Archive for March, 2009

FCC at the African Lion Safari

The Flamborough Chamber of Commerce held it’s annual Outstanding Business Acheivment (OBA) awards ceremony against the backdrop of an unusual set on Saturday evening.

Beautifully dressed attendees were greeted by an owl, cheeta and fruit bat as they entered the Mombasa Market Restaurant, located in a unique country setting, on the grounds of African Lion Safari. Upon receiving their seating designation by country, guests were directed to a photo with wild parrots squaking and greeting you with sayings like: “hello beautiful”.

Koho Catering provided an all you can eat buffet with trays of salads, cheese trays, rolls and vegetables down the centre aisle with two hot stations of chicken Cordon-blue Royale, roast beef, new potatoes, rice and roasted vegetables. There was a Shiraz from Obikwa in South Africa and a Wild Horse Canyon Chardonnay from BC on the table and dinner was followed up by plates of cake of all varieties.

Brooke was our club delegate for the evening and sat with the Ron and Eleanor Steepe of Kitching, Steepe & Ludwig Funeral Home and two of their former staff members, Margaret Robertson from Pause a While, and Norm Read, a C.A. with Beckett Lowden Read, and his wife Barbara. It was a delightful evening of pleasant conversation and carrot cake envy!

The event was covered by Cogeco Cable with MC Arend Kersten and included distinguished guests: MP David Sweet, MPP Ted McMeekin, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberg, Ward 14 Councillor Robert Pasuta, and a surprise visit from Minister of Defence, the Honorable Peter MacKay to pay tribute to Corporal Chris Klodt.

During the Mayor’s speech he included a focus on energy consumption and turned off the lights for 1 min to honour Earth Hour, which took place around the globe that Saturday starting at 8:30pm. GM and Coach, Don Robertson of the Dundas Real McCoys, also left their provincial championship game, which they won, and drove in from Pickering to join the festivities and honour the Life Time Achievement Award Winner, Bill Grisdale.

Our club was nominated for the Sandra Gray/Weeks Home Hardware Award for Service by an Individual Award. The winner went to Eric’s Amazing Race and Jessy’s Journey. In support of their nephew Eric Morden who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), Ted Lindsay (manager of the Flamborough Review) and his wife Heather organize a car rally to help fund research (see the Bottom Line page 5). The Community Service Award by a company went to Terra Greenhouses for their “grow for a cure” program.

It was such an honour to be nominated and recognized for the work we do in the community, and I know Sandy would have been mortified to hear the kind words regarding this award in her name.

March 30 2009 under SI-DAF Events

Enough of Intimate Partner Violence

The IPV Action Group & Anti-Violence Network present “Enough of Intimate Partner Violence” on Wednesday March 25 from 6-9pm in MDCL Room 3020 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

A panel discussion will cover Social Work, Research, Crime Prevention with special guest Ms Gurjeet Dhahan. Refreshments will be available by donation. All proceeds to go to Interval House.

For more information about the UN’s position on Violence Against Women, read the SI Programme Blog »

About Ms Gurjeet Dhahan:

This survivor of domestic abuse is blind after being shot twice point-blank in the head by her estranged husband, who then turned the gun on himself. This tragedy occured on October 19, 2006 in the town of Port Coquitlam, BC. Read her story on »

About the Anti-Violence Network at McMaster University:

The AVN is a group of students, staff and faculty who, since March 1997, have met to share concerns, offer support and coordinate efforts against violence on campus. Their goal is to actively engage students, staff and faculty in working together to create a more peaceful campus.

About Interval House of Hamilton:

Their mission is “to provide a safe place, support for abused women with or without children, community outreach services and practice-based research in our shared quest for freedom from violence.”

March 18 2009 under General

Come and help celebrate a 30th anniversary!

Join us on Wednesday June 10, 2009 at the Waterfront Centre in Hamilton at 7p.m. to celebrate the 30th anniversary of SI Hamilton-Burlington.

Tickets are $30 which includes great jazz music by the Suzanne Ramsay Trio and guest appearance by jazz dancer John Charles Vaughan.

  • door prizes and raffles
  • canape buffet with a cash bar

All proceeds will go to our ongoing service projects supporting women and girls in our community. Please wear your pearls!!! View the flyer for more information »

You can purchase your tickets through our president Barb.

March 16 2009 under SI News

Review of our March Meeting

This was our first meeting at the new time for dinner, 6pm. Some club news: We made the list for the Annual Club Campaign – Bronze ($500). For the SIA Club Award – we accomplished all the requirements – congratulations ladies! Thank you ladies for all your work :)

We welcomed guest speaker, Cathy Watts from Baby Showers: they believe in Awareness, Advocacy and Action. We are pleased that our partnership with them has aligned goals and they are very grateful for our donation of $1,200.  This volunteer only  organization has <20 people; the Social Planning Research Committee officially signed to recognize them as partners; they also received funding for the lease on a new space. Most families they serve are immigrants, refugees and those who experience a sudden change in finances. Very few are single, white –teenage moms. Baby Showers serves approximately 20 families a week, based on donations. Our club donation will be used for car seats, cribs and plastic tubs, highchairs, playpens and formula/diapers. These items are not frequently donated. The next project (inspired by a tv interview on 100 Huntley Street) is to work women in York Region to duplicate the model

After volunteering to help many times and attending our events, Kim Gordon (Brooke’s Mom), was welcomed as our newest member. We’re very happy to have her join us, especially Brooke.

After the last meeting, Shirley E and Barb dropped off the clothes collected for Friends for Success. Thank you to our friends, neighbours and co-workers who contributed towards our clothing drive.

March 8 2009 under SI-DAF Events

Soroptimist: Helping Women and Girls Live Their Dream

Today is International Women’s Day – a celebration of women’s accomplishments and a reminder of what is yet to be accomplished. Hear what Margaret Lobo has to say »

What Soroptimists do is tangible: we provide blankets for new babies, scholarships for women, raise public awareness of domestic violence against women and the fact that women are being trafficked as sex slaves in our own home town! Why we do it is not always easy to articulate. It is the satisfaction of knowing a mother will have a toy under the tree for her child this year at Christmas; witnessing tears of joy from a Women’s Opportunity Award Winner; recognizing a humble woman who dedicates her life to serving her community; and sponsoring the construction of new children’s centre for facilitated parent visitations. Above and beyond all these wonderful occasions, we have fun!

To find out more about the tangibles of what we plan to accomplish this year, there is a description of our programs of service »

To tell you why we’re inspired to be members of Soroptimist, well, sometimes intangibles are harder to articulate but these women did a great job:

March 8 2009 under SI News

CSW Emerging Issue: Gender Perspectives of the Financial Crisis

Over 5000 delegates from Non Governmental Agencies ( NGO’s ) have registered for the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) – held at UN headquarters in New York from 2-13 March 2009. CSW’s priority theme will be “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS”. For more information and ongoing updates about the event, visit the SI Programme Blog »

Each year a small cadre of Soroptimists who are well versed in the advocacy process have been intimately involved in the working groups with their government’s missions meeting at CSW. SI is working toward improving our advocacy efforts each year and will be developing a little advocacy kit for attendees next year. The Commission on the Status of Women has published the Official Documents for this year’s session of which SI has been an active participant »

SI Statement:
SI co-signed Statements:

One of the constant things we hear from people is that they know who Soroptimists are, they know what we do, and they are impressed that we put action to our words.

Dawn Marie Lemonds, SI Programme Director

The following are excerpts from a written statement submitted by Stephanie Seguino for the interactive expert panel on the “Emerging Issue: Gender perspectives of the financial crisis” at the CSW on 6 March 2009.

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has selected the emerging issue, “Gender Perspectives of the Financial Crisis” as the subtheme of the 53rd session of the CSW. There has been increasing concern among women’s organizations, networks and agencies about the impacts of not only the global financial crisis but the food, fuel and climate change crises on women. Gender advocates are looking at how to engage in further dialogue with the key political players and at key moments to ensure policy proposals include a gender perspective in the solutions of the global crises.

How is the global financial and economic crisis impacting development?
The impact of the financial crisis is affecting the whole world and is threatening long term objectives like the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals .

Not only the developed countries, but increasingly emerging economies and least developed countries are suffering the effects of this global financial crisis.

Financial markets have collapsed, lending and investments opportunities are declining and exports are falling as demand decreases.

In addition, developing countries, facing already higher food and energy prices, lack the means and resources to protect their financial institutions or banks from bankruptcy.

The results are falling stock markets, rising interest rates, and less government resources for socio-economic investments that benefit the poor.

How is the global financial and economic crisis affecting women?
Women’s jobs tend to pay lower wages, in part because women tend to have a higher rate of part-time employment, and are often not covered by social safety nets. Moreover, in countries without social safety nets, the impact on women is even more severe.

Employment losses or a slowdown in job growth is expected to contribute to growing unemployment. This finds women at the risk of being hired last and dismissed first.

Developing countries will be affected by the drop in remittances from family members in developed economies. Remittances give women greater autonomy and control over family matters.

Female-headed households are at greatest risk, with few if any savings to weather the crisis, and limited ownership of wealth and other assets, as compared to men.

Ethnic groups that are less powerful and immigrant groups will suffer in many of the same ways because they are similarly situated in the paid economy as women. Even in developed countries such as the US, Black and Latina women face particularly high rates of poverty.

The effects on women and therefore children will be transmitted through cuts in public sector budgets, due to falling tax revenues and foreign aid.

As food and fuel prices soar and adding stress and hardship to families, incidents of violence against women and communal violence increase.

What are policy and advocacy inputs to improve the situation for women?
Past experiences have shown that financial crises and neoliberal policy responses, such as Structural Adjustment Programs, have disproportionately affected women in negative ways. It is critical to recognize gender equality as a fundamental human right and an issue of social justice essential for economic growth, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, and development effectiveness.

New indicators must be developed to measure the impact of gender inequality on economic growth by measuring the value of women’s unpaid work as well as by developing performance indicators to measure progress in introducing and implementing gender-responsive approach to public finances.

To be efficient, effective, and accountable, public finance management systems and practices need to support rather than undermine principles of participatory and gender-responsive budgeting.

Information and resources
This information sheet primarily referenced the following papers and websites:

March 6 2009 under SI News

What’s Cookin’ in Leadership?

Registration is now open for the Soroptimist Women’s Leadership Institute, which will take place on July 3-4, 2009, at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

Do you know the “ingredients” for a good leader? This two day seminar, which includes a special networking lunch and collaborative learning exercise, is an outstanding value at only $349 for Soroptimist members. Attendance is limited to the first 400 and open to all Soroptimist members. We have also secured a special Soroptimist room rate at the Westin Michigan Avenue: $169.00 per night single or double (plus tax). Be sure to make your own reservations today!

Click here to review the schedule, get workshop descriptions, read speaker bios and more »

Executive Director Leigh has created two videos about SIA and the most recent is about the Soroptimist Women’s Leadership Institute. Its just over 1 minute to watch »

And while we have your attention:

As the Renaissance Campaign nears the end of its fifth year, SIA has hired Kerr-Downs, a full-service market research firm, to conduct a new study that will help measure the campaign’s success and determine next steps. It will be open through May 31, 2009 and although it takes a little while to complete, it is well worth it so headquarters knows how to move forward. Make sure your voice is heard!

Visit to fill out the survey »

March 4 2009 under SI News

Curves Food Drive

Over 50 million pounds of food has been distributed in the past 5 years. Help us keep up the tradition by dropping off non-perishable food items to any Curves location between March 2 – 21. To find a Curves near you go to

Food Drive March 2 to 21

Food Drive March 2 to 21

March 2 2009 under SI-DAF Members

Shirley McCoy’s Bio

I have been a proud member of Soroptimist for the past twenty years. Never in my wildest dreams did I even think that joining this club would give me so much personal growth, friendship, leadership development and satisfaction in helping other women and girls in our local communities and throughout the world.  It’s such a wonderful feeling to help others less fortunate than yourself. It makes me feel very humble to know how much the work we have accomplished over the past twenty years and the difference it has truly made in so many lives.

At the club and region level, I was chair for the Women’s Opportunity and Violet Richardson award programs. It was very emotional to read the applications and their stories of hardship and the many barriers they have had face. Receiving the WOA award is an opportunity to make such a big difference in their lives. I have always said, “It is not a hand out, but a hand up“. I have also met the winners at the federation level and to hear their stories is an inspiration to women all over the world.

I have had the opportunity to travel to attend conferences and conventions and have made friends from literally all over the world. I attended my first Soroptimist International convention in Scotland which was an experience of a live time. I was able to renew old friendships and make new ones. It was an awesome experience. The highlight of the convention was the attendance of Princess Anne and to hear her speak of the great work she does in Britain to help the less fortunate children was very inspiring. I stayed in a bed and breakfast for two weeks in Glasgow and had a chance to see many historic and exciting places while I was there.

My latest convention in Taipei, Taiwan was an experience I will cherish forever. I stayed for one week and then travelled to Hong Kong for another week. What an adventure! And of course the shopping was great. For the members that know me I have another passion … shopping! I have always enjoyed fashion and admit I do enjoy the latest in fashion. Over the years I have been able to shop at various places around the world when I am attending conventions!

I have been very fortunate in my life, especially growing up in a loving and caring family. I have been married to my best friend and soul mate, Doug, for the past 38 years. We are proud of our four children, JD (33) who is a doctor and resides in Arizona, Chris (32) who does computer work and lives at  home, AJ (or Andrew, 27) co owns Golden Gate Equestrian Farm, and Jenna Dee (22) is completing her second year of her two year program at the School of Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine in Toronto and is busy planning her wedding that is taking place in May, 2009. We are very excited about Jenna getting married and have been very busy planning to make this a very special day.

My family is my greatest accomplishment. I am not afraid to say that Doug and I still enjoy our “dates” together and love to travel. We are business partners in the Village Treehouse Childcare which we started in l981 here in Ancaster. Our favourite place is Las Vegas, but not to gamble – it’s the people watching, shopping, local attractions, Las Vegas shows and of course the magic shows!  Doug is a professional magician and is actively involved in the IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians) and local magic club. We often attend Magic conventions together.

I must say that they have always supported me and encouraged me in my Soroptimist journey. Whatever position I held at the club level and region level my family never complained and my husband and children were always there to help with anything I needed. When I was nominated to be Governor of Eastern Canada Region (ECR) I knew that it would involve a great deal of time and commitment (board meetings, planning fall meetings, organizing spring conference to mention a few duties) and my husband Doug was very supportive and understanding. He never once complained or suggested I was spending too much time doing Soroptimist work. He was there for me when I was inducted as ECR governor and I know I could not have done it without his love and support.

The members in our club are a super group of women. I highly respect all the various skills and talents they so generously share with each other and our organization. I have a passion for our organization and think of myself of an ambassador or cheerleader for others to be inspired to be the best they can be. I have always enjoyed working as a team and feel my leadership stressed the importance of having “fun” while doing our work. When I was governor I used the words, “What happens at Conference, stays at conference” and that saying has continued since!

I have grown up in the field of Early Childhood education as my mother operated one of the first child care programs in Hamilton since 1962.  Attending high school from 1964 – 1968, I worked each day after school at the child care and during the summers. I attended Mohawk College from l968 – 1970 to receive my diploma in Early Childhood Education. I have been the supervisor/director at Lucky Day Nursery for the past 39 years and director of the Village Treehouse Childcare for the past 28 years. I am actively involved in the daily operation of both programs, as well as the field of early learning and care through the Association of Early Childhood Educators. Over the past 40 years I have continued my love of learning by presenting and attending many workshops and seminars. I am very excited to be teaching Early Childhood Education at Mohawk College part time. I am an area network leader for the supervisor’s network in Hamilton and sit on the Best Start Network. I was proud to receive the Award of Distinction for the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario two times. I also received the Employer of the Year for 2006 from the Hamilton Board of Education.

Professional Memberships:

  • Registered Early Childhood Educator with the College of Early Childhood Educators
  • Certified member of the Association for Early Childhood Educators of Ontario
  • Member of the Child care Federation
  • Member of Affiliated Services for Youth and Children
  • Board member of the Best Start Committee
  • Area Network leader for the region of Hamilton

I joined Soroptimist to give back to the community that I have received so much from. It gives me an opportunity to help less fortunate women who, for no fault of their own, have had many barriers in their life. It gives me a chance to improve the lives of women and girls in our local community and throughout the world. Through my role as the Governor of Eastern Canada Region I had the opportunity to represent the region and learn so much more about the magnitude of what our organization does worldwide. We all must not just think “locally, but also globally”!

I have had the amazing opportunity to meet leaders of our organization from all four federations in Soroptimist International of the Americas. At the convention in Philadelphia I had the privilege of sitting with all four federation presidents and hearing their views on where our organization is going. I have learned that no matter what position a Soroptimist holds, we all have the same common goals and mission.

I enjoy the many friendships I have made over the years and the love and support the women in our club show to each other. We have a great deal of fun when we do our fundraising projects or our hands on projects. It gives us a chance to share our time and talents to the betterment of others. Being part of this group of successful and positive women is refreshing and a learning experience. We network and help each other to bring out the best for others! Our meetings are informative and allow all members to voice their opinions and ideas. We are like minded women and strive to help make a difference in the lives of women and girls and to help them fulfill their dreams and make this a better world.

I am looking forward to my new position on the SIA federation board and am honoured to represent Eastern Canada Region. I have been blessed with many special mentors along the way who have encouraged, supported and helped me in my Soroptimist journey. We have engaged in laughter, tears, conversation and support! Being a member of Soroptimist you have so much to gain. It is the best gift a women can give herself…..the gift of membership!

March 1 2009 under Member Bios