What’s Happening at BFO-MR?

Pulling together our quarterly update of happenings at Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region is always so much fun. We get to reflect back on the last four months, see how far we’ve come and share some exciting updates with you.

Summer seems to have developed a reputation for being a slower time of year – that couldn’t have been further from the truth for the team at BFO-MR! It was a productive and rewarding time as we geared up for the fall and planned for the year ahead.

Getting into the swing of things for BFO-MR:
Summer started with a bang as we hosted our 21st Annual Charity Golf Classic on Saturday June 1, 2019. We welcomed 88 golfers to the Cambridge Golf Club for our biggest fundraiser of the year. The rain held off for most of the day, but getting a little soggy didn’t seem to dampen anyone spirits. Despite being down a few teams this year, we are THRILLED to announce that we exceeded last year’s result, with $17,300 raised in 2019. AMAZING!! Thank you to everyone who joined us, to all the volunteers who make the event happen every year and to the donors and supporters who are such an important part of our success. We are so very grateful. You can see photos from the day on our Facebook page.

Saying hello and goodbye to Katie
This summer, we had the honour of working with Katie Graham who was with us  for nine weeks, thanks to a Canada Summer Jobs grant. Katie joined the BFO-MR team as a Marketing & Events Assistant. During her short time with us, she completed an incredible amount of work! She developed a Social Media Strategy and Google AdWords campaigns that will enable us to build and better engage with our online community. She supported two fundraising projects – our upcoming year-end campaign, and Ways to Give education initiative and was involved in media relations activities and creating content for our website. We were also fortunate to take advantage of Katie’s mad design skills – she created both our Butterfly Release Walk to Remember and Conference 2019 posters. We were so grateful for the opportunity to get to know Katie and we wish her the best of luck as she starts the next chapter in her career.

JNP 2019 was another smash
With the last days of summer comes the annual Jason Noel Pearson (JNP) Memorial Beach Volleyball Tournament. This year’s tournament at Bingemans was another sell-out and we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. The event is a true labour of love – put on every year by Jason’s family and friends to honour Jason’s memory, reconnect and have a ton of fun. Check out the photos from the 2019 tournament.

We are so fortunate to be recipients of funds raised at JNP, and for the honour of spending the weekend with this incredible group of people every year. We truly can’t thank them enough.

Melina and Carly were honoured to participate in two events in August commemorating International Overdose Awareness Day. The purpose of the events were to raise awareness about overdose prevention, share information about harm reduction and honour loved ones who have died as a result of substance use. BFO-MR had an information table at both events which featured activities that would allow guests at the event to memorialize their loved ones.

On the wings of butterflies
September was ushered in on the wings of butterflies at our 22nd annual Butterfly Release Walk to Remember. Almost 400 people attended the memorial event at Williamsburg Cemetery & Dedication Centre with 240 butterflies released in memory of our loved ones. Thank you to all who attended on September 9 and for the honour of remembering together. Special thanks to Addie and Simon for sharing their incredible musical talent with us, to Pat and Kaitlyn for taking such care of our loved ones’ photos at the Memory Wall, and to Bill, Julie, Maddie and Kristina for all their help and support making the day possible.

Hands-on learning with BFO-MR
We understand the value of providing students with hands-on experience and an opportunity to see what a career in grief and bereavement support can look like. This fall, we are excited to be welcoming back Pauline for her placement! Pauline is a second-year Social Service Worker student from Conestoga College who will be with BFO-MR two days a week from September to April. There are a number of projects and initiatives that she will be involved in over the course of her time with us and we look forward to doing great things together!

We are also welcoming students from the Practice with Families course at Wilfrid Laurier. Students will be completing a Community Service-Learning project with us, involving the creation of psycho-educational videos about grief. We are thrilled to have this opportunity and look forward to meeting our project team in the coming weeks.

Revising our Strategic Plan
We are just about two years into the five-year strategic plan we created in 2017. There has been much change and evolution both at BFO-MR and in the community we serve over this time! In October, BFO-MR staff and our Board of Directors will be revisiting our strategy to measure its success and identify if any major re-directions will be needed to take us through the next three years of the plan. This is a really great opportunity to see how far we’ve come, do some blue-sky thinking and put a tactical plan in action. If you haven’t seen our Strategic Plan, you can check it out here. If you’re interested in our progress to date, our 2018 Impact Report was framed around our priority areas. We invite you to read it here.


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