May 15, 2014

by Sonja Alcock

Being inquisitive often gets me into places I would otherwise never have gone into before. Like a cat, I like things that sparkle - like gems. And I found one in our community.

In the winter of 2005 I asked a friend what she does with her time, and she gave me a lowdown of all the things she and her husband are involved in. Both volunteer quite a bit for different organizations. One of the organizations was the “Land O’ Lakes Community Services”, and I asked her what it was all about. Instead of telling me, she invited me to join the board of directors to find out myself, so I did and boy did I ever get an eyeful.

Land O’ Lakes Community Services is not just one entity, it’s made up of several entities, like the facets of a gem, all serving the general public, all shining on their own. It’s not a government-run agency as people believe; it is a corporation depending upon grants, funds and the like to help run the various programs that it runs.

So here is a quick review of Land O’ Lakes Community Services:

1) Young Adult Protective Services is run by only one person who gives her time, patience, talents and love to each and every one of her clients, making sure that their lives are as full as “us normal” people. Money is short in this program, so fundraisers are needed to help provide outings for these clients to enjoy life to the fullest. On March 29, there was a spaghetti dinner that over $700. This money allowed our clients the trip of a life-time to go to Toronto this summer to the Ripley’s Believe it or not Aquarium. Last year’s money raised was spent on the Intergenerational trip to “Famous People Player’s” theatre to watch a play called “ADHD- Awesome Dreams High Drama”.

2) Land O’ Lakes Women’s Program- aka Rural Women’s Program - aka Domestic Abuse Counseling. This is a very unique program; our counselors travel vast amounts of kilometers all over a huge area to help women and families of domestic abuse, which is real and happens daily. The counselors who put their lives on the line to help these families need a great deal of support, not only financially, but with major pats on the back for what they do.

3) The Community Support for Seniors Program is a huge program that provides Meals on Wheels, Medical Transportation, Diner’s Club, Adult Drop-In, Caregiver Support, Social Recreation, & Educational Programs. Getting older often requires more help than one expects. Land O’ Lakes Community Services Support for Senior Program is one of the best ways I know of to help with this difficult and often confusing transition. Several years ago, before I joined the Board of Directors of Land O’ Lakes, I was introduced to this program through an elderly disabled lady I was asked to take care of. She loved attending Adult Drop-In on Tuesday mornings, and then staying for Diners' Club. Every one cares for one another, shares with one another, and sometimes tears with one another. This program meets at the Flinton Recreation Hall every Tuesday morning. Come early to either work on some crafty item, play a game, or participate in exercising those tired muscles. Followed by a great meal. You will never walk away feeling not at home.

4) Then there are various programs that Land O’ Lakes works on throughout the year, like having qualified volunteers work on your income taxes and the Christmas Basket Program. Next weekend, Saturday, May 17, 8 am - 3 pm at the Community Services parking lot in Northbrook will be a Yard & Bake Sale to help raise funds for this program. Donations will be accepted the week of the yard sale at Land O’ Lakes Community Services. This sale will accept Canadian Tire money!! What better way to use up that bit of money stored in your drawer, glove compartment or shoe box!!

5) Did you know that Land O' Lakes OWNS Pine Meadow Nursing Home? Yep it's true - owns and operates another diamond in our community. Pine Meadow, as you know, is undergoing a large addition to upgrade its standing from a "B" facility to an "A" facility - and Land O' Lakes owns it all!! Okay you can pick up your jaw off the table now. Here's how it happened. Years ago one of the members of Land O' Lakes Community Services was concerned about not having a home in our area for our many seniors to go to, so she formed a committee to see what can be done. She was told that a nursing home could not be built in our area, and we so grateful that she didn't listen to the powers that be at that time. That is when Land O' Lakes Community Services took it upon itself to set up a fund raising committee, a building committee and every other committee it needed to get the job done. And well Pine Meadow is the result of that determination. Another fact that I bet you didn't know - Pine Meadow Management Committee is not a board, but a sitting committee that reports to Land O' Lakes Community Services Board of Directors!! Without Land O' Lakes Community Services there would not be a Pine Meadow Nursing Home! Okay I'll let you drop you jaw on the table a little longer!!

6) Volunteering is a fact of life. These programs would not run without the volunteers who give their talents, time, and energy to help others in their community. One of the ways to volunteer and get to know more about Land O’ Lakes Community Services is to sit on the board of directors. Please contact the office if you are interested in knowing more of what a great agency this is in our community by calling 613336-8934 or just drop by and have a chat; or you can come out to the Annual General Meeting on June 17 at the Lions Hall in Northbrook. Our guest speaker will be Derek Maschke, giving advice on the final transition of our lives and how easy it would be on our families if we had things prepared in advance. Hope to see you all out, just to fulfill that curious side of you. You never know what new and great things are out there if you just took the chance to find out.

Land O' Lakes Community Services is the gem in our community!

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