View this email in your browser
          February 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.
Celebrating Black History Month
February is Black History Month, a month where we honour the enormous contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, in all sectors of society. Empower Simcoe is proud to celebrate resilience, innovation, and determination as we all work towards a more inclusive and diverse Canada - a Canada in which everyone has every opportunity to flourish.  The 2022 theme for Black History Month is: “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day,” which focuses on recognizing the daily contributions that Black Canadians make to Canada.

No matter where you live, we invite you to learn more about these communities, and how they continue to help shape the story of Canada.  Celebrate with us by checking out these great Black History Month events in our community during the month of February.

The City of Barrie celebrates Black History Month with events that bring awareness to the significant contributions that Black Canadians have and continue to make to the cultural, economic, and social landscape of our country and our community.  Read more here.

The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library is celebrating Black History Month with a collection of free virtual programs and special events to educate the public and honour Black, African and Caribbean culture.  Read more here.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library Black History Month Event -African Voyages: a virtual performance: Celebrate Black History Month with an interactive performance with Juno Nominated musician, composer, dancer and educator Njacko Backo!  Register here.  

The Harriet Tubman Institute at York University hosts a special panel series for Black History Month 2022. BHM is a time to remember our History. Let us come together to reflect on the past, the present to the path to the future. This year the theme is Black Health and Wellness. Read more here.
Your Feedback Matters
To the people and families we support at Empower Simcoe, we want to hear from you. Please take a few brief minutes to complete our latest Quality Improvement Survey by March 4th, which will assist our agency to continue to provide the absolute best quality supports and services. Take the survey here.  
Outcome - People choose services
A Tree of Diversity for this Orillia Artist
Please join us in congratulating Empower Simcoe artist Shawn Ladouceur

Shawn, a prolific artist from Orillia, has produced hundreds of original works of art that have been showcased and sold over the years throughout Simcoe County.  His original drawing, “Tree of Diversity,” represents, according to Shawn, how everyone is different yet has something unique to give back to their community.  We're grateful to Shawn for sharing his artwork that graces the front of this year's Empower Simcoe greeting card. 

We also thank Creative Cafe Barrie for sponsoring this year's Empower Simcoe Art Contest.  This year's theme was "a diverse and inclusive community."  As our featured artist for 2022, Shawn receives a family membership compliments of Creative Cafe.  We're grateful to this valued community partner for their ongoing support and for bringing out the artist in all of us.
Outcome - People realize personal goals
Now Available - 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
COVID-19 Resources
Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provide strong protection against COVID-19 and variants. You can safely receive either as your booster no matter which vaccine you received for your second dose.

Book your booster appointment as soon as you can:

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.  
The Journey Home
Empower Simcoe's Regional Housing Support Services program is thrilled to share this recent note from Candiss and her family (pictured above).

“Thank you, Empower Simcoe. With the support of Karly, our Empower Simcoe Housing First Case Manager, this program has honestly been the best, going above and beyond anything I ever expected. We were homeless for years and I did not want that for my son. Empower Simcoe’s Housing First Program and the Landlord Partnership Program have helped me get my family into a home.“

Welcome home Candiss.

#TheJourneyHome is a campaign to increase housing stock to recover from the Motel Shelter Model so people don’t return to the streets.  Read more about Empower Simcoe's Landlord Partnership program here.
Outcome - People realize personal goals; People are safe
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. 
Vital Support from the Simcoe County Infant and Child Development Program
Kanye (pictured left) and brother Dante enjoying some brotherly fun playing on the beach.
Meet Kanye. He loves watching Blippi videos, anything to do with big machines, and playing with cars.
Since he was 18 months old, Kanye has been supported by the Simcoe County Infant and Child Development Program at Empower Simcoe. Kanye’s Mom Debbie is grateful for the vital support and guidance she received from the Simcoe County Infant and Child Development program that assisted her advocacy for Ankle-Foot Orthotics (AFOs) for Kanye, helping his mobility and freedom of movement. Since receiving his AFOs, Kanye has been much more stable on his feet and is running and jumping like a typical child!  Debbie credits Simcoe County Infant and Child Development Worker Adrienne Volgmann for ensuring that Kanye had access to the supports and services he needed. Thank you, Adrienne!
Kanye is at risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). His brother Dante has already been diagnosed with FASD. Both Kanye and Dante and their adoptive Mom Debbie are advocates for FASD awareness in their community and on TikTok. Follow them on TikTok @DebraSimpson1.
To learn more about FASD, click here.
Outcome - People choose services
Empower Simcoe's Believe In Yourself

The Empower Simcoe Believe In Yourself Committee provides a voice for people receiving support from Empower Simcoe, as well as a forum in which to discuss concerns and to share opinions about rights issues. 

Once again this month, Meaningful Life is pleased to profile one its members and the ongoing work they're doing to educate and advocate on behalf of people of all abilities in our community.

Please meet Empower Simcoe Believe In Yourself Committee Member Sharlene Fountain.

My name is Sharlene and I have been a member of the Believe In Yourself committee for almost 3 years.  I joined the Believe In Yourself Committee so I could learn how to be heard and also learn how to help others advocate for themselves.  I know some people are not as able as me and may need some help to be heard!

In the past, I know I have lived a long hard life and have faced many challenges in my life.  People sometimes did not hear me or ask me what was important to me, however, because of Empower Simcoe, I have been able to overcome challenges thanks to the supports I have received.  Those supports have helped me gain my independence again.  For instance, my goal for the past 2 years was to be able to take my medication independently.  This goal was finally achieved after staff encouraged me to get an electronic pill dispenser that makes a loud noise to remind me to take my medication.  I am now taking my medication independently for the first time in my life.

Along with achieving personal goals, I also try to find time to do my diamond paintings, play cards, go bowling and hang out with my friends.  You can see my latest diamond painting in the picture above.  

Thank you for reading my story and thank you, Empower Simcoe!! 

Learn more about Empower Simcoe's Believe In Yourself Committee by visiting their webpage here

Outcome - People choose personal goals; People choose services; People have the best possible health
February Community Support
Services Virtual Activities
See what fun and engaging virtual activities are scheduled this month for the people we support at Empower Simcoe's Community Support Services Barrie and Orillia.  Download your February calendars here.
Outcome - People participate in the life of the community
Lakeshore Ridge Campaign Update

As of the end of January, Empower Simcoe's generous donors have made the Lakeshore Ridge Capital Campaign reach 54% of its goal. There's still a long way to go to get the $250,000 needed for the new supported living home in Oro-Medonte, but we've made a lot of progress.
Read more about the Lakeshore Ridge campaign here and hit the button below to donate to the campaign. All donations are going to the finishing touches at the new home: furniture, decor, landscaping and more. Your gifts will help make the new house a home where people with multiple and complex needs will be supported to live a meaningful and self-fulfilling life.
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.
Empower Simcoe Employees and Kal Tire Support the Empower Simcoe Foundation
Left to right: Kal Tire Barrie Managers Nabeel Qaqish and Jordan Kirby, and Empower Simcoe’s Jamie Ellis.

Empower Simcoe Family Support Worker Jamie Ellis is all smiles behind her mask!  She recently won the top prize in an employee contest, drawn from all Empower Simcoe employees who voluntarily donate to the Empower Simcoe Foundation through automatic payroll deductions. Jamie won a $1500 gift certificate and “swag” basket worth $250 from Kal Tire. Our thanks to Kal Tire for recognizing the value of our employees and the work they do in supporting people of all abilities and their families, our community, and the Empower Simcoe Foundation. Enjoy your new smooth ride, Jamie!

A New Inclusive Program for Area Youth

Do you want to be part of something amazing? Are you a difference maker, a creative, energetic youth?  Then we want to hear from you!

Empower Simcoe is preparing to launch our new, fully inclusive Youth Program, beginning with virtual opportunities for all youth, The only criteria to attend is you must be a high school student. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey and let us know what is important to you!

Youth Program Virtual Survey

Our Vision: Empowering all Youth to lead meaningful lives through the celebration and development of their unique talents, abilities and individuality, recognizing the power of one and the strength of community.  Learn more about Empower Simcoe's Youth Program here.

Outcome - People choose services
Reduced Rates for Rogers Internet
and Ontario Electricity

Now more than ever, we rely on an Internet connection to stay connected to the outside world, whether it's catching up with our loved ones, accessing learning and entertainment, or simply paying our bills. $9.99/month internet is now available through Rogers to individuals on ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program), OW (Ontario Works), or GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement). See this Rogers flyer for more details, or call them at 1-866-689-0758 Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

There is also a Hydro Subsidy that can reduce your electricity bill. click here to learn more. 

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.