President’s November Message 2022

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Fall is an enchanting time of year. The changing colours and falling leaves of the maple trees enveloped in the seasonal fall breeze and lower temperatures signal change; something we are fortunate to enjoy. The end of another trip around the sun always gives me pause, as I reflect on the past year and upcoming festive months. It’s my hope that these changes bring you both something to look forward to and peace.

Covid continues to impact all of us. Viewing from the positive, the impact enabled some of us to work in new ways, while it allowed others to enjoy a slower more relaxed time at home with family. Regardless, Dr. Hirji reminded us that we must remain vigilant in the context of health, warning us of upcoming waves of the epidemic. With the added threat of the December to March flu season, gearing up for the holiday season will require you to pace yourself, take care of yourselves and protect your families.

While we continue searching for our Fundraising Chair (please consider this role), COBS bread tickets are selling well. We remain focused on attaining our goal of selling all tickets. As a reminder, they are available from Christine Marks or myself, and from Maureen Shantz at the next meeting. Tickets can be signed out for sale.

It would be great to name the Fundraising Chair while simultaneously announcing a COBS Bread sellout in the next newsletter!

Remembrance Day is formally on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Remembrance Day’s importance remains in light of current world events. Again, we think back to those who gave their lives so that we may continue to enjoy the freedom we have today. We remember the families who sacrificed so dearly losing parents, children and friends. Lest we forget!

Looking forward, our December General Meeting will be held at the Armenian Club on Martindale Road across from the firehall. Please notify me if you require a special menu by November 30. We are excited about our Christmas Dinner and the Silent Auction. Check the donation form for drop-off locations of any donations you wish to make. (See page 3 for more details).

And finally, we are delighted to welcome so many new members this year! Together, let’s embrace a real CFUW spirit!


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

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

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.

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!

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.

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.


President’s November Message

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Remembering November 11th

Remembrance Day is always a key day of importance in my life. I am so grateful for the sacrifices of  so many for the freedoms that we enjoy every day. More than 2,300,000 Canadians have served, resulting in the unfortunate loss of 118,000 men and women. Many of you may be impacted by a family member or friend that has served in the Canadian Forces at some point in time. Canadian women played an impressive role on the home front during WWI and WWII – in agriculture, industry, trades and volunteering for war-related work. Veterans of Canada identified that the changing role of women was influential in the decision to grant federal voting rights to women in 1917. “The impressive achievement of these trailblazing women still echo today”.

The ‘Nursing Sisters’ (2800 nurses) served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps at the front line during the First World War. The role of the Nursing Sisters (4500 nurses) was expanded to all three branches of Canada’s military during the Second World War with two-thirds of them serving overseas. Canadian women may have served with the Armed Forces, but they were only accepted into Military colleges in 1979. Finally, in 1989, the Canadian Forces were obliged to open all occupations to women. In 2006, Canada experienced its first loss of an active combat female soldier fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan. The National Memorial Silver Cross Mother represents mothers and widows of Canadian Soldiers who died during active duty or as a consequence of that duty. The mother selected by the Royal Canadian Legion lays a wreath on behalf of all mothers in Ottawa. I had the opportunity to be at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa several years ago. It was very touching.

We would like to thank the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 for laying the CFUW St. Catharines wreath on our behalf at the Memorial Park Cenotaph, St Paul Street, St Catharines again this year. They have asked that we not attend due to limited numbers for outdoor events. Please join in a minute of silence at 11 a.m. on November 11 to honour all of those who have given so much to peace.

Submitted by Maureen Shantz, President, CFUW St Catharines