Archive for January, 2009

SIDAF and the Ancaster Lions donate to McMaster Children’s Hospital

A very heartwarming presentation by SIDAF and Ancaster Lions Club was made Tuesday evening to Fiona Campbell of the Technology Access Clinic, McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The money donated is to assist with the outright purchase of speech generating software for a lady named Jennifer in Hamilton who is unable to speak due to a rare, degenerative condition called Central Nervous System Vasculitus; Jen has lost her ability to speak and she also uses a wheelchair, as she can no longer walk. This software is her only means of communication with the outside world and in particular with her daughter who is also challenged with developmental delay.

Fiona made a wonderful presentation, which included a short video of the lady who now has the software to keep instead of it just being leased annually. In the video it shows Jennifer typing out a message of thanks to us all and in turn her computer then spoke the words for her.

The lease on this expensive equipment expires in February, but the Provincial Government (Ministry of Health) offers an 89% subsidy on its renewal through a program called the Assisted Devices Program (ADP). That leaves a one-year lease renewal is $573.31, or alternatively the equipment could be purchased for $1,368.93. Jennifer cannot provide this money herself, because she is unable to work, and her husband is her full-time caregiver.

The Ancaster Lions Club and Soroptimist International of Dundas-Ancaster-Flamborough shared the cost of the purchase price.

January 31 2009 under Programs of Service, SI-DAF Events

Indifference is not an option for Soroptimists

Soroptimist International headquarters has released their report on the UN DPI/NGO Conference at UNESCO in Paris September 2008. Its theme was reflecting the fact that the Declaration was signed 60 years ago and despite this, Human Rights are often not observed by many governments and women are still struggling for their rights.

Some highlights are below, as compiled by the Margaret Cook, SI Assistant Programme Director, were shared in a report, which was shared on the SI blog:

There were 537 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from 74 countries registered and SI was represented by President Margaret and Assistant Pprogram Director, Margaret Cook, as well as Dominique Mertz, Marie Christine Gries and Yseult Kaplan, three of our UN Representatives at UNESCO. With us were three young, self-funded Soroptimists: Maggie Memmott, Shireen Lackey and Gina Oliveri. They were able to attend because NGO’s had been encouraged to seek participants under 30 years of age (for which they qualified) – a really good move – which allowed us to have a larger delegation. Yes there were three Margarets!

The many workshops reflected how groups defend human rights and work to establish them- especially in the lives of girls and women. President Margaret observed that “to be in the conference room lined with portraits of members of the Committee who drafted the first Declaration of Human Rights was a great honour! The first chairperson of this Commission was Eleanor Roosevelt who played an instrumental role in the drafting. At a time of increasing East West tension Mrs. Roosevelt used her enormous prestige and credibility with both superpowers to steer the process towards its successful completion.”

Education and empowerment were the words that Maggie Memmott felt were central to many of the speeches and discussions. Her recommendation for action by Soroptimists is to educate and be educated! She attended a workshop ‘Dreams In Action, the Millennium Development Goals Realized: How to Design Human Rights Issues into the Classroom Curriculum to Inspire Leadership, Creativity and Social Justice’ which illustrated the necessity of education and empowerment. She says: “The speaker described a school in a very impoverished area of South Los Angeles who were taught core subjects using the Millennium Development Goals as a framework. Junior high students are encouraged to make a difference for others today no matter how little they have themselves. Students and parents are empowered by experience of volunteerism and giving in their local community as well as even poorer villages and more disadvantaged students in Honduras. The curriculum is available free from”

NGOs have a great role to play, being on the ground, observers of any sign of tension and able to alert institutions if there is a risk of resurgence or emergence of a conflict. We observed that ’Reaffirming Human Rights’ is:

  • to defend the Universality of the Declaration
  • to affirm the indivisibility of the principles in the Declaration
  • to educate people on Human Rights, young and adults, particularly the poorest
  • being without illusion about learning from history- history does not mean progress
  • being aware that peace needs to be constructed- it is not inscribed in human genes
  • to reflect on new emerging Human Rights to be defined and defended (rights to resources, to welfare, right of nature itself…)
  • to reflect on the duties of mankind- developing a Declaration of Human Duties?

Yseult Kaplan asks ‘What do I retain from this Conference?’. Words that have struck me were challenge, citizen, indifference, dignity, universality, fear, words. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been reaffirmed and has to become reality as it is not more difficult to defend now than it was 60 years ago, despite the impact of its violations and legislative texts against it. The ultimate object of the debates was also to extend a challenge to Civil Society and its capacity to structure itself to defend the Human Rights. It is civil society who has the rights and it is up to it to maintain its rights.

There was regret that the event has not received the attention and information which it deserved on the part of the media. The forecourt of the Paris Town hall was closed instead of being a forum for discussion of the state of Human Rights. One has to say ‘NO’ to indifference and let the principles announced in the Universal Human Rights Declaration enter into daily reality of all citizens of this planet.

Dignity, cornerstone of the Human Rights, will be real when all its standards are applied. Debates on the achievements of Human Rights in situations of insecurity, of violence and conflicts have highlighted the depth of ethical principles scorned and the observation of a series of crises utilised to limit Human Rights in the world. One has to concentrate not only on the victims but also on the aggressors. The issue of Human Rights must be revisited under the aspect of universality and of the critical consequences of globalisation. “The fight is ahead of us, not behind us” Stephane Hessel confirmed. He was one of the original team who drafted the document 60 years ago. Now in his nineties he spoke without notes and with a strength of purpose.

To conclude I would refer to the keynote remarks of Ingrid Betancourt.  What has struck her and attracts her attention in the world that she finds after her release after 6 years of captivity? It’s the appearance of insidious fear, fear of fear, fear of others, fear of other cultures, and also fear of being wrongly judged, this last one often preventing us from going to the end of our thoughts. One has to have the courage to say the truth, she confirms, and one has to insist on the importance of the word and the fact to be able to express oneself with the purpose of promotion and protection of Human Rights.

There is one thing certain- Soroptimists cannot and must not rest. Their awareness raising, advocacy and action is needed in the field of human rights.

January 30 2009 under SI News

January Update from SIA-HQ

Congratulations to our very own Shirley McCoy, SI of Dundas, Ancaster, Flamborough, Ontario and also to Sumie Ito, SI of Tsukuba, Japan; Raquel Arreola Ruiz, SI of La Mesa, Mexico; Linabelle Villarica, SI of Meycauyan, Philippines; Tazuko Tanaka, SI of Kyoto, Japan; and Patricia Donohue, SI of Watsonville, California. These women have been elected as members of the Soroptimist International of the Americas Board of Directors and will assume that office on September 1, 2009, and will serve in that position through August 31, 2011.

Once again, Soroptimist is a Global Member of the Global Summit of Women. This year’s summit will be held in Santiago, Chile, May 14-16. Soroptimist members can receive a 5 percent discount on registration. This upcoming global gathering focuses on the new leadership models that women bring to political and business leadership in the 21st century. Consider attending this important and informative meeting of business and professional women from around the world.

January 26 2009 under SI News

Ontario Leading Fight Against Breast Cancer

Hamilton was selected by GE Healthcare to be the first site in the world to receive new prototype technologies for use in a molecular breast imaging research program. Hamilton researchers will design and lead clinical trials to evaluate new technologies which use molecular imaging probes that target breast cancer. This cutting-edge strategy has the potential to find very small tumours, leading to early intervention. Trials will be geared towards high-risk women who are not currently well served by mammography.

GE Healthcare chose Hamilton because of the combined strengths of the collaborative partnership among the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization, and the Oncology and Nuclear Medicine programs at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

Quick Facts:

  • Each year in Ontario, 8,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • According to the Mayo Clinic, when localized breast cancer is caught at an early stage, the survival rate is 98 per cent.

One promising technique is molecular breast imaging, an experimental approach to cancer detection that has the potential to identify very small tumours and also to reduce the number of false positive results [reference]. It is geared toward high-risk women with dense breasts, who are not well served by mammography.

The GE technologies are expected to be located at Hamilton’s Henderson General Hospital with the research and development work carried out by McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences. Through careful evaluation in clinical trials, researchers will determine the full potential of the molecular breast imaging strategy.

All clinical studies will be submitted to Health Canada and the hospital’s research ethics board for review. Technologies will be delivered and studies will start only after approvals from both Health Canada and the hospital’s Ethics Board have been received. For more information, visit:

Our club secretary and chair of PR, Brooke Gordon, is the Commercialization Officer at the Centre for Probe Development & Commercialization, Hamilton, ON. Her role is in business development where she seeks to identify and capitalize on new markets and commercialization opportunities in the field of Molecular Imaging.

January 23 2009 under SI-DAF Members

Friends for Success

Most people take it for granted that they will have a job, a home and food on their plates … but times are changing. The pressure to find a job can be an overwhelming task when the underlying stress is putting food on the table and keeping a roof over your head.

The YWCA Friends for Success program aims to break the cycle by helping women who find themselves facing difficult life circumstances gain the self-confidence to enter or re-enter the workforce.

If you have business-appropriate attire clothing, accessories (handbags, shoes, belts, etc.) and coats, to donate, please contact us.

Find out more information

January 19 2009 under Programs of Service, SI-DAF Events

Update on the Walk for Memories

The Manulife Walk for Memories is the largest fundraising event of the Alzheimer Societies in Ontario. In 56 Ontario communities, the Manulife Walk for Memories raises money to fund local programs and services for 166,000 people living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and their families.

The ladies of SI-DAF gathered by the Old Navy entrance at Limeridge Mall, Hamilton ON for a photo opp with Mayor Fred and local MP, David Sweet, the Mistress of Ceremonies was Connie Smith (from CHTV) and MPP Sophia Aggelonitis shared a touching story of her Grandmother.

Walk for Memories with MP David Sweet and Mayor Fred Eisenberger

Walk for Memories with MP David Sweet and Mayor Fred Eisenberger

With the rhythm of swing playing close by, thanks to the Peter Banting Swingtet, we did laps around the lower floor of the mall. There were 4 activity stations with memory tests … they were much harder than we expected. It’s funny how you associate cows with milk but they actually drink water!

As of Sunday our group had raised over $1,600 but the deadline for submission of donations isn’t until the end of February. If you would like to make a donation, there’s a list of our walker’s webpages with links to donate online.

This is our snazzy banner

This is our snazzy banner

Thanks to everyone who participated but especially to those who sponsored us!!

January 18 2009 under Programs of Service, SI-DAF Events

An Outstanding Year of Helping Women and Girls

I know we are all busy but I urge you to use a coffee break today (or a wine or soda break tonight) and read through the Program Impact Report. Yes, it’s a 6 page report, but we all know that our scope as Soroptimists goes so much farther then our own little bubble here in Dundas/Ancaster/Flamborough and this report truly puts that into prospective.

For those of you less patient, here are some highlites:

  • 1,120 women helped through the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards and $1,353,463 was disbursed
  • 7,414 women and girls wer reached through the Soroptimist Club Grants for Women and Girls
  • 1,328 women and their families benefited from the Soroptimist Disaster Relief Grants where over $62,100
  • 528 outstanding women were honored with the Making a Difference for Women Award

You can download a PDF copy here »

January 17 2009 under SI News

Recap of our January 9th Meeting

Thank you to our guest speaker, Leeanne Kilby, E.D. of Elizabeth Fry Society who came to talk about the Sex Trade Alternatives and Resource Services (STARS) Drop in Centre.

They have been providing services to criminalized women since 1971. Leeanne has been with them for 25 years and it is an all female agency. They provide support to women “where they are” via the STARS bus to provide sex health to both trafficked women and women of choice. The greatest issue in Canada will be during the 2010 Olympics: the known path is Vancouver to Montreal to Hamilton. Human rights groups estimate that anywhere between 12.3 million and 27 million people are enslaved in forced or bonded labor, child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time.

The Elizabeth Fry Society will submit a grant with SI-DAF for women awards application. Have advanced volunteer training available. Also has recommended the book Sold by Patricia McCormick.

Welcome our newest members!
Welcome our newest members!

This Christmas, two (2) Christmas hampers were put together for local families in our area. The first hamper was for a Mother and two daughters, age 15 and 7. We purchased pajamas for all three plus jean, jazzy t shirts and sweaters for the girls. We also got glamour makeup and perfume for the 15 year old, per her request. For the younger girl we bought Barbies, a Crayola and slider game, plus Scrabble for the family. For mom we also gave her a box of chocolates, a $50 gift certificate to Fortinos and perfume. We were able to buy everything they had put on the list.

The second family was a Mother and her 4 year old daughter. For the Mom we got pyjamas and slippers, 2 sweaters, a beauty package and $50 to Sobeys. For her little girl we also got 2 games, a Dora sleeping bag and Dora dress up chest full of costumes, as well as a Hanna Montana outfit. We were delighted to receive thank you letters from the Salvation Army and one of the mothers.

Baby showers let us know that they don’t need blankets so we will be donating cash for carseats, cribs and twin sheet sets. They would also like gently used items and will come pick them up.

We’d also like to welcome our 3 new members: Alice, Marilynn and Kathy. We are very excited to have you join us. Also, congratulations to our guest, Janet, who won the 50:50 draw!

January 12 2009 under SI-DAF Events

Making a Difference for Women Award is Being Renamed

The Soroptimist Making a Difference for Women Award recognizes women who have worked to improve the lives of women and girls through their professional or volunteer work. Each year, clubs honor women around the world with this award and donate more than $90,000 to support their important work.

The SIA Board has decided it’s time to give this great program a new name. “Making a Difference for Women” is a phrase used by many organizations for programs and awards, and therefore does not succeed in setting Soroptimist or the award apart. It is also a long and rather cumbersome name. Soroptimist has asked clubs and members for their suggestions for a new name, and thanks to the many members who responded.

There is an online poll to narrow down the two choices. Soroptimist members, check your email to find out more information about how you can vote!

January 8 2009 under SI News

Walk for Memories 2009

This is a reminder to those who may want to participate in the “Walk for Memories”  for Alzheimer Awareness month.  There will be 2 locations for the walk, Limeridge Mall and Burlington Mall, January 18th starting at 9 a.m.

We have always had a wonderful representation from S.I. DAF and I would be honoured to have you walk with me.  If you can not walk on that day, would you consider sponsoring one of us in the walk?

Barb McCoy, Alzheimer’s Society

Sandy Gray, Weeks of Waterdown

Shirley McCoy, Lucky Day Nursery

Brooke & Steve Lascos

Margaret Kovacs

For the newer members, you may not know that my Mother has had Alzheimer Disease for the past 25 years.  It has been a difficult journey for all of our family.  I am sure all of you know someone who has been affected by this disease and we can only hope that in time we will find a cure.

You can register at, call 905-529-7030 for a pledge form, or sponsor a registrant (see the links above).  I have booked us as a Team under Soroptimist Dundas/Ancaster /Flamborough for the Limeridge Mall Walk.  You can register under the team and still collect individual pledges. Thank you for all of your kind support in this area.

Barb, SI-DAF President

January 7 2009 under Programs of Service, SI-DAF Events