United way announces record breaking campaign total
United Way Perth-Huron Campaign Co-chairs Kathryn and Martin Ritsma celebrated the announcement of a record breaking campaign for 2020-21 recently. (Submitted photo)
United Way Perth-Huron (UWPH) marked the end of the 2020/2021 annual campaign and was proud to use part of this year’s Spirit of Community online video celebration to announce a record-breaking total of $1,924,517, well past the campaign goal of $1.762 million and up 18 per cent over last year.
“The response by donors across Perth and Huron counties has been beyond our expectations,” said UWPH Executive Director Ryan Erb. “With everyone dealing with the ongoing pandemic and the challenges it presents, we weren’t sure what to expect. But our communities responded and embraced how important it was to help those in need.”
“We’re grateful to our communities for stepping up,” added UWPH Campaign Co-chair Martin Ritsma. “The incredible level of generosity and caring really stand out to me as a highlight of the past seven months. A lot of vulnerable local people will receive help thanks to support from donors in communities across Perth-Huron.”
Demonstrating the power of local love in the face of unprecedented challenges, UWPH celebrated the powerful work local individuals, organizations and communities helped them achieve, featuring the efforts of community committees in Exeter, Goderich, North Perth and St. Marys, along with ongoing work in Stratford at UWPH’s United Centre as well as in the larger community. Impact stories of local people who have the chance for a brighter future because of the help they received from a UWPH supported partner or program were also highlighted.
Leader Match donors — individuals and organizations giving $6,000 or more to help inspire others to become Leader ($1,200+) donors and increase impact in their communities — also received special thanks during online Spirit of Community celebrations, as did the Top 20 workplace campaigns.
This year’s Top 20 workplaces are: FIO Automotive Canada, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, Steelcraft, City of Stratford, LCBO, Huron Perth Catholic District School Board, Famme & Company, Hendrickson Spring, Cooper Standard Automotive, Scotiabank, Dyna Mig Manufacturing of Stratford, Avon Maitland District School Board, Ward & Uptigrove Chartered Professional Accountants, Curtiss Wright, FGC Limited, TD Canada Trust, Huron Perth Public Health, Sun Life Financial, EFS-plastics and Medavie Health Foundation.
For a complete list of volunteers, sponsors and donors, and to view UWPH’s Spirit of Community videos, visit perthhuron.unitedway.ca.
UWPH is grateful to Famme & Co. Professional Corporation, investStratford, McCutchen & Pearce Professional Corporation and Monteith Ritsma Phillips Law Offices for sponsoring this year’s Spirit of Community videos.
Provincial Emergency brake pulled for next four weeks
The provincial government announced on Apr. 1st that all of Ontario would enter a shutdown effective Saturday, Apr. 3, at 12:01 a.m. The government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.
“We know this is difficult news for Huron Perth residents and business owners,” said Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth, Dr. Miriam Klassen. “While COVID-19 case numbers have been relatively low in Huron Perth over the past several weeks, we have seen an increase in Variants of Concern (VOC) locally. There has been an alarming increase in other parts of Ontario, including some of our neighboring counties, also driven by VOCs. Further, our health system is connected across the province; and the health system’s ability to deal with regular ICU admissions and the ability to care for all patients is threatened.”
VOCs spread more easily and can lead to a rapid escalation of cases. They also increase the risk of hospitalization and death. There is a need to decrease virus transmission across Ontario while continuing to vaccinate as many people as possible to bring the third wave of the pandemic under control, and reduce the strain on the healthcare system.
Shutdown measures include, but are not limited to:
• Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a five-person maximum;
• Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings;
• Prohibiting personal care services;
• Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Take-out, drive-through, and delivery are permitted.
• Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;
• Requiring day camps to close; and,
• Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain 2 Ms (6 ft) of physical distance outdoors.
Full details are available at: www.ontario.ca/page/enhancing-public-health-and-workplace-safety-measures-provincewide-shutdown#section-2
April dates set for virtual dinner, auction and raffle
The Exeter Lions Club held its first 50-50 draw, for community projects supported by the Conservation Dinner, in 2019. The Dinner and Auction is online this year (2021) and the Lions Club is bringing back the 50-50 draw for the third year.
The winner will be drawn, virtually, on Earth Day, Apr. 22 at 7 p.m.
People can buy ten tickets for $10; 60 tickets for $20; or 200 tickets for only $50. They can purchase the tickets online, easily and safely, through the Exeter Lions Club 50-50 draw web page at ExeterLions5050.com. Tickets are all sold electronically through the website and tickets are emailed to the buyer once purchased.
Buying a 50-50 ticket online is a way to support community projects while still practicing safe social distancing.
“We are proud to be able to support needed community projects through the 50-50 draw,” said Mark Keller, president of the Exeter Lions Club. “This is just one of the ways the Exeter Lions Club helps our local community. It’s really a win-win when people have a chance to win a big prize and are able to help their community all at the same time.”
Organizers say supporting the 50-50 draw is a great way to support local community projects even when some live events are postponed until next year. Virtual Conservation Dinner Committee Chair Dave Frayne thanks the Exeter Lions Club for bringing back this additional way to support parks and recreation and conservation projects in the community.
“The Lions Club has been Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation’s partner on the Conservation Dinner for 30 years and even though the Dinner and Auction event is online this year, the Exeter Lions are finding ways, like the 50-50 raffle draw, to support their community,” said Frayne.
The Conservation Dinner is online this year as a #VirtualConservationDinner. This fundraiser is a community success story that has raised more than $1.2 million in net proceeds in support of parks and recreation, trails, a family-friendly fishing derby, nature education, and other projects in local communities in an area from Exeter to Port Franks to Bayfield and all points in between.
Visit conservationdinner.com and the online auction web page at conservationdinner.com/online-auctions/ for the Virtual Conservation Dinner online auction with bidding between Apr. 15-22. The draw of the 50-50 winner is to be shared on Apr. 22 during the last day of the online bidding period.
The Virtual Conservation Dinner Committee encourages people to bid, between Apr. 15-22, at the first #virtualconservationdinner online auction. The organizers say it’s a chance to get some amazing items and experiences and to support projects in local communities. Visit conservationdinner.com/online-auctions to find out more
The Huron Perth Public Health website is updated regularly with confirmed case counts received.
“Our online case reporting is not a real-time tool but is meant to keep the community informed on trends we are seeing,” explains Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.
For the latest statistics on COVID-19 cases in Huron and Perth Counties please visit: www.hpph.ca
environmental youth corps
Are you a young person between the ages of 14 and 18? Do you want to do something for the environment in your local community? Do you want to “jump-start a potential career in watershed conservation and management”? If you answered ‘Yes’ to these questions, this new program may be for you.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is starting a new program called the Ausable Bayfield Environmental Youth Corps (EYC). The program is made possible thanks to financial support of NextEra Energy Canada, LP.
The EYC program will allow youth to gain valuable education and experience into watershed management from local experts including staff of ABCA and the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation. Area young people will receive ‘hands-on’ learning experiences in the EYC program, according to Denise Iszczuk, ABCA Conservation Educator. Those taking part will “increase their appreciation and responsibility towards their environmental surroundings, as well as learn the importance of voluntary community involvement.”
The young people will increase their knowledge and awareness of water quality and quantity, soil health, forest conditions and habitat, and natural hazards such as flooding and erosion.
Youths in the program can earn volunteer hours for participating in field-day experiences, which will help to improve and protect the watershed.
“We believe the EYC program is going to provide young people with a chance to contribute to their community,” said Iszczuk. “Young people recognize the value of protecting our environment and the hands-on projects throughout the watershed will benefit from their energy and enthusiasm.”
The Ausable Bayfield EYC program consists of two meetings per month for six months. One meeting will be virtual and one meeting will be an in-person field experience (limitations or changes may be necessary due to local public health unit and government recommendations). Each meeting will focus on a different conservation topic including: Invasive Species; Forest Management; Soil Health; and Ecosystem Restoration. The virtual meetings will run from 4-5:30 p.m. The field experiences are two hours in length but times and places will change depending on the activity.
“In April, we are excited to start with the topic of how wildlife is studied,” said Iszczuk. “We are looking forward to doing an amphibian and reptile survey with the young people and also building some turtle nesting boxes.”
There is no cost to apply to the program. Applications will be accepted now until Apr. 12. Interested youth may attend a virtual Open House on Apr. 1 from 5-5:30 p.m. to learn more about the program and have their questions answered.
Information about the Open House, the details about the program, and the application process can be found at abca.ca.
Move for Mentoring
From May 1st-15th community members are invited to “Move for Mentoring” by getting active, having fun, and helping to ignite the power and potential of young people in the area in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Huron (BBBSSH).
BBBSSH provides their services to Ailsa Craig, Bayfield, Brucefield, Centralia, Crediton, Clinton, Dashwood, Exeter, Grand Bend, Hensall, Huron Park, Lucan, Parkhill, Seaforth, Vanastra, Zurich and surrounding areas.
They provide a variety of quality mentoring programs that are supported by professional caseworkers, ensuring their programs meet agency and national standards while ensuring safe, positive and healthy relationships between Big and Little. These programs, the support, and professional case work, are offered at absolutely no charge to young people and their families. The agency relies primarily on funds raised through The Little Shop (their children’s consignment store), grants, fundraisers, sponsorship and individual donations, to provide programming.
Move for Mentoring is a simple and fun way to help support BBBSSH. People are invited to challenge themselves (and each other) to be active while raising pledges to support area young people. During the first two weeks of May participants will commit to a movement of their choice – walking, running, cycling (one, two or five kilometres) or holding a one-hour dance party are but examples, participants are encouraged to get creative on how they can Move for Mentoring. The next step is to let everyone know about the challenge completion by tagging Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Huron on social media with photo or video evidence of the challenge as it happens or after it happens using the hashtags #BBBSSH #BiggerTogether
People can sign up as an individual or part of a team. To register visit: southhuron.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/event/move-for-mentoring. Register by Apr. 24 to receive a branded BBBSSH bandana to wear while moving, sponsored by Canadian Tire. Participants will also have a chance to win a daily draw prize, sponsored by Tim Horton’s, from May 1st-15th on Facebook: Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Huron.
Participants are asked to collect pledges using their online fundraising page. Paper pledge forms are also available. Donations will be accepted until May 31st.
More than ever before, BBBSSH needs to be there for the young people in the community. The BBBSSH waiting list continues to grow, and the need for support in the community is dire. Many young people face adverse barriers, which can escalate during the pandemic when they are at home, isolated and distancing from others.
For more information, or to register, please contact the BBBSSH office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519 235-1780, or visit their web-site at southhuron.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca, or reach out on Facebook.