It is wonderful to see our residents take the lead and host groups that are important to them right here on site. The ‘Retired Women Teachers of Ontario’ have many chapters all over the province. Luther Village is where the Waterloo Chapter comes together as a few of our residents are members.

 

Anne Cameron (Waterloo Chapter Leader) and Ruth Atkinson (Waterloo Chapter Member and resident of Luther Village) shared the inspiring story and incredible history of this group.

 

It all started with a sincere care for women’s rights and equality.

 

In the early days, this political group was advocating for women teachers. They formed in 1956 to correct the pension gap between men and women teachers. They were successful in closing that gap after being persistent in their stance and engaging with the government. Today there are 5000+ women members across Ontario with various chapters throughout the regions.

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page zoomed in on the word equality

The purpose 60+ years later is to bring women together and support one another.

 

“We really do care for on another! We share in new ideas and activities and overall have a lot of fun together” says Anne. “We look after our eldest members with phone calls and visits. We want them to feel connected and looked after by our group.”

 

“Collectively there is so much spirit and strength among these amazing women” shared Ruth Atkinson. “The chapters have formed many interest groups such as walking groups, knitting groups, card groups, movie clubs, sing-a-longs, drum circles, you name it, we try to have something for everyone” Anne.

 

An interesting group that has emerged during our time at Luther Village is the Drum Circle. “Even though the group has many talented musicians (pianist, guitarist etc.) no one dominates in the drum circle, it provides such a feeling of true community. There are no solos, the drum circle is for everyone, each person has something unique to contribute, we have a groove going!” Anne described.

 

Their hope in sharing this story is to “inspire all people to try something new that they never thought they could or would do and truly come together and share in that experience.”

(the group is still meeting outdoors weekly, see a recent photo below)

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drum circle members social distancing

As Covid-19 continues to impact group gatherings they have had to get creative with ways to stay connected and support one another. 

 

"Our group is doing a phone fan-out to our 100 members. Our 9 call captains are doing the phoning to approximately 11 members each. The purpose is to check in and see how members are doing" Anne.

 

The group hopes to organize some zoom meetings for November, March & May. In addition, they are exploring the opportunity of individuals having 'a phone buddy'. This would involve 1-1 check-ins. They also have a memoir writing group that still meets via email once a month with a different theme each month (stay tuned for a story featuring this wonderful writing group coming soon!)

 

Learn more about this inspiring group of women by visiting their website: Retired Women Teachers of Ontario (RWTO) Website

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a poster that reads "each time a women stands up for herself she stands up for all women"