Indwell

Indwell is a charitable organization that is relatively new to London. In the 1970's Siny and John Prinzen of Hamilton, saw a need to support vulnerable adults dealing with mental health issues and Indwell was formed. Indwell now provides more than 500 people with supportive housing in Hamilton, Woodstock and Simcoe. Indwell has expanded to London due to the urgent need to create affordable, supportive housing to address chronic homelessness, especially for people with mental health challenges.

Currently upon discharge, if a psychiatric patient has no family supports, they are sent to a shelter, as there's a year’s waiting list for subsidized housing. Shelters are the worst place to be for anyone suffering from mental illness. Many discharged patients have paranoid thoughts and are anxious and the shelter environment just escalates their symptoms. As a result, they leave the shelter as they feel safer sleeping under a bridge or ATM, etc. These people need a supportive environment to help them develop a sense of belonging and feel part of the community.

Indwell is opening their first building, Woodfield Gate, at 356 Dundas this month. There are 67 one bedroom units and each unit is completely furnished, including the dishes! There will be support staff available in the secure building. There is a community kitchen and dining/living room which will provide for a healthy dinner, life skills and social skills. Thirty patients from Parkwood will be moving into their own apartment at this location later this month! I can see the joy on their faces already! Some have been waiting nearly a year to be able to be discharged to supportive housing. This move will free up 30 psychiatric beds which are always in high demand, thereby relieving some of the hallway healthcare for psychiatric patients.

Indwell's next project is to construct a new building on the former site of the Embassy Hotel. This building will have 75 one bedroom fully furnished, supportive, affordable apartments. Indwell needs to raise $2 million dollars from the community in order to unlock further government funding. This project is near and dear to my heart, as my son died in June after suffering from untreated mental illness for several years due to the shortage of mental health beds and community supports. I'm hoping to raise enough donations for Indwell, to pay for the community kitchen at this new project. If I am successful, a plaque will be placed outside of the kitchen in my son's memory.

Please help give hope and homes to those who have so bravely fought their way back from mental illness and smooth their transition to wellness by supporting Indwell.

Linda

Learn more about Indwell

Spinal Cord Injury Ontario - Ottawa Office

I am very pleased to share the amazing work of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario - Ottawa (SCIO) serving Eastern Ontario and beyond.

I first learned about SCIO in the early 90s after emigrating back to my hometown Ottawa from Great Britain. Tragically, I did not return as the strong able-bodied man I was when I left Canada 8 years prior, but rather, as a C 4/5 (complete) quadriplegic and living my life from my wheelchair. I was paralyzed from the neck down in a freak fall during training on my trampoline in England May 18th, 1985. I was a World Cup champion freestyle skier with more than 40 titles and ranked number 1 in Europe and Britain. I was a contender for the 1st World Freestyle Skiing Championships in 1986 and our sport’s debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games. Instead, I was fighting for my very survival. After intense rehabilitation I went to the Championships as a spectator in a wheelchair, watching others take the spotlight.

Many of the attributes I learned as a competitive athlete would serve me well in navigating my new life as a spinal cord injury survivor. However, my complete recovery would not have been possible without the important services provided by SCIO. These include representation from Ms. Angela Clair, Regional Services Coordinator, who became my “personal disability advocate” initially helping me to recruit Personal Support Workers (PSWs) to facilitate my 24/7 healthcare needs, especially challenging living in a rural community.

Last year, I was dealt some “hard blows” going in and out of Ottawa hospitals on 3 separate occasions for 3 critical medical emergencies that reinforced how precarious and fragile my life can be. Returning home, I soon identified that my manual “Hoyer Lift System” would no longer be sufficient transferring me to the bed and bathtub. Over the past 34 years, I have been able to bathe regularly which dramatically helped my skin integrity and to avoid pressure ulcers which can become a “death sentence”. Compounding my urgent need for a “ceiling track lift system” was difficulties in retaining long-term PSWs because operating the manual lift was too physically taxing.

As soon as Angela learned that I was in urgent need of the lift system, she sprang into action preparing a needs assessment and submitted numerous grant applications until we were successful in raising 80% of the cost and I contributed the remainder.

It’s difficult to put into words how beneficial it is to regularly bathe knowing that the new lift system will facilitate safe transfers for many years to come. I have learned that life is more qualitative than quantitative and that I can continue to live my life to the fullest!

Living with quadriplegia is one of the most devastating all-encompassing disabilities that can happen to anyone at any time. With more than 50,000 Canadians living with an SCI, I hope you will consider selecting Spinal Cord Injury Ontario Ottawa as a recipient of the “Lerners LLP 90th Anniversary Giveaway”.

Sincerely,

Mike

Learn more about Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

Investing in Children

I would like to nominate Investing In Children for the Lerners Lawyers $90,000 Charitable Giveaway.

Investing In Children is a registered charity with the Canadian Revenue Agency (86321 3450 RR0001)

http://investinginchildren.on.ca/donate

Their mandate is to work with the community to improve the lives of children and their families because they believe that every child should be provided with opportunities to help them reach their potential.

We and many others have been so fortunate to have had a chance to participate in several of the programs offered by Investing In Children, such as:

Guitar Program - where the children get free guitar lessons.

Songwriting Program - where the children get to learn songwriting skills

Kids First Day - where Investing In Children arranges a day where more than 50 businesses and organizations across the city offer free or low-cost activities to children and families

Many of these programs would not be affordable for many families but Investing In Children offers there program completely free. It gives children the opportunity to learn new skills, and grow as individuals. It gives them something to work on, especially nowadays when so many kids are addicted to screens.

I has been wonderful to see the children attend these activities with such excitement.

Everyone is so grateful.

However Investing In Children cannot continue offering such wonderful programming without donations.

This is why I feel Investing In Children would be a perfect candidate for part of the Lerners Lawyers $90,000 Charitable Giveaway.

Sincerely,
Sofia

Learn more about Investing in Children

Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

I would love to see Spinal Cord Injury Ontario benefit from your Charitable Giveaway. In April of 2012 my father slipped and fell while on our family vacation. He suffered C4 injury and is now quadriplegic. After he recovered from surgery and was well enough to be transported, he was flown to Ottawa and spent over a year in the Rehab Centre at the Ottawa Hospital. Angela Clair and the team at Spinal Cord Injury Ontario played a life altering part in the recovery for my father and in fact our whole family. This was a traumatic time for my father. My parents have never been apart and we are all extremely close. They lived with me 6 months of the year and lived in Newfoundland for the other 6 months. At one point during his recovery, we felt that my father would not be able to come home and would have to live in an assisting living facility. We really came to terms with his injury but we were more devastated by the thought of not being able to live with us. Spinal Cord Injury Ontario has so many resources that changed our lives. They are like a “hub” with a sophisticated network and direct contact and links to resources such as Government Home Care Assistance, mobility providers, donated equipment, support groups, contact and networking with other Spinal Cord Injury clients and much more. They had a huge presence at the Rehab Centre. They held events/sessions in the centre at least weekly. My Mom and Dad would attend these sessions and found them so informative. The Spinal Cord Injury Ontario provides information on everything from personal hygiene, intimacy issues, public transit, health issues, events in the community.... just life in general while living with a spinal cord injury. It gave them hope that they would be able to live a life outside an Assisted Living Facility. Angela and her team helped us with a Hospital Bed, Mattress, Ceiling Lift and a commode....Some of which were donated and some of which were sourced for us at a very reasonable price. Some days we are just so exhausted and having Angela source these living necessities has helped tremendously. My dad and our family have suffered so much physically and financially with his injury we would never have been able to move on to the next chapter in our lives. My parents moved into an apartment within blocks of our house and my dad has everything he needs to live a respectable health and happy quality of life. They are happy and thanks to the support from Angela Clair and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, they also have the emotional support they need. Very recently, there was an electrical surge on the floor of my parents’ apartment. This damaged the mattress and the bed. Without this he would have to sleep in the hospital until we could get this replaced. We were devastated. We called Angela for help. She got in contact with all the resources we needed. What she did, saved us probably days’ worth of telephone calls, emails and back and forth messages. She helped us with the arrangement of a suitable rental bed, she was in direct contact with the coordinator for additional support for home care because of the sores my dad developed due to improper mattress support, she spoke directly with a vendor to help me with ordering a replacement mattress, she found a donated bed for us, delivered it and helped us put it together. The amount of expertise, knowledge, resourcefulness, compassion and emotional support that Angela Clair and the Spinal Cord Injury Ontario has given to my father, our family, other clients and the community is more than we could ever imagine. What they do is actually life changing and I know that with the money they receive from your Charitable Giveaway they could impact many more people and their families who have suffered this devastating injury.

Jennifer

Learn more about Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

Peacebuilders International (Canada)

Toronto’s Peacebuilders (Charitable Reg BN838776524RR0001) delivers restorative justice programs to support vulnerable youth under 18. Peacebuilders’ vision is “Youth realizing their full potential and building safe and peaceful communities.” Peacebuilders’ Court program has diverted over 1,100 youth out of the justice system without lawyers, had all their charges withdrawn, easily saving taxpayers over $45,000,000 at a cost of $5,000 per youth. Any donations will be applied to support other youth through this program. The website is: www.peacebuilders.ca.

The story below is from a youth who successfully completed Peacebuilders’ court diversion program:

“As a young kid from Scarborough I grew up in metro housing around drug dealers and gang violence in a broken home yet with a lot to be thankful for, but I failed to appreciate it at such a young age and I got into bad company.

I was introduced to Peacebuilders’ circles program when I ran into trouble with the law and was charged. Luckily they had an office in the courthouse, it was easy to meet them. I had to attend weekly sessions for 6 months. I was devastated at first, but little did I know that these 6 months would change my life for the better.

My experience with Peacebuilders from the first interaction was amazing. There was a whole community to help you. I was told that if I attend circles every week, I would be given tokens and pizza - pretty encouraging. At the weekly peer-group LOT (Leaders of Tomorrow) circles we were empowered with new knowledge, an opportunity to express our feelings, and have support in a safe place. LOT circles really showed me that I wasn’t alone as other youth also had problems.

After completing LOT, I moved onto individual circles with several circle-keeper volunteers who took time out of their lives to facilitate the restorative process. This was special. I brought my dad to one of the circles so that I could graduate from the program. I heard his thoughts and feelings about the situation that I was in. I shared my thoughts and feelings as well which brought a broken father-son relationship closer together, changed the dynamic of our relationship for the positive and really changed how we communicate. Upon the completion of the LOT Circles and individual circles, I graduated from the program. Since I showed significant potential and recorded improvement to the courts all the charges against me were dropped.

With this second chance, I became interested in finding out what type of jobs I could eventually get so that I could pay for day to day necessities and look after myself. I finished high school and became interested in opportunities in the business world. I went on to study Business Administration at Seneca College.

My experience with Peacebuilders taught me a lot, kept me out of trouble growing up and has made me a better person. Your support will enable Peacebuilders to help many other youth like me to get back to school, on track and succeed.”

Eva

Learn more about Peacebuilders International Canada

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London Youth Symphony

In 2008 my son auditioned as a bassoon player for the London Youth Symphony. That year they told him he wasn’t quite ready and gave him suggestions to work on. He came back in 2009 and was accepted as principal bassoonist. As proud parents we wanted to support this amazing organization that has supported youth musicians for 59 years. In 2011 he won the solo competition and performed with London Youth Symphony as a tenor. I was offered the job as manager in 2010 and have loved every moment with this amazing organization. Being part of such a supportive environment, watching the young musicians come in so nervous for their auditions, seeing the joy on their faces when they are accepted or the determination to return next season if they are not quite ready. The amazing way the musicians work together supporting each other as they grow as musicians and as people. Watching them leave, many to pursue a post-secondary education and then a professional career sometime in music sometimes on another path makes me endlessly proud.

We work very hard to offer top notch music education while trying to keep the costs low so everyone can be a part of London Youth Symphony. Fundraising is much more difficult, we are fighting to keep an important part of music education in London. Please consider us.

Joan

Learn more about London Youth Symphony on Facebook