What’s happening at BFO-MR

The fall is a busy time as people transition back into busy schedules after the lazy days of summer and Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region is no exception! We have spent the summer months gearing up for what promises to be an exciting fall and a successful new year.

Board of Directors and staff update: At our Annual General Meeting on June 26, we welcomed two new board members to our team. Please join us in welcoming Lindsay Newton, Family Service Counsellor at the Westmount Celebration Centre and Kristina Brizzotto, who graduated from Western with an undergrad in psychology and thanatology and just finished a diploma in not-for-profit management. We are also pleased to announce that Breana Walker has accepted the Vice Chair role on the board. Thank you for your time and leadership!

At our AGM, we also said a sad goodbye to Board member and Professional Advisory Committee Chair Melissa Reid who has been with BFO-MR in many different capacities for many years. We have been incredibly fortunate to have her leadership, mentorship and friendship and we can’t thank her enough for her dedication and passion passion for the work we do.

PS – If you haven’t had a chance to check out our 2016 Impact Report yet, please click here.

Staff at BFO-MR is also seeing some changes. We bid a sad farewell to Janet Willard who is leaving her position as Events Coordinator effective September 11. Over the last year, Janet has split her time between BFO-MR and a growing real estate career. We have enjoyed working together and have appreciated the creativity, thoughtful insight and ideas she brought to her position. While we are sad to see her go, we are beyond thrilled for the success she is achieving and wish her the very best as she transitions into her realtor role full-time.


Grant announcement: BFO-MR is happy to announce that we are recipients of a Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation grant in support of our Healing Little Hearts Program. Funds from this grant are allocated to the redevelopment of this important program for children who are grieving. Because of this grant, we are also able to offer Healing Little Hearts twice in 2017. We typically have a wait list for this program, so we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to meet the needs of the community in an efficient way.

The Oak Tree Project: BFO-MR was humbled by the response to our call for nominations for this corporate giving program in support of our newly launched Living with Loss group in Guelph. You can read the wonderful stories here. While we weren’t selected as a finalist, there is still an opportunity for BFO-MR to receive a donation from the Oak Tree Project at the finale being held September 21, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at the Art Gallery in Guelph. With the $10 admission price, you receive chips to vote for the charities you support. Every chip in our box equals a donation! Last year, we received a $682 donation from this initiative! We hope you will join us. Register here.


Living with Loss launches in Guelph: On September 6, BFO-MR ran our first Living with Loss group in Guelph. We feel privileged for the opportunity to offer Living with Loss in this community and are grateful for the support of the City of Guelph and Gilbert MacIntyre & Son Funeral Home for making it happen. Similar to our Mount Forest Living with Loss group, the program in Guelph will be offered once a month on the first Wednesday of the month. For more information about the group, please click here.


Strategic Plan Update: We haven’t forgotten our promise to keep you updated on our progress with objectives outlined in our strategic plan. We continue to work on achieving our goals and are pleased to report the recent completion of a volunteer recruitment, retention and appreciation strategy! Some of the initiatives outlined in the strategy are already underway, including quarterly meetings where facilitators from all of our programs get a chance to meet, share experiences and learn from each other. At our fall meeting, we are excited to be welcoming Stacey Harris from Bliss Therapy who will be doing a session on mindfulness. Next up – fundraising and communications strategies; they’re on track to be completed by the end of the year. Midwestern Region dedicated 2017 as a year of planning and getting ready for 2018 where we will be putting our plans into action and seeing results. We look forward to sharing more with you as the plans unfold.