President’s October Message 2022

What a fantastic turnout for our first in person meeting in September! Such excitement and enthusiasm! It was a delight to see so many friends while making new ones as well. There were so many interesting people. The sign-up tables were very busy and members were excited at being able to participate in interest groups and activities again. Let’s keep up the momentum!

Thank you to Maureen Chudyk for volunteering to assist Pat Paulin with the website, and to Michelle DeJonghe who is our new Email Coordinator. Now, we just need you to volunteer if you aren’t already! It would be lovely to have everyone involved, making this a true member-run club! Check the website, find out the area that interests you and contact the chair. They will be pleased to harness your interest for the greater good of all of us.

We will be having a COBS Bread fund raiser starting at our October meeting. Tickets will be $25.00 each and are redeemable for bread over a 14-month period. Since this yummy bread usually sells from $4.00 to over $7.00 a loaf, it’s a great deal! An email fully explaining the COBS Bread Raiser will be sent to each member soon. We have 300 tickets to sell! Our club will receive 50% of the profits! One of our members mentioned she is buying one ticket for each of her children for Christmas. Brilliant!

Many of our members have filled in the membership forms and paid their dues, however not all have responded. Please make an effort to complete your form, pay your dues and contribute to the Club and/or Charitable Fund if you can as soon as possible (and before October 12) so we can update our records and submit our numbers to National and OC.

Don’t forget to bring your own beverage to the meeting.

Let’s work together to make this a very special year for all of us at CFUW!

Submitted by Anne Marie Stockwell, President

Take Back the Night

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Gender-Based Violence on Post-Secondary Campuses

Research has shown that one in five women will experience sexual assault while studying at post-secondary institutions. Women with intersecting identities including Indigenous women, women of colour, LGBTQ2S+ and women with disabilities face higher rates of violence.

CFUW advocates that colleges and universities must continue to update their sexual violence and harassment policies to ensure a safe post-secondary campus environment.  In 2017, CFUW surveyed Canadian universities and colleges to compare current policies on gender-based violence.  The findings of the research were published in the Sexual Violence and Harassment Policies in Post-Secondary Institutions in Canada Final Report in 2020. Click on the link to view this interesting research project.

Last fall the students at Western University in London staged a rally demanding the University administration take steps to create a safe environment in which to work and study. The University responded expediently and in May 2022 released a document detailing the many changes they plan to implement.

These were the words of Alan Shepard, President of Western: “We have listened to our campus community and our expert partners. Together with them, we want to be leaders in the work to prevent gender-based violence from happening on university campuses and throughout society.” Read the complete Global news release by clicking on this link:

Western University unveils plan to tackle gender-based and sexual violence on campus | Globalnews.ca

Reference: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2020001/article/00005-eng.htm

President’s September Message 2022

What a joy to be together again in person this year! Zoom did help to keep us together during the interim, but there is nothing like an in-person smile, shake of the hand or hug!

Given the circumstances in the past couple of years, we have done well. Thanks to our virtual meetings we have been able to keep in touch with our terrific executive. Many thanks to our Past-President Maureen Shantz for her dedicated leadership during these difficult times as well as our Committee Chairs and their fantastic members. I can’t help but marvel at the work they have done this past year. Not an easy task given they worked mostly virtually.

The Communication, Program, Advocacy committees and our House and Garden Tour Group are a marvel! At the last meeting in May, we were updated on all the achievements of these groups. If you missed it, please refer to our website. There is so much information to refer to or find out about there. Be sure to check it often. The Brochure has all the presenters for our meetings outlined. It is so inviting you’ll want to check it often. An organization chart has also been added for your convenience.

National is still trying to decide on our new name. Some names considered are: Canadian Federation of United Women; Canadian Federation of Universal Women and a few others. These and others were trying to save the CFUW initials. Other names are also considered which do not have the same letters. If you have a suggestion, I’m happy to forward it to National for consideration.

I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president this year. As you know, last year was not one of my better years, but I pledge to do my best. I will need your support. If I ask, please say “Yes”. I promise nothing I ask of you will be too onerous and I know you will enjoy the position. We still have a few positions to fill, one is a Fundraising Chair. The other, someone who will send emails to our members. Training and help will be provided. No job is demanding if we all chip in!

At our first meeting in September, you will be able to sign up for the many interest groups. Also, if there is someone who would like to start an interest group, speak with Susan Middleton who is our Interest Group Coordinator. Please take the time to check our website.

To save paper and cost, note that messages will appear on the website to keep us up to date on everything CFUW. That way each of us will be aware of what’s new and information important to all of us. Our newsletter is full of interesting information. Be sure to read it. It is a wealth of information!

Please get in touch with me with any suggestions for our club. I’ll be happy to hear from you.

Remember: People who help others become fuller versions of themselves.

Submitted by Anne Marie Stockwell, President

Forced out by Climate Change?

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Join CaMeUs (CFUW, Mexican Federation of University Women, and Women-Graduates-USA) for a webinar exploring migration that has resulted from extreme climate change worldwide. Panelists will concentrate on causes, results, and proactive approaches to preparing for climate migrants in North America. This session was first organized by CaMeUs members in Canada (CFUW) , Mexico (FEMU) and USA (WG-USA) as part of the Commission on the Status of Women March 2022, when there was a Zoom problem with the video.

“Forced Out by Climate Change? Proactive Planning in North America” will take place on Friday, September 9 at 4pm ET. 

GWI – Press Release – RE: World Youth Skills Day

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On World Youth Skills Day, Graduate Women International urges states to invest in quality
education and training for young women and girls. GWI calls on states to implement programmes that empower young women and girls through
providing them with the skills needed for a career, in order to eliminate the gender employment gap.

To read full press release, click here.

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