The UN Commission on the Status of Women is the largest annual gathering of the international women’s movement.This year, the 62nd year, the emphasis was on the challenges for rural women and girls. To read the report by Gail Neff, a CFUW St Catharines member, and one of CFUW’s delegates, CLICK HERE.
This month’s featured scholarship recipient is Vanessa Smith, a graduate of the NCDSB Lifetime Learning Centre. As with other recipients, Vanessa wants to give back to the community by tackling mental health issues. To learn more about Vanessa & to view the Newsletter in full, CLICK HERE . . .
I had the pleasure of attending the Business and Professional Women (BPW) Provincial Conference Banquet at the end of September. The two-day conference was hosted by the Niagara Falls Chapter which was celebrating its 100th anniversary of working to improve the economic, political, employment and social conditions for women. I was warmly welcomed and so surprised to be introduced feeling very proud of the room’s recognition of our CFUW Chapter. BPW is the founding organization of the CCEW: Canadian Coalition to Empower Women. http://bpwcanada.com/en/ccew/
The Canadian Coalition to Empower Women was formed to advance equality between women and men, girls and boys in Canada; recognizing it is essential to build strong economies, establish more stable and just societies, and improve the quality of life for all women, men and their families in communities across Canada.
This coalition was one of the workshop topics at the CFUW AGM held here in St. Catharines 2016 which I did attend so I was somewhat familiar with how it fits with the UN’s Sustainable Goals and in particular the goals of gender equality.
I met with the Canadian Federation BPW vice president who enlightened me about this coalition and the fact that CFUW has signed the “Statement of Support” .
Our club can sign this important document lending our voice to the growing number of more than 94 leaders from businesses and governments as well as community service organizations that have stepped up to promote gender equality across Canada.
Back at home, I would like to thank our own Program Standing Committee for a wonderful meeting in October. The speaker was Margaret Wente and so many members came out to hear her interesting presentation that the room was full. Our new layout enables members and guests to enjoy the delicious refreshments all evening while enjoying the fellowship around the tables. The November speaker is equally interesting so please come and invite a friend to hear the dynamic indigenous lawyer, Jodie-Lynn Waddilove.
Nancy Ferris-Hostick, CFUW St. Catharines President, 2017-18
On December 12, 2016, I received, as scheduled, the CFUW’s Task Force Report “On CFUW’s Way Forward”. The report was mandated by the 2016 AGM to look at the status of GWI and their proposed dues increase. It contained 40 pages and 12 attachments and stated that it was not a conclusive report, but rather a report “to give information to our members so that we could reflect and discuss the very complex decisions on the “Way Forward” for CFUW.”
Another comprehensive report arrived from CFUW-Etobicoke reporting on their Ad Hoc Committee, which they struck in October 2016, also to gather information about GWI and the dues increase.
These reports were in preparation for a National Meeting that would take place on a Conference Call from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on January 30, 2017. During this call, I would be voting on CFUW-St. Catharines’ decision to stay in GWI with a fees increase, or opt out of GWI.
I was sent several notifications for this meeting and was informed as to how the vote would proceed. At our last Executive Meeting, we decided that we would open the attendance to this Conference Call to our membership and listen together in a suitable location. The discussion about the vote was to take place at our January 10, 2017 General Meeting.
On Wednesday, December 21, 2016 I received a letter from CFUW’s President Karen Dunnett , in which she stated “ I am writing today because I do not see a way forward for me to use my skills and knowledge to assist CFUW through this challenging period.” The letter continues, “It is hard for me to face the fact that the lack of trust and anxiety spilling over from the previous biennium has not diminished appreciably and it is present even at the board level. I have endeavoured to work through these issues and continue to do my job as president; however, my actions in the best interest of all of CFUW have been construed by some, as other than trustworthy and honourable and the resulting tension is concerning. Despite my desire to work with CFUW women to manage this time of change, the heavy demands on my time to address the trust and anxiety problems leaves me without the time to try to bring us together to find solutions, and scarcer time to move CFUW forward in those areas of our emerging growth and influence.
“As a result and with much regret, I feel I must resign as your president.”
Barely four hours later, I received a letter from GWI’s President Geeta Desai, in which she says “I am writing to share three decisions that the Board and I have made.
“After much deliberation, we have decided to do away with the increase. For your part in this relationship of equals, we are asking that you pay your dues (without increase) on time – the entire amount in January 2017 or at least half in January and the rest in March 2017.
“Given our cost-cutting and austerity measures, we have had to let go Amy Paunila, GWI Communications and Advocacy Officer and Helene Queyrane, GWI Programme Officer. Both women have contributed substantially to the work undertaken by the GWI office.
“The GWI Board, Stacy, our Executive Director and I have had many thoughtful discussions and we are now in the process of creating a Strategic Plan for the next three years that is membership – based with measurable outcomes.
“We hope to share it with you in January 2017.”
So there you have it. I hardly know what to say! Except 2016 has been an amazing year. In February our Syrian family arrived and is now thriving thanks to the CFUW volunteers who have helped them settle in our community. Now as they transition out of our sponsorship and prepare for the birth of their newest child, a boy, I must say that the experience of knowing them has been a life changer, as has being your President. Throughout the year I have had the privilege of attending meetings and getting to know CFUW members from across Ontario and Canada, a pretty impressive group of women! But most of all, getting to know CFUW St. Catharines has been a wonderful experience. Thank you for helping me negotiate this first half of my term and I know I can count on you for your help in 2017. We have much to discuss with the changes of the Executive Structure, the Bylaws, and where we are going to allocate the Gift of Reading monies. Much of this discussion will take place at our January meeting, when I will be celebrating the birth of my newest granddaughter in Vancouver. However, I know that your Vice-President Nancy Ferris-Hostick is well prepared to lead and answer your questions. So as I am rocking baby Cate … let us all rock in 2017 with renewed enthusiasm for our membership in this extraordinary club. Happy Holidays!
Heather Hall, CFUW St. Catharines President 2016-17
Learn about Laura Elizabeth Newman, 1883-1968, co-founder of CFUW St. Catharines, in the History Corner as presented by our Anniversary100 Liaison Committee and much more . . . .
CFUW National has a mentorship program to promote cooperation, build net-works, offer support and deepen understanding of women’s empowerment pathways. Read more about this . . . .
Community Recognition – CFUW St Catharines received several Recognition Awards this year. Read about them all in our October Newsletter.
Marilyn Wallace – CFUW 2015-16 President with Councillor Bill Phillips (left) and Mayor Walter Sendzik & Councillor Carlos Garcia (on right) at the 2016 City of St. Catharines Volunteer Recognition Event.
CFUW St. Catharines Spring Dinner
Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
Reception: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Dinner: 6:30 p.m. –
Location: Armenian Community Centre
156 Martindale Rd, St. Catharines
For Tickets contact: Jean Armitage or Anne Marie Stockwell
Deadline: Tuesday, May 3rd
Walking the Camino de Santiago
Member, CFUW St Catharines
Highlights: Sandra will describe the daily life of a pilgrim walking the Camino de Santiago: the ‘magic’ of leading a simple, unencumbered life; the amazing people encountered along the way; important lessons learned; and, certainly not least, the necessity for good boots and healthy feet!
Understanding the Teenage Brain
Dr. Ron Clavier was born in Montreal. Following his undergraduate studies at McGill University, he earned his Doctorate in Experimental and Physiological Psychology from Northwestern University. His Postdoctoral training was in Biochemical Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Ron then taught Anatomy & Psychology in medical schools in Chicago & Vancouver.
Since 1982, he has run a private practice in clinical psychology. In addition, Ron consults in the corporate, law enforcement, community, health, and education sectors. He worked for a number of years as a research consultant in psychiatry at the University of Toronto & was Senior Consultant to the Council on Drug Abuse until 2007.
Please take some time to explore our new CFUW St Catharines website (https://cfuwstcatharines.org). It now works seamlessly on any type of computer, tablet or smartphone. It includes all the information existing members and prospective new members might want to know about CFUW St Catharines in a highly accessible format. And it has an added feature of a password-controlled Member-Only area (where you can find Minutes and other member-only information), and also an Executive-only area for members who are on the Club’s Executive. There are photos of our members all over the website, thanks in part to the contributions of Elma Kimpel – thanks, Elma!