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Creative artistry benefits autism fundraising

Bethesda colleagues share their time and artwork together at the Kinettes' stenciling party at Peter Piper's last Thursday. GLORIA J KATCH PHOTO

BY GLORIA J. KATCH
Special to the VOICE

Stenciling poetic phrases in fancy calligraphy is the latest fundraising endeavour by The Fonthill and District Kinette Club. In addition to having fun, the artistic event held at Peter Piper’s Pub last Thursday evening is one they now know they can bank on.

Somewhat similar to the painting-party craze in the last few years, this is the first time the Kinettes held a stenciling event to raise money in support of autistic children’s art programming at Bethesda Services Inc. Ariana Demol, an instructor-therapist with the Autistic Intervention Program for Children, said she really appreciates having the Kinettes pay for the art supplies for Bethesda, since it provides a great deal of art therapy, which has an important “sensory and touch” component that allows children with autism to feel a sense of calm.

Provincial changes to the funding model of autism education and services goes into effect April 1. Demol said Bethesda has sent out a letter to its many clients. With the proposed changes, funding will no longer be allocated to the agencies, but directly to the families, she said. The amount of money will be determined on a “sliding scale,” according to age and the family’s income.

Currently, many agencies that service autism-related disorders are in a transition period, she noted. As the agencies attempt to manage the upcoming change, she said “we’re having to give [parents] a lot of direction and guidance.” The controversial provincial cutbacks are causing families to “feel overwhelmed,” she said.

Creating the stenciling artwork with an enthusiastic group of co-workers turned out to be, “so much fun.”

“It’s great to have local things to support and local art. I love this kind of stuff,” exclaimed Demol.

The Kinettes have chosen a different charity each year, since its inception five years ago. The local group has raised $14,000 in total, donated to organizations such as Pelham Cares, Meals on Wheels, Women’s Place, and the Volunteer Firefighters Toy Drive. The Kinettes fall under the umbrella of the Kinsmen Club

The goal for this event was to attract 40 people, and they received 39 within one week of announcing the stenciling party.

“For us to sell out this quickly, it shows support for the people struggling with children with autism, especially with the government cuts coming up. This shows that we’re supportive, and you are not alone,” said Betty Twomey, one of 13 Kinettes, who helped organize the fundraiser.

Twomey said several of the Kinettes did a tour of Bethesda at Schmon Parkway in Thorold to see the facility, and how its services helps persons with this cognitive disability.

The saying “what goes around comes around” worked to the benefit of Janine Costello, the painting instructor for this event, who wanted to give back to the Kinettes. Costello is a recipient of a Kinette Club scholarship, which she used to continue her post-secondary education at Brock University and become a therapist. It took her two days to design stencils of sentimental notations in flowing print for 40 people. Her husband built the frames, she added.

The process last Thursday involved painting over the stencil, and then carefully pulling the paint off once it dried. The stenciling can be done in a two-hour session, which makes it perfect for a get-together. Compared to the painting-parties, stenciling is “fool proof” and much easier to do. Everyone is guaranteed to come away with a product they can proudly hang on their walls, she said, adding, “We’ll make an artist out of you.”

Costello has led stenciling events in retirement homes as a part of the recreational programming, which she believes gives seniors a sense of fulfillment.

“I make it, so it makes them feel successful that they can still do something. And they feel joy afterwards, and are so proud of it,” she said.

Twomey said if Peter Moore, the owner of Peter Piper’s, is willing to donate the downstairs room again, she would consider hosting another event there. Kinette Sue Holmes-Wink noted Moore is “very supportive of the community,” and they wanted to contribute to his efforts as an entrepreneur in the restaurant business.

Holmes-Wink commented on how craft and artistic events are becoming so popular now.

“We’d thought we’d utilize that popularity to raise money,” she said.

Despite the Kinettes having just 13 members, she remarked, “We’re doing well for a small club,” adding that they are interested in attracting new members.

As a part of the upcoming Home Show at the community centre, the Kinettes are hosting a Pamper Me Sweet! event on April 6, from 10 AM to 4 PM. There will be some 30 vendors, a Penny Sale, a Silent Auction, and they are hoping the public will be drawn to their many spa-type services, such as mini-massages, Reiki and other experiences that are both, beautifying and comforting.  

The Kinettes are still looking for vendors. Interested persons should contact: Lola Bronn at (905) 650-5233. The event is destined to capture a sizable crowd to raise money for Bethesda’s Adult Services Treatment Centre.

What’s the sweetest at Pamper Me Sweet? The event is free!

 

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