Author Archives: Tannis Sprott

Master Gardeners of Ontario Say a Big “Thank You”!

Good evening,
My name is Danielle Gignac, and I am the coordinator for the Guelph-Wellington Master
Gardeners. It is my great pleasure to be here tonight to thank you for your incredible
donation and to share with you some of what we are doing in our community.

Danielle Gignac offers her heartfelt thanks (Photo Credit: Crista Renner)

The Master Gardeners of Ontario Inc. is an organization dedicated to providing science-
based sustainable horticultural information to the public. The Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) began the Master Gardener Program in
1985, but it is now an independent nonprofit organization. Each region operates as an
independent group under the provincial umbrella. The benefit of this is that members of a group reside in the area they serve, and so can be most effective in their service and provide relevant advice to the particular growing zone.

Master Gardeners receive their certification after completing an educational component (consisting of a series of 3 or 4 university horticulture courses or self-study and a written exam) as well as 2 years of volunteering at 30 hours per year. After becoming certified, members must maintain continuing education as well as their 30 volunteer hours. These rigorous requirements ensure that members stay up-to-date in their knowledge and active in their service so that we can fulfill our mandate. With the overabundance of information available today, it is crucial that people have a trusted resource for unbiased scientific, authoritative information that is backed by practical experience and relevant to particular growing conditions.

Our volunteer activities typically include advice clinics at public events or garden tours;
answer questions through our telephone or email hotline; prepare and present garden
talks and workshops for both adults and children at local venues such as the libraries,
other horticultural societies or garden centres; speak on the radio; create online videos;
respond to gardening questions on social media platforms; and write gardening articles,
to name just a few! Last year, the members of our local group contributed a total of over 2000 volunteer hours in the Guelph-Wellington community.

We are an entirely volunteer-run organization. As a non-profit group focused on
information sharing, most of our activities do not require significant funds. Our
educational events, such as Day in the Garden, are typically offered at-cost to
attendees. Our May Plant Sale is usually the only fundraising event we have each year,
and this is used to cover expenses related to offering our normal services. As such, we
rarely have the opportunity to put together a program like we have been able to do with your generous donation.

You have enabled us to facilitate practical horticulture education for Grade 3 students at 20 Guelph elementary schools. We are able to support and enhance the current
curriculum by creating educational content as well as providing the actual materials and
equipment for students to practice what they learn.

The subject students will be taught is “relating science and technology to our changing
world by assessing ways in which plants are beneficial to society and the environment,
and ways in which human activity has an impact on plants and plant habitats.” We are
providing full growing kits for seed starting, which will support learning on plant growth
and health in general, as well as food security in particular–a growing concern in our
world today. The complete kits would include educational information for starting and
maintaining vegetable plants, a moveable multi-level rack, full spectrum grow lights,
light timer, soil, pots, seeds, labels, and necessary tools. All of this equipment will stay
with the schools and be able to be used from year to year, with only new soil and seeds
needed at a minimal cost. We are also providing teacher support to ensure the growing
process goes smoothly.

We see this program as having great potential to reach beyond the classroom as well.
With concerns around food security, we know these seed starting kits will be extremely
valuable for life skills that may be necessary for a child’s family either now or in the
future. As anyone who grows plants knows, there is also an emotional and
psychological element to the process. The joy and thrill of seeing our seeds germinate
or a bee pollinating our flowers is so good for our well-being. Studies have shown that
gardening is beneficial to mental health. Even with some disappointments with
germination or pests, gardening is ever hopeful. Every seed planted expresses our faith
in a future where it will grow and thrive. We need this more than ever.

All the materials have now been purchased and our volunteers will be assembling the
kits this weekend. On April 15, they will be delivered to the classrooms. We know these
growing kits will be an exciting addition to these 20 classrooms. Transformation begins
with education. By making growing plants accessible to kids, we are equipping them
with lifelong skills to contribute toward a sustainable future. On behalf of the Guelph-
Wellington Master Gardeners, I thank you so very much for supporting us to do this
work. We know the benefits will be far-reaching. You are planting a seed in the lives of
these kids – an act of hope for the future. Thank you.

cheque presentation

Sharon Lewis and Tannis Sprott make a 100WWCG cheque presentation to Danielle Gignac of Master Gardeners of Ontario

(Photo Credit: Crista Renner)

Press Release April 2024 (Guelph Wish Fund for Children)

100 Women Who Care Guelph Supports Guelph Wish Fund for Children

100 Women Who Care Guelph has chosen Guelph Wish Fund for Children (GWFC) as our second 2024 charity to receive our almost $16,000 donation. It will help provide “wishes” to eligible Guelph and Wellington County (WC) children up to 19 and their families who are living with a significant illness, life-altering injury or a rare and debilitating syndrome (guelphwishfund.com).

The first GWFC “wish” was granted in 1985; GWFC received non-profit/charity status in 1995 and has now granted 458 wishes! It also supports scholarships for deserving graduates in the 12 secondary schools in Guelph and WC.

Most affected children wish for an experience: a trip, meeting a celebrity, bedroom makeover, electronic device, etc. The anticipation can be as impactful as the wish itself. GWFC also helps with specialized equipment, medical expenses, assistance devices, lost income, etc.

GWFC receives no government support; volunteers help keep operating costs low. GWFC partners with their community and many generous local individuals, groups and businesses. Annually, it holds a Gala, Golf Tournament and Auction.

Of course the need for funding is ongoing; there are currently 90 children in the program with GWFC accepting 2 referred children monthly; none that qualify are turned away.

Upon referral and acceptance, a child’s wish account is created with a value of up to $10,000. The funds can be spent all at once or over several years and must be used by the time the child is 19. GWFC oversees the account and requires families to regularly submit receipts.

Our donation of approximately $16,000 would help this worthy Guelph/WC charity continue providing hope, strength, wonderful moments and memories to children and their families during a difficult time. It would help “make a child’s life a little happier”.

Visit www.100womenwhocareguelph.com for more information or become a member and help support those in need in our community.

Press Release January 2024 (Master Gardeners of Ontario)

100 Women Who Care Guelph Supports Master Gardeners of Ontario (Guelph Wellington).

100 Women Who Care Guelph, now in its 10th year, has chosen Master Gardeners of Ontario (Guelph-Wellington) as the first charity in 2024 to receive its $10,000+ donation. The donation will contribute to the creation of an inspirational program in local schools to help young people learn to grow food.

Master Gardeners are “… certified horticultural experts who provide gardening information to the public on a volunteer basis; … a community resource for all things botanical!”

Master Gardeners has been and is successful in fulfilling its mandate of “providing advice and inspiration to the local gardening community” for adults; see (www.gwmastergardeners.ca)

However, it also sees the need of young people to learn how to grow food via actual,  hands-on experience. 100WWCG funds will be directed towards the creation of a program for Grade 3 students in Guelph which will educate students about growing food gardens with their families.

Current challenges include a need for this knowledge in young people, today’s high cost of food as well as food waste.

There is also a lack of funds; the annual spring plant sale and one other small program generate the only income Master Gardeners receives. These funds are already committed and insufficient (i.e., not available) to design and deliver this innovative program.

100WWCG funding of $10,000+ would be used  to build kits for approximately 20 to 25 classrooms, including educational information for starting and maintaining vegetable gardens: a raised planter, full spectrum grow lights, soil, trays, seeds, and necessary tools. The reusable kits would be left with participating schools.

There are sufficient Guelph Master Gardener member-volunteers to help set up the program and provide ongoing support for teachers. School boards will solicit schools to apply for the program, initially selecting those in food insecure geographic areas.

The aim of the program is to encourage local kids and their families to gain lifelong life skills and to see that plants are beneficial to the world and to society. The program has the potential to spread, inspiring many other schools that recognize the need and indeed, “helping the world” to be a greener, less wasteful planet.

Visit www.100womenwhocareguelph.com for more information or to become a member and help support those in need in our community.

Press Release October 2023 (CMHA WW)

100 Women Who Care Guelph Gets Behind Child/Youth Mental Health Program

One day after World Mental Health Day, 100 Women Who Care Guelph answered the call by choosing to support our youngest citizens through CMHA Waterloo Wellington’s “Brief Service for Children, Youth, and their Families” program.

Mental health issues often have their roots in early childhood, when our childen have not yet instilled healthy coping strategies to deal with the despair, hardship, or crisis they are facing. Without guidance or support, they often turn to eating disorders, drug addiction, or alchol instead.

Since November of 2019 (pre-pandemic), there have been the largest increases ever recorded in every indicator across the public health stream for children, including mental health. Our children are suffering.

With a wait time of a year for ongoing care, our local CMHA saw a need for an early intervention program. They created and successfully piloted Brief Service. This program offers children and youth with mental health difficulties from 0 to 18 years of age, along with their parents/caregivers, weekly one to one counselling sessions for a maximum of 10 weeks, addressing immediate needs with the aim of developing goals and a treatment plan together.

As a result, 70% of the children involved in Brief Service require no further care at all, reducing the wait time for ongoing care from a year down to three months.

Early intervention works.

The struggle to regain control of your life as an adult is a difficult and arduous task. How much better would it be to never go down that road in the first place?

With that thought in mind, 100WWCG chose to support CMHA WW’s early intervention model by investing their recent donation in our children’s mental health.

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

Press Release June 2023 (Community of Hearts)

Community of Hearts Selected by 100 Women + 100 Men at Joint Meeting

At the special event joint meeting held between 100 Women Who Care Guelph and 100+ Men Who Give a Damn, Community of Hearts Lifelong Learning Centre was chosen to be the recipient of their combined donation, estimated to be near $25,000.

Community of Hearts, located downtown in the Quebec Street Mall, serves Guelph citizens aged 16 and older who are living with developmental disabilities. Through their Learning Day Programs, their goal is to support youth, adults, and seniors with developmental exceptionalities to achieve the level of independence they desire.

These programs cover a wide range of subjects, including nutritious and safe meal preparation, household chores, arts and creative expression, and health and fitness. These unique and innovative programs help to reduce social isolation, while giving the participants the necessary skills to become empowered, contributing members of society.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of an accessible washroom, these opportunites are not available to all Guelph residents who would benefit from these programs.

With the aid of a local contractor who has agreed to build the washroom at cost – yet another local hero in our caring and generous city – the donation from the members of 100WWCG and 100MWGAD will go a long way to seeing that project become a reality.

Together, these two grassroots fundraising organizations have raised over $675,000, with 55 Guelph charities having benefited over the past nine years. As stated by Mike Brookbank, 100+MWGAD Founding Member, “The breadth and scope of our local charities here in Guelph and Wellington County reach into many corners of our wonderful community, helping and providing a bedrock of support to our friends, colleagues and neighbours. We are grateful for their dedication and happy to be part of the cycle of care. We hope our collective $100 cheques help move the needle for those that need it.”

Visit www.100womenwhocareguelph.com and www.100menguelph.com for more information or to become a member and help support those in need in our community.

100 Women Who Care Guelph and 100+ Men Who Give A Damn Special Event

Combined Quarterly Meeting 

Celebrating the Past While Committing to the Future

100 Women Who Care Guelph https://100womenwhocareguelph.com and 100+ Men Who Give A Damn https://www.100menguelph.com are holding a special event on June 6th, 2023, from 7:00 – 8:00 pm at Cutten Fields. For the first time ever the two fundraising organizations are joining forces to address the ongoing needs our local charities face.

By combining the two groups, members will have the opportunity to choose one local charity to receive a potential $30,000 donation.

Since the women formed their group in 2014, followed by the men in 2018, these two grassroots organizations together have donated over $675,000 to our community, with 55 Guelph charities having benefited over the past nine years. 

“This is an opportunity to showcase the incredible contribution these two organizations have made to Guelph charities since inception, while at the same time recognizing the need to continue that work, and to demonstrate the fun and fellowship our quarterly meetings offer to our members.” Tannis Sprott, 100WWCG Founding Member

“Conceived of as a way to allow busy Guelph citizens to directly contribute to local charities in a fun and time efficient manner, the “100 Who Care” movement requires only four hours and four $100 tax deductible donations from its members annually. This event is a fun way to engage more caring Guelph citizens. Please consider joining us to amplify the great work our local charities are doing.” Sharon Lewis, 100WWCG Founding Member

“The breadth and scope of our local charities here in Guelph and Wellington County reach into many corners of our wonderful community helping and providing a bedrock of support to our friends, colleagues and neighbours.  We are grateful for their dedication and happy to be part of the cycle of care.  We hope our collective $100 cheques help move the needle for those that need it.”   Mike Brookbank, 100+ Men Who Give a Damn Founding Member  

After a brief introduction from Mayor Cam Guthrie, who is also a 100+MWGAD member, the evening will consist of presentations from four charities as they introduce their cause and the financial needs they must manage in order to fulfill their mandates. Then a member vote will determine which of the charities will take home the combined donation.

This event is open to all members, their guests, and the local press.

For more information on how to become a member and join in this fun and rewarding evening, email: [email protected] or [email protected].

Press Release April 2023 (Art Not Shame)

100 Women Who Care Guelph Supports Art Not Shame

100 Women Who Care Guelph has chosen Art Not Shame as the latest recipient of their $10,000+ donation, contributing to the transformation of a vacant storefront at 119 Wyndham St. into 2,602 square feet of fully accessible space in which to offer their arts-based programs.

Shame is an emotion felt by all, but it can be particularly accute for those who struggle with complex challenges ranging from mental health to physical/mobility issues. Overwhelmingly, the message they receive is one of negativity – no, don’t, can’t, not good enough – on a daily basis.

Art Not Shame’s reasoning behind using art to create a sense of community and caring stems from the belief that there is no right or wrong way to do art. For once in their lives, participants are allowed and encouraged to be themselves, to tell their own story, and to let their creativity loose in a completely safe, inviting, and supportive environment.

Art Not Shame has served 5650 people since their inception in 2017. With the advent of COVID in March of 2020, they have seen a 557% increase in demand for programming as people seek out ways to fulfill the need for connection and community. Most importantly, 75%-90% of participants report an increase to their well-being.

As they continue to work toward their fundraising goals, this generous donation from 100WWCG will enable them to purchase vital flip top tables for their new workshop space, and height adjustable tables for accessible work and creation spaces.

100WWCG is delighted to contribute to the gift of turning no into yes, don’t into do, can’t into can, not good enough into well done. Their support will assist Art Not Shame in using the arts to build community and create the conditions for inner and outer change.

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

Press Release January 2023 (Food4Kids Guelph)

100 Women Who Care Guelph Fight Hunger With Food4Kids Guelph

100WWCG joins the fight against childhood hunger here at home by choosing Food4Kids Guelph as the latest recipient of their $13,000+ donation.

Food insecurity in Canada has doubled since the advent of COVID in 2020. There are many reasons contributing to a family’s inability to provide enough food at home, and difficulties surrounding the pandemic have exacerbated many of them, from job loss or illness to our current state of food inflation.

While there are many breakfast and snack programs run at schools in Guelph, the weekend can seemingly stretch on endlessly for a hungry child, leading to Food4Kids “Closing the Weekend Gap” initiative.

Once children in need are identified by the schools, Food4Kids Guelph packages up and delivers a weekend food bag for each child to the schools every Friday. This work continues like clockwork every week, thanks to the efforts of one paid employee, 25 regular volunteers, and many occasional volunteers.

Now in it’s fifth year of operation, Food4Kids Guelph provides weekend food bags to 400 children in our city. Since September alone, they have sent home 5,000 food bags.

Even while utilizing bulk food purchases, at a cost of $15 per child per weekend it amounts to $6,000 per week. With no government support, Food4Kids Guelph faces a yearly fundraising goal of $400,000 to keep the program running. Even at that level, they have had to cap the numbers at 400 children and have started a waiting list.

The benefits of adequate and consistent nutrition on the immediate, short, and long-term developmental outcomes for children is immense. 100WWCG is proud to partner with Food4Kids Guelph to battle chronic hunger, investing in the present and the future of our smallest, most vulnerable citizens.

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

Press Release October 2022 (G2G Rail Trail)

100 WWCG Supports Signage on the Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail

The Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail, a 132-kilometre abandoned railbed, has been refurbished to become a year-round, easily accessible recreation trail.

Exercise is well known to contribute to our physical health, and there are proven benefits from getting out and enjoying nature to mental health as well. The G2G trail has seen a marked increase in use since the beginning of of the pandemic.

This well graded and volunteer-maintained trail, with 25 access points along its route, is fully inclusive. Cyclists, hikers, and families with strollers can be seen sharing the trail through all seasons.

The trail ends at the north end of the city, where it detours around the active portion of the railway to connect to city trails and downtown Guelph.

The generous donation of $10,000+ from 100 Women Who Care Guelph will be used to improve safety and accessibility along this detour route. Providing a detailed route map, QR codes to locate positioning on Google Maps, and regular “You are Here” markers, the safety of the trail will be increased for all users and will be critical in the case of an emergency.

100WWCG is delighted to find ways to encourage all citizens of Guelph to connect with nature, while bringing awareness to rural agriculture, heritage, and the environment.

To find more information on the fundraising efforts of 100 WWCG, or to become a member and join in contributing to local charities, visit their website at www.100womenwhocareguelph.com.

Press Release June 2022 (Compass Community Services)

100 WWCG Supports Compass Community Services

Compass Community Services (formerly known as Family Counselling and Support Services) was chosen to receive the latest $10,000+ donation from 100 Women Who Care Guelph.

Working toward a vision of a resilient and supported community, Compass Community Services offers support to people in our community through four main pillars. Through their Therapy Services, Developmental Services, Workplace Wellness, and Telephone Support Services programs, they assist those dealing with physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; trauma; financial problems; and developmental challenges.

This generous donation from 100WWCG will go towards their four Telephone Support Lines, which are anonymous, confidential and free to all residents.

In January of 2020, support was offered to 200 individuals per month, utilizing 4 volunteers with limited hours. The program has expanded in 2 ½ years to supporting 3,000 individuals per month, 14 hours a day, seven days a week including holidays, utilizing over 125 trained volunteers.

Their Distress Line provides emotional support through active listening and empathy at times when people may feel stressed, overwhelmed, hopeless, or suicidal.

Their LGTBQ+ Support Line provides an inclusive space to LGTBQ+ youth or those who may be questioning their identity or sexuality.

Their TeleConnect Line sees community members receiving calls offering emotional support, casual conversation, or establishing medical reminders and prompts to support the needs of the individual.

Their Seniors Offering Support line is a telephone visiting services for isolated seniors, helping them combat their loneliness and isolation by sharing stories or reminiscences with other seniors.

Not only do these telephone services help people feel more connected and give them access to the mental health resources they need, but it can literally save lives.

100WWCG is proud to support this critical service for our community members.

To find more information on the fundraising efforts of 100 WWCG, or to become a member and join in contributing to local charities, visit their website at www.100womenwhocareguelph.com.