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School’s Cool kit sale!


For a limited time, you can purchase everything you need to run your own School’s Cool program for only $99.95. The kit includes 16 hours of comprehensive training videos, an Instructor Training Workbook, the School’s Cool Curriculum and a Toolkit and Resource Manual. Samples of the training modules can be found here: http://www.schoolscool.com/training-samples/

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The Pitfalls of Profile

All organizations have to consider their “profile.” Profile is how people view us. Do they know what we do? Do they understand the issues our clients deal with? Do they know how we help and the impact we have?

The easiest way to get profile, is to have the people who have been helped talk about it. First-hand accounts are very powerful. But talking about it only works if the issue they’ve had is one they want to talk about. It doesn’t work so well if the challenge they experienced and got help with isn’t one they want to talk openly about. Maybe it’s something that could affect how people perceive them; maybe it could affect their family or children; maybe it could affect employment or potential employment. So although they may express their appreciation to us, they won’t be talking with their neighbours about their very personal struggles. Few people would hesitate to give a testimonial about how they were helped by the doctors or EMS services. But if they were helped to escape from an abusive situation by the YWCA, or given food by SIRCH, they may not be as eager to put their name out there. Understandably.

As a result, organizations that deal with problems like food security, mental health, violence against women, grief, addictions often have lower profiles. SIRCH has, throughout its 28 year history, tackled some of the toughest and most hidden issues in this county. We built the first shelter for women in this community. We brought in mental health services. We initiated numerous anti-poverty programs. And we do get lots of testimonials. We know we impact lives in a really positive way … but as you can imagine, the people giving them usually want to remain anonymous. And we always respect that.

Christine Bond recently wrote us. Along with her donation to Gifts from the Heart, she gave us permission to use her testimony and name because she wanted to help others understand how important the Bereavement Program is:

“I could not have gone forward in my life if it hadn’t have been for SIRCH’s bereavement program. The facilitators are well trained and showed compassion, caring and guidance at every step. I wasn’t really keen on group sharing but once I joined, it was wonderful. All the other people were struggling just like myself. We all grew together in our journey and I made some wonderful friends who I try to see once a week even though we have completed our levels. They will stay my friends forever and it is all kept confidential. Thank you!”

The Bereavement Program is funded entirely on donations. When you are considering donating this holiday season, please consider SIRCH. We may not have a high profile, but our work changes lives.

Click here to donate now.


Gifts from the Heart 2016

SIRCH Community Services is very excited to announce the official kick-off of our annual Gifts from the Heart campaign! This is our 6th annual campaign and this holiday season we aim to also raise awareness! An important catalyst in helping create the Haliburton that we know today, SIRCH continues to look for gaps in social or health services within our community and find creative and innovative ways to fill those gaps. Please help us share our message with your family, friends and colleagues in person or on your social media so together we can build a better, more caring community.

Our 2016 Gifts from the Heart campaign is raising funds to support the continuation of three important, much needed programs within our community:

Community Kitchen — through our Food Initiatives program, we expect to cook and give away free 3,600 meals in 2017 (adding to the over 12,000 meals that have already been given to children, families and seniors living in Haliburton County).

Grief Support — our Bereavement Support program provides three levels of group support to individuals who have lost a loved one. (Since the program’s inception, SIRCH has helped 760 people who are grieving the death of a loved one.)

Skills Building & Training — SIRCH has given dozens of people the skills they need to find and keep jobs. Gaining employment means more disposable income, better health and greater opportunities. (In the past five years, SIRCH has provided skill-building training to 180 people.)

Over the last 28 years, our community has allowed us to make a major impact in the social landscape of a community teetering on the cusp of being the poorest county in Ontario. We are proud of the building blocks that SIRCH has laid but we need your help to continue this important work! Since 1989, more than 30 critical service programs have been created and developed by SIRCH and helped over 3,000 residents in need. We are honored to be a means of supporting positive change in this beautiful but sometimes harsh, expansive rural community of Haliburton County. Please help us continue our support to the most vulnerable among us, give a Gift from the Heart today.

A huge thank you goes out following hours of behind the scenes work with some of our amazing community partners to get to the 2016 Gifts from the Heart campaign launch! Special thanks to the teams at the Haliburton Echo, the Minden Times and County Life, Patient News and CANOE FM and all that helped us by sponsoring our Gifts from the Heart publications. Look for your copy of our Gifts from the Heart brochure in your copy of the Echo, Times and County Life.

Simply Homemade meals October 2016

SIRCH simply homemade logo (4)

Doing Good Never Tasted So Good!

Simply Homemade meals, created by SIRCH Community Kitchen, are available for you to buy every other Thursday starting October 20th from 9:00am-12:30pm, pick up at SIRCH Central, 2 Victoria St, Haliburton.

NEW- We now accept Debit & Credit card payment! Cash still preferred.

New meals available this week are:
• Creamy Thai Carrot Soup – Low Sodium, Gluten, Dairy & Nut Free! ($2.50)
• Maple Beef Chili with a Whole Wheat Bun ($5)
• All Natural Apple Sauce ($2)


When you purchase a Simply Homemade meal, you’ll be helping to provide a meal for someone in need. Pop in and give our meals a try! “Doing Good Never Tasted So Good”

“Thanks, grief.”

Nearly 7 years ago now, my husband died unexpectedly and swiftly, one day short of our 30th anniversary. The outpouring of support from friends, family and virtual strangers made all the difference in the world to how I was able to cope in the weeks and months that followed. When I read this blog post today by Patton Oswalt, I had to share it. Patton Oswalt is an accomplished comedian, writer and actor. His wife died suddenly in April of this year. She died in her sleep at age 42. 102 days later, Patton broke his silence and wrote this blog. His words are raw, gripping, and emotional (there is some explicit language). This post will affect you, as will the responses from total strangers that are written below the post.

~ Gena Robertson, Executive Director, SIRCH Community Services


(for those of you who do not have access to Facebook, here is the text of Patton Oswalt’s post)

“Thanks, grief.

Thanks for making depression look like the buzzing little bully it always was. Depression is the tallest kid in the 4th grade, dinging rubber bands off the back of your head and feeling safe on the playground, knowing that no teacher is coming to help you.

But grief? Grief is Jason Statham holding that 4th grade bully’s head in a toilet and then fucking the teacher you’ve got a crush on in front of the class. Grief makes depression cower behind you and apologize for being such a dick.

If you spend 102 days completely focused on ONE thing you can achieve miracles. Make a film, write a novel, get MMA ripped, kick heroin, learn a language, travel around the world. Fall in love with someone. Get ’em to love you back.

But 102 days at the mercy of grief and loss feels like 102 years and you have shit to show for it. You will not be physically healthier. You will not feel “wiser.” You will not have “closure.” You will not have “perspective” or “resilience” or “a new sense of self.” You WILL have solid knowledge of fear, exhaustion and a new appreciation for the randomness and horror of the universe. And you’ll also realize that 102 days is nothing but a warm-up for things to come.

And …

You will have been shown new levels of humanity and grace and intelligence by your family and friends. They will show up for you, physically and emotionally, in ways which make you take careful note, and say to yourself, “Make sure to try to do that for someone else someday.” Complete strangers will send you genuinely touching messages on Facebook and Twitter, or will somehow figure out your address to send you letters which you’ll keep and re-read ’cause you can’t believe how helpful they are. And, if you’re a parent? You’ll wish you were your kid’s age, because the way they embrace despair and joy are at a purer level that you’re going to have to reconnect with, to reach backwards through years of calcified cynicism and ironic detachment.

Lose your cool, and you’re saved.

Michelle McNamara got yanked off the planet and out of life 102 days ago. She left behind an amazing unfinished book, about a horrific series of murders that everyone — including the retired homicide detectives she worked with — was sure she’d solve. The Golden State Killer. She gave him that name, in an article for Los Angeles Magazine. She was going to figure out the real name behind it.

She left Alice, her 7 year-old daughter. But not before putting the best parts of her into Alice, like beautiful music burned onto a CD and sent out into the void on a spaceship.

And she left me. 102 days into this.

I was face-down and frozen for weeks. It’s 102 days later and I can confidently say I have reached a point where I’m crawling. Which, objectively, is an improvement. Maybe 102 days later I’ll be walking.

Any spare energy I’ve managed to summon since April 21st I’ve put toward finishing Michelle’s book. With a lot of help from some very amazing people. It will come out. I will let you know. It’s all her. We’re just taking what’s there and letting it tell us how to shape it. It’s amazing.

And I’m going to start telling jokes again soon. And writing. And acting in stuff and making things I like and working with friends on projects and do all the stuff I was always so privileged to get to do before the air caught fire around me and the sun died. It’s all I knew how to do before I met Michelle. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do now without her.

And not because, “It’s what Michelle would have wanted me to do.” For me to even presume to know what Michelle would have wanted me to do is the height of arrogance on my part. That was one of the many reasons I so looked forward to growing old with her. Because she was always surprising me. Because I never knew what she’d think or what direction she’d go.

Okay, I’ll start being funny again soon. What other choice do I have? Reality is in a death spiral and we seem to be living in a cackling, looming nightmare-swamp. We’re all being dragged into a shadow-realm of doom by hateful lunatics who are determined to send our planet careening into oblivion.

Hey, there’s that smile I was missing!”