By: Jennifer Vicencio
Fa la la la la! For the past 85 years the Rotary Club of Toronto has held a Christmas Party for children with disabilities. This years event was nothing less but spectacular. The excitement and anticipation for the days events, which included the arrival of Santa Clause, story telling and the ultimate snowball fight with Toronto police, beamed off of the children as they made their way through the doors of the Canadian Ballroom. Their giggles and eagerness to play was infectious and instantly lit up the room.
The dedicated volunteers which included the members of the Rotaract Club of Toronto buckled down and worked non-stop to ensure that all the children and their families would have a memorable day at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Some of the roles that the Rotaractors took on were pinning snowflakes, setting up the tables, helping out with arts and crafts, blowing up the balloons, taking photographs, and face painting. Although each member was given a designated task, it was evident that the members had one goal on their minds and in their hearts, and that was to make sure that every child in the room never stopped smiling.
As the celebrations began and as the children and their families settled into their seats to devour the delicious food, the Rotaractors hit the dance floor. The clubs members along with the help of the Toronto Police, The Coppertones, the fabulous clowns and superheroes, and the rest of the volunteers at the event, were able to get the children and their families dancing. The smilies and the constant giggles that could be heard was indeed a great sign that the children were having a great time.
The Rotaract face-painters worked non-stop to spread joy with their holiday inspired creations. A few of the Toronto Police officers and Rotaractors joined in on the fun and got their faces painted to encourage the children to get theirs painted aswell. The Rotaract photographers were constantly snapping photos to ensure that the memorable moments of the day would be captured. The photographers were also responsible for taking photos of the children with Santa Clause. The children were ushered into the Ontario Room where they had the chance to speak to and take pictures with Santa Clause. The faces of the children as they waited patiently for their turn, reminded all of us what Christmas and the holidays were all about, and that is to spread happiness and love to all of those around us.
The main event of the day never left the minds of the children. The children were ready to face off with Toronto Police officers in the ultimate snowball fight! The officers were ready and the children put their game faces on. The snowballs began to fly across the ballroom and the intense laughter and screams of excitement were heard, as once again the children defeated the Toronto Police.
The Rotary Club of Toronto’s Annual Children’s Christmas Party is an event that we all look forward to each year. We are extremely honoured to have taken part in such a great event that spreads holiday joy and love to hundreds of children and their families. We are all looking forward to helping out at next years event!
By Emily Qui
You’ve heard about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard about Giving Tuesday that follows right after?
The Rotaract Club of Toronto is pleased to announce that we will donate the proceeds from the Vodka Tasting Fundraiser which will be held Friday March 13, 2015 at 8pm at The National Club to Homes First which is a local charity assisting the homeless in our community.
There are over 5,000 people in Toronto without a safe stable place to live. Hundreds live “rough” – in ravines, stairwells or on the street. Hundreds more suffer with mental illness and addictions. This is who Homes First serves.
The organization has been helping the homeless for 30 years. They believe people need a home first. Their mission is to provide affordable, stable housing and support services to break the cycle of homelessness for people with the fewest housing options.
Homes First operates 16 buildings, including 3 shelters, in 9 Toronto neighbourhoods, housing 550 men, women and families every night.
Homes First recently adopted a strategic plan focusing on four key areas to develop and strengthen in the next three years – portfolio, programs, partnerships and sustainability.
They provide the following supports to help residents maintain their housing:
• Employment & volunteer engagement
• Health Clinic
• Community Engagement
• Life Skills: budgeting, housing, hygiene, self-esteem, networking in the community
We are looking forward to planning and successfully raising funds to assist Homes First in furthering their cause in our community.
To learn more, please visit http://www.homesfirst.on.ca/