MCS News Reel

The District Municipality of Muskoka Community Services Department works with Muskoka's vulnerable population.  There are many programs, initiatives and heart-warming stories that we want to share with the community, to bring awareness to the needs of our neighbours, friends and family members.  Also, there are many opportunities to help and we will bring the information to you.

Through partnerships with other agencies in Muskoka, our goal is to provide services and programs to assist our vulnerable population, as well as others, to live better lives in Muskoka.  Issues our community deals with on a daily basis may include child care, services for seniors, employment, basic financial needs, emergency financial needs, housing needs, food and many others.
 
These weekly news stories will highlight current issues in our community as well as exciting programs or services happening in the community to assist our population with the daily challenges.
 

MCS NEWS REEL - September 14, 2015

Muskoka’s Attainable Housing Forum – Coming This Fall!

The District of Muskoka and the Muskoka Attainable Housing Advisory Table (MAHAT) are hosting a forum to initiate community-driven change for attainable housing in Muskoka. Along with information on incentive programs from bankers, real estate representatives and District staff; there will be a number of presentations, including:
 

·       Muskoka’s Housing Continuum and the 10 Year Housing & Homelessness Plan.

·       A Guided Path to Building New Attainable Housing.

·       Alternate Forms of Housing and Innovative Approaches.

·       Let’s Hear From the People Who Have Been Succesful!

If you have an interest in developing Attainable Housing for your community, or have ever struggled to find clean, safe and affordable housing in Muskoka; then this workshop is for you!

Admission is free and registration is limited; so sign up today! You can register by calling 705-645-2100 ext. 326 or by emailing sallan@muskoka.on.ca.

Event Details:

Date:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Time:

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Location:

Bracebridge Rotary Centre for Youth

 
For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Moore, Director of Programs, by email at hmoore@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 x 270.

MCS NEWS REEL - August 18, 2015

Engaging Seniors – The District of Muskoka’s Seniors Community Advisor Program

 

Engagement and social inclusion are two of the main objectives behind the Muskoka Seniors Community Advisor (SCA) Program; which is a two year research project funded by the Provincial government. Muskoka now has seven communities with elected SCA’s; all of which have undergone training and began outreach in their individual communities. Those SCA’s that were previously elected have been busy with many tasks, including:

·        brainstorming community engagement ideas.

·        promoting community education/awareness of resources.

·        hosting “Talk to Your SCA” sessions to help identify the needs of community members.

·        assisting staff in identifying isolated/at-risk seniors in their individual communities. This ensures          that service gaps in each community are being filled and that each senior is receiving the                    necessary supports they require.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Elliott, Manager of Community Engagement & Social Enterprise, by email at helliott@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 x 333.

 

The District of Muskoka is Helping Muskoka Families in a Unique Way!

 

The Children’s Services Community Facilitation Program is a unique program developed by the District of Muskoka to support families with a number of challenges that may be faced, including:

  ·    accessing funding for recreational activities, back to school          supplies, and winter clothing.

  ·    connecting families to medical, dental, developmental,                  behavioural and other therapeutic services.

  ·    finding transportation solutions.

  ·    obtaining birth certificates, health cards, social insurance              cards and other important documentation.

  ·    linking families with developmental screening opportunities                     for infants, toddlers and preschool children.

The Children’s Services Community Facilitator also provides information on infant and child development and connects families to parenting resources, as well as community based programs.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Tina Kilbourne, Manager of Children’s Services, by email at ckilbourne@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 x 308.


MCS NEWS REEL - July 29, 2015

District of Muskoka Ready to Respond to New Laws Governing Child Care in Ontario

As of August 31, 2015 the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) will come into effect. This legislation will replace the outdated Day Nurseries Act (DNA) and establish new rules governing child care in Ontario. The overarching goal of the CCEYA is to build a child care and early years system that better supports parents and gives children the best possible start in life.

Parents, children and child care providers across Muskoka will be affected as this new act applies to unlicensed and licensed care, home child care and centre-based care.

Of particular importance is the fact that, for the first time, home child care providers who are approved under a licensed agency, such as the newly created Muskoka Home Child Care Agency, will be able to care for six children under the age of 13, whereas unlicensed home child care providers will be able to care for only five children under the age of 13.

According to Rick Williams, Commissioner of Community Services this seemingly small regulation change means there will soon be an incentive for unlicensed home child care providers to join an agency and, conversely, a disincentive to operate privately.

“I believe this is a positive development not only for providers, but for families, children and the overall child care community. Providers approved under the Muskoka Home Child Care Agency have the ability to increase their income. They will also be eligible for a variety of financial incentives and professional development opportunities. The more providers we can bring into the licensed system means the more licensed child care spaces there are across Muskoka, which is good for families who need care and are eligible for fee subsidy. But probably the most important thing to keep in mind is that providers who are part of the licensed system will be better supported. They will have a chance to network with other providers and access early learning resources and supports.”

Other new regulations coming into effect address the mix of ages a home child care provider is able to have at one time and whether or not a their own children are included in the count. Further regulations will be rolled out over the coming months.

The Muskoka Home Child Care Agency is a new initiative of The District Municipality of Muskoka’s Community Services Department.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Tina Kilbourne, Manager of Children’s Programs, by email at ckilbourne@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 x 308.


MCS NEWS REEL - July 13, 2015

Fostering Strength in Muskoka - The District of Musoka's Pay It Forward Program

Following District Council endorsement, the 2015 grant recipients of the Pay It Forward Program have been named! The Pay It Forward Program offers grants to community members wishing to rally together to build a stronger Muskoka. The goal of this program is to foster strength in the community, create positive community change, and overall, to improve the quality of life of all residents of Muskoka.

This year, 27 projects were approved in Muskoka. Some examples of approved projects include:

-   Fine Films - Screening of films for the community at the Gravenhurst Opera House.

-   Archery in Muskoka (Dwight) - Community initiative to engage youth in an archery program.

-   Lochiel Pipes and Drums - Offering community music concerts and free music lessons.

-   Huntsville Public School - Improvement to the community playground to encourage outdoor     family activity.

-   Baysville Bocce Club- Recreational club requesting money to repair bocce courts.

Stay tuned for future MCS News Reel editions for updates on some of these valuable community programs!

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Elliott, Manager of Community Engagement & Social Enterprise, by email at helliott@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 333.

 

Mentoring The Young & Young At Heart - The District of Muskoka's Seniors Intergenerational Mentorship Program

Running until March of 2016, the Seniors Intergenerational Mentorship Program unites children and seniors with activities that provide opportunities for children to learn about interesting life experiences of seniors in our community. The kick-off event was a ‘Scrapbooking Party’ that took place on June 24, 2015. Each senior and child got to meet their “buddy” and create scrapbooks together. 7 seniors and 8 children attended. The next event is strawberry picking at Brooklands Farms!

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Elliott, Manager of Community Engagement & Social Enterprise by email at helliott@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 333.


MCS NEWS REEL - June 22, 2015

Right Here, Right Now – Discover Your Purpose

One component of the Ontario Works Program provides employment supports to clients, which often includes assistance with job searching, resume writing, training and workshops, etc. One workshop in particular, titled “Right Here, Right Now” is a session facilitated by dedicated District of Muskoka staff to engage and motivate clients in moving forward in their lives. The main objective of this workshop is to help clients discover their purpose and passion and to begin making progressive life changes.

Topics covered by this workshop include:

·        Learning about yourself

·        Considering your options

·        Deciding what you want

·        Finding a starting point

·        Making a plan and setting goals

·        Celebrating their participation and accomplishments

Action plans are then created and shared with their Employment Case Manager who will continually support each client in reaching their goals.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Cheryl Parlett, Manager of Programs, by email at cparlett@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 343.

 

Seniors HAPPY Days Fairs in Muskoka are a HIT!

The District of Muskoka has hosted 4 HAPPY Days Fairs (Healthy Aging Promotions and Programs for You). The purpose of these fairs is to promote healthy aging to seniors living in rural communities within Muskoka through education of programs and services available to them.  Free hearing screenings are also available to those who pre-register. These fairs provide the opportunity for isolated seniors to connect, learn, share and have fun with friends and neighbours! The most recent HAPPY Days Fair was hosted in Port Severn on May 25, 2015. The event saw 41 enthusiastic local seniors attend for a hot meal, Fresh Food Basket items, free hearing and blood glucose screening clinics, as well as an afternoon of education, including:

·        Seminars on hearing loss/prevention,

·        EMS services and what to do when 911 is called,

·        Diabetes education; and

·        a seniors needs forum.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Elliott, Manager of Community Engagement & Social Enterprise by email at helliott@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 333.

 


MCS NEWS REEL - June 15, 2015

Corridor 11 Bus – Getting Muskokans to where they need to be!

The Corridor 11 Bus has been running since the fall of 2012 and is now in its third year of service! Ridership has grown since its inception and with even more stops added in the fall of 2014, it is truly a convenient way to travel between locations within Muskoka, as well as to areas south of us. The Corridor Bus provides affordable transportation and students are choosing to use it to save the cost of relocation while attending college and university outside of Muskoka. The Corridor Bus is a viable solution to one of Muskoka’s transportation issues and connects residents to essential services, such as post-secondary education and medical appointments. It runs Monday – Friday from Huntsville to Barrie with stops along the way in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Washago and Orillia. To access the most up to date schedule visit www.corridor11bus.ca.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Rick Williams, Commissioner of Community Services by email at cfriend@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 223.

 

Muskoka Affordable Housing Initiatives Program (MAHIP)

 MAHIP is yet another program that The District of Muskoka offers to address the affordable housing issue in Muskoka. The two main goals of the MAHIP program are to increase the supply of affordable housing and rental accommodations in Muskoka and to offer funding for an array of housing options that address affordable housing needs across the housing continuum. Three main components make up the MAHIP program:

            ·       Capital Incentive Funding – available to developers and builders towards new construction of either rental housing or new homes for sale on the open market. New construction by individuals for personal use may also be eligible.

·       Rent Supplements – available to both landlords/developers and tenants/renters. These supplements help to cover a portion of the monthly rental fee.

·       Home Ownership Program – available to eligible families to assist with purchasing their own home.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Jackie Mattice, Manager of Housing Development by email at jmattice@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 614.


MCS NEWS REEL - June 8, 2015

!MPACT Muskoka – Individuals Making Positive Actions Together

!MPACT Muskoka is a social enterprise managed by The District of Muskoka, which operates with a social mission to provide meaningful work and training opportunities to Muskoka community members who are experiencing substantial barriers to unemployment. A social enterprise is defined as a creative vehicle for organizations to meet community needs in a financially sustainable way through the operation of a business, with all generated income being reinvested into the program to advance the social mission. The benefits to the community of a venture such as the !MPACT café in Muskoka are considerable and include:

·        food and social nourishment for people within Muskoka,

·        an investment in Muskoka through the purchase of local food and products and;

·        enhanced relationships with other service providers and agencies.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Elliott, Manager of Community Engagement & Social Enterprise by email at helliott@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 333.

 

Sabrina Park Montessori Program – Nurturing and Educating Muskoka’s Children! 

The Sabrina Park Montessori Program is a licensed program that provides child care to families living in a District Social Housing complex using Montessori approaches and materials. Devoted staff and volunteers work with children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years to instill independence and to enhance conflict resolution and social skills. Academic subjects are also taught in areas such as literacy, math, science, and community and world awareness. Many local businesses have sponsored the Sabrina Park Montessori program to allow children to attend library days, dance classes and other special outings to a number of different local attractions. The impact of this program on not only the children who attend regularly, but also on their parents, siblings and other residents is astounding. These children have been given the opportunity to overcome a range of barriers and experience extraordinary success both socially and academically. Since its inception, the District of Muskoka has proudly supported the program by purchasing supplies and materials for the children, as well as providing space for utilization. The District has also worked diligently in assisting this program to become fully licensed to allow for more children to reap the benefits of this wonderful program.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Tina Kilbourne, Manager of Children’s Services by email at ckilbourne@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 308.


MCS NEWS REEL - May 25, 2015

Mentoring The Young & Young At Heart – The District of Muskoka’s Seniors Intergenerational Mentorship Program

 

The District of Muskoka was recently successful in their application for a federal grant under the “New Horizons for Seniors Program”. Running until March of 2016, the main objective of the District’s proposal was to unite children and seniors with activities that provide opportunities for children to learn about interesting life experiences of seniors in our community. Activities are robust and entertaining for all and vary from strawberry picking and games nights, to learning new skills; such as knitting and scrapbooking!

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Elliott, Manager of Community Engagement & Social Enterprise by email at helliott@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 333.

 

Presenting the Opportunity for New Affordable Housing Construction in The District of Muskoka!

The District of Muskoka recognizes the importance of affordable housing that is safe, sound, suitable and sustainable for all households in our community. In accordance with provincial guidelines, The District of Muskoka has opened their “New Rental Construction Program” for the 2015/2016 funding year. Conditional grant funding may be available to qualifying private sector and not for profit organizations to offset the cost of creating at least 5 affordable housing units within Muskoka. Expressions of Interest are currently being received by the District, visit http://www.muskoka.on.ca/content/new-rental-construction-program for the complete application package.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Jackie Mattice, Manager of Housing Development by email at jmattice@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 614


MCS NEWS REEL - May 19, 2015

Rural Routes Bus Service – Enhancing Rural Transportation for Seniors and Young Families!

In January of 2015, The District of Muskoka – Community Services Department applied for a grant through the provincial Community Transportation Pilot Grant Program (CT Program). The CT Program is intended to support the development of community transportation solutions to address local transportation needs, including ways to better utilize existing transportation resources. The District’s central focus is to utilize excess school bus capacity during the mid-day to help connect persons with transportation limitations to services and programming related to their needs. This pilot project will ultimately enrich the lives of some of the most vulnerable residents in our community by fostering social inclusion; a fundamental need that each and every one of us requires to live a robust and fulsome life.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Rick Williams, Commissioner of Community Services by email at cfriend@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 223.

 

Muskoka’s Home Child Care Agency – Supporting the Healthy Development of Muskoka’s Kids!

The District of Muskoka has recently launched the “Muskoka Home Child Care Agency” and is currently recruiting families who need child care, as well as home child care providers. This local, licensed child care agency promotes safe, home-based child care where all children, families and providers are valued and respected. Licensed home child care allows parents to rest easy, knowing that their child will grow and develop in a safe and nurturing home environment! It also allows access to fee subsidy for eligible families. All approved homes will be visited regularly by a “Home Visitor” who will ensure that all current standards and policies are being met by providers. Licensed home child-care has the potential to offer the flexibility many parents require due to rural locations and irregular hours of work. Providers also benefit from joining the Muskoka Home Child Care Agency and will have access to incentive funding, as well as Provincial wage enhancement grants. With access to hundreds of resources, educational toys, equipment, training and even small business support, providers are supplied with the necessary tools to ensure their business flourishes, while focusing on what matters most – the needs of the children in their care.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Tina Kilbourne, Manager of Children’s Programs by email at ckilbourne@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 308.

 


MCS NEWS REEL - May 8, 2015

Fostering Strength in Muskoka – The District of Muskoka’s Pay It Forward Program

Following District Council endorsement of the 2015 District of Muskoka Budget, The Pay It Forward Program is now in full swing! The District of Muskoka’s Pay It Forward Program offers grants of up to $2,500 to community members wishing to rally together to build a stronger Muskoka. The goal of the Pay It Forward Program is to foster strength in the community, to create positive community change, and overall, to improve the quality of life of all residents of Muskoka.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Elliott, Manager of Community Engagement & Social Enterprise by email at helliott@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 333.

 

Empowering Seniors – The District of Muskoka’s Seniors Community Advisor Program

Empowerment of seniors is the objective behind the newly implemented Muskoka Seniors Community Advisor (SCA) Program. The SCA Program provides several benefits, such as:
• increased awareness of available community supports
• enhanced ease of navigating “the system”
• greater involvement in social planning within their home community
                                                                                                • a valuable sense of belonging
The program is a two year research project funded by the Provincial government.

For more information, or to conduct a live interview, contact Heather Elliott, Manager of Community Engagement & Social Enterprise by email at helliott@muskoka.on.ca or by telephone at 705-645-2412 ext. 333.