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News and Information for Members of SJA in Ontario

January/February 2014
Welcome to Inside SJA!
This edition includes a story about support during the ice storm; SJA's therapy dog units are in the news and a volunteer shares her therapy dog story. We hope you enjoy this edition of Inside SJA.
Annual Conference
The 2014 Annual SJA Ontario Conference will be held Thursday, March 20, 2014 to Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel, 6750 Mississauga Road (at the 401) in Mississauga Ontario. The conference will again integrate the various segments of Branch operations (governance, management, staff, community services and training).


The breakdown of sessions will be as follows:

THURSDAY MARCH 20, 2014 is designed for Branch Managers, Client Services Reps., Training Coordinators with some sessions relevant to all and some concurrent sessions. In the evening there will be a Meet and Greet Reception open to all workshop registrants.

FRIDAY MARCH 21, 2014 is designed for Branch Chairs, Branch Managers and Community Services Leads with some sessions relevant to all and some concurrent. There will be a Reception, Dinner and Council Awards presentation in the evening (partially subsidized).

SATURDAY MARCH 22, 2014 is designed for Community Services Members, an Instructor-Trainer rep. from each branch, a Fellowship rep. from each branch, Branch Board Members and Branch Managers with some sessions relevant to all and some concurrent sessions.

The theme of the conference is: "Together We Can".

Registration will commence in the next few weeks.
Emergency & Standard First Aid Blended Learning is here!
St. John Ambulance is pleased to offer an innovative, web-based delivery method for First Aid, Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) theory blended with traditional classroom practical exercises and evaluation to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to confidently handle basic first aid situations until medical help arrives.
Who Should Take the Course?
This online course is designed for those requiring training in First Aid, CPR and AED, is compliant with WSIB requirements. The target audience will be your corporate clients, ideally those who have taken traditional first aid training before.

Durham Branch Provides Much Needed Support During the Ice Storm 

On Monday, December 23rd, the Region of Durham contacted St. John Ambulance Durham Region Branch to provide first aid services at a number of warming centres across Durham. Due to the loss of power many people in Durham Region were left in the dark with no light, heat, or way of communication to the outside world. These warming centres were a lifeline for many in our communities who needed a warm place to stay, a hot meal, and a hot shower.   


The St. John Ambulance Emergency Preparedness Plan was lifted off the shelf, and staff started the call out to the leadership team and Medical First Response volunteers. St. John Ambulance was able to have volunteers at three centres within 2-hours of the notification and a fourth team on shift an hour later. After 24-hours, two warming centres remained open in Durham Region. 


St. John Ambulance volunteers were able to maintain 24-hour coverage at the two warming centres in Ajax and Pickering. Over twenty-five staff and volunteers gave up so much of their time to help. Our volunteers sacrificed Christmas Eve gatherings, Christmas dinner with family, and even missed watching their children and family open presents as they were providing assistance at the warming centres. St. John Ambulance was able to call on many of its volunteers across the province. We had members from Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara Falls, Northumberland, St. Thomas and Barrie join us to assist those needing care at the warming centres.


So many heart filled stories were heard and shared, so many people were displaced during Christmas, and many children spent Christmas in a warming centre. St. John Ambulance knew this is where they needed to be.


On Friday, December 27th, we were notified that we were able to stand down the efforts as of  4 pm. Most residents had received power back and they were able to return to their homes. This is a Christmas that we will never forget.


Premier Wynn hosted an event in Pickering on Saturday, December 28th to recognize the participants from agencies and organizations during the five day event.


Our Board of Directors, staff and leadership team congratulate all members of St. John who personally gave, as it was a great cost to you and your family. This is precisely the sort of response that displays our volunteers commitment to SJA and their community, every time we are called upon.


Congratulations on a job well done!


A Therapy Dog Honour Guard Tribute

The Therapy Dogs of Lincoln provided an Honour Guard for a funeral on Tuesday, December 31, 2013. One of the long term staff members of the SJA office in St. Catharines lost her two sons on Boxing Day in a tragic accident. Within 48-hours a full Honour Guard of twenty handlers and dogs came forward to support her and her family. This tribute was truly an honour for the handlers and the dogs to participate in. 


The handler teams provided an Honour Guard before and after the funeral service outside the entrance of the church. This tribute by the dogs was greatly appreciated by the family and many attendees, as they found support and comfort in the dogs. Many people commented on how special it was to see them all lined up in their black ceremony vests. Many thanks to the Burlington Branch for lending their Black vests so that almost every therapy dog could be outfitted.


Therapy Dogs Participates in Santa Clause Parade

The Therapy Dogs, along with the cadets and MFR's in the Lincoln Branch enjoyed the many Santa Claus parades that they participated in this season. Denis with Bridgette the Bulldog, and Susan with Norton the Chocolate Lab enjoyed meeting onlookers as they walked along in the parade in Fort Erie on Sunday, November 17th, 2013. The 16-degree weather made it much more enjoyable than some of the snowy cold weather they experienced in some of the other parades they participated in this year!


The Therapy Dogs of Lincoln enjoyed participating in 4 local Santa Claus parades this past Christmas. These included Fort Erie, St. Catharines, Port Colborne (night parade) and Niagara-on-the-Lake.  



Lincoln Therapy Dogs 2014 Calendar

The Therapy Dogs of Lincoln created a 2014 calendar that featured many of their dogs. Within 24-hours of printing 100 copies it was soon apparent that they were selling like hot cakes, therefore another 100 were printed to accommodate the high demand! Knox was very helpful in convincing people to buy the calendar when he spent the day with his handler at the local PetSmart selling them.


Brock University 'Puppy Room' 

The SJA Therapy Dogs of Lincoln spent five days at Brock University in St. Catharines in November and December for 'stress down days'. These popular events allow students to come and pet the dogs for an hour or so and relieve some stress from studying for their upcoming exams. The Therapy Dogs helped de-stress almost 1700 students and staff at the University! Some of the students admitted that their final decision to attend Brock University over other institutions was due to the fact that they knew the 'puppy rooms' would be available at Brock!  


Bentley the Beagle and Jamie the Golden Retriever enjoyed the attention from the many students they met that day!!







Renfrew's 'Study Buddy Program' Makes a Difference 

The Renfrew Therapy Dog Unit's 'Study Buddy' program brings smiles to the students at Algonquin College.


Check out the link below to read the full story! 

 Therapy Dogs visit students at Algonquin College.


Way to go Renfrew!


Toronto Branch - Volunteer Appreciation Night
The Toronto Branch held their annual volunteer appreciation night on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at the Grand Baccus Banquet Centre in Scarborough. The event was a huge success with over 200 people in attendance. The keynote address was delivered by M.P. Olivia Chow, the MC for the night was comedian and Toronto paramedic Morgan Phillips, and Cardinal Collins said grace.


Over $26,000 of in-kind donations were received! There were 100 raffle and door prizes sent home with volunteers. Prizes included: hotel stays, gift certificates to many of Toronto's posh restaurants. There were also youth specific prizes including tree-top trekking, passes to Legoland, Paintball Nation, Rock Oasis (rock-climbing) and Air Combat Zone's jet fighter simulator missions. A very special thanks to Harvey Fields and Jason Colterman for their wonderful efforts in garnering these donations to reward SJA Toronto volunteers.


The chair of the planning committee, Jason Colterman, went above and beyond just planning a banquet, he also filmed people thanking SJA Toronto volunteers! Throughout the evening video recordings of notable people thanking St. John appeared on the big TV screen (donated by CCR Solutions). Also, thank you letters were received from Premier Kathleen Wynn, M.P.P Mike Layton and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
A big congratulations to all volunteers and award recipients! 
Toronto Therapy Dogs are a Wild Success

The Toronto Therapy Dog Unit visited eighteen departments, divisions, residences and classes at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and George Brown College. 2700 students smiled, laughed and played with these wonderful dogs. Over $1,300 in donations was raised.


This event received a lot of media coverage! Click on the links.


CTV News Clip: featuring Marc Emond and T-dog Keysha

CTV News Clip: Exam stress by health reporter Pauline Chan

Ryerson University news show: T-dog story starts at minute 4:20. 


Stress Melting Puppies Save Students 
Take a look at this video:  

 Therapy Dogs provides stress relief for Loyalist College students.


Way to go Quinte Unit!  Congratulations to all! 



Smile for the day....  

Puppy Love Therapy by Lori Thwaites 

(Therapy Dog Unit Volunteer)


I always knew that dogs had a calming effect on me. In the past I have been labeled as "Mother Teresa and the Tasmanian Devil (cartoon one) rolled into one. So when Mecho joined our family, she was certain to slow me down... somewhat. 


I have found that I enjoy sharing Mecho with others through the Therapy Dog program. It has been determined that just a few minutes of stroking a dog promotes a release of a number of "feel good" hormones in humans. I also found out that relaxation with a dog is comparable to eating chocolate - but with a lot less calories.


The Therapy Dog program is not just a terrific hobby with a special friend, our furry companions are really providing a great health service to the community.


Soutwestern Ontario (London) Branch's Therapy Dog Program Celebrates 20 Years!

Southwestern Ontario will be celebrating its 20th year of therapy dog operations in 2014. 


Take a look: 

Celebrating 20 Years!


New Patron for Hamilton St. John Ambulance
The Honorary Colonel Tim Hogarth, Chairman & CEO of Pioneer Energy, has accepted the appointment as Patron of Hamilton St. John Ambulance.

Colonel Hogarth succeeds the Hon. Lincoln Alexander who was Branch Patron from 1991 until his passing last year.

Colonel Hogarth is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Business (PMD program) and Bishops University (BBA), and is a member of the Quantum Shift Fellows Program at the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. In addition to his corporate work, he has served and currently serves on a number of corporate and community boards: Canada Company, Prince's Charities Canada, Operation Entrepreneur, Conference of Defence Associations Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation (former Vice Chair), McMaster Children's Hospital Financial Development Leadership Council (former Chair), Merry Go Round Children's Foundation, Young Presidents' Organization - Toronto Chapter (former Chair), Thirteenth Regiment Foundation (Chair), Future Bright Insurance Group (Chair), and is a Founding Partner (via Pioneer Energy) of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Program Charter for Business Canada.

Colonel Hogarth is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Canadian Armed Forces and was recently inducted into the Order of St. George (Canada & Americas). 
We would like to thank the following SJA branch staff and volunteers who graciously submitted content for this edition:
Tina Basque, Branch Manager (Durham Region Branch)
Suzi Peters, Coordinator Therapy Dog Program (Lincoln County Branch)
Therapy Dog Unit (Renfrew Branch)
Therapy Dog Unit (Loyalist Branch)
Brooke Griffiths, Community Services Coordinator (Toronto Branch)
Hollie Devlin, Volunteer & Evaluator-Therapy Dog Program (Toronto Branch)
Lori Thwaites, Therapy Dog Unit Volunteer (Lincoln County Branch)
Therapy Dog Unit (Southwestern Ontario Branch)
Kevin Keith, Branch Manager (Hamilton Branch)


We appreciate you sharing your stories, and we look forward to future branch submissions!
In This Issue
Council News
Ice Storm Support
T-Dogs of Lincoln County 
Study Buddy Program
Volunteer Appreciation Night
Therapy Dogs are a Wild Success!
Stress Relief for Loyalist College Students
Puppy Love Therapy
Celebrating 20 Years!
New Patron for Hamilton
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Leslie Haynes
St. John Ambulance | Council for Ontario
15 Toronto Street, Suite 800
Toronto, ON M5C 2E3
(416) 923-8411 ext. 252