Mayor Paul Kelly introduced this year’s successful recipients of the Terence Haight Community Fund at the most recent Gravenhurst virtual council meeting.
This was an opportunity to formally recognize each community group for their valuable contributions and learn more about how they intend to use the awarded grant funding for the betterment of the community. There were 10 groups this year.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Muskoka received $2,500. Executive director Fallon Miller says the money will be used for “a community event, since we have been kind of locked up in Bracebridge, to hopefully make contact with some families who might utilize our services and possibly some mentors, as we have a lot of mentees waiting.”
The Gravenhurst Bifocals band were allocated $1550. Band member Mark Grimstead says some of the funds will be used to recruit new members and updating equipment, but primarily it will be for outreach to the community, such as putting on free concerts. Grimstead says the band “practices at the Gravenhurst Senior’s Centre on Tuesday mornings for those who are interested.”
The Elderberries Choir was granted $2800. Member Paolo Randall zooomed into the meeting from the United Church, where the choir was having their “first reunion practice since the fall.” She says they are “warming up for their 30th anniversary.” She said the money will be put towards obtaining new music and performing concerts for seniors.
The Gravenhurst Ladies’ Auxilliary from the Legion received $3300 from the committee.
Gravenhurst Women’s Centre was given $2000. Director Martina Cole said that the funds will be used to provide personal care products. “We just found there was such a need for women who are accessing of our centre for shampoo, body wash, that kind of thing. Earlier this year, they set up a program to distribute boxes during the pandemic and “it was so successful, the packages were all picked up within a day.”
Mind Aid were allocated $2100. Jody North explained that “over the last year and a half, we have learned lots about what is going on with young people and mental health in the community and unfortunately we have lost a couple of young people to suicide which has made a huge community impact.” She said that she and another staff member did some training in the Safe Talk program and are now trainers in suicide awareness training program. She said that now, they will be able to “provide training to young people who can’t afford training to be more suicide alert and be able to connect their young friends to supports in the community so we can hopefully avoid future tragedies.”
Luke LaRocque from the Muskoka Ringette Association says they help players build skills and that they are “primarily focused on female players, but people of any gender are welcome.” With the Terence Haight donation of $4000, the funds will be used for development, especially for younger players. LaRocque explained that ringette equipment can be expensive and hard to find and that their are many new families moving to the area who are looking for actvities for their kids to join.
Safe Quiet Lakes received $700. Member Nancy Cohen says the group “works across Muskoka to promote safe, quiet, respectful boating.” With the donation, they want to expand on an existing sign program, and that they plan to have a booth at the two Gravenhurst boat shows that are returning this summer, “talking to boaters, lake associations and other community groups on the water about respectful boating.”
TimberBeast Productions were granted $4000. Autumn Smith thanked the committee and council for “believing in this idea.” TimberBeast Productions is dedicated to using theatre as a catalyst to tell Muskoka stories to a wider audience through theatre at the Wharf, explained Smith.
YWCA Muskoka were awarded $2000. Stacey Schat, director of youth services says the funds will be used for a ‘boy’s quest’ at K.P. Manson school in September. It will be a 10-week in-person program for “boys or those identifying as boy can gather once a week to talk about their experience, talk about unpacking the pandemic, learning about healthy relationships, coping skills and just all the emotions and transitions that happen at this age.”
Mayor Kelly finished by thanking the Terence Haight Awards committee and that what he “had seen here today is just so symptomatic of what I see happening in Gravenhurst…all of you that are with us today are one example of the amazing people who create phenomenal programs for the people and youth of Gravenhurst.”
When Gravenhurst resident Terence Haight passed away in 2008, he left $1 million to the Town. Council decided on establishing an annual grant program in which local organizations could put forth applications.
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