Rainbow Day Camp is the recipient of our Meeting Eighteen Donation!

Our Second Meeting of Year Five

Three Great Presentations and One Successful Charity!

Here’s your recap for last night’s meeting.
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!

What a great way to start 2019!  It may have beencold outside, but we had warm hearts and plenty of enthusiasm as we focussed on great new initiatives for the New Year.  With 150 committed donations, we held our eighteenth meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph at Cutten Fields.

Our networking session, sponsored by our valued 100WWCG members Sandra Lastovic of The Mortgage Centre and Irene Szabo of  Home Group Realtybegan at 6:00 pm.    It was great to hear from Sharon ‘s introductory remarks, that once donations for this evening’s successful charity have been collected, 100WWCG will have raised more than $220,000 for local charities!

Sharon also highlighted the importance of recruiting some members to assist the administration team in performing some of the tasks which are required to keep 100WWCG running like a well-oiled machine.  Many hands really do make light work!  The team is currently looking for people to fill these volunteer positions:

  • Meeting photographer
  • Press release writer
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter) representative
  • Cheque chaser
  • Occasional meeting MC
  • Volunteer Co-ordinator

What volunteers would be committing to:

  • a few hours a month or a quarter (varies depending on the task)
  • one or two admin meetings a year (comes with wine and snacks!)

We are looking for people who:

  • are energetic, fun, playful
  • have a positive approach
  • are organized and timely
  • love to brain storm
  • can regularly attend meetings

Interested members should contact Sharon Lewis (519) 780-0468 or Tannis Sprott (519) 763-1172 as soon as possible.

After Sharon’s short presentation, Gail Hoekstra, Executive Director of The Drop In Centre, drew the names of this quarter’s nominees from a hat, and our charity presentations began in earnest.

  1. Jennifer Harrison presented on behalf of Rainbow Day CampThis program offers Guelph and the surrounding area a summer recreational day camp experience for children and youth, providing quality programs in a caring, open and inclusive environment which embraces diversity and encourages personal growth, according to each individual’s  strengths, needs and abilities.. Using a “real life” story,  Jennifer stressed the important impact that the Rainbow Day Camp experience has on the empathy that kids and their families have for others.
  2.  Wendy Clayson presented on behalf of Michael House, .a pregnancy and parenting support service which provides programming and residential support to women coping with crisis pregnancy.  Wendy read an inspiring note from a previous client who attested to the positive impact she had experienced at Michael House and how it had changed her life.
  3. Greta Najcler presented on behalf of  Community of Hearts. This not-for-profit supports adults with developmental exceptionalities, to achieve success in curriculum-based quality programming, build self confidence and become more engaged in our community as they grow and learn. Program content teaches the three pillars of Self-Awareness, Self-Management & Self-Advocacy/Expression to ensure participants achieve the level of independence they desire.

There was an opportunity after each presentation for members to ask a few questions and clarify any .issues that might not have been addressed by presenters.   Members enthusiastically asked for more information about the programs offered and funding models employed by each of the nominees.  Once all presentations had been made and all questions were answered, members voted for this quarter’s successful charity.

Gail Hoekstra, Executive Director of The Drop In Centre says “Thank you.”

While members’ votes were being tallied, a representative from last quarter’s successful charity took the opportunity to say a wholehearted “Thank you!” to the group .

Using examples of real life situations, Gail Hoekstra spoke passionately about the impact of our October donation on The Drop In Centre.  Monies donated to the centre have been dedicated to an emergency medical fund which addresses specific client needs for people without means to pay, including prescription medication, emergency medical care not covered by OHIP,  or critical dental work .  Members were pleased to hear about the substantial impact their donations have made to this valuable Guelph community space.

To read the full transcript of her comments, follow this link.

Founding members Sharon Lewis and Tannis Sprott pose with a “big cheque” for the Drop In Centre

And the succesful charity is…

Our first chosen charity of 2019 is Rainbow Day Camp. Our donation is slated to be used to assist with providing staff who will work one on one with special needs children within the Inclusion Program.

By following this link, you can read our press release which provides even more information about this quarter’s chosen charity.  

Press Release from January 15, 2019 (Year 5. Meeting 2.)

100 WWCG Replaces Lost Government Grant for Rainbow Day Camp

As 100 Women Who Care Guelph learned Tuesday night, a critical piece of funding for Rainbow Day Camp’s Inclusion Program, a grant from the provincial government, has just recently been cut. 

Rainbow Day Camp has been providing different summer day camp experiences for kids of all abilities here in Guelph for 40 years. Their Inclusion Program, which is at the core of their philosophy, mixes kids of all abilities for a week long day camp. In the process, they are teaching empathy, patience, acceptance, and inclusion. What we learn as children carries over into adulthood, and empathy (or lack thereof) is a critical skill that can have a profound affect on a society.

While this program goes right to the heart of what they are trying to impart, it is also one of the most expensive due to the one-one care needed for each special needs child for the week they are at camp. There are five spots for each of the eight weeks of the program, and a personal support worker is essential for each of those children.

Having lost the grant, over the course of the summer instead of being able to offer the program to 40 special needs children, they would only be able to offer it to 16, a 40% reduction in the number of spots, and an incalculable loss to the children and families they are trying to support. It is one of their most popular programs, and with registration due to open in a month, Rainbow Day Camp reached out to 100 WWCG for support.

The personal story of a 7 year old girl overheard explaining to her nervous and protective mother that “the young autistic boy who had become over excited and was flapping was nothing to worry about, because he was actually really happy and the flapping was just a part of who he was”, is exactly what that program is all about – removing the fear of the “other” and replacing it with understanding and acceptance.

By choosing Rainbow Day Camp to be the recipient of their latest quarterly donation, 100 WWCG ensured the program would be fully funded for this summer, helping raise the next generation of caring men and women here in Guelph. Visit www.100womenwhocareguelph.com for more information or to join 100 WWCG and help support those in need in our community.




The Drop In Centre is the Recipient of our Meeting Seventeen Donation!

Our First Meeting Of Year Five

A great new location, three fantastic presentations and one successful charity!

Here’s your recap for last night’s meeting.
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

We kicked off our seventeenth meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph in a great new venue at Cutten Fields, with 153 committed donations.  What a great way to start our fifth year!

Our networking began at 6:00 pm, graciously sponsored by our valued 100WWCG members Irene Szabo of  Home Group Realty and Sandra Lastovic of The Mortgage Centre.  Sharon Lewis delivered introductory remarks to the group and told members that once donations for this evening’s successful charity had been collected, 100 Women Who Care Guelph will have raised more than $200,000 for local charities!  She also noted that charities nominated in the first two years of our operation can now qualify for re-nomination. Sharon also announced the retirement of Diane Nelson, one of our friends and founding members.  She provided a bit of the history behind Diane’s role in the creation of 100WWCG and expressed our sincere thanks for her considerable contribution of time, attention and inspiration to our group.  Tannis and Sharon presented Diane with a beautiful bouquet and she spent a few moments at the podium thanking the group and saying a final “Farewell!”

Tannis and Sharon make a presentation to Diane Nelson on her retirement from 100WWCG

  1. Rosemary Fernandes-Walker presented on behalf of Guelph Yin support of programming for women and girls.  Monies donated would be used to sponsor financially disadvantaged women who have been invited to attend the Women of Distinction Gala and to provide support to The Power of Being YOU, a conference which brings together fem-identified youth from grades 7 and 8, to discuss matters affecting girls and young women.
  2.  Peggy Brightwell presented on behalf of Hospice Wellingtona community organization which provides a multitude of services to support individuals of Wellington County (including their families and caregivers), living with a life-limiting illness. Their kitchen program emphasizes the importance of “breaking bread” to the emotional well-being of their clients, and Hospice Wellington is interested in purchasing specialized tables and chairs in support of that initiative.
  3. Barb MacKay presented on behalf of The Drop In Centre, a community space in downtown Guelph which offers a multitude of services, especially for those living on a limited income. It provides a place to meet with friends and have a meal, access shelter if needed, and connect with support services to improve quality of life, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or any other factor.  The centre would like to use funds donated to provide an emergency medical fund for clients in need.

Each presentation was followed by a short
question and answer session where nominators provided any additional
information members might need to make an informed decision.

Michelle Henderson, Executive Director of Shelldale Family Gateway says “Thank you.”

While members’ votes were being counted,
we listened to a heartfelt and truly inspiring “Thank you!” from
Michelle Henderson, the Executive Director of Shelldale Family Gateway.
Michelle described the powerful impact the 100WWCG donation has made
to the Onward Willow Community –  If you help children, you help families,
and if you help families you help children

Michelle told members that our donation had been used to target programs
and services which have been underfunded, including purchases of food, socks,
and running shoes, inclusion support needs, and the provision of extra
staffing.  Her enthusiasm and passion for the organization she
represents was inspiring.  To read the full transcript of her comments, follow this link.

Tannis and Sharon pose with Michelle Henderson for a “Big Cheque” Photo

Drumroll Please…

Our first chosen charity of Year Five is The Drop In Centre.  Funds will be earmarked for a medical crisis fund which will provide support to clients in need of such things as hearing, vision and dental care, as well as some prescription products and personal care items which are essential for day to day existence.

 By following this link, you can read our press release which provides even more information about this quarter’s chosen charity.  

Member and Presenter Barb McKay, Gail Hoekstra of the Drop In Centre, and Tannis Sprott of 100 WWCG at the cheque presentation for October 2018.

Once again, we had a ceremony and photo session to celebrate members who qualify for 3 year pins.  It is such a positive experience to see  that our membership continues to grow and be sustained by women who are committed to  making a difference within our local community.

Congratulations to our most recent three year pin recipients!

Shelldale Family Gateway Says “Thank you!”

Here at Shelldale we provide preventative programs for vulnerable children and their families living in the most marginalized neighbourhood in Guelph.

Michelle Henderson, Executive Director of Shelldale Family Gateway, says “Thank you!”

Many of the families experience food insecurity and financial hardship, there are many single parent families and we have the most percentage of families living under the Low-Income Cutoff.  As well, many of the new Canadians settling in Guelph come to the Shelldale Area.  For this reason many of the children attending our programs experience financial, cultural, language and transportation barriers when attempting to be involved in any sport or recreation programming.

Being located in the heart of this community with diverse staff we are able to help remove many of these barriers.  For the past 25 years we have been designated as a Better Beginnings, Better Futures site which has allowed us to help strengthen this community through preventative programming including:

·         promoting the healthy development of children

·         intentionally supporting and promoting activities to reduce the poverty gap for children and their families

·         strengthen the partnership with service providers and schools to support families to navigate the systems easier (many of these partners are located in the Shelldale Centre Hub which allows us to walk families down to other supports and services such as Family and Children’s Services, Lutherwood or Immigrant Services)

We use a holistic approach which sees the child in the context of the family and the family in the context of the community.  This means that if family is not thriving (poverty and other related stressors) then the family can be less able to focus on their child thriving.  If the community itself is not thriving (poor housing conditions, poorly lit areas, crime etc) then the family is less able to thrive.  This approach means that we support capacity building and community building events and programming, we provide programs for the siblings, youth, teenagers and parents in order to best support the whole family.

In January 2018, the Ministry of Education amalgamated all of the Better Beginnings, Better Futures sites into one single EarlyON program for children 0-6 and their caregivers.  The new guidelines mean that we are now unable to be spending our Ministry funding on the types of programs that support this holistic approach.  We know the value of these programs and so have chosen to continue to fundraise in order to support these programs.

When 100 Women Who Care Guelph contacted us, it gave us the space to be able to continue to run these programs in a way that is meaningful for our families.  This means that we feed children in programs (this helps the entire family), it means that we can buy shoes for children accessing our programs, it also means that we are able to pay more staff to be in program to help with the cultural and language barriers our children face as well as bring in more children to the program because we have more staff to supervise them.

It has made an incredible difference for our organization.  This is why this model of giving is so impactful, you can do so much more with a lump sum of money rather than $100 coming in here and there from donors.  We are so grateful to have been chosen and we can’t thank this group of generous, community minded women enough.

With gratitude

Michelle Henderson

Executive Director – Shelldale Family Gateway

(formerly Shelldale Better Beginnings Better Futures)

519-824-8498 ext. 123

Press Release from October 15, 2018 (Year 5. Meeting 1.)

Welcome In Drop In Centre receives support from 100 WWCG

The women of 100 Women Who Care Guelph responded to the pressing need to provide a wide range of medical services to those most marginalized in our community. For those on the fringes of society because of poverty, mental illness or addiction issues, the difficulty of purchasing ancillary medically items that fall outside a medical or drug plan can be daunting. Thanks to this $12,000+ donation, the Drop In Centre can now provide assistance with extraneous medical expenses, such as the purchase of eye glasses, hearing aids, and walkers, with accessing much needed dental care, with providing cab fare to the hospital, as well as assisting with prescription medications not covered by any other plan – all things considered essential for good health care, and which most of us take for granted.

Since its founding in 1983, the downtown Drop In Centre has been a central hub offering critical support services to those in need. Thanks to the vision of its founder Sister Christine Leyser, and an army of volunteers, hundreds of at risk individuals in our community can find the assistance they need.

The Centre serves over 100 meals every day, provides emergency shelter, and can connect individuals with resources for mental and physical health, substance abuse, trauma counselling, and legal aid. They even provide veterinary care to pets (and their owners) that are homeless or precariously housed.

Truly, all are “Welcome In” to the Drop In Centre.

Investing in our community, now and for the future, is what 100 WWCG is all about. Visit www.100womenwhocareguelph.com for more information or to join 100 WWCG and help support those in need in our community.

Shelldale Family Gateway is the Recipient of our Meeting Sixteen Donation!

Our sixteenth meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph demonstrated that even during the hazy hot days of Summer, our members are committed to supporting local community organizations!  In spite of a torrential rainstorm which deluged Guelph an hour before our quarterly meeting, members braved the elements and joined us for a chance to listen to eloquent speakers making inspiring presentations for their chosen charities.

We started off the evening with refreshments and a networking event sponsored by Irene Szabo of Home Group Realty and Sandra Lastovic of The Mortgage Centre, valued members of 100WWCG.

Sharon Lewis delivered introductory remarks to the group, noting that at this last meeting of year four, 100 Women Who Care Guelph has 150 committed donations (individual donors and teams) and that the thermometer total at this time stands at $182,450.  She also noted that at the conclusion of the meeting, we would have the opportunity to award 3 year pins to another 23 members.

Sharon informed members that we have encountered a challenge related to the venue we use at our quarterly meetings.  Due to a corporate ownership change, the Guelph Delta Hotel has re-evaluated our arrangement with them and will no longer be able to provide free accommodations for those meetings.Sharon outlined three options which face the group moving forward:

  1. 100WWCG could continue to hold meetings at the the Delta and every member would pay a nominal fee (approximately $10 per year) to cover the cost of room rental.
  2. We could continue to hold meetings at the the Delta, but seek sponsorship from area businesses to cover the cost.
  3. We could search for another location which would be available to 100WWCG, at no cost.

Members present were given an index card and asked to vote on these three options.

We are asking any member who was unable to attend last evening’s meeting to take a moment, follow this link and fill out a brief survey which will let us know your opinion on this critical issue.  Deadline for completion of the online poll is
July 31st, 2018. 
Once all votes have been tallied, we will notify all members by email.

After  a thorough discussion of this issue, members listened to presentations from three very inspiring nominators:


  1. Amber Wood presented on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, an organization which mobilizes volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting home ownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty. Habitat for Humanity offers a zero down payment, interest-free mortgage, with payments which are geared to income.


2.   Suzanne Longpre presented on behalf of  Shelldale Family Gateway, 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 than 29 languages.  With a focus on children, they offer residents of this underprivileged neighbourhood a variety of programs including preschool and early literacy programs, a breakfast club, an after school program for teens, adult ESL, a women’s circle and a summer camp program.

3.   Karen McElroy presented on behalf of Pet Protect Guelph, a pet fostering program to help people who are precariously housed, women fleeing domestic violence, individuals recovering from a medical procedure and those who are seeking addictions treatment. Through their affilliation with  Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, it is the organization’s mission to provide a temporary, safe home for pets with selected foster families, while using science-based practices to optimize animal welfare.


Following each presentation, members asked a variety of questions about each organization, the clients they serve and their funding models.  This is a very important aspect of our meetings, because the more we know about the charities who present, the better we will understand their mission and value to the community.  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.

Teresa Waldner, Manager, Community Support Services for the VON, says “Thank you!” for our April Donation.

While member votes were being counted,  Teresa Waldner, the manager of Community Services for the VON Waterloo Wellington Dufferin (Victorian Order of Nurses), delivered an enthusiastic “Thank you!” to the group, She told members that VON rarely sees single donations of this size and that the funds donated will be used to provide increased service levels in our area, particularly related to program accessibility and mobility.  To read the full transcript of her comments, follow this link.



Sharon and Diane present the “Big Cheque” in recognition of our April donation to VON Waterloo Wellington Dufferin

A ffew days after the meeting, children at Shelldale Family Gateway express their thanks for being chosen to receive 100WWCG’s Meeting 16 Donation.

Following this heartfelt presentation, we learned that our July selected charity is Shelldale Family Gateway. When pledges come in from all members, our contributions will be directed towards providing  support to valuable ongoing services for families in the Onward Willow Community.   You can read more about these exciting plans in Tannis’s press release online.   We look forward to hearing about the impact of that donation at our next meeting, in the Fall of 2018.

Congratulations on receiving your three year pin!

As the last order of business for the evening, Sharon handed out 3 year pins to qualified members and photos were taken of pin recipients in attendance at the meeting.
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 July 16, 2018 (Year 4. Meeting 4.)

Shelldale Family Gateway receives support from 100 WWCG

Benjamin Franklin provided us with the following axiom: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Using a preventative support model to enrich children’s lives, Shelldale Family Gateway (formerly known as Shelldale Better Beginnings, Better Futures) prevents children from experiencing poor developmental outcomes, thus avoiding costly health, education, and social services later on. Members of 100 Women Who Care Guelph responded generously to that concept by donating over $13,000 to Shelldale.

Preparing children to meet the challenges of living in and contributing positively to Canadian society is a monumental task, just ask any parent. Those challenges are increased immensely if you are from a socio-economically marginalized community, or a recent immigrant with limited English language skills.

Shelldale provides wrap-around supports through every stage of childhood to families in the Onward Willow neighbourhood, making sure that each child is supported every step of the way on that complicated journey.

Shelldale begins by sending Peer Parent family home visitors out into the community to connect with new mothers, introducing them to the work of the organization. That service is offered in eight different languages to ensure each family is fully aware of the supports that are available to them, helping them to understand the powerful effect those supports can have on a child’s development.

There are a variety of drop-in programs for pre-schoolers, followed by a breakfast program which ensures every child shows up at school well fed and ready to learn. For the tweens, there are art groups, a youth soccer club, after-school homework assistance, and many other programs designed to provide engagement, support and encouragement. Workshops in resume writing are offered to teens as they prepare to take up the mantle of adulthood and full participation in our society.

Investing in our community, now and for the future, is what 100 WWCG is all about. Visit www.100womenwhocareguelph.com for more information or to join 100 WWCG and help support those in need in our community.


“Thank You!” from VON Waterloo Wellington Dufferin (Victorian Order of Nurses)

I want to thank you for inviting me here so that I can tell you about how your generous donation will be used within our organization and to give me a chance to thank you.  A special thank you to Cathy and her husband Bob for nominating the VON to be the recipients of this donation.  I would also like to thank Tannis who has been wonderful to work with over these past few months. We are absolutely beyond delighted to have been chosen to receive this overwhelming and generous donation.

As many of you may know the VON is Canada’s oldest Health Care Organization. Last year we celebrated 120 years of service.

Started by a woman in the late 1800’s (I always like to stop and acknowledge that fact), the Victorian Order of Nurses was brought about to address the lack of health care in rural areas of Canada where isolated citizens were often dying unnecessarily due to the lack of accessible Heath Care Services. Lady Aberdeen, the wife of our then Governor General, saw this inequity first hand and set out to address it. Over the century that followed, the VON became synonymous with home care and were instrumental during tragedies such as The Great Halifax Explosion, WW 1, the Influenza Epidemic and the Great Depression.

Teresa Waldner, Manager, Community Support Services for the VON, says “Thank you!” for our April Donation.

In the 1960’s the VON started to provide Community Support Services to provide further support at home. Focusing on seniors and adults living with disabilities, Community Support Services endeavor to provide independence and dignity to those who need it.

Our VON site, known as WWD, serves all of Wellington County and has an Adult Day Program in Orangeville. Tonight however, as yours is a Guelph Organization, I will focus on what programs your generous donation will be supporting.

In Guelph our main programs are Meals on Wheel, Transportation, SMART Seniors Exercise, Friendly Visiting and Telephone Reassurance and our newest and most unique program, the Senior Supportive Living Program. All of which provide much needed support to the seniors and adults living with disabilities in your community.

Sharon and Diane present the “Big Cheque” in recognition of our April donation to VON Waterloo Wellington Dufferin

Because of the dollars raised by your empathy, we will be able to extend service to more clients and more importantly increase our accessibility and equity by providing subsidized rides and meals to those who are extremely marginalized. This has been an important pillar in the VON’s mission and your help allows us to strengthen that commitment to this community.

I always use the analogy of bricks and mortar when explaining Community Support Services. I see Health Care delivered at home as the Bricks of home care. These are the clinical necessities to address the immediate needs of a patient due to illness or an adverse event.

I look at the Community Support Services that we provide as the mortar that keeps those bricks in place. The rides to medical appointments, a hot meal, assistance navigating a health care options or a chance to improve someone’s mobility are all integral parts in care that allow those people to remain at home safely as long as possible and when most effective, they limit further preventable suffering. Community Support Services are not always seen as necessary, but when you experience their effect first hand, you see they are invaluable.

Thank you to all of you for recognizing the value in what we do and giving us the resources to do more.

Good night.

Guelph Public Library says, “Thank you!”

Thank you for inviting me to your meeting and giving me the opportunity to express how much everyone at the library appreciates your kind and generous donation.  I want to give special thanks to Lisa Hood who nominated us and must have given a convincing argument for our case.  I cannot thank each and every one of you enough!

I’ve been at the Guelph Public Library for over 30 years and it’s a terrific place to work.  We pay special attention to programming for children and I think that’s why we are so successful.  We have the highest per capita circulation rate among libraries our size.  It’s hard to believe, but we are now considered a ‘large’ urban public library!

Steve Kraft, CEO of Guelph Public Library, delivers a wholehearted “Thank you!” to 100WWCG.

One of our main commitments is promoting literacy.  Reading is the most important tool a child can use to succeed in today’s complicated world.  Our objective is to help as many children (and adults) in the city achieve that goal and one of our most popular methods is known as the Early Literacy Station.  Actually, it’s a computer for children ages 2 to 8.  Its interactive software holds over 70 programs with over 4,000 activities.  The content spans all components of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education including reading, writing, phonics, math and problem solving, science, and social studies.

Steve Kraft, CEO of Guelph Public Library, receives a “big cheque” from Tannis Sprott of 100WWCG.

It’s hard to believe but many children still don’t have access to a computer in their home.  But they can come to the library and use one of ours.  The Early Literacy Station allows children to attain early literacy and school readiness skills.  We now have two stations in each of our six library locations.  They get an abundance of use and happy abuse from their users.  They cost approximately $4,000; that means your generous contribution has allowed us to purchase three new ones!

As curious individuals I know you’ll want to drop by any of our locations to check them out