Thursday, August 30, 2012

Grief councillor/volunteer to receive Jubilee medal

As posted on the website, August 30, 2012.

By Brad Pritchard, Staff

BARRIE/LORETTO - Former longtime Loretto resident Donna Chantler has always believed in the importance of helping others, from her neighbours down the street to communities around the world.
Chantler, who has donated countless hours of her life working with local church youth groups, food banks and international outreach organizations, will be receiving a Diamond Jubilee Award in early September to recognize the good work to which she’s committed so much of her life.

Chantler, a grief therapist and a psychodramatist who moved to Barrie three years ago but lived in Loretto for about 28 years, said she was completely taken by surprise when she learned of the award.

“When the man told me, I told him ‘I’m sorry I think you have the wrong number,’” she quipped. “And he laughed and said ‘I don’t think so.’”

For several years Chantler has run youth groups at the Newtown Robison and Bond Head Church, an endeavor she got a taste for at a young age. When she was a teenager growing up in Churchill, she ran an auxiliary girls group for St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

She is also a familiar face at the Barrie Food Bank and has volunteered for the Bradford Food Bank, stocking shelves and packing food bundles for families. She recently started participating in the Christmas cheer program run out of the Barrie location.

By bridging these two passions, she’s gotten members of the youth groups to help out at the food banks as well.

She currently chairs the outreach committee at the Northwest Barrie United Church, which is heavily involved in helping the community through places like the David Busby Centre, Hospice Simcoe, women’s shelters and more.

“It’s about raising funds and awareness, I really do believe in educating the public around need,” she said.

For several years in Alliston, she ran a bereaved parents group for moms and dads of children who had died. For about nine years, she also ran another volunteer group for grieving children at Adjala-Central Public School and Tecumseth Beeton Public School.

Before becoming a therapist, Chantler worked as a nurse at Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie for several years. But around age 26 she decided it was time for a change.

“I think my life experience has led me there,” she said. “I was widowed very young at 24 and I believe because of that there seemed to be a call from the community to go out and do that work.”

As a grief therapist, she has also worked with other local organizations like Matthews House Hospice and Hospice Dufferin.

About seven years ago she embarked on fulfilling her lifetime dream of traveling around the world to do more good.

“From the time I was a child I’ve always wanted to work in Third World countries,” she said.

She’s worked with various organizations in places like Africa, India, Cambodia, Panama, Peru, and next year she will be visiting Dominican Republic and Bangladesh.

She’s worked with Sleeping Children Around The World, which delivers bed kits and other essential items to poor children, and she has also worked with Global Tier, which focuses on educational programs.

“For instance in India, we deliver around 8,000 bed kits,” she said.

“Our job is to go in and distribute the bed kits and take photos of all those children,” she said. “Those photos then come back to the people that sponsor those kids.”

During her travels she’s also used her therapy expertise to help kids be kids.

“Some of these children have a flat affect, meaning they show no feelings,” she said. “With my training as a psychodramatist, I will go in with spontaneity exercises and by the time we’re finished the kids are up on their feet and laughing and we are just having a ball.”

Chantler will receive her Queen’s Jubliee Medallion Sept. 7 at a ceremony in Vaughan.

She was nominated by the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation (CCVF), an organization she has worked closely with for the past ten years.

CCVF founder and chair Joe Wamback said she’s very deserving of the award. He describes her an “unsung hero” who has made a significant difference in the quality of life for people in Canada and the world at large.

“Donna is one of those people, that since we’ve known her for the past decade, we have never met anyone quite as philanthropic with her time and her own personal energies,” he said.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Things that are Excellent – Sleeping Children Around the World

As posted on the Christian in the Rough website, August 20, 2012.

By Larry Hehn

Murray Dryden was born in 1911 in Domain, Manitoba.

He left home during the Great Depression, working his way east as a travelling salesman. As he rode the rails from town to town, he often slept in train stations.

This developed in him an appreciation for a good night’s sleep!

After working in Hamilton for several years, he moved with his wife Margaret to my hometown of Etobicoke, Ontario back in 1948. Soon after, he took up photography as a hobby.

One of his favorite subjects, starting with his young daughter Judy, was sleeping children.

As Murray often said, “There is nothing more peaceful than a sleeping child.”

Once, while travelling in India, Murray tripped over a child who was sleeping on the street. This encounter sparked a desire in him to champion children in developing countries and provide them with a comfortable bed.

As one of his biographies reads, “He couldn’t feed the world, or alleviate hunger, but he believed a good night’s sleep could make a hungry child’s life more comfortable.”

In 1970, Murray and Margaret started the charity Sleeping Children Around the World, distributing 50 bedkits in Pune, India.

Since then, Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW), has distributed more than 1.2 million bedkits in 33 countries, a testimony to Murray’s firm belief that with God, nothing is impossible.

SCAW provides bedkits to children of any race and/or religion who will benefit the most. It is known as “The 100% Charity” since not a penny of the $35 (Canadian funds) bedkit donation is spent on administration. 100% of that donation reaches a needy child.

Bedkits are made in the countries where they are distributed. They typically consist of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), clothes and school supplies. Contents vary from country to country based on local needs.

Locally produced bedkits eliminate transportation costs, minimize the cost of materials and labor, provide employment for families in the country, and assist the local economy.

Murray Dryden passed away in 2004. His dream of providing 1 million children with a comfortable bed was realized in 2009, and is still going strong.

Providing more than 1 million children with a comfortable bed, supporting local economies, and making sure that 100% of your donation reaches a needy child?

That’s what I call excellent!

To find more about “The 100% Charity” and how you can provide a needy child with a comfortable bed, visit

Things that are Excellent is a regular feature that celebrates “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable…things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). If you have a feature idea or a guest post that you would like to submit, let us know in the comments below or email your ideas to:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pathway of Fame inductees

As posted on the website, August 17, 2012.

By Paul Rellinger

On Sept 8, the 15th annual induction ceremony at Showplace will welcome 11 new honourees

Jill and Peter Adams - Community Betterment

A nurse by training, Mrs. Adams has served as president of the Peterborough Theatre Guild, chair of the Anson House Auxiliary and board member with the Five Counties Children's Centre as well as served as an active volunteer with St. John's Anglican Church, the Canadian Hearing Society and the Lung Association.

She has also volunteered with orphanages in Mexico, Jamaica and Baffin Island and, with Mr. Adams, has trekked to Bangladesh, Honduras, India and Uganda as representatives of Sleeping Children Around The World. Both are also volunteers with Casa de Angelis home in Peterborough.

Meanwhile, Mr. Adams is a retired Trent University geography professor and author who served as a trustee with the Peterborough Board of Education before being elected Liberal MPP for Peterborough, 1987-1990, and then Liberal MP, 1993-2005.

"This is really one of the more touching things that happened to us," says Mr. Adams.

"I've been to several Pathway inductions and I never for once thought I'd be on the receiving end of that honour. What's really nice is that the two of us are being inducted. We're a couple, it's a partnership, and that's being reflected.

"A strong community is people working behind the scenes on all levels and we've had people doing what they do for decades. They do it quietly but the impact of their efforts benefits us all. It's fitting we have a way to recognize them and, yes, thank them."



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sleeping Children Around the World at Night of Gratitude by House of Praise

As posted on the House of Praise YouTube site, August 2, 2012.

Sleeping Children Around the World at Night of Gratitude by House of Praise 2012. House of Praise donated $10,000 to the sleeping children around the world charity. This charity provides bed kits for children around the world.