Shelldale Family Gateway is proud to be taking part in GivingTuesday, a global giving movement that has been driven by individuals, charities, businesses, and communities across Canada and in countries around the world. GivingTuesday is the world's largest generosity movement and is considered by many as the opening day of the giving season. On November 29th, 2022 GivingTuesday Canada will celebrate its 10th anniversary, with thousands of partner organizations and millions of Canadians expected to take part.
GivingTuesday goes well beyond charitable donations, inspiriting giving in all its forms. From coast to coast to coast, people embrace this day as an opportunity to raise money for local charities and non-profits, run food and clothing drives, give blood, encourage kindness, help a neighbour, and celebrate generosity. At a time when we are all experiencing the continued effects of the pandemic, GivingTuesday is an opportunity for people around the world to stand together in unity - to use their individual power of generosity to remain connected and heal.
At Shelldale Family Gateway, we rely heavily on the generosity of our community partners, sponsors and donors. Donations are what enable us to continue to provide programs and services to children, youth, and their families in the Onward Willow Neighbourhood of Guelph.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has identified Onward Willow as a priority neighbourhood in Guelph-Wellington based on social determinants of health indicators including income, education, social and community support, housing, immigration and early childhood development. The neighbourhood is characterized by high density housing, the largest number of social housing units, a large newcomer population, a significant number of single parent led families, and the lowest incomes on average in Guelph. Research shows that these kinds of socio-economic indicators can negatively impact on children’s well-being. SFG provides a place to help mitigate these impacts through enriching opportunities for children and families, effective and accessible services, and strong community leadership.
Your support makes a difference
Many of the families who live in the Onward Willow/Shelldale community struggle with various social issues including poverty, language, addiction, domestic violence and building meaningful friendships. SFG encourages children and youth to attend programs that help them to build stronger social skills, problem solving and conflict resolutions skills, learning to work as a team and developing leadership skills.
The programs offered at SFG support over 500 children and youth and provide summer job opportunities for youth from the community. All of the programs are funded through grants, donations and community support.
It’s programs at SFG that have helped families like Senait’s, who first heard about SFG when she was pregnant with her second child. “My midwife told me about the programs that are offered at SFG and I decided to go to the Shelldale Centre to get more information. I began attending EarlyON programs and I got to meet new people and learn new information.”
As Senait’s children Alaa, Asyl and Ayaat started growing and began attending school, they became part of the youth programs that were offered. They attend the Afterschool Program, Summer Camp and the now the Teen Program for Senait’s oldest daughter.
“My children love going to SFG where they have made new friends and developed new skills. I have seen a huge change with my middle daughter as she was diagnosed with autism and was struggling at home and at school. She attends the Afterschool Program three times a week and loves going. The staff are kind and understanding and Asyl listens so well and has developed much better social and coping skills. I also became a volunteer and helped with the outreach team supporting other parents in the community.”
Like many other families in the Onward Willow community, Senait came to Canada after arriving in London England from Eritrea, as a refugee. “I came from London England and I arrived there as a refugee. I met my husband Emad who went to Canada on a work Visa and he then sponsored me to come to Canada. We have three daughters, Alaa who is 12, Asyl who is nine and Ayaat who is six.
“I was born in Eritrea, a country situated in northern East Africa and I moved a few times before arriving in Guelph. I have been living in the community for approximately 10 years.”
Senait tells her story of how she came to be a part of the SFG family:
“When I was pregnant with Asyl my midwife told me about the programs that are offered at SFG and I decided to go to the Shelldale Centre to get more information. That was when I was told about Baby Day and Early ON programs and began attending. It was really nice to attend Baby Day and other programs as I got to meet new people and learn new information. As my children started growing and began attending school they became part of the youth programs that were offered. They went to Afterschool Programs, Summer Camp and now Teen Program for my oldest daughter. My children love going to SFG where they have made new friends, developed new skills, and have learned how to be helpful. I have seen a huge change with my middle daughter as she was diagnosed with Autism and was struggling at home and at school. She attends the Afterschool Programs three times a week and loves going. The staff are kind and understanding and Asyl listens so well and has developed much better social and coping skills. I also became a volunteer and helped with the outreach team supporting other parents in the community.”
SFG provides programs all year round for school-aged children and youth from JK to grade12.
"Your donations are helping families and youth grow and learn. SFG is a safe place for my children who wouldn’t have the opportunities they have if it wasn’t for the programs, people and great staff. SFG means a lot to me and my family. It is our second home and I tell everyone about the great work that’s being done by the staff, volunteers and the growth I see in all the children who attend programs. Change happens at SFG.”
This GivingTuesday, please consider helping SFG continue to offer programs and support for over 500 children and youth and their families in Onward Willow, families like Senait's and so many others.