Inspired by their Catholic faith and serving new mothers who are in a crisis, Our Lady Of Guadalupe Home Of Windsor has been a staple in the Windsor community for many years.
Marina Kowalsky, the Project Manager at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Home Of Windsor shared that with homelessness being such a prevalent problem in our community, they focus on women experiencing uncertain times while being pregnant.
“There is always a safe place to go,” Kowalsky says. “Women feel trapped in their situations of abuse and it’s very difficult for them to understand there are options. It takes courage to leave an abusive situation but when you’re ready, there is help.” Kowalsky shared.
Strictly funded by the community, Our Lady Of Guadalupe offers women who are experiencing a lack of support or unplanned pregnancy a safe environment to have their children with the support of the workers while they finish school or look for work in the community.
Teaching women in their care life and parenting skills, there is no other organization within the community that caters to pregnant women that offer shelter to new mothers experiencing crisis for up to a year.
Due to the pandemic, Our Lady Of Guadalupe has found difficulty helping women due to the restrictions in place. At the beginning of it all, they were forced to shut their doors and turn women in need away to make sure they kept their guest safe. Going forth all new mothers that are welcomed into the home must be tested for COVID upon arrival or must agree to be quarantined within the home for two weeks.
The home hopes to move forward into the new year and remain afloat to offer help to all young mothers in need of their services, hoping in the future they will be able to host fundraisers to raise funds for their cause. For more information and ways to get involved to help such a great organization visit their website ologhome.com.
The Hiatus House- Shine The Light On Women’s Abuse Tree Lighting Ceremony
On Monday, the Hiatus House will be hosting their 7th annual Shine The Light On Women’s Abuse Tree Lighting Ceremony which honours victims and survivors of women’s abuse.
What began nine years ago in London, the tree lighting ceremony was quickly adopted into Windsor after survivors in Ontario asked for the campaign to be brought to their cities. With November being Women Abuse Prevention Month, the campaign is calling for local businesses, community agencies and citizens to individually work towards turning their community purple in support of the campaign.
Despite the changes COVID-19 has made, the event will be livestreamed to the public through The Hiatus House and The Shine The Light Facebook and Instagram pages. With the livestream starting at 6 p.m, the event will take place at Charles Clark Square with two of this year's honourees; Brittany Genovese and Udona Desjardins.
For more information on other ways to support the community and help raise awareness visit their website hiatushouse.com.
Serving as the official fundraising arm for the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre and fulfilling the request of the Windsor Regional Cancer Program, The Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation has been serving the community for over 19 years. Located at 2220 Kildare Rd, within the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, due to the pandemic, this non-profit has been working remotely since the beginning of March.
Focusing and benefiting those in the community that have been diagnosed with and are being treated for cancer, all funds that the foundation raises stays local to improve the community, with funds going towards things such as buying equipment, patient amenities as well as initiatives to support local cancer research.
WCCF offers many programs, one of which being their RENEW program. Within this program, you are provided with the tools and independence needed as you transition from treatment to everyday life after cancer.
Due to Covid-19, many events have experienced limitations and have turned virtual or have been rescheduled. Come November, WCCF is hosting their Grow On Windsor campaign, which is in support of cancer awareness, research and treatment for men living in Windsor-Essex. For more information on Grow On Windsor, click the link below. www.growonwindsor.com
In Honour Of The Ones We Love
In Honour Of The Ones We Love is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1997 by Anita Imperioli after losing her one-year old son, Michael to cancer.
When they first opened they were focused solely on patients with cancer but quickly evolved to encompass other life threatening and life long diseases. Their programs vary from physically helping people in the community through programs like their Kids Beating Cancer Honorary Ninja Program,Breakfast programs for children at Regional Children's Centre for children challenged with mental health starting from 6 years of age to helping individuals through various programs including music therapy classes that help with anxiety and depression.
Raising awareness within their community and helping provide support as well as the best medical equipment during their treatments, due to the pandemic, they have seen a decline in funds and aren’t able to have their regular scheduled events that usually bring in their biggest donations. In Honour truly appreciates any donation or help to keep their programs funded especially during this time of Covid-19 which has stopped most of the fundraising efforts in our community.
For more information on donating or volunteering visit their website www.inhonour.ca to learn more.
“Our purpose is to make a difference for our loved ones and ensure their healthcare journey is made with dignity and respect.”
There is no health without mental health- Canadian Mental Health Association
With this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, The Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor-Essex County Branch (CMHA) mission is to help individuals recognize mental health and to support the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness.
Located at 1400 Windsor Ave. with a secondary location at 215 Talbot St. E in Leamington, this non-profit organization is partnered with Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare offering a Transitional Stability Centre/Mental Health Wellness Centre located at 736-744 Ouellette Ave. where clients can walk in on any day of the week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Offering a wide variety of programs and services including early intervention, homelessness initiative, intensive care management, safe beds and suicide education programs that offer support and treatment for people suffering from moderate to sever mental health issues, they are the leading provider and advocate for addiction and community mental health services while incorporating primary health care services through their Health Centre. Due to the pandemic, CMHA has switched all their services to online or over the phone appointments to make sure that all clients are still able to receive services and keep in contact with their case workers regularly.
According to Manager of Community Engagement at CHMA, Kerri Hill shared that she understands that with the pandemic many feel fearful, anxiety and uncertainty.
“This is an unprecedented time for all of us bringing on a host of changes that may be difficult to cope with at any given point,” Hill shared. “Give yourself permission to feel your emotions – whether you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, isolated, depressed, scared, whatever it might be.” The CMHA-WECB has implemented new measures to ensure the safety of their clients as well as their workers during the pandemic. “We have twice daily cleaning of our facilities and provide sanitizing wipes and stations throughout the building as well,” Hill explained. “Anyone entering our facilities must pass a series of screening questions and wear a mask inside the building.” With mental health day being this week the CMHA recommends anyone struggling with their mental health during these trying times to reach out to their 24 hour crisis line.
“We hope that everyone remains safe and well.,” Hill said. “The pandemic has shone a light on mental health and we hope that everyone continues to have open dialogue about how they are feeling and makes that important step to ask for help when needed.”
“There is no health without mental health.” For more information on CMHA visit their website and find resources as well as any free webinars or services that are offered.
Founded in 1972, The Downtown Mission is dedicated to focusing on the needs of all people who are at a disadvantage in life, whether that be due to homelessness or addiction.
Offering many programs including food support, sanctuary programs, wellness programs and enterprise programs, this Christian charity serves roughly 910 hot meals a day and can house 110 people or families making it the largest shelter from Windsor to Toronto.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Downtown Mission has seen a decrease in donations and an increase in people needing support. “Covid has changed everybody’s lives,” shared Downtown Mission’s Executive Director, Ron Dunn. “Many agencies in Windsor have shrunk due to the pandemic and are offering virtual services or call in mental health support but we don’t have that luxury.”
According to Dunn, when other non-profits or agencies stopped their services for the time being cause of the pandemic, they were the main spot for many in the community that needed support.
“It’s been difficult for many and during these times it has reaffirmed why having a mission in the community is so important,” Dunn said. Each year, the mission is given a budget of four million dollars with a hundred and fifty-five million coming from the government and the remaining coming from community events or donations.
“From our perspective, when we emerge from the pandemic, we have to be ready,” Dunn said. “What Covid has shown my team and I is we have to be here for the community, if we don’t do what we are doing, who is going to do it.”
Dunn who has been on board at the Downtown Mission for ten years expressed that him becoming involved was cause his father struggled with alcoholism and simply because he wanted to help people out.
“I’ve always wanted a career that helped others,” Dunn explained. “There’s nothing more satisfying than giving something to somebody and knowing they could never give you something back.”
For Dunn, whether it be a worker, volunteer or guest that comes to the mission, they become family in a short amount of time. On November 5th and 6th, the mission will be hosting their annual Bench Talk and Sleep Out Event and encourage all people in the community to come out to have a chat with Dunn.
For more information on how you can become a monthly donor or give a monetary donation of any kind, visit the Downtown Mission website downtown.com to learn more.
Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee Windsor-Essex
At the Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee Windsor-Essex (VAWCCWE), their goal is to help education the community on how to end gender-based violence from collaborating with a network of organizations, groups, and individuals that focus on educating others.
The VAWCCWE is made up of service providers, people with lived experience, who have dealt with gender-based violence and individuals that have a passion in addressing these issues. Made up of 30 different agencies in Windsor and Essex County, VAWCCWE continues to educate and coordinate with each agency to try and minimize the gaps in services so that individuals can get the help they need faster.
Offering help with law enforcement, shelter services and more, this non-profit’s main mission to help those in need in a timely manner.
A real life superhero- The Fight Like Mason Foundation
He was a young boy that will always be remembered as a superhero in many hearts.
At the Fight like Mason Foundation, Chantelle Bacon and Iain Macri's mission is to continue on their son Mason's legacy by supporting other families to improve treatment, care, quality of life and awareness of patients diagnosed with childhood rhabdomyosarcoma and other childhood cancers.
Mason Bacon-Macri, who was born on May 9, 2012, came as a surprise to parents Iain and Chantelle.
"It was honestly the best surprise we could have ever gotten," Iain shared. "For everyone that knew him, they would call him an old soul; he had this special kind of aura about him."
In December 2014, Mason started experiencing issues while going to the bathroom, but after some changes to his diet were made, Mason began to improve. It was not until April 2015 that Mason's health became a concern again. After many trips to the doctor, an emergency visit spurned the ultrasound, where they found the mass.
"After that happened, we were referred to London because Windsor couldn't help us anymore, about a week later we were told that he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma," Iain explained. "Mason was given a 50-week chemotherapy plan that started on his third birthday."
Mason had begun his fight, and like the real superhero that he was, he was positive through the whole thing.
"It was hard for us to explain to him at first what he was going through," Iain said. "I mean, how do you tell a three-year-old they have cancer; we knew we had to come up with a storyline to get him through his fight."
Both parents Iain and Chantelle told Mason he had a bad guy inside him that he needed to defeat.
"We would tell him, you're going to need to become an Avenger to fight off all the bad guys," Iain shared. "We used all these analogies to superhero stories, and that stuck with him throughout his entire journey."
Mason's fight lasted over a year, and after months of chemotherapy and radiation, the treatment was not working. That is when doctors urged that Mason have a pelvic exenteration, a 13-hour surgery that involved removing his bladder and prostate.
"The surgery went super well, and he recovered so quickly," Iain said. "They had gotten the tumour out, and he was cancer-free."
Four weeks after surgery, Mason started to develop problems with keeping food down. After Mason went through some more testing, it was determined that Mason's cancer had spread everywhere and sadly, on June 27, 2016, Mason passed away.
"Right before Mason passed, we made him a promise," Iain stated. "We looked him in the eyes and told him, your fight does not end here, we will do everything to help the next kid that goes through this."
The Fight Like Mason Foundation list of accomplishments is nothing short of heroic, and within the last four years, they have been able to raise over a million dollars for childhood cancer.
With this month being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, The Fight Like Mason Foundation is going gold! From bows lining the streets, flags flying in the sky, lawn signs on many yards and individuals dying their hair gold to support it.
If you want to support Childhood Cancer awareness month or check out their Gold Hair Dudes Care Challenge, click below!
This week's Fundraiser Friday is highlighting Ten Friends Diner located at 1412 Wyandotte St. E.
Their mission is simple; through peer support, they assist to help improve the quality of life for people dealing with mental health setbacks. There is such a stigma around people that are dealing with mental health problems and it’s comforting to see many nonprofits in Windsor-Essex that are geared towards breaking those stigmas.
Ten Friends Diner is a community support charity that offers the use of their diner to people or a place to host parties. They have helped with events like baby showers or group meetings and have even offered the use of their kitchen for outside events. They are a safe place for people that are struggling and need to talk and have partnered with other businesses to offer them a helping hand during troubled times.
During the pandemic their hours of operation have changed, they are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and are closed on Mondays. Ten Friends Diner is all about providing opportunities and helping their community gain the needed confidence, awareness, hope and satisfaction. While working towards helping others with their mental health, they encourage anyone to come down to the diner to support their cause.
With all the non- profit organizations in Windsor- Essex, we’ve decided to dedicate our first Fundraiser Friday to Street Help Homeless Centre, located on 964 Wyandotte St E. Street Help Homeless Centre of Windsor is a homeless drop-in centre operated by and for the homeless and has been opened since 1995.
At Street Help they have no paid administrators or fundraisers. They run strictly on donations from the public and only employ one Street Outreach Advocate and two Street Patrollers, all of which have been or are homeless themselves. Who better to know what a person living on the streets needs than someone that knows what it's truly like. They offer services to anyone that is struggling and needs a little help making ends meet.
At Street Help they encourage the people that need the help to get involved in skills such as cleaning, cooking and more to individuals and once they've gained those valuable work skills, they can apply that to their resume.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Street Help has had some changes to how they are operating. A takeout window is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and some things that they are in need of is:
food (non-perishables like granola bars or canned goods)
water or juices
warm clothes for the upcoming winter months
hygiene products (toothpaste and toothbrushes, mouth wash, baby wipes and diapers or feminine products)
blankets, pillows, mats, or sleeping bags
first aid kits
All donations can be dropped off at the Street Help Centre or you can give them a call at 519-977-9200 and arrange for their volunteers to come to your location for a pick up.
Some other ways you can support your community through Street Help is through volunteering your time, through fundraising or through monetary donations that can be made directly to the Centre. For more information on how you can get involved with this great non-profit visit their website www.street-help.com and give back to the amazing community that we live in.