It was a chance meeting on a Monday in 1985 that would alter my life path for good. The meeting was with a young man with curly blond hair who, in many ways, looked very much like one of my own teenage sons. I was working at Fleming College at the time, coordinating a government program to help youth who had left high school and lacked job experience.
United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes (UWCKL) has announced A Place Called Home (APCH) as the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Telecare Mona Hall Fund to pilot a new Youth Emergency Fund Project.
The sound of children’s voices during the holidays typically conjures feelings of warmth and sentimentality – unless, of course, those voices are in a homeless shelter.
It’s a jarring mental image but one that A Place Called Home in Lindsay is being forced to contemplate.
If it takes a village to raise a child, a town can also come together to help feed kids through the summer months. This is what is happening in Lindsay since summer 2018, where an innovative Summer Outreach Lunch Program is providing healthy bagged lunches to children.
“Stay where you’re to ‘till I comes to where you’re at.” That’s what I told Dave Tilley, A Place Called Home’s manager of fund development and operations when I dropped in to meet with him. It’s a Maritime expression he’s familiar with: after all, he grew up in Conception Bay South, met his wife when both were students at Memorial University, and each summer delivers their two kids to Newfoundland to spend summer vacation with the grandparents. He’s been steeped in Newfoundlandese.
Dave has a diverse set of responsibilities. When I dropped in, he could have been in any of a number of locations. That morning’s checklist included everything from a health and safety meeting and looking into a used truck purchase to installation of some paper towel dispensers.
Seventy-six years ago, an American psychologist named Abraham Maslow emphasized the process of growing and developing as a person in order to achieve one’s potential.
He called this process a ‘hierarchy of needs’ and, in a testament to common sense, said nothing was more important than basic physical requirements like food, water, sleep, and warmth, as well as safety and security.
Typically, most of us find these things in the security of our income and in the security of own home. When we can’t manage to secure these most basic of needs, though, we’re certainly not going to be able to grow any further as individuals, let alone make a contribution to society. In fact, we will become part of the pressure on our society’s health care system, on our social services, and on our policing and judicial systems.
He’s got a makeshift wood stove in a dilapidated trailer outside of town. She’s hoarding junk and debris — so much in fact that the doors to her home no longer open and parts of her floor are sagging. Another man burns flammable liquids to stay warm during the cold clutch of winter. In her postcard-perfect home, another woman constantly calls police to investigate phantom intruders.
This is but a snapshot of a growing number of seniors who are in danger in our community. They’re all over age 60 and most have lost at least some of their cognitive abilities. These are men and women who are not necessarily defined by poverty or rural postal codes. In fact, many of them live in nice homes in Lindsay or elsewhere in Kawartha Lakes and may be quite well off.
A week after being sworn-in, City of Kawartha Lakes Council assembled around its custom-designed triangular conference table in the heart of the refurbished chambers. They gathered to hear a presentation on retail cannabis sales and to approve appointments to boards, committees and CHEST Fund disbursements.
Cannabis Retail Storefronts
By the Jan. 22 deadline set by the Province, council must make a decision on whether to opt-in or opt-out of having private recreational cannabis retail storefronts in Kawartha Lakes.
CAO Ron Taylor and Senior Licensing Officer Alix Scarr, provided a presentation that served as an overview of federal, provincial, and municipal responsibilities and powers with respect to cannabis and outlined the financial implications for the decision council will be making.
It is surely ironic that Christmas, the celebration of a child born to a homeless couple, has become one of the biggest consumer festivals of our culture. As a result Christmas has become associated with the pressures of finding “the perfect gift,” and the anxiety that comes with spending more money than we have. And, of course, there is the strain that all the “stuff” that comes with the season puts on our already fragile earth.
So what are a few things that we can do to make Christmas a time of generosity and love not just for each other, but for the earth? Here are a few suggestions.
On Saturday morning 273 cyclists experienced the countryside up-close, rolling along the quiet back roads that knit together our region. It was the 15th Annual Kawartha Lakes Classic Cycling Tour, a fundraiser for A Place Called Home.
Cyclists had come from as far away as Ottawa and Niagara; in fact, roughly half were visiting from outside Kawartha Lakes. (Days Inn was the official hotel sponsor).
When they registered, the cyclists chose a distance, each with its own route. For the experienced and ambitious there were 100 and 160 km routes. A 50 km route wound its way to Woodville and back. And the 25 and 13 km tours made use of sections of the Kawartha TransCanada Trail. All departed from Boston Pizza (which, along with Canadian Tire, was an official sponsor).