President’s May Message

This past year has had many challenges for all of us to face and we have more than survived it. Thank you for your participation and support to make it a successful time for CFUW St. Catharines as a club, for our member-ship and for our community. There are so many people to thank:

– The Program Committee and the Virtual Platform team who made it possible for us to safely gather monthly with excellent speakers and have access to Zoom for other meetings and interest groups such as book club and dining.

– The Communication Committee who reviewed and evaluated the Membership Questionnaire results, conducted focus group discussions, established a communication plan, worked endlessly on raising the visibility of the club including promotion for the House and Garden tour, and producing a monthly newsletter to keep us in touch.

– The Advocacy Committee who raised awareness of the issues facing Indigenous Women with involvement in the 16 days of Activism against gender-based violence and highlighting the endless environmental issues where we can make an impact for the future.

– The Membership Committee who so creatively celebrated new members to the club and created a new online membership form that will deal with all the privacy concerns related to online communications.

– The House and Garden Tour committee who have re-established the in-person tour for the first time since 2019, in addition to continuing the virtual tour with assistance from Niagara College. All dollars raised support scholarships for young women and local community agencies that support women and children. Thank you to all of the club members who will volunteer as guides at the homes as I know it takes a minimum of 140 of us to make it successful.

– The Charitable Fund which kept us focused on how the fundraising dollars are spent and the impact on the recipients of the scholarships and contributions.

– The 100th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee who have kept our profile visible in the community and given us a great reason to gather in person to celebrate a century in St. Catharines at Club Roma on May 29.

– All those who kept the interest groups going – virtually and/or in person.

– Gail Neff for the last four years of her leadership and guidance as President and Past President; Lorna Whitty for her timeless detailed work on the budget and Brenda Dolha for her energy and support on Fundraising. We welcome Anne Marie Stockwell as the incoming President and Christine Marks as the incoming Vice-President. Anne Kirkpatrick will replace Christine Marks as Membership Chair.

– Grace-Ann Cambray for your leadership and guidance as the Charitable Fund Chair for the past three years. You leave it in excellent hands for the incoming Chair – Susan Hughes.

– All of the Executive Officers and the Executive Standing Committee members – your support and friendship has made this year so much easier for me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

– All who have been working behind the scenes to support CFUW St. Catharines – so many of you – thank you.

 It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with women who are so committed to a club and to the development of deeper friendships.

CFUW 1920’s Anniversary Picnic

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To celebrate the beginning of the second century of our club, our 100th Anniversary Committee has organized a 1920’s Picnic at Club Roma on Sunday, May 29th, 11 am – 3 pm. There will be boxed lunches and a cash bar. This will be a fun day with special activities like bocce ball, croquet, board games and modified baseball. Contact members of the 100th Anniversary committee by the end of April to purchase your tickets.

Tackling the Environment Crisis: Together We Can

Tackling The Environmental Crisis: Together We Can. Thank you to everyone who took an interest in the three-part webinar series, presented jointly by CFUW-Nepean /-Kanata /-Ottawa,

As promised, recordings of these webinars are now accessible on YouTube.

Webinar No. 1 with Rebecca Prince-Ruiz — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqBUyCOKeNM

Webinar No. 2 with Diana Beresford-Kroeger and Bill Steer — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErPwncR17oI&t=2s

Webinar No. 3 with Seth Klein and Sabah Ibrahim — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAdgNwpY2BY

1. Recommendations for reducing plastic waste

See https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/what-others-do/

To learn about Rebecca’s book please visit: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/a/9780231198622

Suggestions for action:

  • Get the conversation going about reducing single-use plastic. Do what you can.
  • Communicate with the grocery store owners to express your concerns about plastic packaging.
  • Refuse any plastic straws, plastic cutlery, plastic bottles or take-out containers made of plastic at hotels, restaurants, fast food outlets, so that business owners will think again. Mention the subject in any reviews you submit online.
  • Encourage local, provincial and federal governments to adopt a “circular economy.”
  • Reduce, reuse, repurpose, repair or recycle items made of plastic, regift toys made of plastic… and generally rethink your use of plastic at home. Avoid acquiring what you do not need.
  • Try meeting the Plastic Free July challenge, living without plastics for a month, or buying as few items as possible that contain plastic or are wrapped in plastic. Find alternatives to cling wrap; research other ways to keep food fresh.
  • Take part in a park or waterfront clean-up, or initiate one yourself.
  • Raise awareness that cigarette butts contain plastic and toxins and do not easily decompose.

2. Recommendations for restoring the global forest

See https://dianaberesford-kroeger.com

Diana’s books include The Sweetness of a Simple Life, The Global Forest, Arboretum Borealis: A Lifeline of the Planet, Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest and A Garden for Life. A feature-documentary about her work, the Canadian Screen Awards-nominated Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, appeared in 2017. Her latest book is To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey From Ancient Celtic Wisdom To a Healing Vision of the Forest. To find out more about these books, please see: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/185368/diana-beresford-kroeger

To book a visit to the Canadian Ecology Centre, please go to: www.canadianecology.ca

Suggestions for action:

  • Host a screening of Diana’s film, The Call Of The Forest, in your community.
  • Encourage your friends and neighbours to plant and protect trees. Plant and maintain native trees in your neighbourhood or on your property.
  • Learn about native trees and their advantages, find a sapling or germinate the seed of a tree and plant it appropriately. “Everyone needs to plant one native tree per year for the next six years.”
  • Plant a native tree or grove of trees in honour of someone special to you.
  • Form letter-writing teams to advocate for the conservation of wild, natural areas in your region and protest against any proposed development that threatens native species by writing letters to your representatives at municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

3. Recommendations for Climate Change mitigation

To learn more about or order Seth’s book, A Good War, please see: https://www.sethklein.

To learn more about the Climate Emergency Unit (CEU), visit: https://www.climateemergencyunit.ca

To sign up for the CEU’s newsletter, so you can stay informed about the CEU’s various campaigns, do so here.

Suggestions for action:

  • To learn about the Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign, and to sign on, please visit https://www.ontarioclimateemergency.caas a result of our project, CFUW National and CFUW Ontario Council are already added to the list of signatories supporting this campaign!
  • Work on a personal plan to reduce your purchase of unnecessary luxuries and to travel less, or to travel in more environmentally-friendly ways.
  • Book an energy audit and consider alternative sources of energy and means of insulation at your home.
  • Walk, cycle or use public transport more.
  • Advocate for rapid installation and deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Contact your municipality or provincial representatives to demand rapid installation and deployment of electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Advocate for a better intercity rail service instead of more, or wider highways.
  • Advocate for a sustainable, regenerative, zero emissions economy.
  • Form letter-writing teams to urge the government to end fossil fuel subsidies immediately and rapidly wind down the use of fossil fuels.

President’s April Message

As we move into spring, I am more and more aware of the environment outside.

I had the opportunity to spend a week with my grandchildren in March and we had a healthy discussion on the environment and the impact that we make every day. My 13-year-old granddaughter profoundly proclaimed that it’s the little things that each of us do that together can make a big difference. We had a lengthy discussion about the overuse of plastics, cars, etc. It was time to reflect upon my own actions in life. Attending Earth Day in St. Catharines three years ago, I listened to a speaker from the Indigenous community who reminded everyone that the actions we take today will have a long-term influence – impacting people seven generations from now. Very thought provoking.

At the beginning of 2022, I made a commitment to no longer purchase plastic bags but that week with my granddaughter I got caught needing one. I have since added a collapsible fabric bag as one of the essentials in my purse. My refillable water bottle using tap water is my source of hydration. My bicycle and legs are wonderful sources for getting around but for long distances my car is the answer. While I have moved to a hybrid vehicle to help the environment, it also helps the pocketbook. Additions to my garden attract bees and butterflies.

Travelling on Vancouver Island is an eye –opener. Liquor stores are charging twenty-five cents for a paper bag. The fish and chips shop by the Fish Market in Victoria has gone totally green – everything used was recyclable (forks, spoons, containers, cups). It’s refreshing to see a small shop being committed and able to make the transition from Styrofoam to a product that is even better. Let’s hope that more take-out food companies adapt to this type of material.

While I grew up at a time that brown paper bags were used in grocery stores, milk came in bottles, water for drinking came from the tap, push lawnmowers were the norm, things have changed, and we have been part of that change. It’s now time to look at what we can do to make a difference for the future generations. Every little thing counts. Let’s be part of that change every day!

www.earthday.ca www.earthday.org

President’s March Message

Many great things are happening within the club even though we are not meeting in person. First, there is the revision of several club documents. The job descriptions are being updated (original ones are still on the website). The privacy policies and the procedures and guidelines are being reviewed and updated to comply with legislation and/or internal club decisions. There is an ambitious group that is developing an online renewal form for members that will help ensure your personal privacy requests. The team promises there will be support for all members to complete it.

The Advocacy committee is very active and includes an article in every newsletter. The House and Garden Tour is only three and a half months away and plans are moving forward. This is our principal fundraiser. The team cannot do it without your support. Please assist in making this a success with donating a few hours of your time as a guide on June 5th. It is a wonderful way to get to know other club members and to let the community know what great work CFUW St. Catharines does.

The executive is planning (if all is clear) to return to in-person meetings in September. The Program Committee undertook a review of many possible meeting locations and has secured the Grantham Lions Club on Niagara Street. It is fully accessible with easy parking, in a safe area and at a reasonable cost. The room set up will be similar to what we had at St. John Ukrainian Hall with tables and chairs. We would like to thank everyone for their many location suggestions. We are so looking forward to being able to get together in person.

We are in discussion with Brock University to determine if we can partner with students and professors in the Experiential Learning Course for the development of a strategic plan for our club this fall. Some may ask why a strategic plan. A strategic plan helps the club to identify the current challenges and opportunities that we face and identify a direction the club hopes to grow and develop over the next three-to-five- year time frame. Goals and objectives would be established that align with the vision and mission of CFUW St. Catharines. We would evaluate the outcomes which would help us in our decision making. Membership is definitely an area we need to look at in detail.

Kattawe Henry, our speaker for February, gave us lots to consider. Our speaker in March will provide more thoughts to consider.

I am pleased to report that CFUW National office has relocated to a smaller and less expensive office space at Rideau Community Hub. The new address is Room #230, 815 St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 3A7. The phone number, toll-free numbers and email addresses remain the same.

February, although the shortest month of the year, has had a lot of challenging weather. Thank heavens for the Canadians excelling at the Olympics. How proud we are of all participants. The work and determination that it takes to get there is incredible.

Stay safe as the province begins to reopen. Happy International Women’s Day on March 8.

Submitted by Maureen Shantz, President

President’s February Message

I had the privilege of co-hosting with CFUW West Vancouver, a Peer-to-Peer conversation with GWI members and CFUW GWI opt-in clubs on January 21. More than 80 members from around the world including Nepal, India, Kenya, the United States and Canada shared their thoughts and concerns about the impact of Covid on the education of girls and women and the potential solutions. Some of the issues identified included:

– The increase in pregnancy among young women

– The impact of decreased socialization on mental health

– The lack of internet and need to use radios for education

– The lack of computer supplies for education

– The pressures on women to provide support for education of children and to continue to work

– The pressures of decreased income on families

– The lack of incentive to continue in school

– The lack of qualified teachers, the lack of training to do online teaching, limited salary in many countries

Kenya identified that many of their schools lack proper washrooms for girls which impacts them severely during their menstrual cycle.

These important discussions broadened my knowledge of the issues concerning young women outside of Canada. It’s important that we understand the broader world. GWI enables us to do this. • 740 million have been forced out of school

  • 11 million girls won’t return to school
  • Global GDP will be impacted by $10 billion over the next 10 years

To read more: UNESCO – Keeping Girls in the Picture. The information gathered from the conversations is being shared by GWI on January 24 during the United Nations International Day of Education. We are proud to have been part of the discussion and have offered some potential solutions that we hope will be moved forward to improve the education of girls and women throughout the world.

Amplify the Message!

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Calling all members! Your CFUW Advocacy committee has organized a letter writing campaign to show our support for Anti Human Trafficking education and resources that are urgently needed in our local Niagara schools. We need your help to send a clear message that this is important to CFUW members.

On January 3, 2022, a letter from CFUW President Maureen Shantz will be going out to every high school principal in the Niagara Region and to the two Directors of Education – the Public and Catholic School Boards.

To send your own letters of support to the Directors of Education, click the following links, print the letters, sign your name and mail.

District School Board of Niagara letter

Niagara Catholic District School Board letter

Why a letter writing campaign? CFUW wants to send a strong message to educators that action must be taken now on Human Trafficking in our Niagara Schools. Programs and resources need to be created within schools to educate students and staff about Awareness, Prevention and Detection of Human Trafficking, with the goal of providing students with a safe and supportive environment.

 

Timeline:

June 2021: Ontario Gov’t updated the anti-human trafficking strategy https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontarios-anti-human-trafficking-strategy-2020-2025

June 3, 2021: Bill 251: Combatting Human Trafficking Act from the Ontario Legislative Assembly was given Royal Assent

July 6, 2021: Ministry of Education sent out to schools, Boards of Education: Policy/Program 166, Keeping Students Safe: Policy Framework for School Board Anti-Sex Trafficking Protocol. https://www.ontario.ca/document/education-ontario-policy-and-program-direction/policyprogram
The link below sums up quite nicely the goals of Policy 166.
https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000467/ontario-acts-to-protect-students-from-sex-trafficking

President’s January Message

The ending of the year is a good time to reflect on some of the positives of 2021.

As a club we…

– celebrated our 100th anniversary – in many ways, virtually, but with great gusto and grace

– had an entire year of monthly meetings and speakers face-to-face on Zoom – we’ve learned so much, even managing break-out rooms

had a very successful virtual Garden Tour, thanks to our partnership with Niagara College, that raised more than $20,000 through Eventbrite, YouTube and sponsorships

– saw the formation of a very active advocacy team

– as individuals, we were able to receive two vaccines to combat Covid-19.

 There have been many difficult weeks where we have all been unable to connect in person with family and friends during times of health and illness. It has not been easy. News of the continuing pandemic is a difficult way to start 2022. I encourage you to reach out to other members.

 As individuals, we need to look after our own mental health. Take these quiet months to learn something new or to explore the many beautiful hiking trails in Niagara Region and All Trailsnearby. You can safely play cards online with friends. Create or join a walking group, a book club, and/or connect with St. Catharines Older Adult Centres in the area to learn about new programs being offered. Eventbrite has many free events that take you to different areas throughout the world. Stay busy – both mentally and physically and stay connected. It will help you to get through the grey days of winter.

 While large group meetings may not be on the agenda for the remainder of the year, we will do our best to offer you quality speakers and meetings. We will return in person when it is safe to do so. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

President’s December Message

Our 100th Anniversary:

Canada, as a nation, was 54 years young when CFUW St. Catharines first came to life as an organization in 1921. What an incredible group of women to have had the foresight and vision in establishing this chapter – one that is vibrant and very active today. We thank all who have so generously contributed to the ongoing success and value it has provided to women in our community during the past 100 years.

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 epidemic has challenged the celebration of our 100th anniversary in the style that we had originally planned. However, with creative thinking and the use of the internet, the 100th Anniversary liaison committee, the Virtual Garden Tour committee, the Program Committee, social media team and Advocacy group forged ahead and have provided countless ways to publicly demonstrate our continuing presence and importance in the community. A special thank you to everyone who has contributed to make this a great celebration to remember. Please take the time to read History of CFUW St. Catharines on our website. As we now enter the second century of our club – what role can we take on? Our actions today will make an impact for women in the future – The Power of Women Working Together!

 16 Days of Activism Flag Raising

I had the opportunity to proudly represent CFUW St. Catharines at the initial flag raising on November 25th at Niagara Region headquarters to recognize the 16 Days of Activism. As Chair Jim Bradley commented – it is more than raising a flag, it has great significance. It states that the region recognizes the need to provide a safe community for women and girls. Chair Bradley acknowledged that he has heard how much courage it takes for a woman to come forward and share her story. He recognized the tragedy of the missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada and expressed a need for a safe environment for all women and girls. The need for support is huge for both groups. The region is providing education as part of their commitment to the 16 Days of Activism campaign. Many thanks to the Niagara Region’s women’s advisory committee and Jean Tonogai, chair of our Advocacy Committee for successfully bringing this to the forefront within our community.