We acknowledge the Mississaugas of the New Credit on whose traditional lands we work, teach and play. We also pay respect to our Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Metis neighbours as we strive to improve our relationships with them.
Dana has been part of Shelldale Family Gateway since the very beginning of the drive to create a hub for neighbourhood services for the Onward Willow catchment area. From being a community organizer to now being Chair of our Board of Directors, Dana’s contribution cannot be understated.
In addition to being the Chair of the Shelldale Family Gateway Board, Dana also holds other positions in the community that helps other organizations understand the needs of various neighbourhoods. Furthermore, Dana is an integral part of our Breakfast Club and his smile and encouragement greets children and families every day as they come to Shelldale Family Gateway to enjoy the benefits of a vibrant community hub.
As Board Chair, Dana understands the need for funding better than most.
Shelldale Family Gateway’s Youth & Community Programs depend entirely on the generosity of the community at large, and of foundations and the United Way. COVID-19 has seriously and negatively impacted our ability to raise funds for the program and now we fear that some programs may need to be cancelled.
If you can, please visit our website at www.Shelldale.ca and click on the Donate Now button. To make it even easier, we have an option to donate monthly, which means you can spread your generosity out over the course of a year or more.
Please help us keep our programs running for this community.
Good Day to all of our Friends of Shelldale Family Gateway. I sincerely hope this finds you and your families faring well during these turbulent times, and maybe even able to get outside for a little bit now that the weather has finally turned nicer.
This week I would like to discuss a new collaboration that Shelldale Family Gateway has joined: The Integrated Youth Service Network. A long name, but a fantastic partnership with several other agencies in town and around the County, all of which serve youth – aged 12 to 26. As you know, Shelldale Family Gateway has been providing excellent early intervention and primary prevention programming for youth for decades now. The focus of this new partnership is to specifically look at the mental health and wellness of our young people, and to assist and support them if/when they struggle.
The Integrated Youth Services Network (IYSN) is a complex and collaborative project, with the objective of providing the right services to the right youth in a timely and efficient matter. A network of community organizations has come together to re-imagine a newly designed system to directly address mental health and substance abuse needs of youth in Wellington & Guelph. Under the leadership of the Rotary Club of Guelph, a partnership of service organizations and volunteers has come together to build what is so urgently needed in the community.
Each organization is part of a network, all integrated by technology which allows youth to access the immediate virtual care that they so urgently need. Assessment of a youth’s needs will be provided virtually (and eventually in each facility). No matter the situation, technology will be used so that access to the right services is available no matter where you are. This technology component will enhance access for youth right now, as well as in the future by giving rural regions the same support system as those in urban centres.
In today’s siloed mental health model, each time a youth visits a new location or a new care provider, they are forced to retell their story which can be a traumatizing experience. The IYSN will include 7 locations but will feature the benefit of “one door” meaning that youth will only tell their story once. This is made possible through an interconnected online system and is now of the utmost importance during a time where we are relying highly on virtual care. The IYSN will include 7 sites located in the rural centres of Wellington, as well as in Guelph. They will offer a range of stepped-care services of varying levels of intensity that are co-designed with youth. Physical activity, mental health, substance use, and peer supports will be core services at all IYSN sites.
The 7 sites include:
- East Wellington Community Services – Town of Erin
- Minto Mental Health – Palmerston
- Skyline Community Hub – Fergus
- University of Guelph
- YMCA/ YWCA of Guelph
- CMHA Waterloo Wellington
- Shelldale Family Gateway
As you can see, Shelldale Family Gateway is in outstanding company. Not only that, but SFG is currently the organization that is most able to begin helping immediately because of our original primary prevention – early intervention model. We are placed perfectly to help the youth in our community right away. For more information on The Integrated Youth Service Network visit their website .
Of course, this all comes with a significant cost. While we are part of the larger group, we still need to cover the costs of our sector of responsibility. Any donation you can make towards our Youth & Community programming will go directly to supporting all those who need us so desperately.
Please consider giving what you can afford so we can continue and expand the work Shelldale Family Gateway does so well.
Stay safe and well –
Diana Boal, Executive Director
Hello Friends of Shelldale Family Gateway, and much happiness and health to you and your families!
All of us here at Shelldale Family Gateway want you to know we are very busy! We have projects in place for youth and community that are far outpacing our resources. We have extra workloads in EarlyON as required by the County of Wellington that are stretching us thin. If ever you’ve considered donating to Shelldale Family Gateway, now would be the time!
Here’s what we’re doing and why we need your help!
- Youth and Community staff have their hands full: we have prepared over 400 Discovery Bags, which contain activities, snacks and assorted items for all children aged 6-16. This has taken an incredible amount of work on behalf of our 2.5 staff who remain in this program. Without your help, we may have to reduce our staffing level even further and this will impact how much support we can provide for the community at large. Even with the government wage subsidy, we still need over $5,000 per month to pay for costs associated with Youth & Community program as it is now. Any amount you can help with will go directly to Youth: no additional admin fees, just strictly wages for our reduced staff. (pictured above is Dana Nuttley, Community member, President of our Board and dedicated Volunteer ready to deliver Discovery Bags)
- EarlyON staff are being fully supported by the County of Wellington. We are extremely fortunate to have been able to keep most of our EarlyON staff on the payroll, however, their case load grows every day! Now, in addition to providing virtual groups for play dates, and connecting with and supporting families one on one, these amazing staff are also being recruited by the County to work with new moms who may be struggling. It is recognition of the amazing staff we have and the work that they do in our community!
Please consider giving generously to Shelldale Family Gateway (https://shelldale.ca/donate/) in the days and weeks ahead. It is only through donations from the community at large that we can continue the outstanding work being done by Youth & Community in our neighbourhood.
Stay safe and well –
Shelldale Family Gateway
Good Day to all our Friends of Shelldale Family Gateway. I hope this finds you and your families well and not going too crazy during these crazy times.
We here at Shelldale Family Gateway have been fortunate in many ways: we have managed to retain a number of our staff. We have also managed to create new innovative and adapted programs for our families in need and we have fortunately qualified for some of the government wage programs.
Our EarlyON Program for our children 0 – 6 years old continues to do well, as we have funding from the County. In fact, the County has been tremendously helpful in getting the “new” programs off the ground. We have virtual baby days, we have sing-a-longs and crafts every day on Facebook facilitated by our own staff. The EarlyON staff are well supported and doing a fantastic job in keeping children and their families connected!
Even with this good news, we are still finding ourselves in dire straits.
We are now down to only 2 full time positions in our Youth & Community Programs as this is all we can manage to pay for, even with the available government emergency funds. We are currently serving and helping over 100 families in our Community through our association with Onward Willow Neighbourhood Association food distribution. We have created our own unique “Discovery Bags”, which include activities, treats and surprises for our children and youth. The time and effort required to do this is enormous. It is not just a question of funding for the supplies, but of manpower. This is where we need your assistance in being able to pay our staff. Any contribution you can make will go to supplies and staffing; nothing else. Not overhead, not administration, nothing but staff and supplies.
Any help you can provide to Shelldale Family Gateway will go to our families, and they really need us and you right now, more than ever.
Stay safe and well –
Shelldale Family Gateway
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
Well as everyone knows, the news is all about staying well and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here at Shelldale Family Gateway, we are monitoring and following the recommendations of our Public Health and Government officials. In order to keep our staff and the families and children that we serve all as safe as possible ALL Shelldale Family Gateway programs have been cancelled until April 6th. Sadly, this includes our March Break Camp, Breakfast Club and all after-school programming. The County of Wellington suspended all EarlyON programming effective March 13th.
As you can imagine, this is a hard time for our staff and the community that we serve. We are supporting staff in the best way we can manage. As Executive Director, I have let all staff know to reach out to me if they need any assistance during this incredibly stressful time. All families in the Shelldale Family Gateway community were made aware of the shut down and we provided as much assistance as we could to inform them about alternate resources in the community during this difficult time.
It is more important than ever that we garner as much community financial support for our families and children when they return. As happens with so many not-for-profit organizations, sustainability of programs is always the number one concern, and certainly this situation will further put strain on our financial resources. Fundraising and grants cover only so much, and only on a program-to-program basis and so sustainable solutions must be found!
This is where you come in.
Please, if you are able, 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 most.
Stay safe and well –
Shelldale Family Gateway
In our blog this week, we explore the offerings of Shelldale Family Gateway’s EarlyON programs, for children from birth to age 6 and their parents/caregivers. These programs are funded through the County of Wellington and are open to all residents of the County, not just those folks from the Shelldale/Onward Willow Community. This provides a unique window for members of the wider community to see Shelldale Family Gateway and become acquainted with our neighbourhood and our amazing programs.
This program is designed for toddlers, ages 18 to 30 months and their parents /caregivers.
Toddlers will explore sensory and creative activities and play during the morning. This program supports parents, guiding them through this busy stage of their child’s life with lively discussions over snack. The children and parents join in a fun active circle interacting with their child. Snack is provided.
Thursday 9:30 – 11:30
DROP IN PLAYTIME
A program designed for children ages birth to 6 years old, parents and caregivers.
The program provides opportunities for a fun- filled morning of play, exploring art, songs, interactive circle time and outdoor play. A warm and supportive environment is created for you and your child to explore. An informal discussion time during snack time is a time for parents to gain knowledge and ask questions in a supportive environment.
Monday 9:30 – 11:30 and 1:00 – 3:00
Thursday 3:00 – 7:00
Friday 9:30 – 11:30
Saturday 10:30 – 12:30
BABY DAY DROP IN
Baby day is a fun filled morning for parents and their baby’s birth to 18 months. Come on out and play, learn songs and rhymes, share a nutritious snack and meet new friends. Discussion around topics such as child health and development. This is a time to meet our staff and learn about how they can support you and your baby.
Tuesdays 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the Shelldale Gym
Infant Massage connects you deeply with your baby. It helps you to understand your baby and respond with love and respectful listening. You and your child will love the special time together! This program is for baby’s birth to pre-crawling.
Registration is required
Workshop Wednesdays is a program that provides a mixture of structured and unstructured learning opportunities for mothers, fathers, and caregivers. Children under the age of 1 year stay with their parents. Childminding is available.
Wednesdays 9:30-11:30 am in the Shelldale Gym
GET SET LEARN
Get Set Learn is a family literacy program that focuses on parents and their Preschool children. The program will have a parent and child time where parents can play with their child in ways that are literacy and math rich. Then the parents will separate from their children to have an active learning session on how to have a literacy rich home, and the children will engage in play in a separate room.
Registration is required.
BOUNCE BACK AND THRIVE
Start date: Next start date to be determined
Registration is required.
CIRCLE OF SECURITY
Circle of Security is a parenting program which helps us support our children. Understand your child’s emotional world by learning to read emotional needs. Support your child’s ability to successfully manage emotions, enhance the development of your child’s self-esteem.
Start date: Next start date to be determined
If any of these programs interest you, or someone you know who has a child between the ages of 0 and 6, please contact us at 519-824-8498.
Remember, Shelldale Family Gateway is still looking for fundraising rock stars to help us launch Friends of Shelldale Family Gateway. If you think you can help, please connect with our Executive Director Diana Boal at email@example.com
Another Successful International Women’s Day Event for Shelldale Family Gateway!
On Wednesday March 4, 2020 Shelldale Family Gateway’s EarlyON Program held another very successful International Women’s Day celebration, with nearly 100 attendees, lots of food and Caribbean dancer Kayla Gerber, from The Heels Academy, who was fabulous! Congratulations to EarlyON Program Supervisor Jacqueline Blundell and her amazing staff team for a job well done. And a HUGE round of thanks to the volunteers from all over the community who come to share their wisdom and abilities with us. A special shout out to Skyline Group of Companies who come and join us for International Women’s Day every year and volunteer to help in so many other ways.
Each year Shelldale Family Gateway’s EarlyON Program hosts an International Women’s Day event to celebrate the diverse women of our community. This year’s theme was equality – Each for Equal. With such an excellent theme, we were able to talk about that which helps women become more equal in today’s world, knowing that women’s rights are human rights. The work we do at Shelldale Family Gateway does much to help with equality; from providing programs for teen mothers to programming like Circle of Security which engages moms (and dads!) to raise their babies in the best way possible.
Equality is about equality of opportunity – and that’s also what Shelldale Family Gateway provides: the opportunity to learn about child raising, to learn about being a great kid, to learn leadership under the guidance of our incredible staff. We have programs for everyone in the community, from birth to youth to parents. The community of Shelldale/Onward Willow often lacks opportunities for our residents to achieve all they can for themselves and/or their children and Shelldale Family Gateway provides so much that helps. Need help with your taxes? We have a clinic. Need a safe place for youth to hang out? We have programs. Need to know best practices in child raising? EarlyON has a plethora of programs.
And we need the larger community to rally around us. We need assistance to ensure that equal opportunities are available to our residents. If you can help, please visit our website….and click on the donate now button to help provide this equality of opportunity to your neighbours.
Next week: how Shelldale Family Gateway’s programs work for our community and more on how you can help!
Hired on as the new Executive Director in October 2019, Diana Boal brings almost 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit world to Shelldale Family Gateway. Diana has been at Manager or Executive level in Waterloo, Hamilton and now Guelph, adding her knowledge about social services and sustainability to help bring Shelldale Family Gateway to the next level in fundraising.
With an educational background in Economics and International Relations, Boal understands the fundamental interconnectedness as it pertains to sustaining struggling communities and their ability to enjoy the fruits of not just their own labours, but those of friends and supporters across the wider communities in Guelph.
“What we see in Shelldale/Onward Willow is a community that could be brought down by its circumstances,” says Boal. “Instead, we see a vibrant, vital, multicultural group trying their level best to make the most out of the opportunities that are available.”
For Shelldale Family Gateway, this includes EarlyON programming for 0-6 years, provided by the County of Wellington. In addition – and just as importantly – Diana sees the need for early intervention and primary prevention for children and youth as well as their families. This type of programming comes with a significant price tag: one the community can’t afford on its own. However, the social cost of NOT providing these services is even higher, and one no one can afford to pay.
As an experienced social services E.D., grant writer and fundraiser, Diana Boal can see that intercepting behaviours endemic to low income neighbourhoods is critical. “Our community members are struggling: be it on social assistance, a newcomer to Canada, a single-parent household…we at Shelldale Family Gateway see challenges on a daily basis that would burden people and yet we seek to alleviate those burdens and make this a thriving, vibrant community.” Boal points out that Shelldale Family Gateway families disproportionately make up Guelph’s lower income and newcomer stratus of the population. They are immediately set at a disadvantage that Shelldale Family Gateway strives to help them overcome.
New Fundraising Program Launching
As happens with so many not-for-profit organizations, sustainability of programs is always the number one concern. Fundraising and writing grants covers only so much, only on a program-to-program basis and so sustainable solutions must be found. Shelldale Family Gateway is in the process of planning and launching a new, exciting and sustainable fundraising program called “Friends of Shelldale Family Gateway”.
“Friends” will be a way for the wider community to see and hear about the great work Shelldale Family Gateway does on a daily basis. A monthly newsletter with program and funding updates will let donors and friends alike know about our successes and challenges, and most importantly, about the positive changes we are making to this wonderful neighbourhood.
Executive Director Boal sees the establishment of a fundraising committee as a significant first step in aligning our goals with our abilities. “We need strong people: not just in fundraising, but those who know the neighbourhood and the challenges faced and how to best overcome those challenges. Fiscal responsibility will be first and foremost for the Committee so donors are guaranteed that their dollars are going where they’re needed most: to the people of this community.”
Are You A Rock Star?
If you’d like to become part of the fundraising subcommittee, or be on our mailing list or just drop us a line, please connect with Diana at firstname.lastname@example.org