GenNext-The Needle and the Damage Done

“I sing the song because I love the man, I know that some of you won’t understand”- Neil Young, The Needle and the Damage Done.

Neil Young’s iconic song was written more than 40 years ago, describing the destruction he saw even among his own friends from heroin addiction.

It resonates today as Waterloo Region deals with the aftermath of opioid use.

In 2017 more than 70 people died from overdoses.   Governments of all levels are working on a response, while people try to understand exactly what is happening.

GenNext Waterloo Region invites you to learn more about the issue at our February 8th event: The Needle and the Damage Done.

We’ll have a diverse and interesting group of panelists on hand to answer your questions including

Christine Padaric, from Moms stop the Harm and Overdose Canada.   We’ll sharing more about the story of this local advocate as we get closer to the date, but you’ll understand a mother who lost her son to a drug overdose has a powerful message.

Also on hand will be Bill Kirby from For a Better Cambridge     Bill is also a member of the City of Cambridge Community Outreach task force.   This grassroots group is working to ensure all voices are heard in the discussion.

Patrick Boot will join us from Overlap Associates    We invited Patrick because of the way his organization helps individuals and groups use empathy to solve big problems.

Violet Umanetz will also take part, representing Sanguen Health Centre    Sanguen has years of experience in dealing with vulnerable populations.

We need you too.  We want to hear your voice, and your questions.

“The Needle and the Damage Done” begins at 5:30 pm in the Communitech space at the Tannery.

You can register by following this link.

 

Making a Move

In April of 2017 we began the integration of United Way KW and Area and United Way Cambridge North Dumfries in to the new United Way Waterloo Region Communities.

Since that time we have been operating in two separate locations.  Understandably this causes some challenges to create a cohesive team.    Having every one of our staff members in one place, able to access all our resources at the same time is important, and much more efficient.

So, we are moving!

During the week of January 15th, we are packing up our Cambridge office on Thompson Drive, and our Waterloo location on Erb Street in Uptown Waterloo for new digs, at 50 Sportsworld Crossing.  We’ll be smack in the middle of the Region, which is fitting considering our services stretch right across so many communities.

Any move is stressful–it’s difficult enough when we are packing up our own homes.   But moving two offices into a single locations comes with its own particular set of —well—let’s call them opportunities!

While our phones will remain in service for much of next week, there may be some changes.  Calls to many of our staff may be rerouted to the cell phones for a day or so.  In addition, our donation servers may be unavailable for a few days, beginning on Tuesday January 16th.   We do expect them to be fully operational by Monday January 22nd.

 

 

 

 

Volunteers Power Affordable Housing.

 Each month United Way WRC, along with some of our media partners shines the spotlight on a local volunteer.  There are hundreds of opportunities for you to make a difference.  Our Kristen Feduck tells the story of Bryan Shows.

For many of us, our home is an anchor.   It’s a sanctuary where we can relax and create memories. But for others, that shelter is unstable and a reminder of the difficult path they face every day. There are people working right here to shore up those situations, and help change the power of poverty.

When Bryan Shows retired he was looking for a way to get involved in the community and give back. When he looked up local volunteering opportunities, he couldn’t believe the variety of positions available and the number of local agencies that had a real need for volunteers in order to make their work possible. Bryan chose Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region and in just under one year, has logged over 250 volunteer hours.  In this time, he has become one of the key volunteers at the Cambridge ReStore, a retail store that accepts donations of used, discontinued items and salvageable building materials donated by manufacturers, contractors and individuals. Whether he is sweeping, building furniture, arranging displays or interacting with customers, Bryan is making a positive impact in the organization and the community as a whole.

Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to help families build strength, stability and independence through affordable home ownership. This mandate is even more important as affordable housing becomes increasingly difficult to find in Waterloo Region. It’s not only those living in poverty who can’t afford to own their own home, but also individuals and couples who work full-time, but just don’t have enough money left over at the month to save for a down payment.

Through the dedication of volunteers like Bryan the organization is able to make this mission a reality. Bryan says the acknowledgement of volunteers gives him a particularly warm feeling. He notes that both staff and management at the Cambridge ReStore thank him after every shift.

Bryan is quick to point out that the organization is not the only one that benefits from the arrangement: “Volunteering offers me the opportunity to put both my time and experience to use, assist where I can in helping newer volunteers get up to speed, gaining new knowledge myself, and finally appreciating that what I do and learn here is making a difference.”

 

 

To experience the benefits of volunteerism, like Bryan, search the online Volunteer Opportunities Database at https://volunteercambridge.cioc.ca/volunteer/  or call the Volunteer Centre at 519-621-1030, ext. 234.

Tax Time-Preparation is key

As we move into the first few days of the New Year, it’s time to start thinking about your tax return.   As a registered charity, United Way Waterloo Region Communities provides receipts for donation made during the calendar year.      If you’re among our supporters who make donations through payroll deduction, your T4 Slip should state the amount.   That information should be contained in Box 46 on your slip.

 

We have already started sending out some receipts to supporters, and will continue that process for the next few weeks.   If you do not receive a receipt for a 2017 donation please contact our office.

This page provides some excellent information to help you understand charitable donations and the tax system.

People can often be confused about what documents they might need to claim a charitable deduction.   Canada Revenue makes that information available on its website.

If you would like to make a donation for next year’s tax return, it’s never too early.  Just follow this link to learn about how you can support United Way, and reduce your tax bill for 2018

As always, individual situations can vary greatly, and we encourage you to discuss your personal concerns with a tax professional.