I started up the #365ofgoodWR project because I wanted to share many great things happening in our community. Some people asked me if I would be able to fill 365 days with this kind of stuff. I was confident I would. And I keep learning about more opportunities all of the time. At this point, I may even have enough for 2 years of postings! How does #730ofgoodWR sound?
One event that I only recently learned of is the Waterloo Region Children's Business Fair. This is a one-day market where kid entrepreneurs sell their wares to the community. These kid entrepreneurs learn lots as they design, develop, and market their product or service. And you can support them by attending the market at Catalyst 137 in May. This is definitely something I would have loved participating in when I was that age!
Oh, and if you're a budding entrepreneur interested in participating in this process, applications are due by March 31st, 2019 (or earlier if vendor space fills up).
Soroptimist International strives to improve the lives of women and girls by providing needed resources, training, and opportunities. They have been around for almost 100 years, however, we now have a chapter right here in KW. The club's mission is "to improve the lives of women and teenage girls facing challenges through programs leading to social and economic empowerment." If you'd like to learn more about the local club, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Soroptimist clubs offer a variety of programs and resources including the Dream It, Be It program and the Live Your Dream awards. Other programs focus on issues such as women's health, violence against women, and women's economic security. Learn more about these and other programs on the Soroptimist International website. Also, Kitchener Today has this story about the creation of the local chapter. #365ofgoodWR
Last week I highlighted the Bring On The Sunshine Festival as part of the #365ofgoodWR project. That group has now partnered with Bridges to offer an African Drumming class which is happening tonight. It starts at 5:30pm at the Adult Recreation Centre (185 King St S) and it's free to participate.
I was not very familiar with the work of Bridges so I did a bit of research and this is what I discovered:
It's true that I am no artist, but I am definitely a fan of art. I also know that being involved in artistic endeavours has many benefits to individuals, communities, and society as a whole. That's one of the reasons I am always so thrilled to see art available to the public in a variety of forms. Whether it's through public art installations found across our region, in more formal galleries, or through unique and creative exhibitions such as CAFKA (who you'll be hearing more about on this blog soon!) Not to mention the many other forms of art such as music, theatre, and festivals offered.
I'm also thankful for spaces such as the City of Kitchener's Rotunda Gallery. This is a beautiful space that is open to all. The exhibit changes monthly and focuses on artists from the region. The works are varied and unique and I always take time to wander through this space whenever I'm at City Hall. You can learn more the artist's on the City's website too. I hope to highlight some of these other 'hidden' galleries in the future.
Do you have a favourite local gallery or public art installation in our region? What do you love about it? #365ofgoodWR
In Her Shoes is an employment and training program that helps develop business and entrepreneurial skills for women and femme-identified people who have faced barriers to employment. It is offered as part of the YW Kitchener-Waterloo Employment program. The goal of the program is to provide participants "skills-based and experiential training that helps them in their journey towards secure ongoing employment and in exploring and developing their unique small business ideas."
This training program is an 8 week program offering both in-class time and hands on experience through supported work each week. The program focus on skill development in a variety of areas, including: "developing a selling platform, product listings, shipping, budgets, social media marketing, inventory and the elements of developing your own business idea." They are currently looking for participants for their next session which begins March 25th, 2019. Registration is now open and is free.
You can also support In Her Shoes by purchasing items from them either online or in person at their bricks and mortar location in Kitchener. Find out more on their website. #365ofgoodWR
In 2017, the City of Kitchener approved their Neighbourhood Strategy, known as Love My Hood. Neighbours in the Lakeside community soon gathered together to brainstorm ways to demonstrate their love for their neighbourhood. Soon they came up with a creative idea that helps all residents better enjoy Lakeside Park and helps the environment too. That sounds like #365ofgoodWR to me!
Find out more about their project here. Learn more about the Love My Hood strategy and what's happening right in your neighbourhood on the Love My Hood website.
Did you know that Kitchener offers an artist in residence each year? They do, and I'm particularly excited this year as the artist selected is Mary Neil. Mary is an amazing community volunteer right in my neighbourhood and I have enjoyed watching and participating in some of the initiatives she has created. I look forward to seeing her time as artist in residence as I know she will use it well to help foster community building in our city. You can learn more about Mary and the artist in residence program in this article by Bill Jackson at the Kitchener Post. #365ofgoodWR
The Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre strives to eliminate barriers to health services by offering a wide range of services, including: child care, support in obtaining health cards, referrals to other services as appropriate, and providing language interpreters. They also offer a variety of programs including the upcoming Healthy Eating, Healthy Living classes on Tuesdays until April 16th.
KDCHC is located in Kitchener's downtown core providing a convenient location for its clients and partners. Current goals include: "increasing primary care service capacity, partnering for a broader range of services, and increasing responsiveness to client needs." Find out more about the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre, their programs, and why they believe that "Every One Matters" here.
It's time to visit Brent Toderian's Resolutions for a City again. We're on #4 which states "If you’ve never ridden a bike for transportation (as opposed to recreation)–and especially if you oppose safe bike lanes–spend a week riding a bike to work and other places you’d normally drive to. On one of those days, take your kids with you. Think about how you felt on every part of the trip."
Similar to #3, Brent encourages us to use different modes of travel to move around the city. However, today's resolution asks you to do so for a whole week and then reflect on your experiences. This is a really important exercise. I believe that I am both a better cyclist and motorist because I use both modes of transportation. I understand as a cyclist what it feels like to be passed by a fast car too close. So when I drive, I tend to give cyclists more space. And as a driver, I understand that unpredictable cyclist behaviour can surprise drivers. Therefore I strive to be very predictable when I am cycling.
In fact, there was a study released this past Fall that supports this very idea. It states, "cycling experience is associated with more efficient attentional processing for road scenes and suggests that road safety would be improved for all if more motorists also cycled". You can read the whole article here.
So, if you haven't travelled by bike or foot recently, why not give it a try next week. Take note of your experiences. According to the research, we will all benefit from doing exactly that more often.
While campaigning this past year, I had many people ask me about affordable housing. Indeed, it seems there has been an increase in awareness and discussion on this important issue. There are people and organizations at every level working to provide more and better affordable housing options. In fact, locally we even have HHUG (Homelessness Housing Umbrella Group) leading their All In 2020 campaign with the goal of ending chronic homelessness in our region by 2020.
It's clear that this is a complex issue that will take an 'all hands on deck' approach. Today's #365ofgoodWR post looks at one idea that may assist in addressing this challenge. The Region is looking for landlords (of a variety of types of housing) to partner with them to offer housing right now. The Region would top up what the renter could pay, so the landlord receives market rate for that space. This approach allows for more affordable housing immediately, without waiting for new developments to be constructed. Find out more about this program here and here.
If you are a landlord who is interested in participating in the rent supplement program, you can email Manager of Housing Programs and Development Jennifer Murdoch-Martin.