I appreciate how many organizations offer webinars on a variety of topics. There are several I have currently registered for that look at issues of inclusivity and accessibility. One that I am looking forward to is offered by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. This particular webinar series is designed with frontline staff in mind, entitled: Creating Inclusive Spaces for Immigrants and Refugees with In/Visible Disabilities.
The series is described as follows: "Moving to a new country presents many challenges and opportunities for newcomers. The settlement process can be especially challenging for newcomers with in/visible disabilities. Learning who newcomers with in/visible disabilities are, how to welcome and support them is something the settlement sector is becoming more aware of."
The series is facilitated by Sarah Jama (from Disability Justice Network of Ontario) and Chavon Niles (a PhD Candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).
The first webinar in the series is "Using an Anti-Racist Anti-Oppressive Framework" and will help participants learn "how an anti-racist, anti-oppressive framework can lead to better service delivery." It is offered January 22th, 2019 from 12:30-1:30pm. You can register here.
Did you know that every year the House of Friendship uses over 300,000 pounds of potatoes in its emergency food hampers and food assistance for program patrons? You can help provide some of those potatoes!
The House of Friendship's month-long Potato Blitz kicks off January 25th with the Don Cameron Potato Night, now in its 22nd year! Fans are encouraged to drop off cash donations and/or potatoes on their way into the game at the Aud on Friday, January 25th at 7:30pm when the Rangers take on the Flint Firebirds.
Can't make it to the game? There will be several other opportunities to support the House of Friendship all month in a variety of fun (and potato-based!) ways, including through the Super Market Potato Blitz and the Community Potato Lunch. Stay tuned to #365ofgoodWR for more details or visit the House of Friendship website.
Although the focus of #365ofgoodWR is Waterloo Region, occasionally I will highlight good things happening globally. Today is one of those times.
In 2018, after more than ten years of debate, 140 nations agreed to begin negotiations on a historic “Paris Agreement for the Ocean,” which is an international treaty that strives to protect life in the high seas.
The high seas are international waters where no country has jurisdiction, and they cover almost half of the planet. These seas are teeming with life and they produce oxygen as well as help regulate the global climate. The treaty sends a "strong message of support for the high seas," according to a statement by the High Seas Alliance.
The hope is to have a treaty in place by the middle of 2020. Until then, over 140 countries are negotiating the details under the Law of the Sea Convention. This agreement would have "the authority to create large marine protected areas in the high seas as ocean scientists have long called for."
Did you know that Waterloo Region has been shortlisted in the Federal Government's Smart Cities Challenge? That comes with a 50 million grant to the winner!
The focus for the project is Healthy Children and Youth. The challenge statement is "We will become the benchmark community in Canada for child and youth well-being by using early intervention, youth engagement and a connected-community framework to create adaptive, data-driven programs and scalable learning technologies that improve early child development, mental health and high school graduation rates."
Just this past weekend local youth gathered to work on this project as part of the Smart Waterloo Region Youth Forum.
In order to win, we all need to work together. You can assist by: spreading the word, sharing your ideas, sharing your tech talents, attending a meeting, or recommending a youth with good ideas.
Learn more about how they got to this point with the Project Updates. Plus, there's lots of ways to stay up to date on this work as well: Twitter: @SmartWatRegion and Instagram: @SmartWatRegion, and to use the hashtag #SmartWR.
Day 15 of #365ofgoodWR encourages us to look at how investments can work to support healthier, sustainable, and livable communities. This can be done through divestment, which helps you "use your economic might (great or small) to send a powerful message about your priorities."
Divest Waterloo helps "initiate and support divestment campaigns across the region". They want to encourage local governments, universities, institutions, businesses, individuals, and more, to "shift our collective investments away from fossil fuels".
Divest Waterloo hopes to bring awareness to this issue in a variety of ways, including hosting local events such as tonight's Stewards of Our Future: Protecting What We Love with guest speaker Dr. Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. The event is sold out but you can live stream it on Facebook.
I'm glad to see the following motion being put forth at today's council meeting regarding Bill 66:
For me, there are many reasons to be concerned about this bill, including environmental concerns and also the removal of public consultation and community feedback sessions as part of development processes. It's reassuring to see this proposal as it directly addresses some of those issues and explicitly reaffirms the city's support for the countryside line. If you're not familiar with the countryside line, check out Hold The Line, a great local organization who will definitely make some appearances in this year's #365ofgoodWR!
I will be tuning in to today's council meeting in hopes of seeing this motion approved unanimously. For those interested, it's currently scheduled to be discussed at approximately 2:00pm on January 14th.
With the goal of "making the equality of women in Canada the new norm", Women's March Canada works for the advancement of women across Canada. They have a number of areas of focus including women's health, economic security, representation, and safety. In less than a week, women across Canada will come together for the Women's March on January 19th. The Waterloo Region march begins at Waterloo Town Square at 10am. Participants will then head to Kitchener City Hall where there will be speakers and performances. This year's theme is "End Violence Against Women". #365ofgoodWR
I started day one of #365ofgoodWR mentioning the recent passing of Duff. He had a positive impact on so many and now people are trying to figure out how to carry that on. So today I share a bit about Love On The Go.
"Join our Love On The Go campaign, where tiny, palm-sized hearts will spread love and kindness throughout our city!
We will be launching this campaign at our friend Duff’s memorial celebration on Friday, February 1. It will be a small way for us to honour the spirit of love and care that Duff exuded to everyone he met.
If you’re a crafter and would like to make some hearts, we would really appreciate the support! For knitters, the pattern is here. For crocheters, the pattern is here. For sewers, please machine-sew or hand-sew fabric or felt and then stuff with cotton batting.
You can drop off all hearts at the Downtown Community Centre. Heart collection for the campaign launch will end on Thursday, January 31.
Thanks for helping us spread a little LOVE!"
Did you know that children born in 2014 are eligible for a pair of free eyeglasses if needed, through the Eye See, Eye Learn program? Eye exams are covered for children through OHIP. If glasses are required and your child was born in 2014, they have until June 30th, 2019 to apply for a free pair of glasses through participating optometrists. Find out more on their website including details about registration in the program, participating optometrists, and signs and symptoms of vision problems. #365ofgoodWR
We're now 10 days into #365ofgoodWR - thanks for following along! Today, let's take a closer look at Action For Happiness and specifically at their Happy New Year calendar. Each day in January includes a suggested activity for you to participate in, one that brings you, and others around you, happiness. It includes suggestions such as "Use one of your personal strengths in a new way" and "Say hello to a neighbour and get to know them better". You can download a copy of the calendar as well as follow them on Twitter. Find out all about Action For Happiness here.