(PHOTO: Sabrina Kemp, Joanne Tibbles, and Tanya Hein.)
Sabrina Kemp was named as the Stittsville Village Association’sVolunteer of the Year for outstanding work in the community at the SVA Annual General Meeting November 23. Joined by her family, Kemp was presented with an award, flowers, and a donation to the organization of her choice — Stittsville Public School’s outdoor classroom.
“The SVA is very pleased to recognize Sabrina’s contribution to the community,” SVA President Tanya Hein said. “Her efforts in saving a portion of the Shea Road Woods and in creating an outdoor classroom will have a lasting impact in Stittsville.”
Kemp was nominated by her neighbour, local realtor Joanne Tibbles.
“Sabrina is a mom to 3 children – Benjamin 11, Braeden 9, and Madeline 7 years old,” Tibbles wrote in her nomination submission. “She has been an integral part in the organization to conserve the Shea Woods with Shad Qadri as well as bringing the first outdoor classroom to Stittsville Public School.”
“Recently she organized a ball hockey tournament to help raise money for the Stittsville Rams hockey team and she is always ready and willing to help a friend or neighbour in their time of need Sabrina is passionate about family, community and the environment and I am humbled to call her a friend. I cannot think of anyone more fitting for this award and I thank you for your consideration of her.”
This is the second time the SVA has given the award, which recognizes Ward 6 residents of any age, who, through volunteering, have had a positive impact in our community. Last year’s winner was Hélène Rivest.
(PHOTO: Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Shad Qadri joined local residents on Tuesday to announce plans to protect the Shea Woods. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.)
The City of Ottawa hosted a media event today to announce a $1.5-million agreement to conserve part of the Shea Woods, a cedar forest located southeast of Holy Spirit Church and a popular spot for dog walkers.
The forest is currently owned by CRT Developments, who are planning a housing development in the area. A City of Ottawa press release (included below) outlines how the City intends to protected the forested area. Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Afternoon in Shea Woods, January 2017. Photo by Glen Gower.)
“…fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches. The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest…”
I was first introduced to the Shea Woods just over 10 years ago. A friend suggested it as a wonderful spot to walk our new puppy. We were newly married and new to the Stittsville Community. I quickly realized how lucky we were to have such a beautiful natural space right in our community.
During my quiet walks there, I was enchanted by the mature cedars, the fern beds that grow in the open, sunlit areas of the forest floor and the old stone fences that border the woods – left behind, I would imagine as I walked, by one of Stittsville’s early settlers.
As the seasons change, so do the Shea Woods – from the apple blossoms in the spring, to the warm colours of the sugar maples in the fall and the dusting of snow on the trails in the winter.
In my early days of walking there, I met a gentleman who told me he was one of the first neighbours to start marking trails through the Shea Woods. At that time, he had already been walking there daily with his dog for years. Clearly, this was a special place for more than just me.
Soon, we started walking through the Shea Woods with our children. The minute they step into the woods, their imaginations soar – fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches.
The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest. In the middle of the woods, there is a tree where neighbours hang plastic containers filled with dog treats to share. The tree is decorated each year at Christmas.
There are daily meet-ups at the big rock and springtime clean-ups. In the age of IPhones and PlayStations, the Shea Woods is a meeting place for neighbours, a place to catch-up with old friends, and meet new ones.
It is an easily accessible natural space for our children to explore and as adults, a place to quietly walk, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees.
We all know that trees and natural green spaces are important. We know that trees filter the air we breathe and help prevent roadside runoff from getting into our waterways. We know that trees help reduce flooding, fight soil erosion, cool the air, muffle urban noise and increase property values.
We are also starting to learn more and more about how important time in natural spaces is to both the physical and mental health for adults and children alike. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve cognitive function and feelings of well-being.
Today, we celebrate moving from knowledge and planning to concrete action. Accessible green spaces like the Shea Woods are one of the things that makes Stittsville such a wonderful community to live in. Thank you to Councillor Qadri, Mayor Watson and the City Planning Team for their efforts in making this a reality.
About 115 kids took part in a massive ball hockey fundraiser on Saturday in Stittsville. Hosted by the Stittsville RAMS Minor Atom team, the teams competed in Novice, Atom and Peewee divisions. Photos via Sabrina Kemp.
(PHOTO: Students, staff, volunteers and elected officials took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony — complete with kid-sized scissors — at Stittsville Public School on Friday, September 29. It marked the official opening of a new outdoor classroom. Photo by Lorrie Hayes.)
“Parent Council saw this as an opportunity to get the kids out and moving while still considering the curriculum and academics. This is an opportunity to bring the learning outside. To be a place and a space for movement and fresh air. I think we’re starting to understand that with kids having difficulties concentrating at school, there’s a feeling that more movement and more fresh air might contribute to helping some of those situations.”
–Sabrina Kemp, former co-chair of the Stittsville Public School Parent Council
Sabrina Kemp is ecstatic for the opening of a new outdoor classroom at Stittsville Public School. An official ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Friday in front of students and staff.
“It’s fantastic, I’ve dropped by a few times and it’s great to see the kids playing. And I love seeing that the school can accept some risk, and the benefit that comes from that,” she says. Continue reading →
On Thursday, December 3, community leaders from Stittsville were invited to have breakfast meeting with Councillor Shad Qadri and Mayor Jim Watson. The meeting, which was held in the Mayor’s Boardroom in the Heritage Building at City Hall, was part of an effort to encourage open communication between the community, the Mayor’s office and the Councillor’s office.
Mayor Watson, Councillor Qadri, and nine Stittsville community leaders were there, representing a variety of community groups including the Stittsville Minor Hockey Association, the Stittsville Scouts, the Rotary Club of Ottawa-Stittsville, the Goulburn Skating Club and the Stittville Village Association. Mayor Watson provided updates on a number of city-wide initiatives such as the LRT, the proposed budget for 2016 and Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday. Continue reading →
(Above: Stittsville Public School student Ella S. helps sort some of the many donations received.)
When my eight year old daughter suggested that we “adopt-a-family” from the Food Cupboard on behalf of her grade three class at Stittsville Public School, I thought to myself: “Sure! Why not! What a great little project to do with her classmates”.
Her teacher was immediately supportive, and the initiative grew to include over half the classes at SPS, with nine families being “adopted” by our school. The “little project” became a task of gargantuan proportions, but the payoff was priceless.
I strive to teach my children by example. I hope that they grow into giving, thoughtful and compassionate adults, with a strong sense of social responsibility, and an understanding of the important role of community in an individual’s life. The idea of “adopting” a family appealed to me as a way to include my children in giving to others, and in understanding how very lucky we are.
I started by sending a note home to the parents in each of the classes who had adopted a family. My email was quickly bombarded with offers, sentiments of support, and gratitude that the students were being exposed to something so important. Donations started to flood in faster than I could pick them up, and I was making stops at the school almost every day to pick up items from the classrooms. I had parents emailing and offering to shop for me; to come over and organize groceries in my basement; to have their children take notices door to door to the neighbours to get the community involved too.
I was touched to receive an email from a mom who told me that her grade 5 twins, Courtney B and Cole B, had enthusiastically gone out and purchased items for their families with their allowances.
When my neighbour found out what I was up to, he dropped four frozen turkeys off to be given to the families. I told my doctor what my daughter had started, and her office staff held a bake sale to contribute funds to the purchase of the Christmas dinners.
Another grade 5 student emailed me with a heartwarming question: would it be okay if she knit scarves to donate to the grandma and grandpa who had been adopted in her classroom? She worked very hard to complete gorgeous, handmade items to be included in her basket My fourth child’s preschool teacher volunteered herself and her two sons to do the grocery shopping for the baskets, as well as to help me pack the items and deliver them to the Food Cupboard.
A member of a church in our community showed up on my porch with a $400 donation. Another SPS student donated a $100 gift card for groceries from her church as well. I was contacted by two local banks who found out about what we were up to, and wanted to donate funds to our cause. A local baker brought me nine dozen cupcakes for the families’ desserts. A fellow Stittsville mom spent her Sunday baking meat pies.
A grade three student came to my house, held out her mittened hand and gave me a twoonie that she had just received from her Grandma. She wanted to know if she could help me sort food, instead of give money, as they did not have much to give. She, her Mom and her Grandma came back after school the next day, and saved me hours of work in sorting, had I had to do it on my own.
A mom and her grade three son came to help and I overheard her tearing up as she hugged her son and told him: “what we are looking at here is Christmas for nine families. Can you just imagine how wonderful this will be for them?” As they left, the mom thanked me for providing them with the opportunity to help.
Who could have imagined the response would be so great? I was nervous to send my letters home to the SPS families, hoping that no one would feel I was forcing them to donate to my cause. I would never have predicted that not only would I receive overwhelming response from the school, but that the community would reach out to me, unprompted, and provide more than I could have asked for.
As for my desire to lead by example and teach my children through my actions? My children have been witness to this outpouring of kindness. They helped me carry and sort the donations. They welcomed strangers into our home, and assisted with whatever tasks these people had come to do. They saw their peers and their community giving so much to those in need, and they have learned even more than I could have hoped.
In the words of some of our grade six students: “It is great to help families in need… it inspires everyone. It is not just for the families who need help, but also for us, because it inspires us to help others. It helps our community and school to understand the importance of giving to others. Stittsville Public School is PROUD to support adopt-a-family for the Food Cupboard!” –Sabrina L., Ally G., Grace M., Tanner G.
The staff, students and parents at Stittsville Public have overwhelmed me with their support and generosity. This year we are supporting nine families: who knows how many we will be able to help in the future! I would like to extend a sincere “Thank You!” to all the SPS staff, students and families, as well as those in the Stittsville community as a whole, who have made this possible.