m CentredLearning, Giving, Sharing...

November 30, 2016 minutes : a 2016 wrap up

Good morning Ladies

Many thanks:
First of all, a huge thanks to everyone that came yesterday. I know it is getting to be that nutty time of the year and we are all just trying to make it through healthy and not overwhelmed. Barb and Ruthie...it was awesome to see you both after enduring such physical challenges.

Regrettably, I did not have the time to give proper thanks to all of you for contributing to a wonderful group doing a thing for our community.

Donations: $11,715 total raised this year (includes $2365 from Fundraiser).

Total overall donations since 2007: $132,438 to various Charities

**all of this is listed on our website*** mCentred.ca

I want to thank Lee Ann and Bari for collecting kitty fees and buying gifts for our speakers...very very very much appreciated.

Thank you to Yasmeen, Nicola, Anne and Juliette for helping with speakers this past year. It was valuable to have members have input on who they would like to hear from. I would like to keep this trend moving forward into 2017.

Thank you to Cathy Barrett who be our new Chair starting 2017. You will do a fantastic things I know.

I realize it is another period of transition, not unlike 5 years ago, when I took over the reigns from Juliette. I thank Juliette for giving me this opportunity because it has been an amazing 5 years of growth personally on a number of levels. It was one of the hardest jobs I have worked for and yet the most rewarding and enjoyable.

Thank you very much for the lovely card...I love the tree!!! and who knew I LOVE bracelets!!! This one from Maria Rudman is beautiful. I love the write up on it. Thank you very much!!!!

A recap from yesterday

We were so fortunate to have Maria Hudspith, Executive Director, Pain BC, come to speak. It was one of those speakers who somehow engrossed us so much that the time fly by so fast. She talked about:
1) What is chronic pain?
2)Impact on people and families, health care system.
3)Pain BC's strategic plan for 2015 to 2018:
Prevention and Early Intervention
Education, Empowerment and Support for People in Pain
Empower Health Care Provider with Tools and Skills.
Facilitate System Improvement
Engage a Coalition to Reduce Stigma: National Pain Awareness week
Foster Pain & Pain Related Disability Research

please visit: painbc.ca
Food for thought for 2017:

What things would you like to stay?
What things would you like to see change?

Would you like to continue with mCentred.
Please advise Cathy of your intentions, ideas, speakers for the new year, how you would like to contribute to mCentred.


Our dates for 2017:
January 25th: Important meeting: new beginnings
February 8th: Mike Harcourt, former Premiere of BC
March 8th
April 12th
May 10th
June 7th
Fall to be determined soon

Have a wonderful holiday season: Peace and Joy


Minutes for November 9th 2016

Good evening everyone

First of all, huge thanks to Juliette for organizing our field trip to the Irving K Barber Learning Centre. I believe I can speak for all of us who were fortunate to have gone on the tour, felt it was very fascinating in addition to being most informative.
I took notes on my phone but unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the draft....I have attached numerous photos of our morning which will give you a glimpse of what we saw.
We started with look at some books in the Rare Books and Special Collections with Librarian Chelsea. We got to physically touch and examine books from the 1500s to 1800s...very cool!
We had look at where 1.2 million books are stored (in 60,000 steele bins in 4 enormous rows)...only 20 minutes to order a book and have it ready for pickup.
We had tour of the Chapman learning centre where students can study in rooms that look like they were taken off the set of Harry Potter movies. Julie Mitchell emphasized how the library does its best to accommodate the students learning needs, employ the students in their information areas and trying to be at the forefront of enabling the best learning experience for the students....I wish they had this much help when I was in university.
We ended with a brief chat from Keven Madill, head of Music, Arts and Architecture Library. One of the projects he is working on is collecting compositions from highly esteemed women composers...trying to build a collection that will become a valuable resource for students.
Peter Andreasen, Development officer at UBC, encouraged us to contact him with any questions. You can also have a tour of the facility:
For more info, please check out their website:
Have a look at the attached photos.
Next and Final meeting; Wednesday November 30 downtown
Important meeting as it will the final one of the year. We will be talking about how to run mCentred next year under the leadership of Cathy Barrett. This is your group and we would like to have your feedback, suggestions and assistance in keeping mCentred going strong in 2017 and beyond.  

Minutes for October 26th 2016

Good evening

It seems to have to taken me a couple of weeks to recap our amazing talk by Mario Canseco, a public opinion researcher and currently is the VP for Insight West. He has a BA in Communications from Mexico and a Masters in Journalism from UBC. He has served in various journalistic roles in Canada, Mexico and Spain. Notable projects include editorial researcher for Peter C Newman, The Secret Mulroney Tapes. He is passionate about Public affairs research and was the public affairs VP for Angus Reid Public Opinion /Vision Critical managing research team in multiple regions of the country. Currently responsible for the designing and managing research projects for clients in the public sector, non-profit organization and association and education clients....as well as spokesperson on public affairs issues.

Mario sat down and we just had very informal discussion on US politics, what the polls are showing, what he has learned from past experiences, predictions....very engaging and eye opening. The meeting seem to fly by so fast. We will see if his predictions are verified on November 8th.

For some exciting news regarding our leadership: Cathy Barrett will be taking over Chair of mCentred in January. Yeah!!! I know that Cathy will provide awesome leadership. Thanks Cathy for stepping up and keeping mCentred alive!
Upcoming meetings:

Wednesday November 9th: Field trip to UBC courtesy of Juliette Freybe
details to follow on where to meet etc...maybe organize carpool.

Wednesday November 30th: Final meeting of the year.


I still have yet to collect cheques from a few of you. Please drop them off at my house or give them to me on November 9th. Thanks very much.

Payable to: Greater Vancouver Food Bank in amount of $200
memo line: donation to Project Chef from mCentred
Thanks everyone

Minutes for September 14th 2016

Good afternoon Ladies,

It was great to see the majority of the group this morning. It is unfortunate that a few of you had to miss this due to colds/fevers. It seems too soon to start the battle with the school viruses. I wish everyone a speedy recovery because this nice weather won’t last long.

We had the pleasure of Avis Hartley speaking (very poetically I might add) to our group. She recited many of her poems, shared her illustrations and revealed her inspirations for her work. Her articulation was very calming. Although her poems are marketed for children, they are also very much enjoyed by adults. Avis did a superb job of explaining various styles of poems such as acrostics, quintet, etc. She revealed that she always an image in her mind when writing a poem and the rhyme comes second. Her first book, Leap into Poetry, came out in 2000 followed by 5 others. Some of us were fortunate enough to purchase some of these. Avis is currently trying to get her latest book of poetry on Bees published, some of which we had the pleasure of listening to her recite. I am going to follow up on this with her. On a final note, she encouraged us to read a few lines of poems to our children on a daily basis….good for the soul.

A couple of Avis's books of poetry worthy to read:

The Monarch's Progress: Poems with Wings

African Acrostics: A word in Edgeways

Hard to believe that Fall is around the corner and with that the final few meetings of 2016. I will remind you of our fall dates:

Wednesday October 12th: Mario Canseco, Vice President of Insight West, Mario is a pollester who will give us some thoughts on the US election

Wednesday November 9th: Juliette’s field trip to UBC

Wednesday, November 30th: Final meeting for the year
I have no speaker booked as I think this would be a great opportunity to discuss the future of mCentred. Please think about what you would like to see happen, how you may want to get involved.

Lee Ann suggested that perhaps we change the format of how mCentred has been run. Having a group of people take on various tasks to organize the year. I think this is an excellent idea. It is very overwhelming to have just one person be in charge of running everything. It takes commitment from everyone but in the end, it will be a worthy endeavour. I really hope one of you will step up as Leader…it is an awesome opportunity and you have a great team already behind you.

Important news:
Two of our members have departed due to personal obligations. Sarah  has taken on managing an art gallery. Cynthia decided to move back to Nova Scotia. It was very hard on her and her children to be so far away from her husband and Father. Both Ladies really enjoyed their time with mCentred. Hoping to persuade Cynthia to come out for a visit and time it with one of our meetings.

Minutes for June 2016 meeting

Hello Ladies

Thank you to those who were able to make it on Wednesday.
We enjoyed a delightful talk by Susan Erdmann.
Susan talked to us about Seva, a Vancouver based organization whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world.
Susan has an artistic and creative background and these skills came out in her presentation. She ran a successful design business in Vancouver. After having travelled throughout Asia, in particular the Himalayas, she wanted to do some volunteer work with a NGO in these areas. She started off as a donor, then volunteering and eventually becoming a board member for Seva.
She plays a key role in both raising funds and public awareness through presentations on the photos and stories she has collected on Seva's work in Tibet and Nepal.
Her talk on Wednesday focused on the culture and history of the Tibetan people Seva is helping.
75% of the blindness in these regions is caused by cataracts. Poor diet, altitude and sun exposure are contributing factors. 14,000 Tibetan go blind every year. Seva has been operating for 20 years in Tibet. Seva helps train the local doctors (6 ophthamologists) to enable them to be self-sustaining. Seva funds an average of 7000 cataract surgeries annually.
Susan's presentation was visually outstanding. Her beautiful pictures of the Tibetan plateau were jaw dropping. Her narrative was poetic as she described the environment, weather patterns, plants and vegetation, wildlife, birds, and the culture of these colourfully dressed people. One thing that resonated with me was how friendly and welcoming the Tibetan people are. Susan explained how important it is for each individual to contribute to the well being of their community. It is devastating for those who are blinded by cataracts as they feel helpless, useless and a burden to their family, friends and community. Often another family member has to give up their chance at education or work to help their blind family member. Some would rather die than survive. Thus, this 3 minute surgery is life changing for them. They say if you restore sight to one person, you give back 2 lives to the community. An inspiring story.
We have a break for summer and our next meeting will be on September 14th with Avis Harley, children's poet and illustrator.
Also on the fall schedule:
++++ I have to clarify this date +++October 11th: Mario Canseco, pollster ...will give some insights on pending American election
November 9th: field trip organized by Juliet
November30: final meeting: future of mCentred
Thanks !
Have a super great summer.
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Minutes for May 2016 meeting

Dear Ladies

1) Thanks for coming out today to hear Susan Bibbings presentation. It was two-fold.
She first explained the background of Lotusland Imports.
While working in Tanzania in 2009, she became aware of the local women, struggling to make money. It was bothersome to see them destroy forests just to make charcoal to sell. She happened to meet two women in the Kilimanjaro airport waiting room: Rossella Rossi (Founder and president of the Italian environmental protection NGO Istituto Oikos and Oikos East Africa) and Safari Lodge owner Tati Oliver. They were also very troubled by watching the local deforestation. These women came up with an idea of how the Maasai women could make money through a innovative collaborative opportunity that would provide a sustainable income source. They seconded Francesca Soldini of the Istituto Europea di Design in Milan to teach an annual design course where students could learn about the Maasai beading culture. These students then must design jewellery that reflects both the exotic workmanship of the Maasai and Italian style. The Maasai women in Kilimanjaro use their artisian skills to create these modern designs. It is direct trade which means that the women make money based on the amount of jewellery they make. Susan brought in a small sample of rings, bracelets, necklaces, purses and wallets. Lee Ann Steynes has kindly offered to host a trunk show so that we may look at some more of Lotusland's beautiful products. I will keep you informed of when that will happen.
The second part of her talk was about her experiences of opening up a school in Kanenwa , Fumagila, Tanzania ( an hour away from Lake Victoria), called Dream Big Montessori school. It was very impressive to hear about Susan's fundraising efforts and her collaboration with BCIT students to create an eco friendly, sustainable school. It was very moving to hear her express how the corruptness of local police and mafia threatened her and almost took her life and end this project. Her courage, perserverance and determination resulted in the establishment of a successful school which continues to evolve. For more information , google: dreambigmontessorischool.wordpress.com
2) **last meeting before summer break**
Wednesday June 1st: Susan Erdman will speak about Seva Canada. Seva is a Vancouver based organization who mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world. Her presentation will focus on some work they did in Tibet. Sounds very fascinating.
This will be downtown 1000am until noon.
Please let me know of your attendance.

Minutes from April 2016 meeting

Hello Ladies

Great meeting last Wednesday with Catherine Regehr. It is always inspirational to hear how someone started a business and managed to survive the ups and downs and sustain it success. I think we all took something home from that meeting:
1) Follow your passion and go for the best educational opportunities that you can find and manage
2) Keep it simple and find a niche for your product
3) Stay true to your values and beliefs
4) Don't sell your self short, you work hard and should be compensated likewise.
for those shoe lovers:
5) Wear only the best shoes...Prada!
Seriously, we appreciated Catherine's talk and stunning designs.

Minutes from March 2016 meeting

Hello Ladies

Thank you for coming to our meeting yesterday. I started off the meeting by reading some letters written by teachers from Lord Strathcona School and Van Horne Elementary schools thanking us for our contribution to Project Chef. Both were able to participate in the week long cooking experience.
Some positive comments noted by these teachers:
"children are cooking on the weekend and are proud to tell their classmates what healthy meals they have made, and children are bringing healthier snacks to school"
"several ESL children who were not speaking very much this year, are speaking more than ever"
"children are helping set the table and washing dishes at home, and children are cooperating more in their groups and saying 'thank you' more often."
"we could see from the students' engagement and in their reflective writing how much they gained in skills, knowledge and self-confidence"
Both schools felt Project Chef was a fantastic opportunity and would not have been possible without our generous support.
Big THANKS to you all and our speakers for this making happen.
We had the fortunate experience of having Beth Freeman speak to us yesterday. She wrote and directed, Sisters in Arms, a documentary on women in combat. This documentary was inspired by the bravery of her sister, Tamar, a patrol medic who was deployed to Afghanistan. Beth followed the stories of 3 women (Tamar, Kimberly and Katie) in the most difficult and dangerous military professions. Kimberly worked as an engineer assembling weapons. Her husband is also in the military and they take turns going on assignment. The predominant difficults she faced was being away from her 3 children and dealing with her husband's post traumatic stress disorder.
Katie fought on the front lines. Despite the difficulties they faced as women in a male dominated profession, the physical challenges of the job, personal sacrifices made to get there, and the emotional pain from comrades killed over there: all 3 loved their jobs, time and contribution to the military.

You can watch the entire 48 min documentary by clicking on this link:


Important stuff for April:

1) next meeting: April 6 with Catherine Regehr , a fashion designer. Nicola has kindly arranged this.
2) Fundraiser in my home on Thursday evening April 14th:

Meeru Dwhala, author, chef and co-owner of Indian restaurants Vij's and Rangoli

I would like you guys to send me the names and emails of friends you would like to invite. Don't worry about how many you want to invite as experience tells me that not everyone can make it. Please send me names of whoever you would like to bring. **I would like these by the end of this weekend, Sunday March 6th as I would like to get my invite out through Paperless Post by Wednesday March 9th of next week.
How much? Members are free as this is included in your membership fees. The cost for your friends is $50. Your friends will get a tax receipt.
Meeru will give a talk about 30 minutes and then answer questions. I think asking her to cook is going to be challenging with lots of guests. She is an amazing speaker! She is super energetic, funny and very inspiring. It will be a treat for all. I am encouraging you all to invite your friends.
She has many of her own causes and is happy to do this for Project Chef.
And...she is going to bring some food. However, I would like us to bring some food and wine. When we get closer to the date, I will ask some of you to bring food and others to bring wine. I will get some Pellegrino sponsored. I am confident that The Secret Tea garden will provide some goodies too.
Thats all for now!

Minutes from February 3rd 2016

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful long weekend.  
Thanks to all that we are able to attend our meeting last week.  We had the pleasure of hearing Cea Person speak to us about her book:
North of Normal:  A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Counterculture Family and How I Survived Both
Cea presented a photo history of her story, read some passages from her book and spoke very eloquently about her upbringing.  It was personable, candid, and astonishing at the same time.  I highly encourage you to read the book.  It is quite shocking and revealing.   It is unfathomable how her Mother exposed her to a life with drugs, sex,  the harsh elements of the wilderness survival and the impoverished conditions of city life. Yet is a story of resilience, courage, love and understanding.  
One of the quotes from the book that resonated with me was when Cea met a homeless man on a hike on a North Shore.  She was reminded of her Grandfather's belief in all that one needed was food, water, shelter and clothing.  She says to the homeless person, "There is something he (her Grandfather) forgot.  More than anything, everyone needs a family." (page 290)
check out Cea's website:
Next meeting: Wednesday March 2nd
Who:  Beth Freeman (change in speaker as Vicki Greenwood is not able to attend)
Beth will talk about her documentary on women in combat.  I will send you links to it once I get confirmation from her.
Where: downtown
Subsequent meetings:
April 6th: Catherine Regehr
April 14th (Thursday evening) Meeru Dhawala in my home 
May11th: Susan Bibbings
Planning for mini fundraiser in my home:  Thursday evening April 14th
Members do not pay as this is included in your membership fees.
Please invite your friends or family to come.
What is everyone's though on how much we should charge our guests?
In the past, we have asked for $50.  If this seems reasonable, we can keep it at that or do you feel like we could charge more?
Meeru will bring a little bit of food.  I usually ask members to donate something to bring either food or wine.  
All proceeds will go to Project Chef.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Donations for Project Chef:
I have collected some cheques from the following people:
Barb H
For those who have not given me cheques, you can do so at the next meeting.
I would like to give them to Barb before March Break.
Please make cheque to :  Greater Vancouver Food Bank
on memo line:  For Project Chef from mCentred
Thanks so much
Please RVSP for next meeting.

Minutes from January 20, 2016

Good morning Ladies

We started our 10th year on Wednesday.  There was something going around as we missed a handful of members due to illnesses, sick children or injuries.  I hope everyone is on the mend.  Its that time of the year.  I almost got side swiped by the flu bug myself as my daughter was unwell on the weekend and thankfully she pulled through. 
Having a smaller group attend this week allowed us to get to know each other better.  I always look forward to this one meeting of the year where I do not have a speaker scheduled to allow ourselves to re-group, review our year, examine what we are doing, and consider a charity.
Recap of 2015:
We had another great year of inspiring speakers starting with nutritionist, Haley Barton, and ending with Aart Shuurman Hess, CEO of Greater Vancouver Food Bank.  We raised $11,800 from membership fees plus additional $25,000 from the Summer Harvest Fundraiser...all of which has gone directly to Project Chef.  
Since 2007, mCentred has raised $120,000 (in just 9 years)!!!  Everyone of you and past members should feel really good about that.
mCentred website:
We took a moment to look at the website.  I encourage you guys to look at it every once and awhile.  If you have any comments/feedback, please let me know. Roderick Houben designed, put together and maintains our website.  I have found it extremely helpful when I try to find speakers for the group.
In 2011, mCentred supported the Rare Disease Foundation (check our website). Dr.  Clara Van Karnebeek, a former member and also a clinician-scientist who is a co-leader for TIDE-BC (Treatable Intellectual Disability Endeavour).  This organization has physicians, families, volunteers, scientists working together to find solutions for children and their families.  Our donation helped a little boy named, Ayzac and his family, to receive care and treatment and help Clara's team figure out his genetic condition.
Clara sent me the following message:
"Please read the article published about the little boy Ayzac with unexplained mitochondrial disease - the cause of his genetic condition was identified and published in 2015. It helped many others around the world.
Furthermore an interview with mom Krystal, who came to speak with us, is posted on our TIDE BC site: http://tidebc.org/pa/Ayzac/
 Sadly Ayzac passed away in 2014 Oct but knowing the cause of his issues really helped the family cope.
Furthermore, we are about to publish the newborn screening project for GAMT deficiency - first in the world using this technology.
This also will help patients worldwide to identify the disease at birth and prevent irreversible brain damage."
mCentred attendance
When you become a member of mCentred, you are making a commitment to yourself, other members, the charity and our guest speakers.  I have not had any issues with anyone in the past with regards to this.  It has been a real joy to lead this group.  I find that I still excited when a speaker comes and has a profound affect on us.  
We talked about what is the ideal group size for membership.  The consensus seems to be to a maximum of 25.  I don't think the boardrooms could hold much more and anymore members would decrease the intimacy of the group.  
Everyone agreed that a minimum of 15 people is ideal for guest speakers who take the time out of their busy day, volunteer and make the effort to put together a presentation.  
Members are obliged to give me a response to a RVSP request.  If members cannot make it due to illness, please let me know sooner than later and then I can work on getting guest attendees to come in.  
Who can attend meetings?
Committed members.  I am not in favour of friends feeling like coming when it suits them or if there only interested in 1 or 2 of the guest speakers because that doesn't foster a commitment to mCentred. However, occasionally the attendance is low due to legitimate reasons.  The universe works in strange ways and sometimes I get a whole bunch of members cancelling out at the last minute without even knowing anyone else has.  The group recognizes that perhaps it is okay to bend the rules once in awhile and we came up the following exceptions:
1) Mothers/sisters:  Especially if they are visiting out of town.
2) Alumni of mCentred.  It is a perk that you have made a huge commitment and are ready to move on but still can come occasionally, you are welcome to drop in.
3) If the attendance is down due to unforeseen illness/personal circumstances.  If it is looking like only 10 people can come, I will email everyone to see if they can bring a friend in to attend that meeting.   This may encourage an interest in joining by that friend.
I hope I have not confused anyone.
***If you have a friend who would be interested in joining , please let me know***
We have 21 members currently.
Kitty Fund:
Lee Ann has graciously volunteered to collect $30 from everyone.  She will take cash, cheque or can do an electronic transfer.  This covers expenses such as website maintenance, gifts for speakers and staff of Fasken Martineau.  
Lee Ann's email for e transfer:  lsteyns@shaw.ca
Bari has also volunteered again to buy gifts.
Thank you ladies!!
Dates for Guest Speakers:
Feb 3: Cea Person
March 2 Vicki Greenwood
April 6th: Catherine Regehr
April 14th (Thursday evening) in my home : Fundraiser for friends and family.
Meeru Dhalwala
May TBA:  Susan Bibbings
Fall speakers?
Ideas?  Please let me know.
Juliette Freybe has offered to look into a visit to the Library at UBC to look at the Asian side.  There is an old Professor who can talk about how the Asians started here. She made it sounds much more interesting than how I am describing it right now.  
Charity to support:
Barb Finely gave us a verbal report on the great things that Project Chef is doing:
- working in 9 schools, 1200 students, lots of parent volunteers
- running 2 PD Days for teachers and how to incorporate PC into their curriculum
-adapting the program for a student who is blind
-teach both in french and english
-partnership with food bank: ensures there food and equipment gets transported to and from schools
-running camps at Spring Break and Summer
-working on adapting it for deaf participants
-Barb loves the teamwork aspect of making creative food together and really feels a sense of accomplishment when a child who claims to never have eaten or tried a fruit or vegetable , ends up loving them.
-our funds enable 3 schools to participate
-she is extremely grateful for our support
-no overhead costs...all donations and monies raised by the fundraiser went to Project Chef
I am a firm believe in continual support for a  Charity that is accountable to the money we have given them.  As with our experience with Spring House Shelter, great things get down and more people benefit...thus more goodness comes out it.  For this reason, I have not gone out to second thoughts on other charities to support.  
I would like put forth supporting Project Chef for another year.  Please email me on whether you would like to support this decision.  
I feel like I have talked enough.  Sorry for this lengthly email.  Glad to see everyone and look forward to our year!

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