Christine Bell | May 01, 2019

On February 5, New Leaf Link (NeLL), with the support of a United Way grant, started delivering Tuesday programming on “Adapted Diabetes Awareness, Prevention and Management” to our (dis)abled adult participants. The endless Snow Days in February resulted in cancelling some program days, but we persevered and have successfully delivered a diverse range of program activities on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church. Every day is an adventure! In addition to learning about diabetes, we are experimenting with healthy food choices and have added new exercises to our program. Our amazing Program Facilitator, Chris Boal, has developed a Healthy Snack Series, where everyone participates in cooking and taste-testing. So far this term we have made guacamole, hummus, and egg muffins. We practice karate with Marty Tucker from the Sydenham Academy of Martial Arts. Deb Donaldson, a certified diabetes educator, dance teacher, and fitness & nutrition specialist brings joy and laughter to each session she teaches. Sara McHattie visits regularly from the YMCA as an adapted fitness instructor.

Our Adapted Technology Instructor, Linda Alford, helps us do online research on diabetes related topics. Shen Xiao Bing from Long Road Ecological Farm did a Chinese dumpling demo & tasting with us. Tom Jack taught us about raising backyard chickens, and volunteer Bonnie MacNeil presented on sewing period clothing.

We’re doing soap-making with Ryan Donovan. Christine Harvey, the Drama Queen, Sid Anjilvel, Gabriel Deerman & Gary Rasberry fill our Wednesdays with drama, art and music.

We have had visits from many community members, organizations and local businesses, including OPP Community Service Officer Curtis Dick. He was a big hit at NeLL. He answered questions, told us about local policing & online safety. Participants got to sit in the cruiser with the lights flashing.

On March 16, our St. Paddy’s Day Dance/Fundraiser at the Sydenham Legion was sold out. Greg Simpson and Pat Lalonde organized a spectacular and unforgettable evening.

Carol Sparling, Heather Gillespie, & Christine Kennedy from the Sydenham and District Lion’s Club did an informative Diabetes talk with the NeLL group. The St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dogs were a big hit. One therapy dog that lives in Harrowsmith may visit regularly during the summer program. We have gone on outings to Annie Milne’s Puppet Studio and the Seniors’ Centre on Francis Street.

New Leaf Link will be adding a summer program starting in July. We are always looking for instructors, guest speakers and volunteers. If you have an idea for fun activities or topics that would be of interest to our community, please look us up on Facebook or on our website. We would love to hear from you! Community members are invited to attend our upcoming Donor Appreciation/Open House on Thursday, May 16 from 11 – 2. Check out the poster in your Frontenac News!

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.