I attended the United Way Awards night, at the end of March, with Mary Jane Waszynski and Angie Mannella and was amazed by all the organizations that work together to provide services to those in need in the Niagara Region. Two of our members, Karen MacKay and Heidi Burgess received the Anita Robertson award for volunteerism.
Our members not only help raise money for scholarships, but also give of their time. I want to acknowledge the ones I know about who quietly work behind the scenes. If you know of others, please tell me. I’ve learned a lot about this club this year, but still have much more to learn.
CFUW Children’s Nutrition Program.
In 2017, the Interest Group, Jaunters, went to the Harriet Tubman Public School in St. Catharines and discovered that their Breakfast Program, funded by Niagara Nutrition Partners, needed to serve more children than the governmental budget allowed. On the recommendation of the Jaunters Group, the Charitable Fund Executive voted to donate part of the funds designated for the cancelled Gift of Reading Program to the Breakfast Program. Heather Sloan was then asked to chair a committee to determine whether CFUW could help in other ways. It was determined that the breakfast program, which already had volunteers preparing the food, needed extra adult help to support a positive breakfast experience for the very large number of children served and thus the Harriet Tubman Breakfast Program was established.
Coordinated by Heather Sloan, it started as a daily morning program at the Harriet Tubman Public School from 7:45-8:45 AM each weekday morning. However, at the request of Niagara Nutrition Partners, this Program was expanded in 2018 to include four more schools and was renamed CFUW Children’s Nutrition Program.
Currently, each volunteer has a different duty depending on the needs of her school, but all interact with the children, encouraging positive dialogue, modeling positive interactions and doing their best to provide a warm, friendly breakfast environment for the beginning of the day.
The volunteers at Harriet Tubman are: Marge Stark, Mary Bondarchuk, Maureen Shantz, Heather Sloan, and Mary McAndrews. At Ferndale they are Judith Yovanovich, Judith Fetter and Donna Greenall. At Edith Cavell: Joanne McKay; at St. Christopher: Nancy McAndrews, and Jean Poitier; at St. Theresa: Brenda Dolha. Current Subs are: Karen Erin, Sandra Watson, Grace-Ann Cambray, and coming on this spring, Anne Koppel and Jean Tonogai.
The ChitChat Interest Group was started in 2017 by Martha Abra to help immigrants to Canada improve their conversational English. Between four and six CFUW members meet with newcomers for an hour on Wednesday afternoons at the Niagara Folk Arts Centre. Conversations are structured around a Topic Sheet for the week, but lots of other ground is covered as well in free-wheeling discussions.
The volunteers are: Martha Abra, Jane Barnet, Donna Greenall, Diane Hockey, Karen Lampman, Sharon Lawlor, Tammy Morris, Denise Papaiz, Maureen Shantz, Yvonne Stevenson, Wanda Trojan, Ellen Wodchis and Olga Zwozda. Other volunteers this year have included Terry Rotella, Liina Veer, and Sandra Watson.
Syrian Family Resettlement
The Syrian Family Resettlement initiative was initiated by Denise Bradden. She and her dedicated committee consisting of Heather Hall, Linda Emslie, Irmgard Penner, Sue Hughes, Jan Tanouye, Marge Stark, Yvonne Stevenson and Mary-Anne deRoy started fundraising in September 2015. The whole club rallied to the call for donations of money, clothing and household items. The group’s official responsibility lasted for a year, but many are still involved.