Sitting at my desk today, it sure does feel like Fall for one of the first times. School is starting back and like for many, September is a time of transition for charities as well. We are thrilled that 5% of our Fall Box sales are going to support Community of Hearts; a charity in Guelph that supports youth, adults and seniors with developmental exceptionalities to help them achieve the level of independence they desire.
We received this impact story from Connie; a participant in their social enterprise program. This is the impact that YOU support Guelph when you purchase a Fall Box! Together we help write theses stories.
When Connie first arrived at Community of Hearts in 2017, she was highly anxious and struggled with self-confidence. She was constantly apologizing for little things and timidly asked permission to do tasks like making a cup of coffee. This year she is preparing for long-term employment, building on her skills in our Social Enterprise program by making and selling dog biscuits at local artisan markets.
We have seen Connie come out of her shell in many ways: she has taken to leading (and sometimes directing) her fellow participants at her Tuesday evening shift at Boxes of Hearts. When other participants arrive late, she reminds them to sign in, and put on their hairnets and gloves. She takes initiative to take on job tasks like making the gourmet dog biscuit mix, vacuuming the floor and washing biscuit moulds at the end of her shift. On Tuesday afternoons, Connie and two other participants travel to local businesses and track and stock dog biscuit and hand-dipped candy inventory.
Connie recently hosted our 4thAnnual Comedy Night Fundraiser where she was the spokesperson for the Boxes of Hearts program. As her confidence grows, she is now leading discussions about her most favourite television show Disney’s Descendants weekly with her peers in Learning Day Program. This transformation is a direct result of the experiences she has gained in the Boxes of Hearts social enterprise program.
What is the direct impact of the money raised?
Boxes of Hearts runs programs 10 months a year and has a core team made up of 11 passionate volunteers supporting nine participants each semester. There is a growing waiting list of interested candidates, and Boxes of Hearts hopes to expand to additional days to meet this need. As we grow in capacity we hope to serve more individuals in our community who could benefit from this training experience. Without the financial support from our generous community, Connie, and other community members would not have access to these skill-building opportunities. With our eyes looking to the future and longevity of this program, we are seeking funding to support the purchase and installation of a new stove in our public health approved kitchen. This new addition would mean even more participants will be making more products so the volume of orders we continue to receive from local businesses and organizations can be met. Ultimately, access to the new stove will allow more participants to access this job-readiness training program.
We invite you to come and meet Connie, the rest of our Boxes of Hearts participants and our fabulous volunteer team here at the Lifelong Learning Centre.
Thank you Guelph for your generous continued support. You can order your Fall Box HERE to support local businesses and lives like Connie's.