Kathy DiBartolomeo

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 (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

Amherstburg Community Services thanks volunteers at annual appreciation dinner

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) thanked their volunteers and did so with a western flare.

ACS held its annual volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday evening at the AMA Sportsmen Association with the event featuring everything from a barbecue meal to people dressed in western attire. There were also horse and carriage rides as well.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo noted the non-profit agency is in its 45th year, with providing meals being one of the early focuses.

Staff from Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) hold up letters spelling the words “Thank You” at last Wednesday night’s volunteer appreciation dinner at the AMA Sportsmen Association. ACS honoured their 132 volunteers with a dinner that had a western theme this year.

“Without the volunteers and original acts of kindness, we wouldn’t be here today,” said DiBartolomeo.

Meals on Wheels is now just one of the current services, with another 21 services also provided out of their Victoria St. S. office. ACS also provides services to Harrow, McGregor and LaSalle, she added.

ACS has 132 volunteers, DiBartolomeo noted, and she said all volunteers and every community play an important role.

“Volunteers not only play an important role in communities large and small, they are a necessity,” she said.

DiBartolomeo added that volunteers are “a special breed of people” and that ACS has developed a number of partnerships with other groups and organizations in the area. She said the agency can look back proudly on what it has accomplished.

“We are looking to the future with excitement,” she stated.

Terri Barrette, president of ACS’ board of directors, offered gratitude for the work of the volunteers. She referenced “Wanted” posters given the evening’s western theme when she pointed out there are so many wants and needs in the community.

Jim Cryowski was one of the ACS volunteers that helped barbecue the dinner at last Wednesday’s volunteer appreciation night at the AMA Sportsmen Association.

Volunteers give of their time and brighten the lives of people they help but Barrette added they are often another person’s “saving grace” and an inspiration to others.

“We tip our hats to all of you,” said Barrette.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo brought greetings, saying the thanks he was giving was miniscule compared to the volunteer time that people give.

“Know that your service does not go unnoticed or unappreciated,” said DiCarlo. “Amherstburg’s success is defined by you and for that we are eternally grateful.”

DiCarlo stated the Amherstburg is known for its volunteers.

“This is one of the few opportunities I have to let them know what difference they make in our community,” he said.

Sarah Parks from Sarah Parks Horsemanship (left) and Michelle Stein from Firehorse Leadership Organization (right) helped give Amherstburg Community Services’ volunteer appreciation dinner a western flare by bringing their horses. Gerald Lemire was one of the volunteers who stopped by to say hello.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya said ACS’ volunteer appreciation dinner is an “annual event I love coming to.” Antaya has been a volunteer himself, often as a Meals on Wheels driver.

“The service you provide is incredible,” said Antaya. “You are assuring people they haven’t been forgotten.”

Antaya added he has been proud to be a Meals on Wheels driver and said they often are the only people some clients may see in an average day.

For more information about ACS and the services the agency provides, visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. or call 519-736-5471. Their website is www.amherstburg-cs.com.