President’s December Message

I have been a member of CFUW for about 10 years. Right from the start, I knew that one of the unwritten expectations for members was participation in our one and only charitable fundraising project, the annual House Tour, which is the only source of funds for our scholarships for girls. The only job I figured I could do as a newbie was that of hostess, and so that’s all I did in those early years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The other jobs seemed to be big ones that needed to be done by more experienced members.

Last year, House Tour Chair, Susan Middleton, and her committee worked tirelessly to create a new structure that redefined and documented many of the HT duties so that less experienced volunteers could work together to do the big jobs of finding the houses, organizing hostesses, advertising the House Tour, finding sponsors, writing and printing the tickets, and selling the tickets.

I again want to thank Susan and her committee for all their hard work in making the 2019 HT such a success, and for Susan’s continued commitment to the 2020 House Tour.

The big news since the general meeting is that we now have six homes for our tour. There are still a few key committee positions to fill (Please see page 4 of the December Newsletter for details). Susan has decided to step down as Chair of the House Tour, but thankfully, Maureen Shantz and Judy Yovanovich have volunteered to be Co-Chairs of the 2020 House Tour, and Susan Middleton has graciously agreed to be an advisor as needed. You three have made me and your CFUW sisters very happy.

The issues are that it seems to be getting harder and harder to find homeowners who are willing to put their houses on our Tour, and to find volunteers to do the rest of the organizing. It has been suggested that we should be thinking about other ways to raise the approximately $15,000 for our 13 high school Math and Science Awards, six College and University scholarships, and disbursements to many deserving community organizations. They are listed in our Program Brochure and on our website.

At a recent HT meeting it was decided to ask the membership at the November General Meeting to brainstorm on how to get this major fundraising project back on track. How to fundraise in the future was left for another time. The resulting animated conversations created much positive energy in the room, and many good ideas. I now have six(!) typewritten pages of comments to turn over to the new House Tour Steering Committee, but here are the topics and a “smattering” of the suggestions:


  • Emphasize that it is a way to meet members and make you feel more involved in the club
  • Clearly describe what the jobs entail and an estimate of the time commitment, and personally ask members to help
  • Ask “Old Guard” to act as mentors for new or inexperienced members
  • Be sure that new members understand that there is an expectation that everyone help out in some way and contribute some time and talent, not just money.


  • Target groups such as bridge and gourmet so they can volunteer to be together
  • Ask family and friends of members
  • Contact high school and Brock University students who would like to have volunteer hours on their records


  • Make “teaser” presentations about HT at each Meeting
  • Encourage roles in pairs to facilitate learning
  • Develop a skills and interest inventory database of current and new members


  • Put posters in furniture stores, library, doctor’s offices, ticket outlets
  • Use Tim Horton’s instore TV with crawl advertising
  • Post on Facebook, interest and events sections
  • Contact Newcomer’s Clubs, teacher’s organizations, ND Council of Women
  • Ask other organizations (Rotary, Legion, Lions, WRTC, etc.) to post and mention this event at their meetings
  • Include in community brochures
  • Put in newspaper articles, radio interviews
  • Put flyers in neighbours’ mailboxes


  • Ask real estate agents, Architecture Association for award-winning Homes and contractors about new and renovated homes
  • Word of mouth
  • Newspaper article in September looking for homes to be on our Tour
  • Contact builders of Model Homes and Condos

Thanks to those who participated in the discussions.

If you have other ideas, please contact Maureen Shantz (, Judy Yovanovich ( or Gail Neff (

December President’s Message – Embracing Change

2016-17-HHall-IMG-0481One of the wonderful things about being President of CFUW St. Catharines is attending incredible meetings! The Saturday November 5, 2016 Fall Gathering of CFUW Ontario South  was no exception. Presented around their theme “Reflect- Refine-Rejuvenate and Embrace Change”, the speakers were outstanding. Starting with the very welcoming mayor of Burlington, Rick Goldring, father and step-father of 7 girls, who was raised by a CFUW mother, he praised CFUW for the important work that we do and the impact we have on our communities. It was a reminder of the power that our 230 St. Catharines members can have when we present our voice as one.

“Embracing Change” was the focus of The Honourable Paddy Torsney’s presentation. She is a former member of the House of Commons representing Burlington and now the Permanent Observer of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to the United Nations. She had so much energy and her stories of navigating the world of National politics as a 31 year old woman were hilarious and inspiring. Again she reminded us that dialogue with community leaders can lead to positive change.

After a scrumptious lunch which I ate on the patio of the spectacular Burlington Golf and Country Club overlooking the harbour, MP, Katrina Gould, continued enthusiastically to speak on “Embracing Change”.  Katrina, who is a member of CFUW made me wonder what I’ve been doing with my life! Before being sworn into office on December 2, 2015 at the ripe old age of 28, she had volunteered in a Mexican Orphanage for a year after high school, got her Undergraduate Degree at McGill in Political Science and Latin American Studies and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Oxford.  She has actively and passionately engaged the citizens of Burlington in the House of Commons and among many other things, worked with the City to coordinate efforts to welcome privately sponsored and government assisted refugees from Syria.

Last but not least, Maureen Barry, the CEO of the Burlington Public Library took us on a whirl-wind tour of Library Innovation around the world.  Spectacular architecture, innovative services and transformational changes are all hallmarks of successful public libraries today.  Contrary to popular thought, public libraries are not only surviving in the age of the Internet, but thriving. Google “the 25 most beautiful libraries around the world” and be amazed.

So that was my day, along with Nancy Ferris-Hostick, Heather Foss and Pat Milland. And I want to stress that it could have been your day too! CFUW St. Catharine’s members are welcome to go to Standing committee meetings, CFUW Ontario meetings and even the CFUW AGM.  You do not have to be on the Executive. Please let us know if you would like to attend.

President’s November Message – We Remember

For many of us the experience of war is something we have read about or heard from a family member, friend or veteran. On Remembrance Day, a Club member proudly lays a wreath and takes part, along with military & community members & leaders, in the touching ceremony to honour those who sacrificed their lives so that we may live in peace. Thank you, Joan Clancy, for participating in 2015 Remembrance Day services at the St. Catharines Cenotaph on behalf of our Club.

I participated in a President-to-President call with Doris Mae Oulton and Robin Jackson, Executive Director, CFUW National. They wanted to ensure our Club was aware of the following:

  • Doris praised CFUW St. Catharines effusively for hosting the National AGM in 2016. She was so pleased with the progress and planning made to date on the AGM in partnership with CFUW National staff and associates. Doris commented on how attractive the logo design by Beverley Boudreau is, and how wonderful it is Beverley is active in our Club again. These are sentiments we all share.
  • Doris was interested in AODA guidelines for accessibility which Pat Paulin, Mary Jane Waszynski, and I have ensured
    are part of our new CFUW website contract in preparation for compliance with legislation in 2021.
  • Club members are asked to participate in the Discussion Forum – CFUW and GWI (formerly IFUW) – Our Relationship
  • CFUW Ontario Council advised that The Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee is consulting Ontarians on
    how to close the wage gap between men & women. CFUW Ontario clubs are strongly encouraged to participate in the
    town hall meetings in their communities. The date for St. Catharines meeting is to be confirmed.
  • Club members are asked to consider very carefully the type and level of support they will give to a fundraising
    proposal to help give a Syrian Refugee Family (SRF) a new life. A discussion of the SRF proposal will take place at the
    November 10 general meeting. Please see more about the initiative in this newsletter.
    Thank you Marge Stark and Linda Emslie for hosting a warm welcome reception for new members and the Executive
    on October 27.

I’d like to give special thanks to Martha Abra for taking on newsletter preparation & distribution, in addition to all the
other things she does to support our Club.

Marilyn Wallace, CFUW St. Catharines President 2015-16

President’s Message – Fall Forward

As we move away from the lull of summer, many embrace fall and new beginnings. For all of us as part of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) National there are man
opportunities to participate in re-energizing activities. Many communications have been received about what Clubs across the country are achieving, along with invitations to support their interesting initiatives. For example, The CFUW Southport and Port Elgin Club designed an inspiring “Grandma asked me” to Just Vote campaign to encourage young people to get involved in political processes. Here’s a picture of CFUW Southampton suffragettes getting the message out about the importance of all women taking advantage of their hard earned right to vote for the person who cares about what they care about. More information can be found at:!young-voter-s-page/cee5

As CFUW National and Provincial members we are members of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), now
going through a change process. Graduate Women International (GWI) is the new name for IFUW and the changes also involve other areas. As an original founder of IFUW/GWI and the largest National Federation Affiliate/Association of the organization, CFUW National has prepared information and questions about how the IFUW/GWI changes affects our membership. This information can be accessed at:

I attended an Ontario South Presidents meeting at Deborah Harasym’s home in Burlington. Much information was shared
about how individual CFUW Clubs approach issues such as programming, events such as Meet the Candidates meetings,
archives, mentoring and 100th Anniversary projects. Sharing successes and future plans created a sense of belonging to our
related Club organizations that together have more power to influence and improve the status of women in meaningful ways.
Appreciation for our Club has been shown in the following ways:

  • An Advocacy Award from CFUW Ontario Council was received from Deborah Harasym, Ontario South Regional Director,
    in recognition of our years of advocacy work in activities such as Gift of Reading, House Tour, Silent Auction and
    participation in Coldest Night of the Year.

  • A thank you for supporting student success at Niagara College was received citing a media ad, published in the St.
    Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune on August 2. It highlights a scholarship recipient and
    also lists all the awards that supported students in the School of Business, Hospitality & Environment in 2014-15,
    specifically mentioning our CFUW – Laura Sabia Bursary.

  • To further support advocacy, our Club is starting a Syrian Refugees support group. Please see more about it in this

In October with Thanksgiving, it is a time to count our blessings and to be proud of our Clubs’ achievements. At this time
I thank all of the Executive and members for their support. In particular, I am grateful to Marg Thibeault and Jean Tonogai for
co-chairing the Secretary position, ensuring important business details are recorded to support our activities. I wish you all a
happy harvest season with some time to enjoy gorgeous fall colours and good things to savour.

Marilyn Wallace, CFUW St. Catharines President 2015-16

Girls’ & Boys’ School Dress Codes – Why We Should Care

posted in: Guest Speakers | 0

Dr. Rebecca Raby holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from York University, and is a professor in the Child and Youth Studies Department at Brock University. Her primary areas of study include theories of resistance among adolescents/youth; inequalities in the lives of children & youth; and children & youth as active participants in society. One of Dr. Raby’s ongoing areas of interest has been school codes of conduct, including dress codes. This work has primarily come together in her 2012 book, School Rules: Obedience, Discipline and Elusive Democracy.

Girls have been in the news recently, protesting their schools’ dress codes and raising concerns about being sent home for what they wear. The concerns raised by these girls resonate with those Dr.Raby has explored in her research into how rules are created and enforced in high schools. According to Dr. Raby, dress codes produce specific, narrow, and sometimes unjust ideas of what a student should be, what kinds of futures students should have, and what it means to be girls & boys.

School administrators often say that the rules are “common sense” and that students should simply follow them. Dr.Raby cautions that the rules are not always so clear-cut, especially when we look at something like dress codes which can reflect & reproduce assumptions & inequalities. Raby advocates that students be more involved in debating & determining school rules such as dress codes, particularly as schools are located in diverse communities and changing contexts.

Highlights of her presentation: No short skirts! How dress codes position girls and boys, and why we should care.