Mental Health Association – Waterloo Wellington) for health care and the Guelph Community Foundation to help raise funds.

I am asking 100 Women Who Care to invest our collective donations so we can immediately provide virtual care to 70 youth in our community. These funds would be used to provide youth with activities in helping to design the Youth Hub space they want to see, for access to the services that are often out of reach. This will also help us determine the necessary steps to scale up across all of our micro-sites.

Our community needs this, and our young people need it, now more urgently than ever. Please help the program move forward with our donation.

Cyndy Moffat Forsyth

Member of 100 Women Who Care Guelph
I began working on the IYSN concept in November 2018 as a Rotary volunteer. In July 2020, I accepted a fulltime role as the IYSN’s first director.

For more information regarding Guelph Community Foundation’s Youth Hub, follow this link to the original written presentation.

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Lorna Ronald is presents on behalf of

Lakeside Hope House

Lakeside HOPE House

Lakeside HOPE House is a well-established poverty relief organization and care provider in the Guelph area advocating that poverty, food insecurity, inequality, health and community are all interconnected.  They currently offer services and programs to over 1100 households per year and have assisted over 5100 households since their inception in 2012.  They challenge stigmas surrounding poverty and allow community members to maintain dignity while providing them with tactical skills developed in a community environment.  The focus is not about “hand out, but hand up” by creating long term skills to facilitate self sufficiency.  Approximately 30-45 new household intakes are received each month and are community funded.

The Community Backpack Project, in partnership with the Guelph Neighborhood Support Coalition. is a program in need.  Children in our community have been under additional stress and challenged during the pandemic and starting school is something they look forward to.  Whether the school year begins virtually, live or a combination of both, HOPE House would like to provide needed supplies to children in poverty across the community to assist them to thrive and learn.  New this year is an online application form and additional supplies to support at home learning.  There have been 895 registrations as of June 30th.  The goal is to provide 1500 new, fully stocked backpacks to children at a cost of $45,000.  HOPE House receives NO government funding for this project and relies on community sponsors in order to provide students with confidence, excitement and readiness to learn – HOPE!

I visited HOPE House in downtown Guelph and was impressed with the volunteers and staff who provide a caring, respectful atmosphere to those in need.  I was introduced to the organization through a client who volunteers at the centre.  The environment at HOPE House is a friendly, positive and caring one in a family setting.  Children in poverty are especially vulnerable to stress and judgement.  I believe that education is critical at an early age and giving children more opportunity to achieve their goals will benefit our community as a whole.

I learned of a few stories from recipients who spoke of the benefits of the Backpack Project: 

One parent was speaking of how she was trying to manage the clothing, shoes, boots, etc. and how much it meant to her children to be able to choose a new backpack for school that contained needed supplies for school.  

Another mom is starting a new job, stressed about the demands of working and household tasks plus preparing children for school.  Without the support of HOPE House, she would not have been able to provide her children with a new backpack.  She was worried her children would be stigmatised by other, more privileged children.  With the children receiving their backpacks and her starting a new job, they are ready to begin a new year together and have a fresh start.

A young lady spoke of how HOPE House helped her family when she was younger and how happy she was when she received a new backpack.  Now she visits HOPE House to volunteer and give back.

It is documented that youth and children living in poverty have poorer educational outcomes compared to wealthier peers leading to struggles with truancy and dropout.  We can change that by giving children HOPE in our community and contributing to an excellent cause.

Thank you for your consideration and interest.  

For more information regarding Lakeside Hope House, follow this link to the original written presentation.

100WWCG Recipients

For every gift given, there is someone on the receiving end. We are all in this together, helping each other as best we can.

Some of our members have been the recipient of  the thoughtfulness and generosity of others. Here’s a shout out to them!

Carol Dilworth – “100 Women Who Care Guelph member Wendy Fletcher bought my groceries until I got onto the Zehrs drive through system. Steven Faehrmann, my cruise consultant, treated me to two dinners, delivered to the house. And yesterday there was a beautiful bouquet at my front door, anonymous.”

100WWCG Helping Angels

There are so many different and wonderful ways to reach out and help. See what some of our members have been doing.

Lisa Hood got her whole family involved in the effort by:

  • checking into neighbours who live alone
  • buying groceries for families in isolation
  • dropping off food for friends who had a new baby two weeks ago
  • raising money to keep the student food bank open
  • donating blood (along with fellow member Tannis Sprott)

100WWCG Giving Angels

Some of our members were able to continue with their contributions in spite of our cancelled meeting, picking their own favourite charities to receive their donation.

Eleanor Langdon gave to the Guelph Food Bank. (Thanks Eleanor, I’m sure it was much needed and gratefully received.)

Heather Coles – “I donated $200 to Food Banks Canada, which my generous employer is matching, resulting in a $400 donation!” (Now there’s a great idea, getting your employer involved, well done Heather.)

Carol Dilworth – “I gave to the hospital.” (Wonderfully done Carol, I’m sure it was greatly appreciated.)

100WWCG Sewing Angels

Michelle Lowther has made a significant contribution through the use of her sewing machine.  “In my spare time I’ve made 10 gowns for the Elliott Centre, caps for MSW workers in Cambridge, 60 masks for vet hospital and making batches of masks for Guelph General Hospital.  At times when you feel helpless it’s good to pitch in and support those on the front line anyway you can.”

Tannis Sprott – “While our 100 Women meeting may have been cancelled for this quarter, I know many of us are finding other ways to give. My contribution this week (drum roll please) – 12 home made fabric masks for Guelph Hospital, helping meet their goal of providing every discharged patient with two masks. Hey, even I can sew a rectangle, although the pleats caused a little consternation!”

Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County Says “Thank you!”

 

Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County Children First Fund

Sheila Markle of Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County, says, “Thank you.”

 

It is my pleasure to speak to you about the work of our organization and to thank you for your generous donation to the Children First Fund.

Jean Vanier said “One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals.”

 

 

 

100 Women Who Care is a marvelous example of community coming together to support programs and services that the members of our community benefit from.

A compassionate and caring community is vital to ensure children and youth are safe and nurtured and to ensure that much needed services and supports not provided through government programs or funding are available to help fill in gaps that exist, and they do exist.

The Children First Fund, through generous donations such as yours, provides tangible support to youth who are transitioning to adulthood with very little support from family, material assets or access to financial resources.

Let me tell you a couple of stories:

Tom (not his real name) achieved a goal he didn’t think possible with the support of the Children First Fund.

As an older youth, Tom moved out on his own and worked as a security guard to support himself. A hard worker, he kept to himself

He was holding his own but felt unable to move beyond what he had achieved and certainly not towards his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer.

In his own words:

Education Support “showed me a way out of a rut that could have damaged my life for quite some time.  It opened a world of opportunities that I had never event given thought to and showed me that there was so much more out there for me.  It also showed me that there are people who care a tremendous amount about the well-being and success of others.”

“I had never fathomed that [going to college] was possible. Learning that [there was Education Support] gave me a huge push to go back to school and not waste the chance. It made me realize that I could afford to make a career choice and pursue something that could really get me somewhere in life.”

“It is hard to measure this kind of impact on people but just speaking from my experience I can say that this [Education Support] has opened my eyes to so much more and put me on a path that I am really excited to continue down.  Supporting programs like this are supporting the hopes and dreams of individuals.”

Tom was able to reduce his work commitments so that he could attend college. He successfully completed his program and has moved closer to achieving his dream, recently accepting his job as a law enforcement officer with the RCMP.

The Children First Fund opened a door to possibilities for Mindy (not her real name) which can be pursued at any time. Growing up, Mindy had an interest in photography which with support developed into a passion. Supported by our organization to pursue this interest, the CFF provided her with access to a summer program.  Her work caught the eye of a local photographer who mentored her. Mindy’s creative drive found an outlet and after high school she enrolled in a college program specializing in photographic arts.

Mindy found the adjustment to college life challenging and with continued support from her worker problem solved to overcome the challenges to successfully complete the first year. With the increased workload of the second year, the challenges increased triggering past trauma issues – all of which significantly impacting her ability to cope so she took a break from her program.

In her words:

“It’s scary out there in the real world, with remembering to pay bills and do taxes.  It’s not something I’m amazing at yet.  It’s like learning to swim in a pool of salt water with a whole lot of paper cuts.  What made it easier for me to overcome these things is that I know I have people waiting to bandage up the areas that I can’t.”

When Mindy works through her trauma issues enough, she knows that she can return to college with our support.  The children we assist are not always ready to follow transition pathways at the same time as their peers.  They may do so at a later time.  Through the CFF we are able to continue to assist them to pursue their dreams when they are ready to do so.  The CFF opens doors to the potential of opportunity that our youth often do not know existed.

Donations to our Children First Fund really do make a difference in the lives of the children and youth we support and we thank you tonight for your donations. We know that opportunity is often the difference between success and failure. With donations from generous individuals like yourselves, we are able to resolve barriers and create community solutions. Ultimately those solutions help children, youth, young adults and families to not only survive but thrive.

Sheila Markle,
Executive Director
January 2020

 

Meeting Twenty Two – Our First Meeting of a New Decade!

A New Year Brings a New Successful Charity!

Here is everything you need to know about the meeting on January 9th 2020…
AND
If you still have to submit your cheque, payment instructions are at the bottom

OR
 You can follow this link to make your payment online!

100 Women Who Care Guelph began 2020 with great excitement, new members and worthwhile new charities to support.  Sharon opened the meeting with thanks to Sandra Lastovic of Skip the Bank. a valued 100WWCG member and the generous sponsor of our meetings at the Delta Hotel.

Great News!
In the past five years, we have raised  $265,150  in support of local charities!

Sharon took the opportunity to thank the dedicated volunteers who work so hard to make our organization a success – our cheque collectors, Carol Dilworth and Peggy Brightwell and our volunteer co-ordinator, Erin Moore.


She also stressed that we still need people to step up and help 100WWCG.  After a year of laudible service Erin has stepped back from her position and we will need to find a replacement volunteer co-ordinator.  We are also still hoping to find someone who is interested in taking photographs at our monthly meetings.

If you or someone you know might be willing to step into one of these roles, please call us for details as soon as possible. Our next meeting is  April 7th, 2020 and we  would really like to fill these essential positions as soon as possible.

Contact Sharon (519-820-6822, slewis@questiam.com ) or Tannis ( 519-763-1172, tannis.sprott@gmail.comfor the specifics.

 

After opening remarks we drew names of charity nominees from the 100WWCG hat.

After Sharon’s opening remarks, Sheila Markle, the Executive Director of Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County, drew the names of this quarter’s nominees from a hat and members listened intently to the selected charities’  presentations:

  1. Cyndy Forsyth presented on behalf of Guelph Community Foundation’s Integrated Youth Services Initiative, a grassroots community initiative, led by the Rotary Club of Guelph, which would bring an integrated youth services centre to Wellington County and the City of Guelph.  Youth age 12-26 would be at the centre of, and have equal access to, a continuum of programs, from employment to mental health and addiction services.  Funds dedicated would be used to engage in outreach with local youth through workshops and activities, with the aim of establishing an effective service model for the organization’s target audience.
  2. Wendy Clayson presented on behalf of Michael Housea pregnancy and parenting support service which provides programming and residential support to women coping with a crisis pregnancy.  This organization gives shelter to pregnant women and new mothers as well as affordable housing, after-care programming  and a drop-in program for existing clients.  Money donated would be earmarked for specialized staff training to deal with the challenges faced by pregnant women in crisis.
  3. Terrie Jarvis presented on behalf of Food4Kids Guelph.  This organization bridges the weekend food gap for severely food-insecure children in our community.  Most Guelph children can get some food at school, Monday to Friday, but some go home to empty cupboards and fridges and struggle through weekends with little or no food. Food4Kids provides healthy food bags for those kids to take home from school for the weekend.  Money donated would be used to reduce numbers of children still on the waiting list for service in local schools.

After each presentation, members spent some time asking presenters for more information about the programs supported and the funding models of each organization. Following these astute and thoughtful questions, members took a few moments to make their choice and cast a vote.

 

Sheila Markle of Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County, says, “Thank you.”

While members were voting, Sheila Markle, Executive Director of Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County took the opportunity to thank members for our Meeting Twenty One donation.  To read the full transcript of her comments, follow this link.

100 Women Who Care Guelph has chosen

Food4Kids Guelph

as the recipient of our Meeting 22 donation!

Our donation will be used to increase the numbers of hungry children which Food4Kids Guelph can serve.

Follow this link to read our press release which provides even more information about this quarter’s chosen charity.

If you missed the meeting,  you can make your payment online by following this link!

Please arrange to make your donation as soon as possible.

 

Press Release from January 9, 2020 (Year 5. Meeting 2.)

100 Women Who Care Guelph Contribute to Food4Kids Guelph

100 WWCG quite literally “stepped up to the plate” by voting to support Food4Kids Guelph at their latest quarterly meeting.

While there are many programs in Guelph that offer in-school breakfast or lunch programs, a gap remains on the weekends. Food4Kids, a charity begun here in 2017 and run entirely by volunteers, works to bridge that gap by providing healthy, nutritious food for children who are facing severe food insecurity at home.

There have been as many as 500 children within the city of Guelph that have been identified as being food insecure. Parents may often struggle with work commitments or financial restraints which make it difficult to access food banks and food pantries. Going home for the weekend and facing empty cupboards and fridges, and the empty stomachs that come with that, is daunting for the children. That’s where Food4Kids comes in.

Every week, the volunteers assemble food packages, each of which costs $500 per child per school year, containing a mix of fresh and dried goods. Those packages are then delivered to the school on a Friday, and are placed into the backpack of the child to take home. Once a child is identified as being food insecure, the schools ensure that all children in that household are included so there is enough food for everyone. They are currently feeding more than 167 children from 10 schools, with more on the waiting list.

The benefits of adequate and consistent nutrition on the immediate, short, and long-term developmental outcomes for children is immense. Chronic hunger affects everything from physical and mental health, to academic success.

100 WWCG contributed their latest $13,000+ donation towards reducing child hunger in our city.

Visit www.100womenwhocareguelph.com for more information or to join 100 WWCG and help support those in need in our community.