Empowering Children with Spider Jones
On June 29th I hosted my yearly "Empowering" Event at the York Region Administration Building in Newmarket. This year I wished to focus on children. Children and their future is a very important issue to me personally; I have three boys and I serve on a York Region Children's Aid Committee which serves to bring attention to their needs.
I asked my friend Spider Jones, a former Fan 590 and Newstalk 1010 host, to be the guest speaker at this event and to share his incredible stories of challenge and heartbreak that made him become the incredible person he is today. Spider, who is a well known advocate and community leader of children, moved many of us to tears as he told his story of triumph over adversity. Graciously committing his time he travelled to Newmarket and empowered the many kids (and their parents) in attendance.
We talked about the importance of parenting, of teaching our children values of integrity and strength; of having the courage to champion causes and be a leader in speaking out against wrongdoing. Our kids look up to the adults in their lives and we are entrusted to keep the promise of respect, love, and caring for others. This includes making sure our kids can go to school in a safe environment and to teach them the skills of empowering themselves and standing up to bullies. Spider Jones was adamant that politicians and community leaders need to step up to the plate far more than they have in order to ensure our children have a good future.
100% of the proceeds raised were donated to the York Region Children's Aid Society to be used directly to benefit a child.
I want to thank the Newmarket Era for their promotion; the wonderful ladies at Queen Bee Edible Art, Metro Groceries and Starbucks for their sponsorship of the event. It is because of community partners that our community can raise happy children and that they get a chance at a successful future. Finally, I want to thank those in attendance who donated and came out in support of an extremely important cause.
For more information on Spider Jones please visit: http://www.spiderjones.com/
On Saturday April 10th, I organized an event with a group of women who gathered together to share stories and discuss personal experiences in their lives. This discussion was important because it develops a dialogue which in turn inspires a cycle of empowerment in each other’s lives.
Dr. Jean Augustine, a recipient of the Order of Canada, began the day with an incredible speech that resonated with many of us: the courage to speak out in your convictions even if you are the only person that holds them. Dr. Augustine, a gracious woman with incredible presence, had filled the room with a wisdom that could only come from one who has accomplished so much in her life and now dedicates it to encourage other women to do so. The first African-Canadian woman to be elected into Parliament, she went on to become
Following Dr. Augustine was marketing and communications specialist Eleanor McMahon. I met Eleanor earlier this year at a political seminar and was so inspired by her incredible story that I asked her to come to Newmarket to speak to other women. Eleanor’s life changed after her husband , OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart, was senselessly killed in a cycling accident. Using this tragedy to force change, she went on to form Share the Road, a grassroots cycling advocacy organization in Ontario that lobbies relentlessly for safer roads. Greg’s Law, or Bill 126, was passed April 22nd, 2009 in order to keep our streets safe thanks to the unwavering efforts of this woman.
During an energetic networking lunch Ontario Minister of Transportation Kathleen Wynne (formally Minister of Education) joined us and afterwards took part in a woman’s panel, hosted by Roger’s Focal Point Nancy Coldham. The feedback on this truly incredible woman was brilliant. Kathleen is gracious, smart, passionate, and an excellent speaker. When I asked her months ago to come to Newmarket she was enthusiastic and unwavering in her support. Dedicated to having an equal balance in political representation, she is committed to encouraging more women to become involved in politics. It was no surprise that she stayed on more than an hour after the event speaking to women who sought out encouragement to fulfill their visions.
Vice President of the Ontario School Board Association and Trustee Catherine Fife resonated with the many guests who had school aged children and understand the importance of education. When I met Catherine a few months ago I was stunned by her passion for children and learning. She illustrated her devotion during the panel discussion and reinforced the fact that education is key to our futures. Catherine’s presence was a huge personal favour to me – she came all the way from Waterloo and on the day of her daughter’s birthday – but made it back on time for the party! A truly dedicated woman, she is committed to having more women in all levels of politics.
Many thanks to our wonderful sponsors: Metro Groceries, Longo’s, Mandarin Restaurant, Shopper’s Drug Mart, and the York Region Administration Building. Because of your donations 100% of the proceeds went towards Belinda’s House, a York Region Woman’s Shelter endeavored to be built in Newmarket.
Finally, a big thank you to the guests and participators. You came out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to take part in an important initiative. As women we continuously need to inspire and support one another. Many of my guests told me afterwards they left feeling enlightened and encouraged. When I mentioned that some women canceled because they had to do “housework” or couldn’t find child care, I think we all realized the bigger message here: we need time, support, and commitment to inspire and do something good for ourselves – our souls – and each other.