Seasons Amherstburg

Catz Meow brings dance classes to Seasons Amherstburg

 

By Jolene Perron

 

“Making big dreams come true in a small town.”

The work of art on one of The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre’s buildings showcases everything owner and director Catherine Cristofaro stands for. A business, which she explained was built so innocently, and has continued because of it’s genuineness is showing its heart again by teaching ballet at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg.

“Our cooperate initiative was to bring dance into our memory care communities and so we went out into the community, thinking that might be a good way to assist us, since we’re not all gifted in house,” explained Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg’s general manager Tamasin Dineen. “ We reached out to the Catz Meow and asked if there was anyone interested, maybe some students who were interested in volunteer hours, and we got a great response from them and Catherine decided to do it herself.”

Residents at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg have enjoyed their last five weeks with Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre, as she has taught them dance and gotten them moving.

Residents at Season’s Retirement Communities in Amherstburg have enjoyed their last five weeks with Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre, as she has taught them dance and gotten them moving.

Many of the patients in the memory care community have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Not only was it thought to be a great form of exercise, but it’s also a safe form of art of the residents to participate in.
For five weeks Cristofaro has been working with the residents. She said in the beginning, there were a lot of spectators, but now they all get up and follow along with her much better than their first class together.

“Whether or not they remember the names of the exercises, you can tell that their muscle memory is definitely engaged, the music is sparking a part of their brain and their heart and their love of dance I think many of them have,” said Cristofaro. “That’s really encouraging to keep coming back and they look forward to seeing me.

Whether they remember my name or not is not important, but when they see my face they know that we’re here to dance and it means a lot to me to be a part of it.”

Cristofaro has spoken with Dineen to expand upon the program. She said she is going to be receiving additional training in order to know how to approach the residents in specific manors according to some of the challenges they face individually. This way, she can be more efficient and effective in what she is sharing with them in order to maximize on the success of the program she is trying to develop for them.

Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre teaches ballet to a group of seniors on the memory care floor at Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg.

Catherine Cristofaro, owner of Amherstburg’s The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre teaches ballet to a group of seniors on the memory care floor at Season’s Retirement Communities Amherstburg.

“The residents just gravitated towards it,” said Dineen. “They absolutely love it. She has also approached me about taking it one step further, not just for the five-week class, but doing something long-term and we would be so excited about that because I think both our residents in independent living and memory care, it gives them a sense of purpose, it gives them something new to try and it encourages them to work on their cognitive skills as well and learning something new is always wonderful too.”

Dineen said ballet is something that was outside of the box for them to offer, and while many people may not think ballet is something the seniors would be interested in, they most certainly are and she is incredibly grateful for the work Cristofaro has put into the five-week program and is interested in seeing it expand.

“I feel just as blessed to be here, and grateful, to be teaching these people as I think they feel towards me,” said Cristofaro. “I’m really excited to see where this opportunity takes me.”

Seasons chips in with donation to Belle Vue

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

Seasons Amherstburg has done its part to try and restore the 200-year-old Belle Vue property.

The local retirement home presented the Belle Vue Conservancy a cheque for $811 last Friday afternoon. Linda Jackson, chair of the conservancy’s corporate outreach, said it is a national historic site that is two centuries old and that Seasons has helped out in the past.

Jackson pointed out that Robert and Debra Honor, also conservancy members, have presented information sessions at Seasons regarding the Belle Vue property. She added Seasons is a silver sponsor for the Sept. 24 “Puttin’ on the Ritz” gala being held for Belle Vue at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

Staff and residents from Seasons present a cheque for $811 to the Belle Vue Conservancy and Amherstburg Community Foundation last Friday afternoon.

Staff and residents from Seasons present a cheque for $811 to the Belle Vue Conservancy and Amherstburg Community Foundation last Friday afternoon.

“We can’t thank you enough for all of your help,” Jackson told Seasons staff.

Rick Daly, manager of programming and development with the town of Amherstburg, represented the Amherstburg Community Foundation and thanked Seasons staff and residents for their generosity as well.

Heather Vandenham, leasing manager at Seasons Amherstburg, said the money was raised at the retirement community’s Canada Day festivities.

“There were raffles and donations made through that event,” said Vandenham.

Many Seasons residents remember Belle Vue from some of its former uses and they would like to see it used again.

“They grew up here,” she said. “They love this community as much as we do.”

Seasons also tries to keep history alive through its residents, Vandenham added, and that residents want to keep history alive in Amherstburg.

To make a donation, people can visit www.amherstburg.ca/donate.

Spits goalie does meet and greet with Memorial Cup at Seasons

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Residents at Seasons Amherstburg got a chance to meet a local hockey player who has done well for himself in recent months as well as the prestigious trophy his team won.

Amherstburg native and Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to the retirement community last Wednesday night where residents and staff spent one hour asking him questions, getting his autograph and taking pictures with him.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to Seasons Amherstburg last Wednesday night. He stands with his aunt June Ackley and grandmother Betty DeLuca.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro brought the Memorial Cup to Seasons Amherstburg last Wednesday night. He stands with his aunt June Ackley and grandmother Betty DeLuca.

Telling the residents that “I grew up five minutes from here,” the 18-year-old DiPietro noted he has been busy this summer with part of his agenda being to do appearances like the one at Seasons. He is also busy getting ready for the 2017-18 hockey season, as he works out five times per week and is skating four times per week.

The Memorial Cup champion’s summer also includes a trip to Plymouth, Michigan as part of his bid to make the Canadian World Junior hockey team. The 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase runs July 28-Aug. 5 with 12 international competitions between Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

“Hopefully, I’ll be in Buffalo on Boxing Day,” he said, as that is the day the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships start.

DiPietro was drafted in the third round of the NHL draft by the Vancouver Canucks last month and heads for the west coast in September for a “Young Stars” tournament and training camp.

“It’s definitely a quick summer for me,” he said.

Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro has his photo taken with 100-year-old Jean Farr during his visit July 26.

Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro has his photo taken with 100-year-old Jean Farr during his visit July 26.

Responding to a question from a member of the audience, DiPietro said he has a good relationship with new Spitfires head coach Trevor Letowski.

“We have a happy medium,” said DiPietro.

One of the residents getting a signed poster was former mayor Bill Gibb, who now resides at Seasons.

“Just having (DiPietro) in Amherstburg is a big event,” said Gibb. “I’ve been a hockey fan all of my life. When you meet one of the greats, it’s a pleasure.”

Gibb said hockey players work hard as it’s not an easy sport to play.

Amherstburg resident Michael DiPietro shares a laugh with Doug Ramsey during DiPietro's visit to Seasons Amherstburg July 26. DiPietro is the goalie for the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.

Amherstburg resident Michael DiPietro shares a laugh with Doug Ramsey during DiPietro’s visit to Seasons Amherstburg July 26. DiPietro is the goalie for the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.

“Having him show up here was a nice thing,” said Gibb.

Jean Farr was also happy to meet DiPietro, recalling the days when she lived in London with husband Bernard and they would travel to Toronto to see games.

“My husband and I loved hockey,” she said. “We would go anywhere to see hockey. That was my husband’s sport.”

Members of DiPietro’s family were also there for the occasion.

“I’ve known this kid from day one,” said June Ackley, DiPietro’s aunt. “I’ve got a picture of him when he’s about three years old.”

Betty DeLuca, DiPietro’s grandmother, sat in the front row in Seasons’ theatre room in her Spitfires’ sweatshirt watching her grandson sign autographs.

“It’s hard to believe he’s done so well,” she said, adding she was very proud of her grandson.

Seasons Amherstburg brightens Easter at the Mission

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Seasons Amherstburg helped brighten the spirits of those at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission just in time for Easter.

Seasons general manager Brenda D’Alimonte, food services manager Beau Veldhuis and Seasons residents Joan Browning, Nida Agnositis and Matt and Julie Predki delivered 100 hams to the mission last Thursday afternoon.

“Each Seasons property did the same for their communities,” explained D’Alimonte. “It’s to help out around the Easter holidays.”

D’Alimonte said they know that the mission provides a valuable service in the community and that there are also seniors in the community who need some assistance.

“That’s what we’re here for,” she added.

Seasons Amherstburg donated 100 hams to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission last Thursday afternoon. Front row (from left): Seasons Amherstburg general manager Brenda D’Alimonte, Matt Predki, Joan Browning, Julie Predki and Nida Agnositis.  Back row (from left): Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister and Seasons Amherstburg food services manager Beau Veldhuis.

Seasons Amherstburg donated 100 hams to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission last Thursday afternoon. Front row (from left): Seasons Amherstburg general manager Brenda D’Alimonte, Matt Predki, Joan Browning, Julie Predki and Nida Agnositis. Back row (from left): Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister and Seasons Amherstburg food services manager Beau Veldhuis.

Tim McAllister, president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission’s board of directors, said they had their Easter dinner Monday. He was thankful for the donation from Seasons Amherstburg.

“This is a big boost for the mission to receive this many hams,” said McAllister. “It makes us feel very excited. It’s great that Seasons was able to donate these hams.”

Donations are always welcome at the mission, he added, but it is special when donations come around holidays.

“At these times, it means a lot to the people we serve,” said McAllister. “Any time is good (for donations), but especially on occasions like Easter.”

McAllister added it was “hard to put into words” how much the donation meant to the non-profit organization.

“It means a lot to the mission,” he said.

Local youth gives back to community thanks to “Make 150 Count” grant from RBC

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

An Amherstburg student was recognized by RBC and, in turn, used her award to better the community.

Emily Renaud, 17, was recognized by the Amherstburg branch of RBC with a $150 grant under the banking institution’s “Make 150 Count” program. The program is geared at inspiring young Canadians to do something to “help communities prosper” during Canada’s 150th birthday celebration.

Emily Renaud (right) gives a flower to Anna Weekes Saturday evening. Renaud received a “Make 150 Count” grant from RBC and chose to spend her $150 brightening the day for seniors at Seasons Amherstburg.

Emily Renaud (right) gives a flower to Anna Weekes Saturday evening. Renaud received a “Make 150 Count” grant from RBC and chose to spend her $150 brightening the day for seniors at Seasons Amherstburg.

Renaud was nominated by Amanda Ward, an employee at a Windsor RBC branch, for the Amherstburg award with Renaud’s chosen project being to hand out flowers to residents at Seasons.

“I was chosen by RBC bank. I’m a client there,” said Renaud. “They picked someone from the community to do something great.”

Renaud said she was notified about three weeks ago she would receive the $150 grant and decided to hand out flowers at Seasons Amherstburg to brighten the day of the seniors. She distributed the flowers during the dinner hour last Saturday afternoon.

The Grade 12 student at General Amherst High School said she wanted to do something to help seniors.

“I find a lot of times they are forgotten,” she said.

Emily Renaud (second from left) gives flowers to Terry Nantais, Kate Hankewitz and Kay Knight during a March 4 visit to Seasons Amherstburg.

Emily Renaud (second from left) gives flowers to Terry Nantais, Kate Hankewitz and Kay Knight during a March 4 visit to Seasons Amherstburg.

Handing out flowers was also the best way to use the money to reach as many people as she could, she added.

“I feel really proud I am able to give back to my community in a bigger way,” said Renaud.

Flowers by Anna also assisted in making sure Renaud had 120 carnations to hand out as they helped cover any costs over and above $150 for the flowers.

RBC employees are selecting young people within their communities to participate in the program. In addition, young Canadians between the ages of 16-25 are part of RBC’s national movement by sharing how they would make $150 count through Twitter or Instagram using #Make150Count for a chance to be selected.

For more information, visit rbc.com/make150count.