President’s Message, September 2023

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Welcome back!

On behalf of your Executive committee, a warm welcome for another great year with your club.

Looking back:

Right away, let’s recognize and thank all members, past and present, for their many contributions to the long history of our club. 2022-23 was a very successful year, with a great number of new members joining our club. Was the draw our enticing list of speakers? Sharing time with other dynamic women? Or was it more about our joyful work as a group raising funds for post-secondary scholarships for women and girls and for local charities? The House and Garden Tour and Silent Auction, both highlights of the year were successful as always, and the two new fund-raisers, COBS Bread and the Makers Market, also provided some financial latitude.

Looking ahead:

As we honour our past, perhaps you’ll notice that there’s a bit of a renaissance happening with our club. Please have a look at the Slate of Officers in the Members Only section of our website. You’ll find a great mix of experienced and new (some brand-new!) members continuing the 100+ year traditions of our club. Two first-time club executive committee members are serving this year! Welcome, Diane White and Terry Rotella.

At the National AGM, it was confirmed that while the club’s legal name remains unchanged, our new visual identity (logo and tag line) will offer a distinct, memorable, and flexible first impression of the club. Watch for this coming soon.

Who in your friendship circle would enjoy knowing about this year’s distinguished speakers, special events and interest groups? The Club’s new brochure, our newsletter, and regular updates on our website and social media (Facebook, and the club’s new LinkedIn and Instagram accounts) are the best ways to see what’s coming.

Our first meeting:

Tuesday, September 12th, 2023. We’re all looking forward to seeing you at the bright new location Anne Marie Stockwell acquired for us at the end of the last club year: Trillium United Church – Ruby Carroll Hall. Note the new 7 pm start time with doors open for socializing and refreshments at 6:30 p.m. The sign-up tables for special interests have some new opportunities. Completed enrolment forms with fees submitted by midnight that day will be eligible for the glamorous gift basket draw. Guest Speaker: Mayor Mat Siscoe!

Surprises sprouting up:

Creative new fund-raising ideas for the Charitable Fund’s endowment projects and other club purposes are fermenting which are also aimed at bringing more members together. Some may engage the community and our families as well. You’ll have to just wait and see what’s percolating (or ask Linda Thatcher)!

A bit about me:

When I first moved to town, I knew nobody, and if a neighbour hadn’t suggested that I come out to the meeting I may never have made these friendships that I cherish so much or had the opportunity to work alongside such a great group of fun and fearless women. My goals, as president, are to help our membership get to know more of each other. Strong women make a strong world, and education is the key. I’m keenly motivated to help raise money for this.

The push I needed:

As an introvert and a shy person, being president of our club was not something I ever saw for myself. I wouldn’t have the honour of serving this way without the nudges of several members. A few years ago, when I was still quite new to the club and always hanging around the back door, former president, Heather Hall, asked me what I was looking for here. I quietly answered: “connections, to help others”. She encouraged me to step up saying “you could have those things and grow out of this shyness by coming out to the executive meetings. Here’s the date and place for the first one.” Thank goodness she didn’t hear me say “But I can’t!” And thank you to the others, you know who you are, for also gently nudging me along. I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead with all of you.

P.S. I’ll be calling all of you over the next few weeks to see what moves you and to ask what I can do to help if you are looking to get from, or give more to, our club.

President’s Message, May 2023

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Spring has truly arrived! Flowers have been planted, and warmer weather is upon us. Even the trees are budding! What more could we ask for?

As this marks our final newsletter for the year, we are delighted to review our achievements:

At our AGM on April 11:

  • A new roster of officers was approved, though a few positions remain vacant.
  • The 2023-2024 budget was approved, raising our membership fees to $125.00.
  • A new three-year plan for the Charitable Fund was accepted.

Also this year:

  • Our newsletters, website, and social media have kept everyone well-informed throughout the year.
  • The Advocacy Committee has actively communicated concerns to School Boards, City, and Regional Councils.
  • Membership experienced an increase with several new additions this year.
  • CFUW St. Catharines participated in the Southern Ontario clubs’ information exchanges.
  • We engaged in Graduate Women International activities.
  • The introduction of the Makers Market proved successful; we plan to continue it next year.
  • Members appreciated shorter business portions during General Meetings, allowing more time to socialize.
  • The Focus Group sessions demonstrated that newer members support the Club’s direction.

Our last meeting of the year will be held at St. John’s Ukrainian Church Hall on Lakeshore Road on May 9. Dinner will begin at 6 pm with a cost of $35.00. Secure your tickets before May 2. Tickets will not be available at the door.

Don’t forget to SAVE THE DATE! Our House and Garden Tour is on May 28 from 12 pm to 5 pm. Get your ticket on Eventbrite soon.

May 9 Meeting: Speaker, Jodey Porter

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Our speaker will be Jodey Porter, Membership Chair of Rotary Club Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Jodey Porter’s incredible life has taken her all over the world into situations far removed from our lives in Canada.

Jodey is a very active member of the Niagara-on-the-Lake community. Currently she is the International Service Director of Rotary Club Niagara-on-the-Lake. Her other volunteer work includes many years with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), President and founder of the Low Vision Association of Ontario, Chairman of the Board Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped, (ARCH), and executive member Canadian Centre for Philanthropy. She has also been a member of the Board of Directors for more than a dozen charitable organizations in the arts, health, advocacy, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Anglican Church Ministries Foundation (ACMF) and various World Health Organization committees (WHO).

Prior to her retirement, Jodey had a remarkable and varied career in leadership roles in public service, which included: Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for the Province of Ontario; Ontario Human Rights Commissioner, for three terms; member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission; Executive Director, Canadian Diabetes Association; Director of Development Canadian National Institute for the Blind; and numerous other roles.

Jodey will talk about the “accidents in life” that lead to new discoveries. We all have moments of disappointment, of loss, of confusion, and of disorientation through our lives. The amazing thing is that so often these are not closed doors but open doors. The issue of disability, one each of us will face in our lives either personally or through family or friends, is one of these closed doors. Jodey will focus on characters in our world who have literally changed the way we live and how we look at the world, even though their world seemed shot by disability. Join us to be inspired by a talk full of humor, adventure, travel, and the promise of hope.

President’s Message, April 2023

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Spring is finally here! I am so hopeful the summer comes early! Our year has been so busy. With many great speakers, get-togethers and activities. It’s so good to be together again to enjoy each others’ company. Thanks to your generosity and gift of time, we are in a good place financially this year.

We are moving twice more this year. Hopefully, you will enjoy the Trillium Church Hall on Linwell Road for our April AGM. Our May 9 Spring Fling will be held at St. John’s Ukrainian Church Hall on Lakeshore Road. Our numbers keep growing and space, which we can afford, is difficult to obtain. You will be asked to choose between Trillium Church Hall or the Lion’s Club Hall for next September. There is a significant saving at Trillium Church Hall. Also, we will be bringing back coffee, tea, and a snack at Trillium.

Our Annual General Meeting will take place on April 11 at Trillium Church Hall. As a membership, you will be asked to approve the Club Budget for 2023-2024 and the Charitable Fund spending. Also to be approved are the Resolutions proposed by clubs with the approval of National, as well as our Slate of Officers. You will notice several vacancies on the Slate. It is essential that all positions be filled. Please make a concerted effort to lead one of the committees mentioned. Many hands make light work! Also, join a committee as a member. The more you take part in CFUW, the more you will enjoy all our many activities. The friends we make are priceless!

April 11 Meeting: A Community-Led Approach for Better Local Government and Impact on Natural Environments

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Our speaker will be Guy Graveline, President & Founder of ihiveLIVE Sharing.

Born and raised in Welland, Guy has over 35 years of experience in senior-level positions in the private and public sectors in Canada.  He has extensive expertise in strategic planning and delivering high-impact, complex marketing and business initiatives involving stakeholders, partnerships, and alliances.

The advent of the Canada Summer Games being held in the Niagara Region caused great excitement for many of us.  Then, the change of the location for the Mountain Bike racecourse and its construction in the 12 Mile Creek ravine alerted concerned residents that something was amiss.  Guy started asking questions to all parties involved, filing Freedom of Information requests, making presentations, and producing detailed written “letters of correspondence” to the NPCA, Niagara Canada Summer Games, and to St. Catharines City Council, amongst others. He was met with inaccurate information and explanations, public dismissal, and political interference.  When all his efforts were rebuffed, he created aFriends of 12 Mile Creek” website and a petition page that documented what was happening, including pictures and video evidence.

Guy believes that there is a better way for citizens, elected officials, and local governments to work together on issues of importance to their community. He has extensive knowledge of how government works and ran for city council in the fall of 2022. He will tell his story and describe better ways to improve community engagement, citizen advocacy, and communication between citizens and government used by other municipalities. Guy believes that a new community-led structure and process needs to be established that will lead to better outcomes in preserving, protecting, and enhancing our remaining natural environments.

More about Guy: After graduating from Ottawa’s Carleton University, Guy worked on Parliament Hill for almost seven years for various Members of Parliament including as campaign manager for several political candidates and as part of the PC leadership team that elected Kim Campbell as Leader, and first female Prime Minister of Canada.

He established his own marketing and communications firm in Ottawa and was recruited by one of his clients which allowed him to move back to Niagara. He later accepted a position as Director of Marketing and Economic Development which included responsibility for the branding of Niagara as a premier tourist destination, and investor attraction. He has won numerous awards and served on several Boards and Advisory Committees, including with the inaugural Tourism Partnership of Niagara.

Guy is co-founder of ihiveLIVE, an online consumer shopping portal that shares revenue with its members and the charities and causes they support.

Allyship, Privilege and Change, April 1

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Speaker: Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux served as Vice Provost for Indigenous Initiatives at Lakehead University for three years. Effective September 2016 she was appointed the 1st Indigenous Chair for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada for Lakehead University and continues to develop pathways forward to reconciliation across Canada.

Cynthia was inducted as a “Honourary Witness” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2014 and is Chair of the Governing Circle for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

She is a member and resident of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario and has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue and applied research initiatives.

Register on Zoom for Allyship, Privilege and Change, April 1, 2023, 11:00 am


UN Sustainable Development Goals Webinar, March 24

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The Turkish NFA, CFUW Nepean and Graduate Women International (GWI) are organizing an international NFA-to-NFA webinar titled Introduction to the United Nations SDGs, on March 24, 1:00 pm ET. The speaker is Dr. Basak Ovacik, President of the Turkish Association of University Women (TAUW). Despite the tragedy caused by the earthquakes in her country, she will address us on this topic about which she is so passionate.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan that was adopted by all UN member states in 2015. It was an urgent call for action by all countries to join a global partnership to improve the living conditions of everyone on earth with a view to sustainable development. Among these goals, for example, is SDG 4 ensuring equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Dr. Başak Ovacık was born in 1973 in Antalya, Turkey. She graduated from the Department of International Relations at Bilkent University and obtained a master’s degree in European Studies at the London School of Economics. Her PhD thesis was titled “Women’s NGO’s Role in Decision Making”. Currently she is lecturing at Bahçeşehir University in Gender Studies and Sustainability and Social Inclusion. She delivers her courses both in both English and Turkish. Dr. Ovacik is married and has one daughter.

Her areas of interest are women’s studies, women’s rights, women’s oral history, artificial intelligence, feminist pedagogy, gender equality, digital gap in education, education during Covid-19, and sustainable development. In addition, Dr Ovacik has held the following positions:
GWI, Convener, Fellowships Committee (2022-2025)
Past VP Graduate Women International (GWI) (2016-2019) (2019-2022)
Past Board Liaison Young Members Network GWI (2020-2022)

To participate in the Webinar, please REGISTER HERE

Event: NFA-to-NFA Conversation on Zoom
Date: March 24, 1:00 pm ET


President’s Message, March, 2023

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Spring is on our minds but after some mild days this season, we’re now getting some wintery weather. COVID is still a concern, and illness is still a major factor in some households, but we are coping pretty well and there are some exciting things coming up for CFUW St. Catharines. We have been looking forward to our March meeting and the Makers Market for a few months. A speaker was scheduled for that meeting, but unfortunately, she is unable to come. After much discussion, the Program Committee has decided to forgo a speaker this month and concentrate on the Makers Market. What a novel idea for us! The group planning this event has taken on the challenge and is sure it will give us a new kind of evening. Coffee and tea will be available. Don’t forget your cups. How fortunate we are!

Keep in mind our April meeting will be our Annual General Meeting. Several items on the agenda will be addressed at that time: a new Executive, a new focus for the Charitable Fund, and reports from the various committees. We have been busy! Our House and Garden tour planning is well underway. Please consider volunteering since this is our major fundraiser. All those who have helped, have found it a very positive experience and have had a lot of fun. Our Spring Fling on May 9 will be held at St. John’s Ukrainian Catholic Church Parish Hall on Lakeshore Road and will start with dinner at 6 pm. Ticket purchases will be available online shortly. A request for all members! A number of close family members within CFUW have passed recently. Please notify a member of the Executive if you know of any member, spouse, or child who has passed. Our Goodwill Ambassador, Lorna Whitty, will send a remembrance card on our behalf. Your Executive continues to strive to make CFUW a vibrant friendly light in St. Catharines.

President’s Message, February 2023

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We must be in the middle of winter! It feels so very promising to see the days growing longer and plenty of sunshine. I do admit that especially in my home, the fireplace still has a prominent place.

We have done well this year with our Silent Auction and Cobs Bread club fundraisers. In March we will have our Makers Market which we hope will be a success and be expanded next year.

The Coldest Night of the Year downtown walk is scheduled for February 25. Please contact Brenda Dolha for information and to join this activity.

Our House Tour, which is our main fundraiser for the Charitable Fund is in need of assistance.

This is OUR joint responsibility! Without helpers, we cannot carry out our responsibility to assist students with our awards which has been a mainstay for our Charitable Fund fundraising. Much of the work needs to be done before the actual tour.Mary Jane Waszynski Chairs the House & Garden committee and would love to hear from you. Many hands make light work! Please call as soon as possible! Please remember there are three places you can find out any information you may be seeking:

Our Website is a wealth of information regarding our club. We also post information about activities that are hosted by other CFUW clubs on our Facebook page. As well, we will be placing information about how CFUW National is working with GWI and the speakers they will be featuring. (Click from the front page of the newsletter to access both of these.)

Our Newsletter has all our current information about our local group. It is well organized. Keep it on your desktop and look up the activities or other information you may be seeking. It is the fastest way of getting the information.

Thanks to the Communication team for the time and effort they put into keeping us up to date!

I look forward to seeing you on Valentine’s Day for our next meeting. Doors will open at 7 pm.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

President’s January Message 2023

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A year ends and another begins. Such is the cycle of life! We begin 2023 with hope of joy, and peace and good health! Looking back after the holidays, let’s reflect upon a very successful year! Taking stock of our group accomplishments while keeping with the recent spirit of Christmas lists: – Our membership has grown – We have been able to meet in person – Meeting attendance and presence has been high – Many positive comments about our speakers I think we all deserve a “well done” and have earned the right to be very pleased with our members, our accomplishments as well as our time together! Our Silent Auction was a big hit thanks to the efforts of Pat Paulin and Gail Neff, not to mention all those who donated and supported our sale. Well done ladies! Our Cobs Bread fund raiser has sold 262 tickets to date. With only 38 cards remaining, let’s wrap this wonderful promotion up by our February meeting. I’m confident we can sell the last of our tickets by then! Now we look forward to a new year as we welcome 2023! Hopefully we are past the big storms experienced over Christmas, allowing peaceful times at our upcoming gatherings.

March brings us our Makers Market allowing members to showcase their marvelous talents. Members are studiously working towards displaying their talents: painters, crafters and hobbyists. Please contact Christine if you would like to add to this artist collective. Hopefully all are looking forward to this as much as I am. We have such a wealth of talent within our ranks. Your executive continues to work diligently planning programs, advocating for the rights of women, strategizing on how to best improve our time together while communicating all of this via the newsletter. Our website continues to be your first stop in your quest for answers. As always, if you are approached to help in any way by one of our members, please say “Yes”! It’s the mantra of our group and such an inclusive way for us to interact!