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August 2009 

In This Issue:   

Spirit of Volunteerism Awards

Meet Jessie Baynham

Meet Dee Tyler

Touched by Fire





Upcoming Events:

DCO AGM and Spirit of Volunteerism Awards: September 18, 2009, Toronto

DCO Education Forum: November 5 - 6, 2009, Crowne Plaza, Niagara Falls, ON


Spirit of Volunteer Awards and DCO Annual General Meeting,
September 18, 2009

Please join us in congratulating this year's Spirit of Volunteerism nominees with a wonderful dinner and special awards ceremony. We will be celebrating our Distress Centre volunteers who donate their time and commitment to selfless volunteerism to support communities across Ontario. The event will take place at the Sheraton Airport Hotel & Convention Centre, 801 Dixon Road, Toronto, in the MacIntosh Room.

6 pm: Cocktails

6:30 pm: Dinner featuring:

  • Assorted breads and Green salad in shallot and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Vegetable minestrone with basil pesto
  • Fillet of Atlantic salmon in tomato, fennel, and saffron broth ~or~ Roasted chicken with shallot jus lie ~or~ Vegetarian option
  • Fresh coffee and tea with individual bistro cheesecake and wild blueberry compote
7:30 pm: DCO Annual General Meeting

8:00 pm: Spirit of Volunteerism award ceremony

Parking for the event attendees is free of charge. 

Please contact Leah Morrigan at or 416 486 2242 for registration and details.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Meet Jessie Baynham, Executive Director
Community Torchlight Distress Centre, Wellington -Dufferin

Jessie BaynhamII.jpgJessie's background has her firmly planted in Distress Line work. She has facilitated peer suicide awareness programs for high school students,  and has been heavily involved in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) since 1999. She has a degree in Family and Social Relations from the University of Guelph, which is an applied science program broadly focused on psycho-social development throughout the lifespan. Jessie moved into community development and public education, eventually working as the communication officer for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Wellington / Dufferin. When she was ready for a change, she got involved with Community Torchlight / Distress Centre where she has been since 2005.

"Distress line work is aligned with my personal background and education," explains Jessie, "It's important to me to know that there is a place that disenfranchised people can reach out to when they need it. Distress lines are a critical middle ground between the formal (clinical) and informal supports available to all individuals."

Community Torchlight / Distress Centre of Wellington-Dufferin has gone from having a volunteer-driven distress line as their main service, to now having three separate services plus an increased staff component. Finding funding for the three services has been challenging; Jessie did manage to secure LHIN/MOH funding for TeleCheck, a call-out service to support seniors in their homes which launched in 2004 with Trillium funding.  From 2006-2008, TeleCheck was completely unfunded but they managed to run the program on volunteer hours and strong community partnerships. In 2008, through a new partnership with Telecare Brampton, the two centres submitted a proposal to the Central West LHIN and the TeleCheck program was in funds again.

The future of the Wellington-Dufferin centre lies in Jessie and her team's intention to solidify the distress line and other programs through accreditation, more secure and diverse funding, and future potential partnerships. "Our vision is a caring, responsive community for all," Jessie says, "speaking to the value of our work and the commitment that we continue to see from our volunteers.  Sharing of hope for a caring community."

Jessie has a little more time and autonomy now that her daughter, Scout, is 2 ½. Little Scout, Jessie, and Jessie's husband enjoy gardening and camping together as a family, and the trio frequently find themselves travelling to visit Scout's grandparents - one of eight between Jessie and her husband.

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Meet Dee Tyler, Executive Director
Niagara Distress Centre

Dee Tyler.JPG

Encouraged by one of her psychology professors who happened to sit on the board of directors for DC Niagara, Dee Tyler came to the Niagara centre as a psychology student seeking practical experience in 1989. While still a volunteer, she began working part time at the centre in 1991 taking calls, doing call assessments, providing feedback, and debriefing with volunteers after challenging calls. In 1994, she was hired as a trainer and by 2001, Dee moved into the Executive Director position at the Distress Centre Niagara.

Dee succinctly explains what distress line work means to her: "I love working with people".

Because the Distress Centre Niagara exists in rather an incognito fashion  (a signless building in an undisclosed location), Dee has taken it upon herself to raise community awareness of the centre's existence and what it can do  to support the Niagara community. She has done this by raising the centre's profile through good, old-fashioned human-to-human communication; she networks and connects with people, joins committees, and talks to members  of her community about her DC and its services - namely suicide prevention and intervention, and connects the community to these ideas. The results? When Dee started with the centre in 1989, they received about 6000 calls a year. This year, DC Niagara has doubled its call rate to 12,000 calls per year!

With an air of confidence, Dee says that "As the region adjusts to the changing economy, DC Niagara will continue to be there and support the community 24 - 7."

Dee likes to ride her motorcycle wherever there are long and uninterrupted roads, plays hockey, and likes to ski. She is an avid reader in both fiction and non-fiction, loves all types of music, and plays piano and flute.

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Touched by Fire
The Art Show You Have to be Crazy to Enter

touched by fire.jpg

The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario Touched by Fire art show and sale celebrates the work of artists with mood disorders. The show has two components, one being a live show on November 26, 2009 at the Royal Ontario Museum, and the second as an ongoing online gallery. The submission deadline for artwork is September 18th, 2009.

The Touched By Fire website is open to all artists, professional or amateur, who have or are recovering from a mood disorder. People with mood disorders struggle - painters like Gauguin, Van Gogh, Georgia O'Keefe, Jackson Pollock,and Morrisseau, but they also create and their work can be remarkable.

To find out more submissions, please go to:

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