Today is International Women's Day and this year's theme is Balance for Better, focusing on the creation of a more gender-balanced world. And there are lots of different ways you can participate in the day.
Read up on one of the many local organizations supporting women. The Community Edition has made that easy for you this month with their feature on the Sexual Assault Support Centre.
There are many resources online as well. These posters of Women in STEM are beautiful and free to download. Or these ones from the Perimeter Institute. They're a wonderful personal resource or something to share with others.
Then you can head over to THEMUSEUM to check out their latest installation FLOW: The Menstruation Exhibition. This exhibit seeks to discuss and destigmatize menstruation to help "educate, create connections, and transform perceptions".
There are also several workshops and discussions happening in honour of International Women's Day, including the Know Better, Do Better conference through Marit Collective and an evening with Lisa LaFlamme and Michelle Shephard at the Kitchener Public Library.
These are only a small sample of the many options available to you. How do you plan to celebrate International Women's Day today? #365ofgoodWR
April is just around the corner and although that can mean warmer weather and spring blooms, it also means tax season! Few of us enjoy filing our taxes but the Social Development Centre is helping by hosting free income tax clinics. These clinics opened this week and will continue to run until April 29th. A variety of languages are spoken by the tax clinic volunteers including English, Farsi, Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu.
We all want filing our taxes to go smoothly, so check out the Social Development Centre's website to identify needed documents as well as how to set up an appointment. The website also outlines recommended income levels to participate in the tax clinic and the types of returns not being completed through the clinic. You can also book an appointment by calling or emailing. Book an appointment soon and you may have your taxes completed before many of us have even started :) #365ofgoodWR
The YW really has some excellent programming on offer, and much of it is free to participants. Although I have already highlighted some of their other programs such as Community Sheroes and In Her Shoes, I do want to mention this one as well. It's called the YW Art Factory and the first session begins tomorrow - but at the time of posting, there were still a few spots available. This free nine-week art program is "for girls and gender non-binary youth in grades 6-9 who are interested in creating 'feel good' art." Participants will work together to create a public art installation while focusing on building self-esteem, confidence, positive identity, self-love, teamwork and leadership skills. Find out more (including how to register) on their website and the attached image. #365ofgoodWR
As an early childhood educator, I have had the privilege of supporting many families over the years on a wide variety of issues. One area that many parents have questions about is breastfeeding. Thankfully we have numerous supports in our community such as Breastfeeding Buddies (offered through the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre). This group provides "breastfeeding support and information to new mothers in Waterloo Region through many free services such as the Me Breastfeed Workshop (a prenatal class for moms and their partners/support person), the Baby & Me Breastfeeding Drop In program and One to One telephone breastfeeding support."
You can find out details about all of their programs and classes on their website. Stay up to date with Breastfeeding Buddies through their Facebook page as well. If you'd like to discover a bit more about how the group came together and the specific supports they offer, take a moment to read this Kitchener Post article on Breastfeeding Buddies. #365ofgoodWR
This past weekend, Kwartzlab held it's grand re-opening in it's new location at 145 Bedford Rd in Kitchener. If you missed that, Kwartzlab opens its doors to the public every Tuesday evening from 7-10pm. According to their website, Kwartzlab is a "not for profit maker society in the Waterloo Region, providing tools, community connections, and learning opportunities for makers in our area." There are a wide variety of tools available including a mitre saw, drill press, sewing machines, and even a laser cutter.
Kwartzlab is run entirely by volunteers and supported through member dues. In addition to sharing tools, Kwartzlab provides a communal space where members often share ideas and knowledge. Read more about the creative things happening in this unique space in this Record article. #365ofgoodWR
We're now at #5 of Brent Toderian's Resolutions for the City and to be honest, I'm a bit hesitant to share this one. It's this: "Walk, bike, or use transit to take your kids to school, and teach them to do so on their own as soon as they’re able. It's safer, healthier, and developmentally better for them, and everyone else, than it is to drive them."
Though I fully agree with the statement, given that our region does not currently have a strong, built-up network for human-powered transportation, I'm cautious about this recommendation. Late last year, a friend posted to social media looking for suggestions on the best places to teach her young and enthusiastic child how to ride a bike. She wanted a place that would provide practical knowledge on cycling in the city but also needed space for this inexperienced rider to make mistakes. Unfortunately nothing came immediately to mind on where best to do this. In my mind, we should all be able to not only think of such spaces, but be able to access such spaces easily. I think we will get there and I am seeing improvements. As more of us consistently utilize these options, we will continue to see a more walkable and cyclable city develop.
An added note as well...I believe there are many reasons that we should all rely on active transportation options more often, but this Citylab article posited one of the more interesting ones. #365ofgoodWR
Today I'm heading out for a big breakfast and then over to Canadian Blood Services to give donation #55. The big breakfast is a tradition for my spouse and I before giving, not only because breakfast out is enjoyable, but also beneficial when donating blood. A fact we only discovered after donation #1 when we showed up without eating or drinking anything. Not the best plan when removing a pint of blood from your system! Now we make sure we drink lots of fluids and fill up on a tasty breakfast before heading off to give blood.
My partner and I have been giving blood for many years now as it seemed like a simple way to help others. I also remember my dad donating for many years and he always stuck his "I donated" stickers on his lunch box. Since being diagnosed with cancer, he can no longer give, so we're happy to continue that tradition. In fact, over the years we have known several friends and family who have needed blood transfusions. Actually, I also ended up needing 2 bags of blood about 6 years ago (I always wondered if there was any chance I actually got my own blood back during my transfusion ;) I'm sure most of us know someone who has benefitted from others donating blood.
We have all likely heard that only a small percentage (somewhere between 3-4%) of eligible Canadians actually donate. Most of the donors I have spoken to didn't necessarily plan on becoming lifelong donors, but once they realized how simple it was, they just kept donating. Now I know not everyone is able to donate blood for a variety of reasons, however, if you are eligible and interested, I'd encourage you to sign up now and give it a try. You can even join us for our next pre-donation breakfast if you like! #365ofgoodWR
Today's #365ofgoodWR is a bit different than previous posts, but I believe it still fits in with the overall theme.
Yesterday the bricks and mortar location of Open Sesame closed. For fans of the store, you can breathe a little easier knowing that the online store is still up and running. However, I for one will miss the space it held near City Hall. The space was lovely of course. Every time I walked in, it felt peaceful and beautiful. The products were varied, unique, and often thought-provoking. But Open Sesame was much more than just a place to buy items. Lauren was intentional about making this a space for the community, with a focus on the arts. Although there were many more events I would have liked to attend, I had the opportunity to attend several events here (events ranged from book discussions, music nights, art exhibits, and more).
As Open Sesame closes it (physical) doors though, I'm pleased to see Lauren's advocacy for keeping that space as a community cultural space. There are many reasons why that space could continue to be an asset, which you can read in this letter about the closing of Open Sesame. If you agree that this space should head in this direction, please reach out to the local elected officials mentioned in the article.
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 email@example.com
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