Staples Encouraging Shoppers to Give Back to CK

StaplesDuring this back to school shopping time, Staples Chatham is encouraging the community to give back to CK by making a monetary donation at the till.

“This time of year can be stressful for parents. They want to provide all the necessary school supplies for their child to succeed but it can be a financial burden. Operation BackPacks and the support provided by Staples customers can help lessen that stress and make back to school an exciting time,” said Mary Symons, Good Neighbours Coordinator.

Brian Furtado, Staples Sales Manager says “Staples has been a proud supporter of this program for 13 years. With four weeks left until school starts, we want to encourage our shoppers to consider donating a few dollars at the check out to support the program. Customers can make contributions up until September 14th, ensuring all children in CK have the supplies they need.”

It is not too late to request a backpack! Parents or guardians can request a backpack for their children online by following this link.

For more information about how you can become involved please contact Mary Symons, Good Neighbours Co-ordinator at 519-354-0430 or

Community Building Grants – Applications Now Available

The United Way Board of Directors has approved the allocation of $40,000 for 2016-2017 Community Building Grants.

The purpose of Community Impact funding is to enable not-for-profit human service agencies and organizations to respond quickly and creatively to pressing human needs in our community.  In addition to supporting quick response, Community Building Grants allow time to develop program sustainability where the need is ongoing.

“Our Board is committed to providing funding opportunities to address new and emerging needs in our community.  These grants will allow more social service providers to explore new or improved ways of delivering needed services; develop services which address emerging or newly identified needs; respond to unmet needs and expand existing services into new communities throughout Chatham-Kent; or adopt models of service delivery which leverage existing community resources,” said Helen Heath, Director, Community Impact.

Again this year $25,000 will be specifically allocated to new programs and initiatives, of which $20,000 is earmarked for programs focused on youth living in poverty and at risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness.

Additionally, $15,000 will be specifically allocated through the Bushels of Hope Future Fund. This portion aims to position our community to take full advantage of – and provide financial support for – innovative ideas in agriculture, promote local food and enhance food literacy.

Applications are available online here.

Deadline for submissions is 2016 AUG 15 at 5:00 p.m.

For more information contact Helen Heath, Director, Community Impact at 519-354-0430 or

Operation BackPacks – taking referrals and asking for support

Although the school year is just wrapping up, Operation BackPacks is already preparing for September. The program aims to provide local children with new backpacks and school supplies – the tools they need to achieve academic success – and help alleviate the financial stress parents face each new school year.

“The start of a new school year is an exciting time for most children, but for some children, it is a time of emotional and academic challenges. Without even the most basic supplies, these students start at a disadvantage that only worsens as the school year progresses,” says Michelle Root, Assistant Co-ordinator.

With support from Giant Tiger, Staples, the United Way of Chatham-Kent’s Women’s Leadership Council and numerous local organizations and businesses, Operation BackPacks hopes to serve every child and family in need throughout Chatham-Kent. 

How can I get a BackPack for my child?

Parents or guardians can request a backpack for their children online by following this link. Alternatively, parents can call 519-354-0430 to speak with the Co-ordinator. Your information is kept private and confidential.

How can I help?

You can support this program by donating money, supplies or your time! The easiest way is to sponsor one or multiple backpacks at $25 each. Sponsoring a backpack allows co-ordinators to monitor the quantity of supplies and ensure each child receives a similar backpack. You can also donate your time by volunteering to help pack and distribute backpacks during the last week of August.

For more information about how you can become involved please contact Mary Symons, Good Neighbours Co-ordinator at 519-354-0430 or

Summer Student: Chatham-Kent Block Parent Program

The Chatham-Kent Block Parent Program Inc. is currently seeking to hire an energetic, creative, responsible summer student for 30hrs/wk for approx 9wks at $15/hr. 

JOB DESCRIPTION: Canada Summer Job Grant 2016 – Summer Student Representative
Responsible to the Board of Directors to perform community outreach and office duties as outlined in written contract and verbally agreed to when directed by supervising staff.

Summer position starting end of June: approx 9 weeks, 30 hours per week

Valid driver’s Licence and Daily access to reliable vehicle
Excellent computer and communication skills
Employment is subject to a vulnerable persons search
Sign and abide by an oath of confidentiality
Strong organizational, and motivational skills

– was registered as a full-time student during the preceding academic year;
– intends to return to school on a full-time basis during the next academic year;
– is a student in a secondary, post-secondary, vocational or technical program;
– is between 15 and 30 years of age (inclusive) at the time of intake/selections;
– is a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident;
– is legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial / territorial legislation and regulations; and
– is not working 30 hours or more per week at another job

Participate in parades, fairs, festival, speaking engagements to raise public awareness of organization.
Be patient, positive, and compassionate to volunteer network, as well as courteous and cooperative to valued partnerships such as CKPS and United Way.
Create and update office forms/educational programs using a computer system.
Office Duties.
Keep daily log of duties performed.
All community outreach and office duties outlined in written contract by board of directors and verbal requests by supervising staff.

Resume and cover letter can be emailed to the attention of Tanya Nooyen at by May 31st, 2016. Experience in a social field, policing or teaching may be an asset.  Only those considered for interviews will be contacted.

2016 Volunteer Campaign Co-Chairs 

Tonight at United Way of Chatham-Kent’s 2016 Annual General Meeting, the volunteer Campaign Co-Chairs were introduced. Patricia Wright, a service recipient from multiple United Way funded programs, and Steve Pratt, Community Development Coordinator of AIDS Support Chatham-Kent will lead the organization’s annual fundraising effort in 2016.

Patricia WrightPatricia Wright grew up in Ancaster but has been a proud resident of Chatham-Kent for nearly 10 years. In 2010, Patricia was struck by a vehicle and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) which led to PTSD and Epilepsy. “Without United Way funded services I would still be stuck in a wheelchair, withdrawn from society, and non-communicative.  I wouldn’t be here today. ”  

Patricia volunteers with numerous services supported by United Way and last year she became an Agency Speaker, giving presentations in workplaces across Chatham-Kent emphasizing the necessity of these services in our community. “Seeing the effect my story had on others and how it impacted their decision to donate made me want to do more to ensure these services are there for people who need them.” While Patricia spends a lot of her time volunteering, she is also an accomplished brown belt having recently competed and placed in International competitions in British Columbia and Las Vegas.

Steve PrattSteve Pratt was born and raised in Wallaceburg before moving to Toronto where he attended both the University of Toronto and York University. After graduating, Steve went on to work with a Fortune 50 company where he quickly became one of their youngest operations executives in the history of the company. While working in Toronto Steve struggled with mental illness and addiction. Returning home to Chatham-Kent he eventually found treatment and support from United Way supported agencies.

Today, Steve has returned to school to complete part-time post-graduate studies in psycholinguistics. He’s also working to break the silence around mental health and addictions, particularly in the workplace, through openly sharing his own lived experience.

Steve and Patricia look forward to working with their 2016 Campaign Cabinet which will be made up of both new faces and some returning members from last year.

For additional information, and to find out how you can become involved with the 2016 campaign, contact
Patricia Wright, 519-365-5124 or
Steve Pratt, 226-494-1533.
Reach United Way Chatham-Kent at or 519-354-0430.