Author Archives: slewis

Our Shared COVID Experience: 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!”

Press Release January 2016 (Family & Children’s Services)

100 WWCG Press Release – Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2016

Family & Children’s Services gets seed money for new program from 100 WWCG

Children are among the most vulnerable in our society, a fact Family & Children’s Services here in Guelph knows all too well. A youth who has been in their care who reaches the age of 18, and does not choose to continue their education, can suddenly find themselves bereft of all forms of support, both emotional and financial, and very much alone in the world.

The transition from youth to adult is tricky for everyone, but without “the bank of mom and dad”, even the smallest of setbacks can make that process a much more difficult one. Two very poignant stories led to 100 Women Who Care Guelph awarding $13,800 to Family & Children’s Services.

In one case, a young man had procured employment, but needed $300 for car repairs in order to get to work. No car – no job, as simple as that.

In another, a 21 year old woman diagnosed with breast cancer was in desperate need of funds to purchase medication and a prosthesis, along with covering travel expenses to and from life saving medical appointments.

In response to these needs, and many others like it, Family & Children’s Services is seeking to start a fund called the Transitioning Youth Program, which can be accessed at need to help these young men and women and ensure a successful transition into adulthood. Supporting those most in need is the reason 100 WWCG come together every three months, and they are proud to be a sponsor of that fund.

Meeting 6 of 100 Women who Care Guelph Raised $13,800 for Family and Children’s Services

Our 6th meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph was another incredible success!

Thank you to all of the women who joined us last evening to hear from the Dunara Homes for Recovery. Yvonne Bowes from Dunara let us know about the impact of our donation in a funny, and engaging talk. You can find a transcript of Yvonne’s talk on our website here!

Laura Greenway-Balnar was the member who nominated and presented for Family and Children’s Services

Following the presentation from Dunara, we again selected three of the nominated charities at random (Family & Children’s Services, Special Olympics Ontario and Community of Hearts) and heard from our three nominating members as to what our support for that charity could contribute to the community. All three charity presentations were well thought out and wonderfully presented. A hard choice it was, but a hard choice we made!

With much enthusiasm we tallied the votes and selected this month’s recipient! We have selected Family and Children’s Services to receive this meeting’s quarterly donation! Specifically a pilot fund to assist young adults make the transition from supported living in foster care or other teen programs to independent living. Here’s a photo of your combined donation and our nominating member Laura Greenway-Balnar.

Some additional great news from the January 11th meeting; We had a number of new signups after some wonderful press from the Mercury on January 3rd. So this month’s donation reflects our Voting Membership count which now stands at 138 women who care, meaning when all the pledges come in, our donation will total $ 13,800.00! Well Done Ladies! (as you can see, we didn’t even have a perfectly accurate count on new members when we filled out the big cheque!)

Congratulations to Family and Children’s Services!

And thank you again to all the women who participated.

Photo of members who all live in the Village on the Green

The Village on the Green Contingent. Melodie, Willemina and Sharon

Following Meeting 6 we enjoyed a fun Social & Networking hour sponsored by members Sandra Lastovic and Irene Szabo (see our sponsor’s page for more details.)

Great women getting to know each other!

Great women getting to know each other! Terrie and Sandra are flanked by new members Wendy and Brenda! Welcome Ladies.

As if these meetings could possibly get any more fun. Well, apparently they did. Here are some of the goings-on. We hope you can stay after the next meeting so you can be showcased having a great time making a difference.


Wait? Who's Harvey and did he leave a cheque?

Wait? Who’s Harvey and did he leave a cheque?

Obviously, a good time was had by all!  What would it take to have fundraising be this easy every month? We have cracked the code.

Come on in and enjoy yourselves!

Rosemary, ???, Nancy. Look at those Happy Shiny Faces. We made a difference tonight

Rosemary, Robin & Nancy. Look at those happy, shiny faces. We made a difference tonight





Tell your friends. 100WWCG has it going ON! There was lots of action at our new “Materials Table” as well. At the next meeting, if you’ve got some information about a fun or important local charity or business event we now have a place for you to share that information. See? Someone just discovered a cool event!

Where to find out about local charity initiatives.

Where to find out about local charity initiatives.

Press Release October 2015 (Dunara Homes for Recovery)

Dunara Homes for Recovery got a major boost to aid in their mission to assist those among us living with mental illness last night in the form of a $12,400 donation from 100 Women Who Care Guelph. The road to recovery is a fragile one, full of speed bumps and detour signs, where even the simplest things like buying a bus pass, doing your own laundry, or learning social skills that many of us completely take for granted can be enough to stall that journey. Dunara Homes offers an essential service to those coming from institutional care as they learn to reengage with the community and live fulfilling, healthy and independent lives. They have been quietly doing this valuable work in our community since its formation in 1981 by the original members of the Schizophrenia Society of Guelph. The description of that work obviously resonated with the members of 100 WWCG, who were delighted to offer their assistance. There is so much stigma surrounding mental illness on the negative side of the balance sheet, 100 WWCG made the decision to contribute to the positive side instead. Not equal yet, but a step toward balance.

A Thank-You from Rainbow Day Camp

Money can’t buy happiness.

David's Thank you

David Jackson from Rainbow Day Camp delivered this wonderful thank you speech at our fourth quarterly meeting.

Rainbow Day Camp’s Teen camp would like to thank you all for your support and the funds which you have supplied us with in order to help our program prosper and flourish. Rainbow’s Teen camp is a source of community, friendship, and empowerment not only for Guelph residents but for surrounding cities as well. To say thank you on behalf of Rainbow Day Camp, I have been given the job of trying to convey to you what the money you have provided has meant to each camper that it has affected. The simple truth is that it is impossible for you to truly know the degree to which this grant has benefited the countless Teens, and the many ways it helps them every day – it’s simply too difficult to put into words…

But here at Rainbow Day camp we believe everything is possible so I’ll give it my best shot!

Money can’t buy happiness but this dollar made it possible for Rainbow to pay for inclusion staff at Rainbow to support the Teens at camp. This dollar made it possible for Johnny to beat me at the card game “war” 17 times when he was at camp. Seriously 17 times…he counted. This dollar made it possible for Rainbow’s Teen Camp to go on fun filled field trips like the one we went on to the campus radio station CFRU. This dollar made it possible for Davina, a charismatic and warm girl, to work her charm on the head of the radio station and get offered a volunteer position working at the Radio station. This dollar made it possible for Teen camp to secure their very own space for this summer – it’s called the fireplace lounge. Because of this lounge, Jennifer, a kind and creative, but very shy camper, no longer needs to spend her day sitting on the floor in a stairwell because she doesn’t feel like she has her own personal space within the rest of camp. The fireplace lounge is a bigger and more open space for Jennifer to occupy and get closer with her fellow Teens. This dollar made it possible for Joey, a whirl wind sparkplug of a 15 year old, to have the support he needs to make his camp experience enjoyable. For Joe, if he gets through the entire camp day without calling his mom needing to go home, punching another camper, or having a major melt down, he has had a successful day. The charm of Joe is that he can’t get through every day of camp that way. He acts out and has a tendency to show some harsh sides of himself when he is in an overwhelming situation. Rainbow Day Camp does not try to change Joey, because there is not a thing wrong with him! Instead we help Joe achieve more of those successful days. Thanks to your help, it is possible for us to embrace abilities instead of disabilities.

We don’t change people, we enable them and bring out the best side of them possible.
This job is not always smooth sailing but a large part of the reason that this program has been so successful is because the staff has the opportunity to get the training required to be ready for anything that may come their way – your funds have helped provide even more training this year. Rainbow’s Teen camp is not setting out to change people’s lives, but I can say confidently that over the past 3 years it has definitely changed mine. It has opened my eyes and allowed me to view the world through a more accepting, mature, and positive lens.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy opportunity and long lasting memories. Because of the opportunity you have given each and every one of our campers they have risen to the
challenge and created their own happiness. Thank you for allowing these Teens to turn your funding into beautiful memories they will not soon forget.

With our more sincere gratitude,

David Jackson
Teen Camp leader 2015
Rainbow Programmes for Children

Notes from Meeting 4 – July 13, 2015

David's Thank you

David Jackson – Rainbow Teen Camp Leader

100 Women Who Care Guelph concluded it’s first year of operation with the fourth meeting of the season.

Giulanna Giancotta & Diane Nelson

Giulianna Giancotta from Rainbow Day Camp selects this month’s nominees with Diane Nelson.

We opened with some updates and then  heard a heartfelt description of the results of last meeting’s donation to Rainbow Day Camp from the passionate and committed David Jackson – Teen Camp leader. We’re reaching out to David to get the text of his speech if we can. Stay tuned for that.

Following David’s talk we went through our usual selection process and…

July 13 winner

Nominating Member and Organizer Tannis Sprott (centre) receives the quarterly donation cheque on behalf of Guelph Wellington Women In Crisis From Sharon Lewis (left) and Diane Nelson (right) also organizers of 100 Women Who Care Guelph

Congratulations! The donation from this meeting goes to Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis’s Transitional Housing and Support Program. They have been chosen at our
fourth charity selection meeting to receive an award of approximately $12,500 from the membership of 100 Women Who Care Guelph. The Transitional Housing and Support program provides counselling and levels of services so desperately needed by women and their children who are experiencing or have experienced abuse, helping them to start over, with both practical and emotional support.

Group shot

Many of our current members joined us for this impromptu group shot – we hope you can join us next meeting!

Keep your eyes and ears open for other worthy charities, and get those nominations in by the deadline of September 29th for our next meeting set for Monday, October 5th, 2015, from 7 – 8 pm (registration begins at 6:30) at the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre, where we will choose our next member nominated charity! See you there!

We celebrate all the members of 100 Women Who Care Guelph who have made such an amazing difference this year. Together we’ve raised $46,600 for area causes. And we’ve only just begun!

Previous charity nominations

July 13, 2015 1) Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis (winner) 2) Beginnings Family Services 3) Chalmers Community Services
Apr. 13, 2015: 1) Rainbow Day Camp (winner), 2) 2nd Chance Employment, 3) Focus On Nature
Jan. 12, 2015: 1) Michael House (winner), 2) Rainbow Chorus, 3) The Children’s Foundation
Oct. 28, 2014: 1) Rainbow Chorus, 2) Ed Video, 3) Hospice Wellington (winner)

Press Release July 2015 (Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis)


100 Women Who Care Guelph completes it’s inaugural year with a donation of $12,500 awarded to Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis, bringing the total amount invested in Guelph charities this year to $46,600. This group was created in the hope it would have a big impact on our local charities, and has proven to be successful on all counts.

GW WIC Transitional Housing and Support Program is the fourth charity to be awarded funds by the group. This program provides counselling and levels of services so desperately needed by women and their children who are experiencing or have experienced abuse, helping them to start over, with both practical and emotional support.

This was the fourth quarterly meeting of 100 WWCG, which has seen its membership grow steadily from an initial 88 members in October 2014 to their current 125 members. Word of the group is spreading throughout the community, thanks in part to appearances on Rogers Inside Guelph program on October 27, 2014 and Talk Local Guelph on April 7, 2015, as well as the members themselves encouraging their friends to join.

The next meeting will be held Monday, October 5 from 7 – 8 pm at the Delta on Gordon. There is no upper limit on membership, so visit to sign up, and help make an even greater impact on our local charities.

Press Release April 2015 (Rainbow Day Camp)

It was another successful meeting of 100 Women Who Care Guelph, held at the Delta on Monday, April 13, where Rainbow Day Camp was voted the winner and received $12,700 to assist their efforts in providing a unique summer day camp experience offering a variety of camp activities for children from Guelph and surrounding areas.

They offer two distinct programs: Children’s camp which is a summer day camp experience in an inclusive and fun environment for children of all abilities from age 4 – 10; and Teen Camp program which provides opportunities for teenagers with special needs to have a summer camp experience with one-on-one support in a caring and open environment which embraces diversity and encourages personal growth, according to each individual’s uniqueness, strengths, needs and abilities.

The donation will allow Rainbow’s Teen Camp program to rent a larger space from the University of Guelph, where their summer camps are held, essentially allowing them to almost double the available spaces and offer more teens this invaluable experience.

This was the third quarterly meeting of 100 WWCG, which has seen its membership grow steadily from an initial 88 members in October 2014 to their current 127 members. Word of the group is spreading throughout the community, thanks in part to appearances on Rogers Inside Guelph program on October 27, 2014 and Talk Local Guelph on April 7, 2015, as well as the members themselves encouraging their friends to join.

The next meeting will be held Monday, July 13 from 7 – 8 pm at the Delta on Gordon. There is no upper limit on membership, so visit to sign up, and help make an even greater impact on our local charities.

Notes from Meeting Three April 13, 2015

Congratulations to Rainbow Day Camp, our most recent winning charity! Collectively we have pledged $12,700 to this worthy organization.

Start thinking of other worthy charities, and get those nominations in by the deadline of July 6th for our next meeting set for Monday, July 13, 2015, from 7 – 8 pm (registration begins at 6:30) at the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre, where we will choose our next member nominated charity! See you there!Big Chq Rainbow Day Camp

Need some ideas?

If you are looking for a charity to champion, click here for a partial list of registered charities in Guelph, and then fill out a Charity Nomination Form. Remember, it must be a registered charity, and the funds must remain in Guelph.

Let’s put our passion to work for our friends, neighbours and community!

Previous charity nominations

Apr. 13, 2015: 1) Rainbow Day Camp (winner), 2) 2nd Chance Employment, 3) Focus On Nature
Jan. 12, 2015: 1) Michael House (winner), 2) Rainbow Chorus, 3) The Children’s Foundation
Oct. 28, 2014: 1) Rainbow Chorus, 2) Ed Video, 3) Hospice Wellington (winner)

A Thank You from Hospice Wellington’s Art Therapy Program

We have asked for and received a copy of Nicole Fantin’s wonderful speech from our January 2015 Meeting. Hospice Wellington was the recipient of our first donation in October 2014. Nicole says: 

Nicole Fantin, Art Therapy Director for Hospice Wellington.

First off, I would like to thank you all for having me here this evening. It’s inspiring being in the presence of so many committed women, dedicated to making this community a more vibrant place to live, to work, to raise and live in family and community- and for myself personally, to support people in health and well-being.

My name is Nicole Fantin, and I am an Art Therapist who works for Hospice Wellington. I’ll also add that I may have cried when I heard that the program I started almost four years ago was going to be the first recipient from this amazing charity movement.

For those of you who don’t know too much about Hospice Wellington, we are a unique not-for-profit facility offering support to Wellington County through life threatening illness and the experiences of death and dying for both palliative residents and families in our community. In addition to a ten-bed residence, we have a full community service floor with a variety of community programming, including Art Therapy that is free of charge to Wellington County’s grief and bereavement population.

I introduced Art Therapy to Hospice Wellington almost four years ago as a student intern upon completing my graduate work in Art Therapy. I chose to volunteer and then work with Hospice Wellington for a number of reasons- grief being under researched and very rarely discussed in our contemporary society- but most of all because I saw a need, similar to the women who have chosen to support this charitable movement, a need to help and support a community that we all live within and believe in.

As I look around this room, I am greeted by familiar faces. Perhaps some of us have not known the loss of a mother, or a father, of a brother or a sister, of a child, or a friend. But we are not as a community unfamiliar to grief. As a community, we have had many losses. It connects us all, whether or not the loss has happened in our own home. We are friends to grief as we have all experienced it, in one way or another.

Grief often robs us of our words. We fall silent, overcome by emotions, not able to find the right words, words at all, to describe the pain, the confusion, the depth of our sorrow. It can leave us feeling alone, scared to acknowledge our pain, as everyone that surrounds us seems to be doing ok. One client aptly described their grief in the following way: “ It’s like my entire world stopped…and the world kept spinning. I have never felt so alone.”

Most people call me an art teacher, or that person that gets everyone dirty, which is probably true- the best description I think I’ve had is a passenger to a difficult life experience. As an Art Therapist, I provide a space that invites grief processing using art and creative materials, finding alternative modes of communication. The art becomes a vehicle for their self-expression, a space to encounter their grief gently, individually or in community. Rather than give you a summary of what art therapy is, I would rather describe it through the following experience of Art Therapy. I invite you to close your eyes. I would like you to bring an image of a cliff side to mind, set against a nature setting, with a full skyline. A solitary figure stands atop the ridge, looking out into the beyond. It is here that the image takes us within the story of a life:

“It’s like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, and I can’t tell if it’s swirling water below or fire. I can’t stay where I am. I know I have to step over the edge.” These words capture the essence of the courage that is required to begin the therapeutic journey.

Sensing the urgency, fear, and the pain this client experienced, I suggested that he look at his painting and say, quietly: “ Yes, I know that feeling. That’s how it is when I begin journeys, too.”

The client seems relieved by my response, and I suggested that he invite me to join him as he stepped over the edge. He asked, “Will you make it less painful?”
I said, “No, but I’ll be there with you.”

This example describes a part of what I do. I passenger people through difficult parts of their lives, helping them journey through experiences that can leave them feeling broken and alone. And this description also illustrates the potentiality of metaphors in the artwork, using it to share and expand on emotion, experience and the individual journey.

And this is what you have supported, as more than a hundred women strong. I wanted to give you a scope of what your money has and will continued to be used for. What you have allowed is for experiences that otherwise may not have happened to happen, when voices and words are difficult to find.

Our core Art Therapy Program at Hospice Wellington is based on 16 hours per week. We rely on grant support and donations to augment our current programming. Thankfully, we receive generous donations of materials each year. The donation that 100 Women Who Care will go predominantly towards hours rather than materials, allowing us to minimize our constant waitlists and continue the growth of this programming to better serve our community.

The donation that 100 Women Who Care has made to this program will allow for us as a community to support those who are in need of grief services in the upcoming year. The funds you have provided will continue to go towards:

Nearly resolving our current waitlist for individual services, We have been able to double the amount of clients we are able to serve in our current individual programming, including legacy work for child loss, parent and spousal loss
The continuance of a group program originally funded by a well-being grant focusing on spirituality and finding community for grieving caregivers in our community
To begin weekend workshops introducing new clients to the use of Art Therapy scheduled to commence at the end of January 2015
To continue an open studio program supported for the continued well-being of community members struggling with life threatening illness and those who are recently bereaved, supported by community artists and volunteers
To reserve a basin of hours to use as needs present in our palliative Residence with clients facing end of life

It is true that your donation will make experiences possible that perhaps otherwise would not have happened. So what have you made possible, on a human level.

  • You have made it possible for a little girl to complete a legacy quilt of memories that she and her mother shared before her mother passed away.
  • You have made it possible for a widow to create in a medium that her husband once created in, a space that allowed for her to encounter his memory in a new, gentle way.
  • You have made it possible for a family to receive support and celebrate the life of a child, in a way that was fitting to her memory, using creativity and community to find healing in the loss.
  • You have indeed help support our community towards health and continued healing and you have provided me with the opportunity to make that possible in ways that we were unable to before.

Your contribution has made these things possible, and will continue to do so in the coming year. Thank you for this contribution. Thank you from all of us at Hospice Wellington for making a difference.