Human Trafficking in the Niagara Region

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CFUW Welland and District

In conjunction with

YWCA St Catharines

Invites you to a presentation on Zoom

Human Trafficking in the Niagara Region presented by

Kayla Meyer Lead Person on the Trafficking Team,

YWCA St. Catharines

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 7pm

 We have space for 100 participants, please register early.

To register for an invitation please email

President’s October Message

My thinking this month is about communication and especially how important the visual component is. For me, virtual video (PowerPoint) and Zoom meetings are second best to in-person interactions. But after six months of social distancing and isolation, they are giving me such joy! I actually felt a high at our September General Meeting on seeing all of your smiling faces! Of course, another factor is how impressed I am at how many of you have moved out of your comfort zones and learned how to access and participate in online meetings. I look forward to seeing even more of you joining in the fun in the coming months. Our October 13 meeting will be especially interesting as we contemplate how to proceed with our fundraising plans.

I am noticing that current restrictions mean I have more time for on-line meetings and thus I am spending much more time in front of my computer. And, although I am quite IT challenged, I am also discovering that I can attend virtual events such as webinars and guest speakers of other organizations. We may be house-bound, but we can still seek out opportunities to hear speakers from other groups who are learning to get the word out, such as the Niagara District Council of Women (of which CFUW St. Catharines is a member), and which is very advocacy oriented. Visit and/or contact any organization’s website and register for an invite.

If your Interest Group is temporarily on hold, you can go online and access the websites of other CFUW clubs, (just type in Welland or Hamilton CFUW for example). Another option is the Ontario Council which publishes a newsletter called OC News, and organizes the now online Speakers Series, the first of which is on October 3.

Click to read Click to read: Ontario Council News and Speaker Series

 Also, CFUW National sends out its Club Action Newsletter with links to events such as “My Journey as a Neuroscientist” by an award recipient on October 16th, and a Gun-Control Webinar on October 6th with speaker Dr. Wendy Cukier (a Ryerson professor) and organized by the Nepean CFUW club.

Club Action Newsletter September 10
Club Action Newsletter September 15
Club Action Newsletter September 16
Club Action Newsletter September 18

If you want to see our International Grandmother in action, go to the GWI website and watch some videos of speeches to several UN Councils. An interesting event which just took place September 12 was the GWI Membership Marketplace Webinar Launch. Marketplace webinar password: GWIMembershipMarketplace

One stream called Peer to Peer (P2P) provides an innovative method of communication between GWI members across the globe to foster friendship, share skill sets, and experiences. From language lessons to craft classes, it provides opportunities for sharing and learning world-wide. The second stream helps foster the twinning of NFAs (National Federations and Associations) to jointly take on projects such as Human Trafficking and Violence Against Women. The website also describes other on-going programs.

President’s March Message

CFUW National Resolutions

This year, six resolutions, proposed by clubs across Canada, have been sent to us for our comments by CFUW National. The titles are as follows:

#1: Canada Health Act and Common Application of Medically Necessary Services

#2: Payday Loans

#3: Achieving the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

#4: Climate Emergency – Declarations and Action Plans

#5: Protecting Children from Exposure and Access to Pornography and Sexual Violence on the Internet

#6: Enforcement of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.

Our Advocacy Committee, led by Chair Liina Veer, will be meeting on February 26th to discuss these resolutions. Shortly thereafter, their possible suggestions of changes will be sent to all of us. Please keep an eye out for them and settle in for some important reading so you will be well informed before voting on the resolutions at our March 10 meeting. After that, our recommendations will be sent back to CFUW National. If they are approved at the next National AGM, (June 18 to 20 in Ottawa), members at both national and club levels will arrange to meet with elected officials, and make our expectations known. I look forward to taking part in these meetings this year. In addition to supporting our community, such meetings would certainly increase the number of people who know who we are and what we do.

House Tour Promotion

On another important subject, House Tour Co-Chairs Maureen Shantz and Judy Yovanovich and their committee have been working on standardizing our promotional message. The only icon to be used in advertising is the little house shown below:

They have suggested that we all add this logo as a signature to our emails to advertise the House Tour. Although I am one of the most IT challenged members of our club, I decided to give it a try and I succeeded! In your email program, go under settings (often shown as a picture of a gear) and search for signature. You can copy from the logo attachment sent with this newsletter. If you get stuck, try Googling “how to add a signature to email” (naming your program). Keep in mind that the browser that you are sending from, or that people are receiving your email in, can affect the appearance of the house icon. Alternatively, you can use a text-only version as your signature, shown below:

CFUW House Tour
Sunday, May 3, 2020

Everyone who receives an email from you will be reminded of our great event. Thank you for all you do!

President’s January Message

As the years fly by, I have become aware of some annoying changes in me… specifically, more than usual blanking on words (memory) and sometimes balance problems. I suspect it has to do with aging, but I try not to worry too much because I do exercise, (play tennis, go to exercise classes, and climb stairs at Brock) and exercise my brain by working crossword puzzles and tutoring in the course I have taught for years. Hopefully I am slowing down the progression.

Some of this was confirmed when I recently heard a Brock psychology researcher speak at a Retirees Luncheon. Dr. Karen Campbell pointed out that evidence does show walking, getting good sleep and eating a healthy diet all help keep your brain functioning reasonably well. But the ability to do crossword puzzles isn’t transferable to other parts of the brain. You just get better at doing crossword puzzles! The skill doesn’t make your memory better. Ah, well.

The Keynote Speaker for the CFUW Ontario Council Speaker’s Series in November, Dr. Andrea Wilkinson, confirmed the fact that brain games aren’t transferrable. She said you can only improve overall mental function by sustained mental effort. The brain actually grows new cells and changes in response to new experiences. She described the Four Pillars of Brain Plasticity as Physical, Nutritional, Deep Sleep, and Social. Well, the members of CFUW have that last one nailed!

Research shows that walking 30 minutes a day, doing strength training and exercising with resistance bands three times a week can reduce the loss of cells in the hippocampus, which is where short term memory is converted to long term memory. Eating fruits and vegetables, fish and poultry, healthy fats and limiting processed foods strengthens the immune system and supports the growth of new cells. Everyday life and stress produce plaque accumulations, which can be “cleaned up” by glial cells and “flushed away” during a good night’s sleep. Socializing helps memory and increases attention span. The key, though, seems to be learning and doing new things, not resting on your laurels and just using and doing what you already know.

Recently, at our New Member’s Reception, I heard a new CFUW member, Jan Murdoch, who is a retired Phys Ed teacher, talk about being an instructor in an exercise program for seniors. She said that physical activities often activate areas of the brain that control cognitive functions (how we learn, think, perceive, and remember.) I had heard that having brain damaged adults crawl helped them to read again, so this made sense. We asked Jan for examples of exercises, and she mentioned jumping up a stair step. It sounded easy, but when I tried, I was afraid to do it! It was as if I had forgotten how to jump with both feet! When I finally made myself jump on the kitchen floor, it was surprisingly hard. Keeping my feet apart and swinging my arms helps and I do three or four jumps every day. It is becoming easier and soon I’ll try the steps. I recommend that you read Jan’s blog on her web site,, for other exercises and really good information.

I was interested in what area of the brain is activated by jumping so I started reading books about the brain. I haven’t found the answer to that question yet, but here’s what I have discovered: In the “Super Brain”, Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi point out that if you don’t do new things every day, the result is a baseline brain. For example, if you decide to have the same breakfast as yesterday, the brain doesn’t change. But if you decide to try something different, you tap into a reservoir of creativity, and the brain grows new cells and you start to make a super brain.

They suggest the norm is that as we age, we get lazy and apathetic about learning. We tend to simplify our mental activities, feel secure with what we know and don’t go out of our way to learn new things. While we refer to lapses in memory as “senior moments” they are actually due to a lack of paying attention and learning. We didn’t bother to think about what we were doing. We just did it automatically. If we don’t think about it, we lose the ability to think about it. It’s the classic “use it or lose it”.

In “The Brain That Changes Itself”, Norman Doidge observes that while we still consider ourselves as active, we rarely engage in tasks that require intense focus. Activities such as reading the newspaper, practicing a profession of many years, and speaking our own language are mostly a replay of mastered skills–not new learning. By the time we hit our 70s, we may not have systematically engaged the system in the brain that regulates plasticity (growth and change) for 50 years! Anything that requires highly focused concentration such as new physical activities, new dances, learning a new language, or making a career change will gradually sharpen everything else as well. But, you have to keep doing it.

Dr. Doidge also says that gross motor control is a function that declines with age, and leads to a loss of balance. This loss is caused by a decrease in the sensory feedback from our feet to our brain as a result of wearing shoes for decades! When we go barefoot, our brain receives many different kinds of input as we walk over uneven surfaces. Shoes are a relatively flat platform that spreads out stimuli, and the surfaces we walk on are increasingly artificial and flat. The result is the limiting of the effect of touch that guides our foot control. This leads to the use of canes and walkers and looking down at our feet to compensate for the decrease in balance, which hastens the decline of our brain systems.

So, I guess I need to start learning the language of Organic Chemistry, and going barefoot more!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday. See you in 2020!