Archive for November 2013

Everyone Deserves A Second Chance

Purple is the colour of the day in the Mincom New Choice Realty Ltd. office as Sales Represenative/Stacee-Free Team member Kathy Lapointe and Broker of Record/Owner/Stacee-Free Team Leader Judy Stacee-Cleaver try on their purple scarves.

Purple scarves

Kathy & Judy warming up to their purple scarves.

November marks the international awareness month of “Violence Against Women” and the purple scarves are part of the  “Women Wrapped In Courage” campaign.  Jaki MacKinnon, Executive Director of the Durham Region women’s shelter, Bethesda House, explains…

“Ninety-five shelters across Ontario have joined forces and our voices for one message: “The Courage of a Woman Alone is NOT ENOUGH”.  The scarf symbolizes wrapping the women in courage and support. On November 25th we would like to see men and women across Ontario wearing their purple scarves in support”.

Purple scarf campaing

Of course, purchasing and wearing your purple scarf is just one of the ways you can support Bethesda House, whose Mission Statement pretty much says it all,  “In partnership with our community, Bethesda House provides secure Shelter, woman-centered advocacy, Outreach and other services to women, youth and children, supporting them to live free from domestic abuse.”  MacKinnon explains some of the needs…

“Women and children often arrive at  the shelter with very little, usually with what ever they were wearing at the time of their escape and that is it.  Each new arrival receives a, “Welcome Package”, containing new pajamas, new socks, new underwear, personal hygiene items, etc. We are always looking for gently used clothing for women and children of all ages and sizes. Our clients get first pick of these and then everything else goes to “Second Chance”. Second Chance is a wonderful store run by Bethesda House and volunteers. Located at 25 King Street West in Bowmanville, it provides clothing for Bethesda House residents and earns much needed dollars for the cause.”

Second Chance

25 King Street West in Bowmanville

Second Chance


Second Chance is a great place to start your Christmas shopping. You would be surprised at some of the treasures you will find there. Speaking of Christmas, Bethesda House also has a “Holiday Hamper” drive on now.  Anywhere between 80 and 100 hampers are prepared for current and past clients who are in need of support. It sometimes takes a while for them to get back on their feet and everyone wants to help give the children a great Christmas. They are looking for new unwrapped gifts for all ages, the usual non-perishable food items like beans, peanut butter, pasta, etc.  They are also in need of seasonable treats such as sugar cookie mixes, cranberries, stuffing mix, fancy pickles…things that help make Christmas special. Please see the bottom of this post for more items on their “Wish List”.  All the work for these baskets is done by volunteers and the community really pitches in. Members of the RCMP deliver the baskets to recipients. The local Two Men and a Truck pick up items from schools that have toy drives; a local hockey team packs all the hampers; and lots of volunteers help out with the wrapping of gifts. Bethesda House and the supporting community also throw a Christmas party for approximately 200 of their clients and you can be sure each child there receives a gift from Santa.

Members of The Stacee-Free Team volunteer when possible, donate what they can and participate in the annual “Take Back The Night” walk.  Judy and Kathy use their experience to help the women get back on their feet. Kathy explains…

“When woman are abused it effects their well-being and they feel alone, embarrassed, emotionally drained and they often find it hard to make decisions and to know where to go or what to do to help themselves and their children. Judy and I will go to Bethesda House and talk to the women there, offering support and information regarding housing and rentals. We talk to them about where and how to look for a rental, what a landlord will require, about credit reports and tell them about the Guide for Tenants Rights. This information helps to empower the women to take a few small steps which will give them the confidence they need to continue and move forward with their life. This is a community issue and we feel very strongly about helping them to make their own choices, abuse free.”

As you can see there are many ways you can contribute to the amazing work being done at Bethesda House. If we haven’t mentioned something in your wheel house please check out the Bethesda House website  or call 905.623.6045 for more ideas. There is a year round need for all kinds of  volunteers and help. In the mean time check out the “Wish List Below” and don’t forget to wear your purple scarf.

Holiday Wish List





The Pit Stop

It doesn’t matter if Nascar is your thing, Drag Racing, Formula One or if you are just on a family road trip, sooner or later we all need a “Pit Stop”. You may even be out on a cold and wet October 31st evening with all the kids in tow, their costumes all in various stages of disarray when you hear it. “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom.” “Daddy, I’m tired. Can you carry me?” Of course, it could be you just can’t feel your toes anymore and need to warm up.  If you are anywhere in the neighbourhood of Southside Worship Centre in Ajax, you are one of the lucky ones. You look up and there in front of you is the beacon in the chaos.

Beacon in the sky

For the past three years Southside Worship Centre has been providing a safe place to rest, warm up and indulge in some treats. It is the ultimate “Pit Stop” for the whole family.

pit stop

Anna Stinson, Sales Representative at Mincom New Choice Realty Ltd.  and member of the Stacee-Free Team has been volunteering at the “Pit Stop” for three years.

“It’s a lot of fun. We open up the church to everyone in the neighbourhood. It feels good to provide something so nice for this community  we make our home in. I’ve learned to pour a pretty good hot chocolate while I chat with the kids and their families.”


Everyone appreciates hot chocolate served by Anna

There certainly does seem to be something for everyone. Senior Pastor Jason and Youth Pastor Matt are in costume and on hand to greet and hand out home made candy apples made by  Sarah and her helpers. Two hundred candy apples and two hundred goody bags have been prepared .

Candy apples and goody bags

Candy Apples and Goody Bags

Children’s Pastor Laura and her helpers make all kinds of balloon items. There are big colourful flowers and swords for harmless duels. There are even wee cars for the “Pit Stop”.


Pastor Laura and some of her balloon creations

There’s no need to rush off. You can let the kids burn off some energy in the jumping castle or playing one of the games, electronic and otherwise. You might even decide to just sit and watch the movie while munching on some home made baked treats provided by church members.

bouncy castle

Jumping Castle and Wii and Connect 4

Movies and Treats

Movies and Treats

A lot of fun is had by all. It is the perfect “Pit Stop” whether you make it a quick stop, in and out, or stay and enjoy yourself for awhile.   If you didn’t make it this year be sure to stop in next year. Anna will be there with a warm smile and a nice hot cup of hot chocolate.