Coffee hour will be held on Tuesday, February 9 from 10:00am to 11:00am. This month’s coffee break will be held at PEIR, 3 Haviland Street, Charlottetown. Everyone is welcome… hope to see you there!
2015 Year in Review
Well, it’s that time of year again … the beginning! New calendar, new resolutions (for some of us), new activities … and, with the change in weather, it’s very much a new season. Most “news” come with a touch of the old, and, so, while we welcome this new year and embrace the fresh opportunities it brings, we can’t help but reflect on the year that has just come to a close. And what a busy year it was!
HMCS FREDERICTON deployed January 5, 2016, to join Standing NATO Maritime Forces in the Mediterranean Sea. Currently on board are two Islanders, to be joined by a third later in the deployment.
Do you have a family member who is also deployed somewhere in the world?
The PEI MFRC would like to know, so that we can send our warm best wishes in the form of a “morale” package. The morale packages celebrate our Canadian holidays: Spring/Easter, Canada Day, Thanksgiving/Halloween, and Winter/Christmas. The packages contain items donated by generous Island businesses and organizations and are assembled by our team of dedicated volunteers. It’s a fun and heartwarming project, on that is always well appreciated by our family and friends in uniform. Please contact our office so your loved one receives a parcel from a grateful Island community.
Our fellow Islanders have served in many countries throughout the world during their military careers. Aside from some intense situations that do occur, we know there are heartwarming and funny stories to be told…and perhaps, need to be told. Our Canadian Forces personnel have done wonderful work around the world and we’d love to hear and share your stories in our monthly newsletter. If you have a tale to tell, please contact us or send your submission to email@example.com
New French Tutoring Program Available for Military Families
The PEI MFRC is pleased to introduce you to a new complimentary service that is being offered to children of military families starting January 18, 2016.
Voilà Learning is a national non-for-profit organization that is offering free online French homework help via the Virtual Immersion Campus. The Virtual Immersion Campus is designed to assist children ages 5 to 18 years old that may be experiencing difficulty with their French homework. Teachers are present within the virtual campus to assist children in an array of subjects as well as to help them navigating the campus.
Through funding provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation this educational service is available to over 25 different school boards throughout Canada. In support of Military Family Services, Voilà Learning has graciously offered this service to all military families at no cost to them (regardless of geographic location and/or school board affiliation). The Virtual Immersion Campus includes learning activities and videos to assist in French learning. To gain the most benefit from this service, families are encouraged to access the virtual campus with specific French homework questions.
Military children can benefit from the help of a French teacher online every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5pm to 11pm Eastern time.
We are thrilled to announce that a date has been set for the 2016 fundraising run: Saturday, April 16.
We have a new race director this year: triathlete Amir Zuccolo (email Amir@WR3.ca), but we still need volunteers to sign up to help set up the day before the race, manage water tables, help serve the pasta lunch, assist with traffic control on the courses, and tear down/clean up after the race.
If you'd like to volunteer, please contact either Amir or Donna Earl (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Valentines for Veterans
Show Veterans your gratitude for their sacrifices and achievements in serving our country. Create a hand-made valentine and help bring joy to a Canadian Veteran this Valentine's Day. Each year, Veterans Affair Canada (VAC) invites Canadian schools, individuals, and organizations to make Valentines for Vets. VAC then distributes the valentine to Veterans in long-term facilities across the country in time for February 14.
Valentines for Vets began in 1989 when the late newspaper columnist, Ann Landers, encouraged her readers to create special valentines for Veterans in care facilities throughout Canada and the United States. Every year, Landers' special "Valentines for Vets" column asked her readers to remember the valiant sacrifices of their nations' Veterans by making them personal hand-crafted valentines. VAC became involved with the program in 1996 and has been receiving and distributing valentines to Veterans in care facilities across the country ever since. Though Ann Landers passed away in 2002, VAC is committed to continuing her legacy of honouring Veterans. At VAC we invite Canadians, young and old, to send valentines to the address below. Your continued participation is what makes the Valentines for Vets program such a huge success.
Tips for Teachers/Parents
Please do not include candy/chocolate with the valentines.
Do not use sparkles or materials that easily break off the valentines.
Encourage children to sign their valentines and to write a bit about themselves—their age and what school they attend. However, do not include addresses or phone numbers.
Do not put individual valentines in sealed envelopes. Send us a single large envelope containing all of the valentines.
Do not put the date or year on the valentines.
Ensure children are aware of who Veterans are—they are living and were men and women who served in the military. Avoid using "RIP" and images related to violence or death, such as graveyards or guns.
Laughing may actually help your heart health. When it comes to heart disease, there could be some truth in that age-old expression “laughter is the best medicine.” Research suggests laughter can decrease stress hormones, reduce artery inflammation and increase HDL, the "good" cholesterol, said Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., an attending cardiologist and director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Once you start laughing, it forces you to feel better,” said Dr. Steinbaum, who is also a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement.
A bonus with laughter is that its effects have been found to last 24 hours, she said. That’s a good reason to laugh every day. The risk of heart disease increases in depressed post-menopausal women, Dr. Steinbaum said. She pointed to research indicating people with heart disease are 40 percent less likely to laugh than people without it. “To me, that’s fascinating,” she said of the study. “It is so helpful for people to really have a positive outlook.”
Laughter seems to have “a wonderful health-enhancing characteristic,” agreed Barry Jacobs, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and national family caregiving spokesman for the American Heart Association.
“It decreases stress and anxiety” and may decrease inflammation in blood vessels, said Dr. Jacobs, director of behavioral sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pa.“I think all of us have this feeling that humor is good for us,” he said.
Research on the subject is limited, Jacobs said. Over the past 40 years, studies have found that people with certain personality types (those who are hostile and angry, for example) have higher rates of heart disease, Dr. Jacobs said. So, he said, if laughter is the opposite of anger, it’s plausible that people with a better sense of humor may have a lower heart disease risk. Like Dr. Steinbaum, Dr. Jacobs pointed to studies by University of Maryland Medical Center researchers.
Additional University of Maryland research examined circulation in the blood vessels in two groups of subjects who watched different types of movies. One group watched stressful segments of the war movie “Saving Private Ryan,” while the others watched parts of a funny movie, “Something About Mary.” Among those viewing “Saving Private Ryan,” blood vessel lining constricted and circulation decreased. For those watching the more upbeat movie, vessel lining dilated and circulation increased.
A famous anecdotal story about the power of humor came from Norman Cousins, a journalist and author who wrote the book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient, Dr. Jacobs said. Cousins concluded that, after he contracted a serious illness in the 1960s, watching funny movies helped improve his condition.
Perhaps laughter should be prescribed as a part of the way to prevent heart disease, Dr. Steinbaum said.“I wonder,” she said, “if we can say to people that laughter is a little bit like a medication for you.”Ultimately, seeing the funny side of life and a silver lining in a difficult situation is beneficial, Dr. Jacobs said.“All of us should laugh more,” he said.
Want a laugh? Here's a few groaners to get you started:
Why should you never breakup with a goalie?
Because he’s a keeper.
Boy: Do you have a date for Valentine’s Day?
Girl: Yes, February 14th.
What did one boat say to the other?
“Are you up for a little row-mance?”
During World War II my parents had planned a romantic Valentine’s Day wedding. Suddenly my father, then stationed at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts, received orders to prepare to ship out, and all leaves were canceled. Being a young man in love, he went AWOL. He and my mother were married four days earlier than originally planned and he returned to base to an angry sergeant. After hearing the explanation, the sergeant understandingly replied, “Okay, okay!” Then, as an afterthought: “But don’t let it happen again!”
—Contributed by Sandra L. Caron
Hello PEI MFRC volunteers! Our volunteer meeting will be held on Wednesday February 24th at 6:30pm. Location: HMCS Queen Charlotte, 210 Water Street, Charlottetown. Please send Lynn a quick email if you are able to attend (Lynn.Milligan@forces.gc.ca)
We are always looking for volunteer team members to assist with various upcoming projects and activities. For more information, please contact Lynn (Lynn.Milligan@forces.gc.ca) or call 902.892.8999.
Telfer Entrepreneurship Program for Military Families
Military Family Services has contracted the Telfer School of Management from the University of Ottawa, to facilitate an intensive two-day entrepreneurship training session at four MFRCs across the country in early 2016. This program is designed for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and will take participants through the business start-up process in a dynamic and interactive way. Furthermore, participants will not only leave the training with a wealth of business knowledge, they will also be given a certificate from the University of Ottawa.
The training is complimentary to all military and veteran adult family members and will occur at the following locations and times:
February 13-14, 2016: MFRC Petawawa, Ontario (English)
February 16-17, 2016: MFRC Greenwood, Nova Scotia (English)
March 12-13, 2016: MFRC Shilo, Manitoba (English)
March 12-13, 2016: MFRC Bagotville, Québec (French)
Please note that these are regional trainings and participants from outside the hosting MFRC region are encouraged to participate. The cost of the training and lunch will be covered; however, out-of-town participants are required to pay for their travel and accommodation. Low-cost or complimentary childcare will be available throughout each session. To find out more about funding, please contact Donna Earl at the PEI MFRC…call 902.892.8999 or email email@example.com
For more information please visit: www.telfer.uottawa.ca/mfs. Interested military and veteran family members can also apply at this link.
For more details contact Margaret Mackenzie, the PEI MFRC Virtual Program Coordinator at virtual.MFRCPEI@gmail.com
Celebrate Islander Day on Monday, February 15, 2016 with FREE, fun activities for the whole family in Charlottetown. All activities listed below are free and open to everyone, with the exception of the Island Storm basketball game where regular admission applies. Free tickets for the family swims at the CARI Complex must be picked up in advance. Bowling lanes at Murphy's Community Centre must be booked in advance. All other indoor and outdoor activities are being offered on a first come, first serve basis.
8:00AM–10AM: Pancake Breakfast (West Royalty Community Centre)
10AM–Noon: Family Movie - How to Train your Dragon 2 (Cineplex Cinemas)
11AM–Noon: Family Theatre - The Ugly Duckling by Cat's Pajamas Theatre Company (The Guild)
1PM–2PM: Family Swim (CARI Pool)
2PM: Island Storm Basketball (Eastlink Centre)
2PM–3PM: Family Swim (CARI Pool)
2PM–3PM: Family Skate (Simmons Sport Centre)
2PM–3PM: Family Theatre - The Ugly Duckling by Cat's Pajamas Theatre Company (The Guild)
3:30PM–4:30PM: Glow in the Dark Bowling (The Alley)
All Day Outdoor Activities (weather dependent)
Charlottetown's Outdoor Rinks:
East Royalty Rink - MacRae Drive
Founder's Hall Rink - Lower Prince St.
J.Bomber Callaghan Park - Hillsborough Park Community Centre
Orlebar Rink - Orlebar St.
Skiing: Maps for groomed ski trails are available at the Parks and Recreation Department at City Hall, 199 Queen Street.
Indoor Walking: The UPEI Sports Centre indoor walking track will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., free of charge.
News from Virtual Program Coordinator
Out of the depths of winter...
My 87 year young mom who recently moved in with us suggested that I start my newsletter article for this month with those words. It makes perfect sense for the virtual program in so many ways. Let me explain.
1. Mom is a parent to a military member. As the virtual program coordinator in addition to programming for MFRC PEI, I also work with various National committees to bring members together using the virtual meeting room to save on travel costs. One such national committee that I assist is called the Support to Parents of Canadian Military Members, did you know that such a committee existed? https://www.facebook.com/groups/Supporttoparents/?fref=nf The Facebook page offers an opportunity for Canadian Military Parents to connect with one another and to be able to communicate and acquire valuable information. There has even been a virtual session for parents of new recruits to become informed of the stages of recruit training week by week. I invite you to check out this informative connection opportunity.
2. Secondly, as the virtual program coordinator it is my privilege to work, virtually, with the dynamic team at MFRC PEI from my home office in Winnipeg(J currently out of the depths of winter at -43 degrees, brrrr) . Virtual Employment is a growing field, did you know that there are more than 24 National Companies that are partnering with Military Family Services to offer Military spouses the opportunity to be hired and to keep their job from posting to posting. This program is called MET Spouse and is led by Katie Ochin Program Manager - Employment and Entreprenerialship - Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services. Here is the link to Katie’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009054837974&fref=ts Check it out! Another employment networking resource is this recording with tips to maximize LinkedIn: http://www.peimfrc.ca/2016/01/linked-in-virtual-session-recording/ Virtual connections help us to build our network from the comfort of our home computer regardless of the weather or our posted location.
3. Out of the depths of winter was an extremely timely phrase for this newsletter because in January we had the privilege of partnering with True Patriot Love to host a guest speaker series called Operation Building Bridges. On January 12th there was a huge snow storm and participants were still able to attend this virtual guest speaker presentation. The participants had the opportunity to meet Kim Mills, www.sheisfierce.org She is Fierce – Musings of a Canadian Military Spouse. Kim spoke from the heart and from her own personal experience of the importance of military families being resilient by building community especially during deployments…we are not an island.
4. At the time of writing of this February article, we were looking forward to the two other guest speakers in the Operation Building Bridges Virtual Guest Speaker series: Vince Savoia from The TEMA Foundation: Heroes are Human will speak in the virtual classroom on January 20th and Jody Mitic author of Unflinching; the making a Canadian Sniper will be speak on January 28th. These programs come to you all from the comfort of your home computer, regardless of the weather or your posted location. Hope to see you there!
5. Finally, “ Out of the depths of winter”… speaks to the February winter weather that comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. In February, we will bring you a 6 week money management virtual series in partnership with MFRC PEI, SISIP, BMO, & CF1 Appreciation. Register to attend any one of these sessions to have information on: Budgeting 101, How to invest your severance, Your credit rating & why it matters, How to submit your taxes(Taxes and Credit ratings - two s great session for young adults ), CF1 Appreciation, Mortgage and Money Sense.
These are all interactive and engaging virtual workshops from the comfort of your home computer. Speaking of saving money here is one more, 23 minute, recording to help you to secure scholarship dollars. Learn about the Support our troops scholarships and many other great resources to help pay for post-secondary education. Scholarship Information Recording: http://www.peimfrc.ca/2016/01/scholarship-recording/
Out of the depths of winter…. Check out our virtual calendar of events, come to our virtual National Book Club. Join us at any one of our virtual workshops; invite a friend from a previous posting, register from the comfort of your home computer regardless of your posted location or the road conditions. Come one Come all! Enjoy the connections!
Cheers Margaret MacKenzie
Calling All Young Artists!
A Pollen Fairy Named Squirt is coming... and we need your illustrations. Open to youth ages 6 to 18. Deadline: March 31.
Read this excerpt from A Pollen Fairy Named Squirt to get your creativity flowing. Then draw what you read and submit your drawing by March 31. Spread the word!
Hi my name is Squirt, I'm tiny and bright and I can change colours even at night. Can you imagine how light a pollen fairy is? On a dark windy night Squirt is sent tumbling down the street and up into the sky. The moonlight offers tiny Squirt hope. Make a wish little Squirt. You must believe that no matter where you land, I'm sure you'll find a friend that will offer you a hand..." Says the moon.
All Squirt wishes for is to find a new house, but she find more. Squirt finds a new home in Natasha's Wood. A great big maple leaf, as big as a dish, catches Squirt and gently lowers her to the ground. Here in this beautiful secret garden, Squirt finds other magical friends - fairies, dragons and a unicorn - that are full of love and magic, just like Squirt!...