YMCA Immigrant Services offers a weekly cooking and nutrition class for newcomers, entitled "Cooking and Conversation". This free class runs Thursdays from 1:00-2:30pm at the Early Years Centre in Kitchener. This is a great opportunity to learn about healthy eating practices in line with Canada's Food Guide while meeting new friends and practicing English. These classes are based on the Colour It Up program. #365ofgoodWR
Earlier this year, Brent Toderian, an urban planner, released a list of 25 simple resolutions you can make to improve your city. You can read the whole thing here. I thought that a lot of it lined up well with what I am trying to do with the #365ofgoodWR project: highlighting good things happening and ways that you can be involved. So, over the next number of weeks, I will intersperse some of Mr. Toderian's 'resolutions' in with the #365ofgoodWR project. I hope to put a local spin on it by connecting his suggestions with specific ways you can do that right here in Waterloo Region.
To start things off, let's look at the first resolution on that list:
1. Vote in municipal elections. Too many of us don’t vote at the government level that most affects our actual lives on a daily basis.
We won't really get a chance to practice this on a local level for almost another 4 years now. However, there are still ways you can get involved in the upcoming federal elections, such as supporting your favourite candidate and volunteering in the local riding association. There are also ways you can support local, municipal politics throughout the year, so stay tuned to hear more of those!
Did you get out to vote in the 2018 municipal elections? Why or why not? Do you have any suggestions on how to improve our municipal election voter turnout? Comment below!
Reception House Waterloo Region is a "community-based organization that provides a warm welcome to government-assisted refugees through a number of programs and services designed to make their new life in Canada a success." One of those programs is the Family Partnership Program.
The Family Partnership Program connects newcomer refugees with a local individual, family, or community group for one year to foster social integration. "Partnering groups act as a circle of support providing mentorship, social and practical resettlement assistance for government assisted refugees." This may involve practicing English together, sharing meals, and participating in community events and activities. If this interests you, fill out a volunteer application form or contact Reception House via email. #365ofgoodWR
Special Sibs is a program offered in partnership with Extend-A-Family, Kidsability, and Kerry's Place. This is an opportunity for "siblings of individuals with special needs (aged 7-10) to share their experiences, take part in activities, and have fun!" The afternoon is facilitated by a social worker and registration is required at least 2 weeks prior to the event. It costs $5/child. 2 dates are currently scheduled: Feb 23rd from 1-4pm at Idea Exchange - Clemens Mill and Apr 27th from 1-4 at Kidsability Waterloo. More details are found in the image and in the link.
I also want to share just a little bit more about one of this event's hosts, Extend-A-Family which was founded in 1981 by a group of parents seeking inclusion for children with developmental disabilities. Their approach is "person-centred, focused on the person first and foremost, paying close attention to their dreams, needs, abilities, hopes, and contributions" with a focus on community, dignity, belonging. Learn more about the work Extend-A-Family is doing in our community on their website. #365ofgoodWR
I had the opportunity to attend a tour of Carizon as part of this past Fall's Doors Open Waterloo Region. I was blown away by how much happens in one building! The services and partnerships in this space are truly inspiring! For day 26 of #365ofgoodWR I want to highlight just one of the programs offered at Carizon, called Tea and Talk. It is offered in partnership with Reception House (who you'll hear more about in this blog soon!). This is a free group to "support and promote newcomer women's well-being and sense of belonging in the community. Women will learn about and discuss topics related to well-being, learn about resources and activities in the community, and have an opportunity to connect with other women over a cup of tea in a relaxing environment." There are more details in the included image or click here. You can also find out more about other Promise of Partnership programs here.
As an early childhood educator, family literacy is definitely a passion of mine! So for day 25 of #365ofgoodWR I'm happy to share about the upcoming Family Literacy Day on January 27th.
Family Literacy Day is held annually to "raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family." In order to support this goal, many non-profit organizations in Waterloo Region partner to support this fun, free, and interactive family event. And Erik Traplin will be there too!
You can learn more about Family Literacy Day and find additional resources here and here. The event is held at Conestoga Mall from 10:00am - 4:00pm on January 27th. Find out more details in the image below.
So far, most of my #365ofgoodWR posts have related to some of the amazing social organizations we have in our community. Of course, there are lots of others making good things happen in our region, including local musicians. I have really enjoyed hearing from many of our local artists whether that's at local festivals, the neighbourhood pub, or even at house concerts. Today I want to highlight just a few of those.
A favourite artist of mine is Richard Garvey. Richard's passion for community building and social justice (he's also part of Hold The Line) is obvious in his song lyrics, plus the tunes will get your feet stomping! I have had the chance to hear Richard at several house concerts. The cozy atmosphere provides the perfect place to hear Richard's songs and enjoy his terrific sense of humour. And good news...he has a new album coming out soon!
House concerts are a great way to connect with a particular artist, however, visiting local pubs is a terrific way to hear new artists. Both TWB and Descendants bring in great musicians throughout the week. At Descendants this month and next, most Saturday afternoons you can hear Matt Weidinger play as part of their Musical Matinee Saturdays. Find out more here.
In addition to offering a place to hear musicians, TWB also gives you a chance to join in the fun every Thursday evening with their Acoustic Folk Jams. Bring along your favourite instrument whether that's a banjo, acoustic guitar, ukulele, or even simply your voice! All skill levels are welcome to join in these fun and interactive evenings. Or feel free to just grab a local beer from the bar and hang out.
This is just a small sample of the great music available in our community. Feel free to comment below with your favourite local musician or musical event!
I don't know about you, but this chilly weather just makes me want to curl up with a nice hot tea. What better way to have your tea than with an opportunity to meet new people and learn from each other. You can do exactly that with the upcoming Tea and Tales hosted by the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW (CMW-KW) in partnership with Wellbeing Waterloo Region.
The CMW-KW was formed in 2010 after a successful community forum titled "Let Us Talk". They are now an incorporated non-profit organization that aims to "build bridges of understanding with the larger community and to strengthen the voices of Muslim women in this area". CMW-KW hosts a number of events and programs provided through the work of over 40 members and more than 100 volunteers. "CMW’s membership and volunteer opportunities are open to all women who are in agreement with the organization’s vision, mission, values and code of conduct regardless of their religious or non-religious affiliation."
On Monday, January 28th, CMW-KW hosts Tea and Tales with Muslim Women and you are welcome to attend. This is an interactive event where you can "expect to have meaningful conversations by swapping stories and asking questions as well as taste some fabulous cultural food". It's held at the Victoria Hills Community Centre (10 Chopin Dr, Kitchener) from 9:30 am - 2:30 pm and lunch is provided. If interested, please register here or call 519-575-4757 x3609
Of course social organizations are a huge part of the #365ofgoodWR project. However, there are lots of other people and groups bringing good to our region in a variety of ways. One of those ways is through the arts. So today I want to highlight a very cool group called Green Light Arts and specifically their Play-In-A-Day program.
Green Light Arts was founded by Matt White and Carin Lowerison in 2014. This non-profit theatre company strives to use theatre as "the beginning of a conversation to encourage audiences towards positive social change." They desire to make theatre accessible to all and to "celebrate and reflect diversity and inclusion in our work of different cultures, genders, ages, abilities, sexual orientations, education, class and beliefs."
On PD Days, Green Light Arts offers their Play-In-A-Day program for children in grades 1-6. Although by the end of the day there will be a presentation of the group's theatre piece, Play-In-A-Day emphasizes the process more than the final product. "The day includes a warm-up, group drama activities, lots of moving, and rehearsal/creation time to build an original presentation."
You can register here and rumour has it that if you use the code "January2019" you'll get 20% off!