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All In Hand

Big Day

Miss Vicky Tue Nov 4, 2008

And no, Miss Vicky isn't talking about the Big Day south of the border (although she suspects she'll be up late watching the returns). No, today the draft city budget was tabled. Here's the Budget at a glance. Miss Vicky will post some highlights when she's had a chance to digest it.

The draft budget is prepared by staff using guidelines set by city council. This year, they were told to put together a document based on a tax increase of less than 5%. The draft document contains a pretty big dose of reality about the impact of these parameters - cuts to social services, arts and culture, recreation and plenty more. Councillors will be soliciting feedback from the public over the next month, and then the inevitable painful budget debates take place in December.

Kitchissippi's public meetings are:

Monday, November 24
Lansdowne Park, Assembly Hall, 1015 Bank St
7 to 9pm
Hosts: Councillors Georges Bédard, Clive Doucet, Diane Holmes, Peter Hume, Christine Leadman

Thursday, November 27
Churchill Seniors Centre, 345 Richmond Road
7:30 to 9:30 pm
Host: Councillor Christine Leadman


A good cause

Miss Vicky Sun Nov 2, 2008

Well, it's United Way season. This means bake sale-o-rama at Miss Vicky's workplace, lots of images of thermometers everywhere... True confessions: I never paid much attention to United Way fundraising. Sure, I participated in the workplace events and so on, but never made my own specific contribution (I preferred to donate to organizations and causes directly). But now that I'm on the board of the Somerset West Community Centre I have a little more insight into the campaign. For example, I had no idea you could direct your donation to a particular agency or organization. But you can!

So, here is Miss Vicky's pitch for directing your United Way donation to Somerset West CHC.

Not everyone knows that Somerset West is the community health centre for Hintonburg, Mechanicsville, West Wellington, Champlain Park - basically everything up to Island Park. Because it's located in Chinatown, we may not think about it as "ours". But we should. In addition to offering some fine and fairly comprehensive health care services, they run a heck of a lot of great programs in our neighbourhoods.

Let's list a few: Hangin' in Hintonburg Teen Drop-in at the Hintonburg Community Centre, Laroche Park Homework club, computer drop-in and playgroup, Seniors' wellness clinics at a couple of community housing buildings in our area, a program to give crock pots to residents of rooming houses (to promote healthy eating), the Good Food Box, the campaign to establish a Community Garden, a study toward a possible Co-op grocery store, community kitchens, Well baby clinics,breastfeeding support, nutrition classes and resources, parenting classes and support, an Adult drop-in at the Hintonburg Community Centre.... the list goes on. At the last board meeting we heard about a really interesting program to address problem gambling in the chinese community, working in particular with school-age kids, educating them about gambling and its dangers. I know Somerset West is best known for its Harm Reduction work (since it gets the most press). Not that this isn't important, but it does overshadow some of the other amazing people doing amazing work at that place. And the more fundraising they do, the more interesting programs they can offer in our community. Take the crock pot initiative - an idea that came from the staff at the centre. Cheap, but effective at promoting wellness and healthy living in a very vulnerable population.

So, when you're filling in the United Way form at your workplace, consider directing your gift to your community health centre, and help keep some of this great work going. Or you can skip the United Way altogether and just donate here. Tell them Miss Vicky sent you.

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