President’s September Message

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Welcome to the first newsletter of our new club year. It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end. Hopefully you have been able to safely connect with your family and friends. It has been so good for me to be able to see some family and have some long overdue hugs.

This is my first message to you as President of St. Catharines CFUW. We have so many people to thank for all of the hard work that they have done this past year. While we did that in May, I would like to thank Barb Legg and her Virtual Garden Tour team for a successful fundraiser during June and July, through the remarkable teamwork with Niagara College. Wow – unbelievable. It allows us to continue with our awards and bursaries for young women’s education and local agencies.

The summer has opened our eyes and our hearts to the challenges of young girls and women within our own country and others. The discovery of multiple unmarked graves at residential schools is difficult to comprehend and accept. Most recently, the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan leaves the future of women and education unknown there. We may not be able to change the past, but we can make a difference in the future. Stay informed.

Some changes are happening since our last meeting in May. Thank you to Elma Kimpel for her years of dedication and photography, Liina Veer as Chair of Advocacy, Valerie Parke for Document Storage and Karen Erin as Program Chair. Welcome to Barb Leslie as our lead photographer (amongst her other hats), Jean Tonogai for stepping into Advocacy, Carol Clarke as Program Chair and Susan Middleton as Interest Groups Coordinator. My apologies if I missed others.

While we have been virtual for the most part this past year – we have been very productive. We have a dynamic team that is looking to keeping us connected and well informed this fall. Stay tuned and stay involved.

Submitted by Maureen Shantz, President, CFUW St Catharines

2021 Fundraising Campaign Exceeds Goal

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100th Anniversary Campaign raises over $21,100  for young women’s scholarships

 August 3, 2021   –  CFUW St. Catharines ends its 2021 fundraising campaign on a high note, raising $21,100 for young women’s scholarships, and agencies that assist women and children.

Gratitude is expressed by the virtual event organizers and Club members to the host gardeners, presenters, event sponsors, Niagara College, and supporters of the 100th Anniversary Campaign.

The funds raised will ensure that 18 young women receive scholarships, bursaries and awards in 2022. The monies are distributed to students attending Brock University, high schools, the Adult Learning Centres and local agencies that support women and children.

“We raised $21,100  through sponsorships, online donations and the sale of more than 850 tickets, which surpassed our expectations,” said Maureen Shantz, Club president. “We are indebted to Niagara College, which receives two, previously established endowed bursaries, for their technical expertise and video production services in providing quality, high-calibre virtual garden tours for our virtual audience.”

“The community truly supported us. Our virtual audience was very pleased with the calibre of the event and the gardeners whose properties were showcased are delighted with the outcome – it was a win-win-win for everyone,” added Barb Legg, committee Co-Chair.

CFUW St. Catharines is a voluntary, self-funded, non-partisan, non-profit organization, committed to raising funds for young women’s post-secondary education and local agencies. There are approximately 100 clubs across Canada that are members of CFUW National, which also supports international efforts to improve the lives of girls and women world-wide. Locally, monthly meetings are held from September to May, with presentations on community issues and topics of general interest.  Members undertake advocacy work and participate in social activism on initiatives to remove barriers to women’s full participation in society.

Residents interested in learning more about the Club and how to become a member, can visit www.cfuwstcatharines.org for more information.

Contact:

Maureen Shantz, President, CFUW St. Catharines    905-325-8437

Barb Legg, Co-Chair, Virtual Garden Tour Committee  905-688-4175

Fact Sheet –  Campaign Sponsors

Production Partner and Friend

  • Niagara College

 Platinum Sponsor  

  • Kirkor Architects & Planners

 Silver Sponsor

  • Andrew’s Tree & Shrub Care
  • Cat’s Caboose Dining Coach and Bar Car
  • Lancaster Brooks & Welch LLP
  • Sullivan Mahoney LLP

Bronze Sponsor

  • Patricia Boyko, Donro Financial
  • Skyway Lawn Equipment Limited
  • Nicole Lalonde, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
  • Patrick Little, Heelis Little Almas & Murray LLP
  • Raw Tibicos, Leslie Payne-Zimmer

 Continued Sponsorships

  • Avondale Food Stores
  • Stark Lumber
  • David Shapiro, Barrister and Solicitor
  • Salon Alessandro
  • Margaret Vail RE/MAX

Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries

 Brock University Awards:

CFUW Eleanor Shaw Award

CFUW Lily Bell Memorial Award for English

CFUW St. Catharines Bursary

CFUW Gail Jenkyns Memorial Bursary

CFUW St. Catharines 100th Anniversary Scholarship

Niagara College Awards:

CFUW Laura Sabia Bursary

CFUW St. Catharines Bursary

Math Awards:

High School Math Awards to each high school in St. Catharines

Adult Education Awards

Scientifically Yours

Niagara Regional Science Fair

Other:

Niagara Symphony Music Camp Bursary

 

Vote for Girls Education

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Out of 400+ entries, GWI was selected as a #GGPhotoContest finalist and they need your help to win up to $1,000 in support of Girls Education for Brighter Futures. Be sure to tell your friends and family. You can vote here: https://www.globalgiving.org/poll/vote/?pollOptionId=1604

Anti-Trafficking Resolution Press Release

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Mississauga, Ont. May 15, 2021: The Annual Meeting of the Canadian Federation of University Women/Ontario Council, representing 49 chapters throughout Ontario, passed and gave full support to a Resolution concerning Human Trafficking Awareness, Prevention and Detection.
 

Human Trafficking Awareness, Prevention and Detection

Resolved, that Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Ontario Council urges the Ontario Provincial Government to urgently adopt mandatory instruction in Ontario’s Elementary and Secondary Schools as well as mandatory teacher training to prevent future victimization by educating all students and train all educators to be alert to the luring and coercive control techniques used by human traffickers and similar predators via tools and methods including, but not limited to:

  1. that the Ontario Provincial Government make mandatory additions to the Grade 9 and 10 Health and Physical Education Curriculum how to recognize unhealthy relationships specifically the coercive control and luring techniques used by human traffickers and similar predators, this will complement the Grade 1 to 8 Health and Physical Education Curriculum that includes age-appropriate learning that helps protect students from human trafficking;
  2. that the Ontario Provincial Government require all Ontario educators, both elementary and secondary, complete a mandatory annual anti-human trafficking digital training on awareness, prevention, detection and duty to report followed by comprehension assessment.

This resolution on Human Trafficking was initially researched by a retired teacher concerned about some of her students. She had not recognized or understood what was happening to them.

Sex trafficking is local and home-grown. According to Statistic Canada, Ontario, which accounts for 39% of the total Canadian population, has accounted for just over two-thirds (68%) of all police-reported human trafficking incidents since 2009. The Ontario Government, recognizing this, has created the antihuman trafficking strategy, being enacted via Bill 126. This adopted resolution hopes to encourage the government to look beyond its available current resources, and to establish mandatory training for all teachers.

Background:
Ontario Council of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is a voluntary, self-funded,
non-profit organization with 49 chapters across the province, which is affiliated with the national CFUW, which has NGO consultative status with the United Nations.

Our mandate is to promote education and life-long learning, to encourage the participation of members in their communities and to enhance the status of women and girls.

Our main concerns include high quality public education, universal health care, a clean safe environment, the economic security of women as well as the prevention of violence against women.

Sandra Thomson
President, CFUW Ontario Council
president.cfuwontario@gmail.com

CFUW ONTARIO COUNCIL
www.cfuwontcouncil.org | info@cfuwontcouncil | Twiitter @CFUWOntCouncil www.facebook.com/CFUWOntarioCouncil
|Instagram @cfuwoncouncil
 

President’s May Message

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I have been so pleased by all our club has accomplished this year. I have been energized from seeing an increase in participation of so many members in a variety of committees. The Program, Virtual Platform, Communication, Advocacy, Garden Tour, Membership, 100th Anniversary and Charitable Fund Committees have all grown with new life and new ideas. I believe this is the result of the efforts of three Past-Presidents, Heather Hall, Nancy Ferris-Hostick, and Mary Jane Waszynski, in addition to those of the dynamic and imaginative Chairs. These committees have tapped into the talents of both long- time and newer members resulting in the exciting development of new club operations and initiatives, even during this time of limitations. I want to give a big shout out to you all!

I want to thank Newsletter Editor and coordinator of all email send outs, Anne Bisson, for doing such a magnificent job of keeping us informed and connected during this year of isolation. Thanks also to Elma Kimpel for keeping our spirits up with fun head shots, and to Pat Paulin, Webmaster, for keeping us visible to the community at large.

The past three years have seen great changes in my life as well as changes in the way our club operates. Thank you all for your sustaining support during the tough times. I am confident the new leadership of our club by Maureen Shantz and Anne-Marie Stockwell, bodes well for future accomplishments.

Afghan Peace Negotiations: Their Perilous Significance for the Women in Afghanistan

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Webinar – April 24, 2021

11:00 am – 12:30pm EDT

Click here to register

A Graduate Women International (GWI) Membership Marketplace NFA-to-NFA Partnership Project Webinar organized by the Canadian

Federation of University Women (CFUW) and GWI-Netherlands (GWI-NL)

Webinar Concept Notes

 Afghan women are asking for our help: we must listen to them and add our voices to theirs. At the 24 April Webinar, three remarkable Afghan women will tell us personally what must be done to ensure women’s rights in the present Afghan Peace Talks. Please join for this important interactive event.

Peace talks between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban have given the people of Afghanistan optimism that the 40 years of violence and war will end. But they do not want peace at any price and are extremely concerned that the Taliban will try to return the country the dark days of 1996 when women were forced to remain in their homes, veiled from head to foot, denied education and medical care, and whipped, stoned, and killed for small or imagined crimes. They have good reason to be afraid.

THE CLOCK CANNOT BE TURNED BACK

The past 20 years have seen women and girls return to school, take their places in all levels of society and work in public service, justice, security services and a range of other occupations. Their rights are guaranteed within the current Constitution and so it remains crucial. The vast majority of Afghans do not want a peace agreement that denies women schooling. They believe women should be able to work outside the home, particularly in occupations such as teaching and in medical settings. There is strong support for women to seek leadership positions.

BUT

In many areas currently controlled by the Taliban schools have been closed. Parents fear for their children’s safety and remove their children from school. Women are being forced to leave jobs. The last year has seen more attacks and greater violence than at any time in the last 20 years.

WOMEN ARE BEING KILLED

Over the past year the Taliban and other insurgents have targeted places such as maternity hospitals and girls’ schools to murder and intimidate women and their families. Female leaders such as judges, media personalities, and heads of women’s organizations have been assassinated. They tried to kill a woman on the Afghan government negotiating team. There is said to be a “hit list” of high-profile women to be executed. Many women have been forced to flee.

THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY

More than 60 per cent of the Afghan population are between 0 and 24 years old. Without a safe, educated, inclusive society, the country will be fertile ground for extremists to attract disaffected youth to their ranks. Girls and boys, men and women, need a chance to have peaceful, productive lives and not be forced to endure an oppressive, violent future.

THE FUTURE FOR OTHER COUNTRIES

With the legitimacy given them, and the concessions gained through negotiations with the United States, the Taliban are looking and feeling like victors already. Other fundamentalist groups such as Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-Shabab in other Muslim-majority countries are watching closely and being encouraged. Women in these countries could also see a life as second class citizens.

NO COUNTRY CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT THE PRODUCTIVITY OF HALF THEIR CITIZENS.

 

 

President’s April Message

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The endless violence and destruction in Afghanistan has been in world-wide news for at least 40 years. It is a country a bit smaller than Texas but with more people.  A quarter of the population lives in urban areas while the rest of the people are mostly agricultural workers in the countryside. Almost all are Muslims, but they are divided into about 20 ethnic groups, each with a distinct language and culture which partly explains why it has been so difficult for them to unite into a modern nation. It is bordered by Russia (Communism), Pakistan (backing the Taliban), and Iran (backing Al Qaeda) and all have been involved in hostilities along with the US, the UK and Canada as part of the NATO peace-keeping force.

Some other details were filled in for me several years ago when I attended a CFUW Welland meeting and heard Murwarid Ziayee, then the National Director of Canadian Women for Women of Afghanistan (CW4WA) speak about her beautiful, mountainous homeland and what it was like for her as a woman raising a family to live there. The situation was even more dire than I imagined and with increasing threats whenever she left the house, she and her family had to emigrate to Canada. She ended her talk with ways women of the world could help: fundraise to help girls go to school and lobby our government to participate in the peace process. She stressed that the Afghan voice alone is weak and needs to be strengthened with that of international partners.  Now with Zoom meetings available, it might be possible to have her or another activist speak to us in the future.

This past February, I registered for a joint Zoom meeting being presented by the GWI NFA2NFA* Partner Project between CFUW and GWI-Netherlands. Both countries have been active in learning about, discussing the issues and developing an Advocacy Tool kit. The topic was “The Significance of Ongoing Afghanistan Peace Negotiations for Afghan Women.” One speaker was Dr. Lauryn Oates, from Vancouver, who among her many titles is the Executive Director for CW4WA. She likened the plight of Afghan women to being “Canaries in the Coal Mine”. The maintenance of rights for women often determines the success of peace negotiations for the country. What is happening to women in Afghanistan is happening elsewhere in the world. The price for stopping the violence and killing is often the loss of women’s rights. The other speaker was Salma Alokozai, an activist and the CW4WA Country Director, speaking in the middle of the night from Kabul. They both described the unsatisfactory negotiations starting in February 2020 when the US actually signed an agreement to stop the violence during peace talks with the Taliban without the participation of the democratic Afghan government! Although promised, the Taliban refused to stop the campaign of attacks and assassinations, and between March and June the violence was the highest in the last 19 years. Many journalists, activists and women have had to leave the country. The Taliban want to change the Constitution to remove rights of many, including women, and the democratic institutions are in danger. The Taliban has not negotiated in good faith, and there is disaster in the offing if forces keeping the peace are removed too soon. Women could be forced to return to the dark days of Islamic apartheid, be incarcerated in their homes, required to wear veils, be accompanied by men, and be denied education, employment and health care. Their position is perilous because few women’s voices are heard at the peace table, and terrifying bomb blasts and gunfire prevail. Notably, the Taliban have included no women on their 21-member negotiating team. The Afghans have included four women on theirs, so of the total of 42 members on the complete team, only four are women!

Remarkably, despite threats, there are many women’s groups in Afghanistan that are joining forces and demanding that the negotiations result in peace with dignity. They fear that negotiations will result in trading rights for education for both girls and boys for lack of violence. The Taliban claim of support for education is belied by their actions. Many schools are presently closed in Taliban controlled areas. Although they recently threatened to restrict girl’s education to the third grade, they have backed away from that at the moment.

CFUW Ottawa has been learning about this human tragedy since 2010 when a small group of members were inspired by a talk given by Dr. Sima Samar, a human rights activist. They were shocked to learn the plight of women in her country, but also discovered that education was their hope. So, they formed a Study and Interest group called University Women Helping Afghanistan Women, (UWHAW). When Dr. Simar was asked what Canadians could do to help Afghan women, she suggested they share their campaign with other women’s groups. And the CFUW Ottawa Club has done just that. As they became more informed, they were invited to be speakers at local women’s organizations and other CFUW clubs. They have written to the Prime Minister and other senior Canadian officials urging Canada to play a leading role in the ongoing peace talks. They have presented seminars and workshops at National AGMs across Canada, at the GWI Triennials in Istanbul, Turkey and Cape Town, South Africa, and presented a Parallel Session at the 2014 UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Along the way, GWI has been extremely supportive by highlighting their activities on their website and in their programme materials. The imminent need for international participation in the peace process resulted in the design of a six-month project replicating the process of the UWHAW but included working with other NFAs. The project got National approval and was accepted by GWI for the NFA2NFA platform. GWI-Netherlands asked to join them, and their first webinar was the one I described above.

The final webinar is on April 24, 2021 and will feature three remarkable Afghan women including one of the women peace negotiators, and a moderator from the EU. The GWI network can potentially reach 15,000 educated women in 75 countries! Those interested can replicate the project in their own club. As CFUW Ottawa says “We can use our GWI voices across our globe to strengthen those of the Afghan women. Together we can encourage our governments to hear these courageous and articulate women, and work with them and their government towards a permanent and just peace not only for these women, but for their daughters and granddaughters. These women, who have suffered through 40 years of war, need and deserve our support at this critical period. Let their voices be heard.” Watch for the invite link to register on the GWI website.

*(NFAs: National Federations and Associations are members of GWI. There is one NFA per country.)

Vaccination Support Committee

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Effective Wednesday April 7th, if you were born in 1961 or earlier, the Provincial online portal & call centre is open for registration for a Covid-19 vaccination appointment.  In addition, many pharmacies and physicians across Niagara also have vaccine doses for customers/patients 55+ and will be calling them to book appointments. For some pharmacies, you can pre-register on their website.

Below are the details on how to register using the Provincial online portal:

      • Click here for the Ontario website
      • Call centre phone # is 1-888-999-6488 open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. every day
      • You will need information from both the front & back of your green health card, birth date, Postal Code and email address and cell number (with texting capabilities). You may need access to a printer.
      • If you only have a red & white health card, you must phone to book.
      • You can register for any clinic in the region. Click to see list of clinic locations & dates/times they will be open or visit the Niagara Region Public Health website.
      • Niagara residents taking transit for COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be able to travel for free to any Public Health Vaccination Clinic and to pharmacies and doctor’s offices for inoculations as they become available. Accessible shuttles will be available from Brock Transit Hub to the clinic. Riders will need to show proof of their appointment when boarding and proof of vaccination on return trips. Users will also be required to wear a mask on the bus. Information about bus schedules can be found at yourbus.com or by calling 905-687-5555.
      • For your appointment:

      – Wear a mask
      – Bring your Ontario Health Card.
      – Bring your booking confirmation number or QR code from the provincial booking portal, preferably a printed version.
      – Have something to eat to prevent feeling faint while receiving the vaccine.
      – Be sure to wear a comfortable shirt which is loose along the arms (so you can receive a vaccination in the upper arm).
      – Arrive no more than five minutes prior to your appointment time.

      CFUW St Catharines Ad Hoc committee continues to ensure that all our senior members who wish to receive their Covid-19 vaccination do not miss the opportunity. If you were born in 1946 or earlier and think that you may need assistance with any of the following, please send an email to cfuwstcatharines@gmail.com and we will contact you with further details.

      • Assistance with knowing when the vaccine is available to the over 80’s
      • Assistance with registering for the vaccine
      • Assistance with knowing where to go to be given the vaccination
      • Assistance with arranging transportation to/from an appointment for a vaccination

      Depending on the success with our over 80 members, we will consider expanding our mandate to other age groups in the future. Watch for updates on this page.

      Regards,
      CFUW St Catharines Vaccination Support
      Ad Hoc Committee
      Susan Middleton – Chair
      Carol Dueck – member
      Kathy Pagonis – member
      Pat Paulin – member