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Happy National Philanthropy Day!

15 Nov

Today, November 15th marks National Philanthropy Day.   Celebrated since 1986, this year Canada became the first country in the world to officially recognize National Philanthropy Day!

National Philanthropy Day is an opportunity to celebrate the wonderful and generous giving, volunteering and engagement that people offer to charities everyday. As stated on the official NPD website “National Philanthropy Day® brings together the entire philanthropic community—donors, volunteers, businesses, corporations, foundations, charities and young people, all working to improve the quality of life in their communities and change the world with a giving heart.”

(Staff with the Students from Monarch Park Collegiate who won us a $5000 YPI grant)

At Nellie’s we know the work we do wouldn’t be possible without the amazing community of people we have supporting us.  Whether it’s a generous financial donation, young students coming in to learn about Nellie’s for their YPI projects, musicians like One Fire Movement hosting a benefit show and spreading awareness, or a group of volunteers training and running to raise money for Nellie’s, each effort is appreciated equally and makes a tremendous difference to the women and children staying with us.

(Artist Christian Bridges at the One Fire Movement Benefit Show)

On National Philanthropy Day we want to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to ending violence against women by supporting our work and the work of shelters and women’s organizations around the country this past year! You are creating new beginnings and lives free from violence for women and children.

If you’re on twitter, you can participate in the Telus National Philanthropy Day Contest by tweeting about how you’re changing the world using hashtag #npdTELUS.  The 5 best tweets will win $500 for the charity of their choice!  Thank you for all that you do and Happy National Philanthropy Day!

Nurturing Ourselves Workshop

31 Oct

This month We had our first Nurturing Ourselves Workshop at the shelter.  This workshop was created with the goal of providing the women at our shelter with a great afternoon filled with pampering and self care. While women are at our shelter, their days are always busy.  Between looking after their children, attending appointments, personal errands, and trying to stay calm during a difficult time, the physical and emotional toll can  be great. We created the Nurturing Ourselves Workshop to give women a space to relax, unwind, rejuvenate, and practice self-care. This new program will run twice a month.

Our first session was great! Women were very excited to do manicures, pedicures, and makeup and share creative tips on how they like to relax.   Despite the rainy, cold day outside, everyone’s spirits were lifted by the smell and taste of freshly baked cookies and hot coffee prepared by the staff.  Sharon, a mother of three particularly enjoyed the group as it gave her some time to relax and recharge after taking care of her children all day.  She had this to say: “On such a dreary, rainy day the Nellie’s Group made it sunny with manicures and taking care of ourselves.”

Thanks to the generous support of The Body Shop Eaton Centre, we were able to provide every woman with a lovely self-care product at the end of our first workshop.  Items included body lotion, body wash, shampoo and conditioner. These items added a special touch to the workshop and will remind the women to take some time out of every day to pamper themselves.

We look forward to our next session of the Nurturing Ourselves Workshop.

Team Nellie’s set to Run and Walk in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

11 Oct

Wow.  We can’t believe it is only 3 days until Team Nellie’s takes on the Toronto Waterfront Marathon for our second year in a row! Our team has been busy training and fundraising and we are excited to announce that this morning we surpassed the $10,000 mark! Congratulations to our Top 3 Fundraisers Anna Von Frances, Lori Loewen, and Victoria Lucas from Viva Pulse!

(Top Fundraiser Anna Von France)

Running a half-marathon or a 5K is no easy feat, and we feel honoured and privileged that our team members have made the commitment to run for a cause and help us end Violence Against Women. 100% of the money raised will go to support our programs for disAbled women, including our Women and Accessibility Support Group.  After we launched this group last year, the feedback from participants has been clear: there are not enough services for this population and our services to them are greatly needed.

This weekend we’ll be keeping you updated via our facebook and twitter pages while we’re at the run! Keep an eye out for some great pictures and messages and follow hashtag #STWM and #TeamNellies.  If you’re out on race day, and you see someone wearing this on their back, be sure to give them a cheer!

If you’d like to support our team by making a donation, you can do so here. Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far! Now, it’s time to rest up those legs and wait for Sunday.  GO TEAM!

Mother’s Day Memories

16 May

Here’s a re-cap of some of the wonderful events that took place at Nellie’s in honour of Mother’s Day.

On Thursday afternoon the women at Nellie’s enjoyed a Mother’s Day Celebration organized by Tony Roost of One Fire Movement, musician Rory O’Hearn, yoga instructor Marinella Nesso  and photographer Jason Lutz.   Marinella opened the event with an hour long yoga session that had everyone participating!  The women went through deep-breathing, stretching, and relaxation exercises specifically created to celebrate and honour the hard work of motherhood. Following this, Rory serenaded the women with some Bob Marley songs as well as a couple original tunes about strength and perseverance in times of struggle.  The entire afternoon was captured on film and video by photographer Jason.  Thank you Tony for bringing together a such a wonderful group of artists to celebrate the Mother’s Day  at Nellie’s!

 “Today made me realize how important self-care really is.  My spirit is soaring.”

On Saturday evening the women at the Shelter were treated to a Mother’s Day Photoshoot organized by Juanita Morris and her friends.  Stylists Carol, Hayley, Maggie and Alice provided hair and make-up services to each of the women as they prepared to have their photos taken.  Photographers David, Gavin and Louise captured many special Mother’s Day memories of women and their children.  Blacks  has generously offered to process and print the pictures free of charge and flowers for the photo-shoot were generously donated by our East-End neighbours Quince Flowers.

“It’s wonderful to be a Mother at Nellie’s.”

The Body Shop made Mother’s Day extra special for the women by donating gift baskets to everyone at the Shelter.  Both The Body Shop Beaches and The Body Shop Eaton Centre chose Nellie’s as the recipient of their in-kind fundraising campaign “Another for a Mother.”  During the month of May customers added a gift box to their purchase and donated it back to The Body Shop.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to this campaign – the women loved their gifts!

Walmart Canada facilitated a surprise Mother’s Day gift –a lovely silver necklace for every woman at the shelter. Receiving this thoughtful gift moved many residents to tears. On Sunday the residents enjoyed a lovely Mother’s Day Brunch at the shelter. The day was amazing for the women and was certainly one to remember. At a time when motherhood is so widely discussed, it was wonderful for mothers at the shelter to celebrate their beautiful selves and to honour their choices.

“I love you mom.”

Thank you to all our financial donors who responded so generously in giving to our 2012 Mother’s Day Appeal. Your support enables us to provide all the mothers and children at Nellie’s the support and services they need to ensure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Thank you to our community for making all the women at Nellie’s feel special!

What we give makes us rich

13 Jan

“In this world, it is not what we take up,
but what we give that makes us rich.”

-H.W. Beecher- 

Thank You for our new boiler for the women and children at Nellie’s Shelter this holiday season!

Welcome 2012

11 Jan

It’s 2012 and we are looking forward to another year of new beginnings for the women and children at Nellie’s.

First, thanks to all of our donors, supporters, and community members for your amazing support in 2011. With your help, the women and children at Nellie’s have been able to achieve many great things, as they begin new lives free from violence, poverty, and homelessness.

Last year, you helped us to provide shelter to 191 women and children; respond to 2,025 crisis calls for assistance; create 320 safety plans to help women and their children safely flee from violence; and serve over 40,000 meals for homeless and low-income women in the community!  For more information, you can access our latest Annual Report.

A few of our Accomplishments in 2011 include:

~ Nellie’s Women & Accessibility Group welcomed our first participants

~ 30 women participated in 2 sessions of our Ending Violence Support Group

~ Our Children’s Summer Camp was a big hit with the kids!

~ We received great feedback and solidarity on our 16 Days to End Gender Violence Blog Series

All of this great work was achieved with YOUR support!

This holiday season was a great reminder for all of us of how generous and supportive our community truly is!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to Nellie’s through our “Home for the Holidays” fundraising campaign;

as part of our online giving community, raising over $16,000 in under 24 hours for a New Boiler for our shelter;

through our inaugral Online Holiday Auction which raised over $3000;

 and as a participant in our Holiday Gift Giving Program which provided a new toy or gift to over 200 women and children this holiday season!

For a pictoral re-cap of the holidays, click here.

Not to forget, thanks to all our 2011 Team Nellie’s  members and donors who helped raise $11,208 during the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Looking forward in 2012, our goals are to maintain the same level of high-quality programs and services as well as increase our capacity to support disAbled women to end violence in their lives, including the creation of space to accommodate private counselling.  We will also continue to work on raising funds to build a new shelter for Nellie’s!

Welcome 2012. With you, we can make this our best year yet and continue to create new beginnings for the women and children in our care.

YOU DID IT! A new boiler for Nellie’s Shelter is on its way!

22 Dec

Thank you for your incredible response to our urgent appeal
for a new boiler for Nellie’s Shelter!

In less than a day, our incredible community of donors have collectively raised over  $12,000 we needed for a new boiler at Nellie’s Shelter!  

Thank you to everyone who shared our appeal by twitter, facebook,
blogs, and e-mail.

We are very pleased to report that a new boiler is already
on its way to the shelter!

Thanks to you, the residents of Nellie’s will sleep safe, sound, and warm
tonight and through the winter.

On behalf of everyone at Nellie’s Shelter, thank you for opening up your hearts and truly giving a “Home for the Holidays” for the
women and children in our care.

~Margarita Mendez, Nellie’s Executive Director~


“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” – Janice Maeditere