Chatham-Kent Branch News
RETIRED WOMEN TEACHERS OF ONTARIO
Sixty-two years ago, a group of retired women teachers met in Toronto to begin the task of gaining pensions equal to that of their male counterparts. Over the years, this small group has evolved into what is known today as the Retired Women Teachers of Ontario (RWTO/OERO) with over 75 000 members and 52 branches across Ontario. Our new focus is “Caring and Sharing”.
The Chatham-Kent Branch gathers four times a year on the 4th Wednesday of September, November, April and June alternating between Country View Golf Course and Charing Cross United Church. We have 140-150 members, the oldest being 101 years. All retired women teachers are welcomed to join whether having experience in public, separate or private, elementary or secondary, college or university systems, no matter how long they have been out of the teaching profession.
To support our “Caring and Sharing” focus, each year donations are made to local food banks, the Chatham-Kent Children’s Service and the Women’s Shelter. A Special Olympian bowler is supported; books are placed in local libraries in memory of deceased members; shut-ins are visited and appropriate cards are sent.
Our meetings provide time for socialization, entertainment and a delicious meal. If you are a retired woman teacher please consider becoming a member. For further information, visit our website by Googling RWTO/OERO and clicking on Branch News or call Sharon at 519-352-6025.
Please contact our membership convener, JoAnne, for more details.
JoAnne Chrysler: 519-676-8640
In 1956, a small group of retired women teachers got together for the purpose of trying to persuade the government to raise the level of pensions for retired women teachers to the same level as their male colleagues.
In the following years, many new groups were formed and joined in the crusade to present a stronger case to the government.
In 1967, success was achieved when the government agreed that the minimum pension would be raised to $1200.00 per year.
We have come a long way since then!
This group continues to exist because there is still a need for an
organization that cares for the interests and well-being of retired women
- continually works to be a fully accessible organization to meet the unique needs of retired women teachers
- fosters and promotes interaction among retired women teachers to help members maintain and establish friendships with former colleagues
- provides interesting stimulation and supportive programs for all members
- provides a wide range of opportunities for members to use their leadership, communication and creative skills
- is socially conscious and works to establish a visible, outward-looking presence among teachers in particular and the public in general to improve the lives of all women and children.
One of Chatham Kent’s members, Marilyn Johnston, is involved with a group called Ryan’s Case for Smiles. This small group of busy ladies have made bright, colourful pillow cases, to the tune of 110 every two months for the past five years, for sick children in area hospitals. Each pillow case is made of 100 percent cotton. These pillows are a way of adding a sense of home to the hospital rooms of children. Originally the pillows were for cancer patients, but they are now available for any child with a serious illness in the hospital. We are proud to have ladies such as Marilyn as members of our branch.
The bench on display was part of the store front offered by the 2018 International Plowing Match. Margaret Mills, one of our members is trying out the bench.
This is from our In Memoriam service, featuring Barbara Rose, Nancy Hrytzak and Marg Mazurek.
Margaret Mills and Sue Cummings with 90 year-old Doris Shaw. They had just presented her with a lap robe from the Chatham Kent Branch.
2020 – 2021 Program
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Charing Cross United Church – 11:30 am
”Special Presentation to the New Retirees”
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Country View Golf Course – 9:30 am
Entertainment : featured Christmas music
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Charing Cross United Church – 11:30 am
Entertainment: speaker of interest
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Country View Golf Course – 9:30
Entertainment: Round Table Interest Forum
Chatham-Kent “Feather In Your Hat”
Beverlee Bodnar was a valued member of our Executive as Program and Entertainment Convenor for years. She has also been very involved in her community. Among her endeavours, she has been a proponent of Canterbury Elder College. She has provided space on her property for the Community Garden project. Volunteering for Women Who Care, United Way Chatham Kent Women’s Council, the OSPCA, VON Chatham Kent, Family Council for Copper Terrace, Meals on Wheels, the Ontario Lung Association and the Community Christmas Dinner makes one wonder how she managed to fit everything into her busy schedule. We’re glad to have her in our Branch.
Lila Babcock volunteers with a number of organizations. She has 23 years at the local hospital and 25 years as an usher with the Chatham Cultural Centre. She has been a canvasser for Heart and Stroke as well as Cancer. She has been involved in plays at her local church. In Dresden she has worked with Meals on Wheels. Like so many of our members, she is involved with the 2018 International Plowing Match in Paincourt.
The Chatham Kent Branch decided to begin awarding its own “Feather in Your Hat” Award to deserving members of our organization. This award goes to a member who is involved in ongoing community activities. Two such awards have been handed out over the past year; one to Marsha Thorpe and another to Barb Suitor.
Marsha Thorpe volunteers at the local library, for the Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke and the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle. She also ushers at the local theatre and assists friends when needed. These activities are in addition to the work she does with the Chatham Kent RWTO Branch where she has served on the executive and is often the smiling face that greets people at the door as they enter buildings for our meetings.
Barb Suitor is a volunteer in Dresden at the school breakfast programme, the food bank and with teaching craft projects (bear making) at the local public school. In addition she volunteers with the Cancer Society as well as Heart and Stroke. She is a big support to her family. This is in addition to her work with The Chatham Kent RWTO Branch where she has been through the chairs, served as Insurance Convenor and Assistant Membership Chair.
The Chatham Kent Branch is very proud and grateful to our members who volunteer in our community by “sharing and caring” their skills and experiences. By recognizing their contributions, we can celebrate the benefits of volunteering and hopefully encourage other members to become involved in a cause that interests them. It’s a win-win!
Sharon joined our local branch when she retired and has been a member of our executive for the past 15 years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting. Several years ago she quilted the RWTO/OERO logo for us. We now hang this item on the podium for our general meetings. For our meeting celebrating Canada’s 150, Sharon displayed the Canada quilt she made from a kit. We are so pleased to have Sharon share her talents with us.
Janet enjoys crafts. Several years ago she made small stuffed fabric reindeer as table centre pieces for to use at our Christmas general meeting. Another year she made new versions of the reindeer to give to our shut-ins at Christmas time. Now we have Christmas tree centre pieces. When Janet learned sewing machine embroidery, she embroidered lace snowflakes for our shut-ins. We are so pleased that Janet is willing to share her talents with all of us.