ACS

ACS partnering with town to host public meeting for seniors Aug. 16

 

Amherstburg Community Services has once again partnered with the Town of Amherstburg’s Recreation Services Department to support seniors living in the municipality.

On Aug. 16, the two organizations will host a town hall meeting to consult seniors, caregivers and concerned citizens on changes they would like to see to support healthy aging in Amherstburg.  ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo is excited for the input from the community and hoping to see a large turn-out.

“We think there are plenty of amazing ideas just waiting to be heard,” DiBartolomeo said.  “We know the statistics and we know that a huge part of our population is made up of older adults.  As a community, we need to adapt to these changes and it’s only right that this part of the population has their say.”

The town hall meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns and share ideas on how to make Amherstburg a more welcoming place for older adults.  The feedback from this event will help plan and implement new programs and services for Amherstburg seniors.

Information on resources and programs currently available for seniors living in the area will also be shared with those who attend.  The meeting will take place at the Libro Credit Union Centre’s community room at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16.

Registration is not required, however people looking for more information are asked to contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471.

This event follows a similar consultation with organizations, business owners and community leaders that took place in December last year.

Amherstburg Community Services celebrates 45th anniversary

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has reached a milestone.

The local independent not-for-profit agency is celebrating its 45th anniversary. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the agency was founded in 1973 and incorporated in 1976.

“It was founded by a group of local people who were concerned with seniors and their nutritional needs,” said DiBartolomeo. “Forty-five years later, we now have over 20 services for the community and we’ve expanded into four different communities.”

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo (third from left) cuts the cake as she is surrounded by staff last Friday afternoon. ACS is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

Residents in Amherstburg, Harrow, LaSalle and McGregor can utilize such services as Meals on Wheels, Teen Health Counselling, Friendly Visiting for Seniors, Security Reassurance, Friendly Social Seniors, Youth Recreation Subsidies, Coats for Kids, free hearing tests, CareLink Health Transit, Keep the Heat, income tax clinics, medical footcare, a Legal Aid Lawyer, credit counselling, Hiatus House, OESP intake, the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, Stuff-a-Stocking for Seniors, Service Canada, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Over the past year, there were 16,625 meals delivered, 5,852 CareLink rides provided, 611 reassurance calls, 289 Friendly Visits, 272 tax clinics, 387 stockings delivered to seniors at Christmas, 26 families given winter coats through Coats for Kids and 63,460 given to subsidize recreation fees. They are currently accepting donations for a new accessible van and people can donate by their office or online through www.amherstburg-cs.com.

They also team up with local agencies and organizations, with two such examples being partnering with the Amherstburg Fire Department and the Rotary Club of Amherstburg on a carbon monoxide alarm project for residents in need and partnering with Mealtime Express and the Amherstburg Police Department for a Secret Santa toy drive.

ACS also teamed with the Town of Amherstburg recently for the first ever Active & Aging Well Expo.

For many years, ACS had services under multiple roofs at the same time however they have been able to amalgamate all of their services at one location. Their office is currently located at 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.

ACS has over 100 volunteers, DiBartolomeo stated, and while they are always welcome to new partnerships and programming, funding is a constant challenge.

A ribbon cutting is pictured as part of an open house that occurred when ACS was located in the Teeter Building, at the corner of Sandwich and Gore. (Submitted photo)

“We rely heavily on the support of the community through fundraisers and donations,” she said.

That said, Amherstburg Community Services is looking forward to the future.

“Moving forward, we are looking at some exciting changes,” she said. “As the community’s needs change, so have we. We change our mission to keep up with the demands. We’re excited to continue to grow, expand and bring on new programming to meet the challenges of our community.”

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) collecting donations for Fill-A-Backpack campaign

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

While children enjoy their summer holidays, one local organization has started working on a campaign to get school supplies to students who need them.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) will start their Fill-a-Backpack Campaign on July 16 which aims to collect new and gently used school supplies to support low-income children.

According to the executive director at ACS, Kathy DiBartolomeo, the project is a benefit to the entire community.

“It’s a program that I believe everyone can get behind,” DiBartolomeo said. “Every child should be able to go in on the first day of school prepared with everything they need to learn and succeed.  When you help us fill a backpack, you’re helping a child in your community become the best they can be.”

Having offered the program for five years previously, Amherstburg Community Services was unable to provide it in 2017.  This year though, the local non-profit agency has committed to bringing the program back to support Amherstburg families and children.

People interested in supporting the program can donate new or used school supplies at ACS at 179 Victoria St S.  Monetary donations are also being accepted at the same location or on their website at www.amherstburg-cs.com/make-a-personal-donation.

School supplies will be distributed from August 13 to August 17, with more details on that to come.

Anyone looking for information on if they qualify to receive school supplies should contact ACS at 519-736-5471.

 

ACS continues to fundraise for accessible vehicle, forced to cancel St. Clair College shuttle service next semester

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has been forced to cancel its St. Clair College student shuttle service due to a vehicle shortage.

ACS continues to fundraise for a new accessible CareLink bus after having to take an older vehicle off of the road and that has caused the shortage. The lack of a second vehicle is taking its toll on the services ACS can provide and that includes the student shuttle service.

“As bad as that sounds, if we can’t safely transport people, we won’t,” said Austin Tyrrell, ACS community awareness and fundraising coordinator.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the not-for-profit agency continues to be grateful for the support of Concours Mold, as the company will pledge $25,000 towards the new $75,000 vehicle if the community can raise the other $50,000. The campaign is known as “The Concours Mold Challenge.”

Thus far, ACS has raised $17,500.

DiBartolomeo noted there is an aging population and that means more and more people need to go to Windsor for medical appointments. Younger people sometimes need help getting to appointments as well, she added, noting there are “day away” programs that members of the public sometimes have an issue getting to.

Concours Mold is challenging other businesses and individuals in the area to donate to ACS’ fundraising campaign for a new accessible bus. From left: Amherstburg
resident and Concours Mold deputy chief financial officer Kenny Goggin, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo and Concours marketing director Jmar Eduarte. In the meantime, ACS has been forced to cancel

“We need to keep up with the demand and the demand is growing,” said DiBartolomeo.

The charge to use Amherstburg Community Services’ accessible vehicle is $18 round trip, which DiBartolomeo said is much cheaper than some other services that can range into the hundreds of dollars.

“If people have to call an external service to get (to a medical appointment), it can be up to $400,” she said.

Tyrrell said ACS is doing more fundraisers, with one coming up in August at Meloche’s No Frills. Staff and volunteers will be holding a barbecue and bagging groceries, he said.

There is also another Wine ‘N’ Hop fundraiser planned for the fall, Tyrrell added.

More information will be coming on the fundraisers in the coming weeks and Tyrrell urged people to follow them on their Facebook and Twitter sites.

“We do appreciate any donation,” said DiBartolomeo.

“If every household in Amherstburg donated $5, we’d pretty much reach our goal instantly,” said Tyrrell. “Every donation counts.”

Tyrrell stated that one client has even told them if they didn’t have the accessible vehicle CareLink service, she would never get out of the house.

For more information or to make a donation, call 519-736-5471 or visit www.amherstburg-cs.com/the-concours-mold-challenge. People can also donate directly at Amherstburg Community Services’ office, which is located at 179 Victoria St. S.

ACS, town happy with first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) teamed with the town’s recreation services department with seniors being the focus.

The first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo was presented last Monday and Tuesday at the Libro Centre with over 40 vendors, cooking demonstrations, financial presentations and other presenters giving senior citizens a chance to see what is out there.

“I think as far as a first year, I’m pleased,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “I’m hearing a lot of good feedback from attendees.”

“I think vendors are pleased with the set up and how they were treated,” added Rick Daly, manager of recreation services with the town.

Lou Cote (left) demonstrates pole walking with
ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

DiBartolomeo said it was an opportunity for businesses and service providers to not only show what is out there for seniors, but a chance to network amongst themselves as well. Seniors were also able to learn about some volunteer opportunities in the area.

“I think the main goal is to show how they can stay active,” she said.

Daly said many seniors were able to have issues and concerns addressed.

“If there are questions that older adults have, they were answered for them,” he said.

A Taoist tai chi demonstration was held last Tuesday afternoon as part of the Active & Aging Well Expo presented by Amherstburg Community Services and the Town of Amherstburg.

A variety of exhibitors and interactive demonstrations left a big impression on attendees of the first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo.  The event had attendees like Carol Hrycay glad they took the time to see what all the fuss was about.

“It was the best five bucks I ever spent,” Hrycay said of the event. “I was very surprised to see so many vendors with such diversity yet still all focused on seniors. It really hit home just how much is available to people like me.”

In addition to the cooking classes provided by Matthew Johnston, the owner of Amherstburg’s Artisan Grill, and Beau Velduis, the executive chef at Seasons Retirement Communities in Amherstburg, attendees were given the chance to try activities like Taoist tai chi, pickle ball and pole walking.

DiBartolomeo stated the chance to try something new was what left a real impression on the event-goers.

“We look at this event as a chance to really change the discussion around aging,” DiBartolomeo said.  “Age isn’t just a number – it’s an opportunity to experience new things and this event helped people do just that.”

Plans are already being formulated for 2019, she added.

Over 40 vendors took part in the first Active & Aging Well Expo (AAWE) held last Monday and tuesday at the Libro Centre. The event was held in partnership with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Town of Amherstburg. (Submitted photo)

“We’re getting some feedback from vendors on what they like and what is important for next year,” stated Daly.

Daly added ACS will be an even more important service going forward as the population is aging and there are a number of services offered by ACS that can help.

The Active & Aging Well Expo brought vendors from across Windsor and Essex County to allow older adults, seniors and caregivers a chance to discover services, activities and programs specifically for them, all in one place.  Admission was $5 and included a lunch and access to all vendors and demonstrations.

 

—With information provided by Austin Tyrrell, community awareness/fundraising coordinator with ACS