Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of our Charter (July 31, 2001)
20 weeks of "TBT" memories
Week #15 (November 4 2021)
    There are certain members of the community that you just cannot say “no” to and Sister Christine Leyser was certainly one of them! An Order of Canada recipient who is considered a model of sacrificial community service, Sister Christine started the Welcome In Drop In Centre at 23 Gordon Street in Guelph over 35 years ago. A handful of volunteers helped her with the effort, providing daily food, comfort and services to those in need.  The effort galvanized broad community support, and spawn other services, including a series of four shelters for the homeless, those struggling with mental illness, and the isolated and economically marginalized. We were pleased to be able to support the Welcome In Drop In Centre as well, donating $3,500 between 2015 and 2017.  And by having Sister Christine attend a meeting in person to get a cheque, before she left Guelph to live in a Toronto convent, we were able to get one of her famous hugs.
    You can never underestimate the power of a group of devoted parents where the needs of their children are concerned. That was never more evident than in 2015 when we became aware of the J.O.E. (Jobs, Opportunities, Enterprise) project through Planet Bean Coffee. J.O.E started with eight young adults and their families. All shared one goal: employment in the community. In 2013, they pitched a tent in a parking lot, their first Pop-up Café in partnership with Planet Bean Coffee. Since then J.O.E. has become a registered Canadian charity, and has helped over 30 adults with developmental disabilities gain work experiences and training.  Supporting J.O.E. means celebrating ability, diversity and inclusion.  We have been happy to support them over the years with donations starting in 2015 that has totaled so far about $6,600. It’s always a pleasure to drop into one of the 3 Guelph J.O.E. Coffee Nooks (when they’re not closed for COVID) and enjoy some conversation and caring along with your coffee and snacks. By working at J.O.E. those young people build employment skills, confidence and community connections. 
   When you are a Rotarian you are part of a world-wide family of 1.4 million Rotarians in over 35,000 clubs in over 200 countries.  Rotarians are encouraged to visit other clubs when they travel and many of our members have done so, bringing back mementos. For example one member brought back a “Mickey Mouse” shaped membership pin and visitor badge after visiting a club in the Disney World complex in Orlando Florida.  Other members have attended meetings in Mexico, England and Scotland. We also enjoy welcoming any Rotarians from other countries that attend our meetings during their visit to the Guelph area. Pretty much anywhere you go in the world, there will be a club that will welcome you for some warm fellowship!
Sister Christine Leyser giving one of her famous hugs to Rotarian Richard Van Dyke
Steve Jacobs receives donation cheque from Rotarian Richard Van Dyke – along with a photo of the J.O.E. team “The JOE-ksters” that participated in the 2015 “Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee”
Rotarians Deb and Geoff Allen (right and middle) attending a meeting of the Rotary Club of Westminster West – on Buckingham Palace Road, literally across the road from the rear of Buckingham Palace.
Russell Hampton
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