View this email in your browser
          January 2022 

MeaningfulLife features stories of accomplishments people have achieved and the Personal Outcome Measures related to these achievements.  Personal Outcome Measures are the foundation of everything Empower Simcoe does to support people.
A Holiday Message from CEO Claudine Cousins
Please enjoy this holiday message and New Year's greeting
from Empower Simcoe CEO Claudine Cousins.
Start 2022 with the Empower Simcoe App
The Empower Simcoe App is mobile friendly, easy-to-use and designed to further connect our employees, volunteers and the people and families we support at Empower Simcoe.  You can register for events, receive program notifications and the most up to date Empower Simcoe news, as well as quick access to Empower Simcoe social media.  Staff can also access an employee portal to check email.

For iPhone users go to the app store, and/or for android users, go to the google play store. Enter Empower Simcoe, and look for the Empower Simcoe logo to download this free app.  It's that easy.  Get your Empower Simcoe app now! 

Have a comment, question or story idea? Contact: call (705) 726-9082 ext. 5280, or email
Empower Simcoe Launches Respitality Program
Fern Resort General Manager Scott Collens shows his support for Empower Simcoe's Respitality Program.
2022 will be a brighter year for caregivers in Simcoe County, thanks to a generous donation from Fern Resort to assist Empower Simcoe in the launch of its pilot Respitality Program.  The program, implemented across Simcoe County, will facilitate sustainable relationships within the hospitality and tourism industry on an on-going basis.
“We’re very grateful for the generous donation and support from Fern Resort as our first Respitality partner,” says Empower Simcoe CEO Claudine Cousins.  “For more than 100 years, Fern Resort has helped create cherished, lifelong memories for countless families.  Along with Fern Resort, and other hospitality and tourism partners, we look forward to growing our Respitality Program so that parents and caregivers receiving respite services have the opportunity for much needed rest and rejuvenation while their child receives respite care in the family home.”
“As a leader in the hospitality industry, Fern Resort recognizes the value of rest and rejuvenation for one's physical health, mental health and overall well-being.  Empower Simcoe’s Respitality program will provide a much-needed break for parents and caregivers who are raising their loved ones with intellectual disabilities. We encourage any groups that would like to join in this effort to contact Empower Simcoe to inquire about how you can assist,” says Mark Downing, Owner/President of Fern Resort.

To learn more about Empower Simcoe’s Respitality Program, visit

Outcome - People choose services
COVID-19 Resources
Ontarians 18+ are now eligible to book a booster appointment at

As Team Ontario continues to ramp up capacity, public health units are working to add more appointments.

You can also get a booster at pharmacies, primary care settings and walk-in clinics.

Visit the Covid-19 Information Centre here for updates and notifications.
Outcome - People have the best possible health
Subscribe to MeaningfulLife and stay up to date with everything that's happening at Empower Simcoe.  Inspirational stories of accomplishment, what we're working on as an agency and upcoming events are just a click away.  
Chris' Legacy of Caring
The late Chris Bellchambers is's Newsmaker of the Year.

Chris was supported by Empower Simcoe's Supported Independent Living Program and leaves an exceptional legacy of giving back to his community.

Six months after the local man’s death from drowning at Orillia’s waterfront, evidence of his continuing impact on the community he loved — and served — remains in plain view.

At a downtown street corner, where community members had planted a garden in Bellchambers' memory, a small hand-painted sign bearing his name stands firmly in the frozen soil.

Read full story here.

Outcome - People participate in the life of the community
Volunteers are the heart of Empower Simcoe and play a vital role ensuring we support people of all ages and abilities to realize their full potential and to enhance their quality of life.  Volunteers are a valued part of our team and play a significant role in all areas of our agency.  Please consider sharing your skills and energy with us today.  We’re always looking for hard-working, compassionate individuals. Complete our online Empower Simcoe volunteer application today. 
For the Love of Music
Reunited over Christmas at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, Patrick Hawgood (left) and Paul Marshall entertained staff by playing some of their holiday favourites.
Retired O.P.P. Officer Paul Marshall knows about the transformative power of music.  He also knows a fellow music enthusiast when he sees one.  Before the Covid-19 outbreak, while browsing at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Barrie, he couldn’t help notice volunteer helper Patrick Hawgood keeping time to the store’s background music.

As Paul and his wife were downsizing their family home, he came across exactly what he felt Patrick might be interested in to help keep time with his favourite songs.  With the assistance of Salvation Army Thrift Store Manager Amanda Costa, Paul reached out to Empower Simcoe to gift his vintage washboard, customized with cowbells and tinhorn, to a grateful and appreciative Patrick. 

“Music has always been a big part of my life from childhood to high school, and then to my adult life, first with the washboard and then the ukulele.  To see Patrick finding joy and his rhythm….well, it’s a big deal to me,” says Paul. 

For Patrick, who’s supported by Empower Simcoe’s Community Support Services program, learning this new instrument and exploring its different rhythms and sounds has been a unique, creative way to express his love of music.  “It’s very nice,” exclaims Patrick.  “I love playing my washboard to my favourite band, Nickelback!”

Thank you, Paul and Patrick.  Here’s to the miracle of music in action, and even more important, to new friendships made.  We can’t wait to hear more of this duet in 2022.
Outcome - People have friends; People participate in the life of the community
Ontario Working to Make
Public Spaces More Accessible

The Ontario government has announced best-selling author, professional speaker, and accessibility strategist Julie Sawchuk as the new chair of the Standards Development Committee that will lead the province’s review of the Design of Public Spaces accessibility standards for outdoor and indoor public spaces. The committee will include people with disabilities from all across the province, as well as businesses, municipalities, and other impacted stakeholders. It will review existing accessibility standards, and consider whether new standards might be needed to improve accessibility in Ontario’s public spaces.

Read story here.

Outcome - People live in integrated environments
Lakeshore Ridge Campaign Update

You did it!
The Empower Simcoe Foundation wrapped up its 2021 fundraising with a surge of support for Lakeshore Ridge, our new supported living home in rural Oro-Medonte. We called our December appeal “a new home for the holidays” and friends of Empower Simcoe responded in a big way.
Thanks to our many generous supporters, including one very thoughtful donor’s gift of stocks, the Foundation blew past its target of $125,000 – halfway to the goal of $250,000 which we aim to reach by June 2022. The total raised so far is just over $130,000, or 52% of the goal.
At Lakeshore Ridge, a special community will form where everyone’s unique challenges are understood and where everyone will be supported to define and enhance their quality of life. Over the years, many families have seen their loved ones thrive in Empower Simcoe’s supported living homes. Now, people with multiple and complex needs will receive the same quality of care at Lakeshore Ridge.
All donations to the campaign are going to the finishing touches at the new home: furniture, decor, landscaping and more.
The Empower Simcoe Foundation is over halfway to its goal but we still have a long way to go. Your donation of any amount will help bring the home at Lakeshore Ridge one step closer to completion.

For other ways to donate, including gifts of securities, or for more information, please contact Empower Simcoe Foundation Donor Relations Coordinator Doug Cleverley at, or at 705-726-9082 x2285.
A New Home Thanks to Empower Simcoe’s Landlord Partnership Program

Empower Simcoe has taken one tiny step toward an affordable housing solution.

Nate, pictured above with Empower Simcoe Housing Access Workers Kathleen Aikens and Mora Roden, got the keys to his new place in Orillia recently, thanks to a special landlord partnership program.

The Journey Home program launched at the end of November. It's intended to encourage property owners to offer affordable housing to people at or below the poverty line.

“Throughout the pandemic, people living in shelters weren’t offered the same opportunity to physical distance,” Empower Simcoe Director of Support Services Maxine Johnson said. “They moved from the shelters into the motels to keep people safe from COVID-19.”

Read story here.

Outcome - People realize personal goals
Empower Simcoe's Newest Driver
Once a week for the last year and a half, Paul, and Empower Simcoe Community Support Worker Lisa Wright (pictured right), have been meeting virtually to study, and complete practice test after practice test in preparation for Paul's driver's exam day. Recently, Paul wrote his G1 driver's exam on his own and passed with flying colours! Yes, those are huge smiles behind those masks.

Congratulations Paul!  We know you'll have many exciting roads to travel in the years ahead.
Outcome - People participate in the life of the community; People realize personal goals
Celebrate Biboon with Empower Simcoe

Join Empower Simcoe EarlyON Indigenous Coordinator, Angelia Brooks and Bradford EarlyON Program Facilitators as we celebrate Biboon = Winter.

You will join us virtually as we experience winter and learn more about Indigenous culture in the snow.

Location: Zoom (link will be emailed)

Date: Thursday, January 20, 2022

Time: 10:00 am

Registration Closes: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

For: Children ages 0 to 6 years old, along with their parents/caregiver.

Questions? Contact us as

Register Here
Copyright © 2022 Empower Simcoe, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.