Home Suite Hope - Latest News for our family of Volunteers
Home Suite Hope eLetter


Home Suite Hope - Latest News for Volunteers

Behind the Hope keeps you informed and gives you a voice. Your commitment to volunteering is the spirit behind the hope for all our families. Without the time you give so selflessly there would be no hope. We look forward to sharing great volunteer stories and to keeping you informed.  

Thank you for volunteering!
Empty Bowls Newest Co-chairs Take the Reigns

When France Martin and Gladysse Cristofaro decided to take on the role of co-chairs of Home Suite Hope’s signature fundraising event Empty Bowls 2015, they were very excited to take on a new challenge.

“I have been on the committee for a few years now and I wanted to take on a bigger role,” said France. “My only condition was that I was not going to do it alone,” she said with a laugh. Enter Gladysse Cristofaro, good friend and no stranger to running volunteer committees. “I have assisted with many fundraising galas and auctions,” said Gladysse. “I love helping with events. I am good at it and I love working with people for a good cause.”  Last year, Empty Bowls drew about 700 people to St. Mildred’s Lightbourn School and raised over $90,000 for families in need. People lined up with their bowl in hand to taste delicious soups from Oakville’s finest chefs. “The event is now in its 9th year so we definitely want to change things up a bit for people who have been coming back year after year. We will have some new things for sure!” said France. 

So what does this dynamic duo have in store for Empty Bowls 2015? “You will have to stay tuned … and buy your ticket!” said France.  To get your tickets to Empty Bowls, visit our Event Page.  Early Bird Special Pricing ends August 22nd.  

With grateful thanks to our major event sponsors!


* If you or your company would like become a sponsor, contact



In the Neighbourhood

With splash pads full of laughing children, bike paths busy with cyclists, and the smells of grilling barbecues in the air, this summer is definitely full of fun celebrations.  Home Suite Hope has seen some exciting changes in the last few months and to keep YOU up to date, here is the 411 on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and some good news to share that will make your heart flutter.

Join us for Home Suite Hope’s Open House on Friday, September 11th at our new offices, located at 484 Kerr Street in Oakville.  Between 3pm and 6pm, drop in and say hello to the team!  Please RSVP your attendance 
30- iron Man for Hope - Read more
11-Open House at HSH office 12-3 pm : 484 Kerr Street
11 - Kerr Fest Oakville
27 - Applefest in Burlington
 18- Empty Bowls 2015 Fundraiser - Read more
      Stay Tuned for more events!    


Claudia Connor

It's been an eventful Year!

As I celebrate a one year anniversary this month with Home Suite Hope, I am humbled in witnessing the greatness in our team of volunteers and how they take action everyday in our community. 

From students creating awareness and hype at their schools, board members and programming teams launching ground breaking support programs, seeing volunteers taking on extreme physical challenges to raise funds, and even being completely surprised with random acts of kindness from our local churches, sporting teams and community groups.This year has been such a privilege to witness your greatness and to be part of the team.  We have grown our HSH volunteer army and we continue to grow.  Thank you for being our everyday champions!

If you have a volunteer story you would like to share, or ideas on what to include in this eLetter contact 

'Spreading the Orange' at Work

When Softchoice, a technology solutions company Oakville Branch Office, contacted Home Suite Hope in search of a charity to partner with, we were naturally thrilled to be chosen. 

Little did we know the level of enthusiasm the Softchoice team has for community giving.  “This is what Softchoice Cares is all about,’ said Chantel Yack, Charity Committee Member for the company.“Our staff is committed to making a difference. 

Whether it’s Toronto, Oakville or throughout North America, we know how much the community supports our organization and want to give back.” Softchoice Cares, the company’s charitable giving strategy,  puts the ‘fun’ back in fundraising, by furthering their focus on improving lives by providing those in need  with access to technology and engaging the company by empowering employees to start their own fundraising initiatives.

Since June, the Softchoice team has  been ‘Spreading the Orange’  for Home Suite Hope, by hosting a number of fundraising events, including their most popular event, Wine Survivor. 

“We had 109 employees participate from our Toronto and Oakville office,” said Chantel. The winning team names were drawn on August 7th at a very well attended staff get together.  “Any of the charitable initiatives that we have done, the staff is 100% behind it and that is a big part of Softchoice as a whole,” said Chantel. 

“To date, our running total on all our fundraising is over $4,000 and counting,” said Chantel.  “And we still have more events to come.”

Softchoice Events Committee



It's the Final Stretch for Ironman Peter Kolisnyk


With less than three weeks until race day on Sunday August 30th at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Peter Kolisnyk’s excitement is building daily.  The Home Suite Hope Board Chair has logged over 300 hours in the pool, on the treadmill, stationary bike, or on the road running or cycling since February when he started training in earnest.

With one more week of solid training still to go, Peter will now begin to taper back the volume, and give his body a chance to rest and recover. He has tried to make all the incremental changes in order to be ready for the big day, but the reality is he won’t know until sometime after the 10 hour mark, when the physical begins to diminish, and mental race really starts. That’s when the strength of the single parent headed families of Home Suite Home programs, and all their children, will be giving him the power to keep pushing all the way to the finish.

Every dollar of support toward Ironman for Hope helps Home Suite Hope facilitate the incremental changes these Moms need and deserve, as they work towards financial independence and a better life for themselves and their children.

While Peter is still a long way from raising his goal of $50,000, he wants you to know that every little bit helps. So as he continues sharing his journey right through till race day, he also asks you share this message with all your friends and family, so they too could help change the lives of our single parent homeless families!

Take a moment to visit Peter’s website at and donate.

We will be cheering Peter on as he crosses the finish line to victory on Sunday, August 30th!

Did You Know?

Home Suite Hope now has 22 families in its programs and will be supporting as many as 25-30 families by years end, in our ReStart HaltonHomeward Bound Halton, and After Care programs. That's the highest number of families in our 10 year history. Today, there are 39 children being supported in the program. We expect that number will increase significantly this year, with plans to help even more families leave poverty behind in 2016.

By volunteering or donating to Home Suite Hope, you are improving the lives of homeless single parents with children who are working hard to stabilize their lives and achieve a better future!



This past year, students really gave in spades to Home Suite Hope by organizing promotions, raising awareness at school and the community, and by taking on leadership roles at signature fundraising events.  

In total, students volunteered just over 1,200 hours, with over 180 letters written claiming volunteer hours! INCREDIBLE!   Thank you so much for all of your continued support.  

If you want to get a head start on the school year, we have some volunteer opportunities coming up.


How You are Changing their World 



"Without Home Suite Hope, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I entered the program with an almost 1 year old daughter and a 4 year old son...In the beginning of [ReStart Halton] the 2 year program, I set some job oriented goals.  I accomplished them all! 

With [HSH's} financial help, I was able to register as an ECE (early childhood educator), be certified in CPR/First Aid, and get my police check.  In the last four months being with HSH, I'll soon be paying market rent, I [also] got a job in a daycare. I was able to start part time and gradually [work] full time." 

*Vicky, 39 years mother of 2 children aged 3 and 6 years.


In early June, a group of extraordinary men met in Tavolo Restaurant in South Oakville  Mall and decided they were going to make change happen in the community.  It was the inaugural fundraiser for the newly formed 100 Guys Who Care Oakville, a charity concept originally founded by women in the U.S.  The concept is to get 100 men to meet quarterly with each attendee donating $100, thereby raising at least $10,000, which is then donated to a Halton-based charity by popular vote.  Home Suite Hope was honoured to be the charity of choice for the inaugural meeting, receiving a cheque for $13,800.  Thank you to Oakville’s 100 Guys Who Care for their outstanding contribution. Read more...


Volunteering with Home Suite Hope is fun! It is also a great opportunity for people to make a difference in the life of someone living in poverty, share their knowledge, develop their talents, connect with people and create new friendships, and be a part of a team of volunteers who are making a big difference.  For more information on how someone you know can become part of the team, email  We would be happy to share about our volunteer opportunities.


Even with the rain, nothing could dampen the spirits of our amazing Walk volunteers who came out to lend a hand for the 2nd Annual Share the Hope Walk.  A HUGE thank you to all our event volunteers who rolled up their sleeves that day! Whether you were helping with registration, finance, painting faces or cheering our walkers on, your contribution made a difference.  Behind the scenes, a core group of volunteers were instrumental in planning all aspects of the Walk which made it such a success. 

From media, graphic design, route and park logistics, idea generation, event promotion, video production and volunteer recruitment, this wonder team spent months going over every last detail. The event raised over $41,000 dollars to help homeless families in our community put their lives back on track.

Share the Hope Walk Video 1
Click image to play video

A very special ‘hats off’ to The Share the Hope Walk Planning Committee:

Erica Barbosa, Nicole Beltran, Michelle  Beltran, Gordana Doric, Caroline Hermelink, Hazel Morgan and Yvonne Robertson.

Event Logistics Moving Coordinator: Philip Feitz (Volunteer of the Year) from It's the Right Move 

Event Graphic Designer: Erica Barbosa (2015 Community Ambassador Award winner)

Media and Public Relations: Yvonne Robertson owner of YR Media (2015 Community Ambassador Award winner), and Rania Walker owner of Sparq Street Communications

Promotions:  Taby Petre, Natalia Hrabowyj and Keenen Qin

Video Producers: Ian Funk and Monica Meng
If you enjoy being part of a team, taking on a challenge, sharing ideas and meeting new people, consider volunteering with an events planning committee.  For more information, email

We look forward to seeing you at
the Share the Hope Walk next year!


Yvonne Robertson

2015 Community Ambassador Award
– Media

Name: Yvonne Robertson
Birthday: October 14
Zodiac Sign: Libra
Hometown: Oakville
Occupation: Media guru and owner of YR Media
A talented wordsmith and skilled communicator, Yvonne has been volunteering with Home Suite Hope since April of 2014. With a Master in journalism from the University of British Colombia, Yvonne’s passion for the press made her launch her own communications business – YR Media in 2014. 

“I like the freedom that comes with designing my own communications business,” said Yvonne.  “I love the variety of work I do for my clients, no day is the same.”  Her work ranges from writing and editing articles, blog posts, press releases to more multimedia work such as creating videos and presentations.

With a flourishing business, somehow Yvonne finds time to volunteer as HSH’s media representative for various fundraising events throughout the year. “I like to give back to a community and be part of something outside of my day-today activities,” said Yvonne. As a result of her volunteering, HSH has received the most media coverage in all its years and has also helped raise the profile of signature fundraising events.  It’s no wonder Yvonne was the recipient of Home Suite Hope’s Community Ambassador Award for Media. Read more....

It all began when Yvonne heard CEO and president Michelle Pommells speak at a Burlington Welsh Choir concert in 2014. “I spent a few years working for an organization (Megaphone Magazine) that worked to provide opportunities for low-income and homeless people in Vancouver,” said the talented writer. “It’s an issue that’s very important to me and when I heard Michelle speak, I wanted to help out in Halton as well.” 

Currently, Yvonne is working on growing a writing workshop for homeless youth run through Megaphone. The workshop is the first of its kind in Vancouver.  “I came up with the idea after writing an article for Megaphone on homeless youth. Then I spent the last year applying for grants and once we received funding, I’ve been helping facilitate the workshop and promote it.”

Yvonne balances her inspiring community endeavors with a little downtime.  In those moments, you will most likely find her touring around on her bike, enjoying music at a concert, or curled up under a tree in the park with a favourite book.  When asked what she would tell a friend considering volunteering, she was quite emphatic. “I would say to definitely do it!  It’s a rewarding experience where you learn a lot.  You get to meet different people and learn new perspectives.”


For more information regarding  ALL volunteer opportunities  below, please email Claudia at

  • Friday September 11th and Saturday, September 12th Kerr Fest in Oakville :  spend a few hours promoting Home Suite Hope with a  fun activity for passers by to enjoy.  Shifts will be in 2 or 3 hours, whichever is more accommodating for you.  Stick around afterwards and enjoy music and family fun at Kerr Fest!

  • Sunday, September 27th - Applefest in Burlington: volunteers needed to host an information table and a fun activity.

  • Sunday October 18th – Empty Bowls 2015:  Fall’s favourite family tradition is back for its 9th year and rumour has it…it’s going to be better than last year! Whether it’s a new soup recipe, a favourite restaurant, or live entertainment, you’ll want to invite all your friends to enjoy this special day. It's easy to get your tickets online. All proceeds support homeless families in our community. Event Volunteers Needed!  Adult and student volunteers, sign up today at

Follow on Twitter | Follow us on Facebook | Forward to Friend  | Website
Copyright ©  2015  Home Suite Hope Shared Living Corp. All rights reserved.

Mailing address:
200 North Service Rd, West
#424, Unit 1
Oakville, Ont. 
L6M 2Y1
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences