I hope that everyone is safe and well in everyone’s family! As a non-essential service, we have not run our regular programs since March 13th and we certainly miss all our Shelldale Family Gateway families, and hope they are all doing well!
During this shutdown, we have unfortunately been put in the difficult position of having to lay off some of our part time staff. Our EarlyON Program continues apace, but Youth & Community Program has been particularly hard hit, with only four staff remaining on payroll.
With the staff we have on hand we have been incredibly busy!
Our EarlyON staff have been working very hard to continue providing as much programming as possible by virtual means. Every day we have been able to post story time, song time, and activities for tots. The staff have connected with close to 100 families! In addition to using social media for programming, staff have also been doing outreach by phone or email to ensure families have what they need in terms of other resources. Led by our stellar EarlyON Program Supervisor Jacqueline Blundell, the staff have made tremendous progress in ensuring our EarlyON families have everything they need in terms of what Shelldale Family Gateway can provide. We are very grateful to the County of Wellington for continuing the funding for this hugely important program. We hope it will continue, and will keep you posted!
Under the excellent leadership of Youth & Community Supervisor, Lorie Delane, this program has been doing virtual and phone outreach to over 200 families – almost 300 children and youth! Our remaining Youth and Community staff have been connecting with the children and youth several times per week, enquiring after their health and well-being as well as the health of their families. We have created both fun and helpful videos to help children, youth and their families get through this difficult time. We provide resource information and thanks to a very generous private donation, we have also provided food and toiletries for those who needed it most. We also managed to just slip in our tax clinic prior to the shutdown, so thanks to our amazing Margie Shaver, we have been able to do the taxes for free for almost 100 people in the Shelldale Family Gateway neighbourhood.
We are fortunate to have such amazing staff!
Unfortunately, we have not been receiving the same level of donations to cover our awesome Youth & Community program and may be looking at laying off more staff as April draws to a close. We were indeed lucky to receive a very generous donation from the Rotary Club of Guelph South, which is helping us make it through this month. If the shutdown continues, we are looking at having to lay off additional staff, even with the government wage subsidy program. We had several new programs approved through a grant, but of course the money will not flow, as we cannot offer in-person programming.
We are asking that you please consider making a monthly financial donation to Shelldale Family Gateway. Our support of Onward Willow and neighbourhood makes such a huge impact for our families. With the uncertainly that surrounds us all, Shelldale Family Gateway is a beacon for those families who need us.
If you are able to help us, please go to our website Shelldale.ca/Donate
Stay safe and well –
Shelldale Family Gateway