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RTS-CommunityWinners
RTS-CommunityWinners2

Pita Pit recognizes local businesses and organizations for their Refuse To Settle mindset, and for making a commitment to changing lives in your community.

The winners proved this mindset by:

Making kindness a routine
Always becoming better

Making meaningful change
Thinking about traditional problems in new, innovative and disruptive ways

Inspiring others
Advocating for those in need

The Winners

Check out these local businesses or organizations that do things a little differently, break the norm, and Refuse to Settle for second best.

Winners of a $1000 cash donation are:

RTS-RunwayForChange

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
130-1400 Ellice Ave. Winnipeg, MB

Learn more at: therunwaytochange.com

The Runway To Change
Winnipeg, MB

What they do:

The Runway To Change is a fashion show event to raise money as well as much needed clothing fro the homeless population in Winnipeg.

How they Refuse to Settle:

This event started as a project for two young women in the Creative Communications program at Red River College in Winnipeg. Mandy and Ashley saw an opportunity with the knowledge and skills they had acquired from the courses in the program, to not just do a project, but to make a difference in their community as well. They have an annual fashion show(this is the second year), that helps to raise money as well as much needed clothing for Winnipeg’s homeless population. With our extreme climate proper clothing can mean life or death. But that is only half of their goal. The other, is to raise awareness and end the stigma associated with homelessness on the streets. Being homeless and on the streets is not always due to substance abuse or laziness, contrary to popular belief. Mental illness or unfortunate circumstances are just a couple examples in how people end up there. They are someone’s sister, brother, mother, father, auntie, uncle, cousin or friend. Maddy and Ashley continue to grow their cause and are incredibly inspiring young women who REFUSE TO SETTLE.

Le Phare

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Bouctouche, NB

Learn more on their Facebook page.

Le Phare des services communautaires
Bouctouche, NB

What they do:

Le Phare is a non-profit organization that designs, implements and manages service programs to ensure the well-being of people with special needs and adults with loss of autonomy.

How they Refuse to Settle:

This organization is simply astonishing. Even after over 35 years of service, they never stop going the extra mile for these amazing people. Everyone that works or volunteers at le Phare des services communautaires has a deep love for what they do.

They do so many great things for their clients and for the community. People in their programs are encouraged to sing and reenact plays and deliver their performances throughout the community. Each year, they build a garden that they personally maintain. They run a recycling program for the community, build partnerships with schools and do so much more.

Le Phare does not restrict the activities of their clients; instead, they are brought into the community where they’re able to participate in and do things they’re passionate about — like arts and gardening.

The people and the families of the people that attend le Phare are so fortunate to have this organization. Though the organization is often faced with funding challenges, they never give up. Le Phare has put so many smiles on so many amazing faces, I would love for us to be able to do the same for them.

CMHA Alberta Southeast

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
#035

Learn more at: cmha-aser.ca

Canadian Mental Health Association – Alberta Southeast Region
Alberta

What they do:

The Canadian Mental Health Association in Southeast Alberta is a voluntary organization that promotes the mental health of our community and supports those individuals with mental health issues.

How they Refuse to Settle:

They REFUSE to SETTLE by:

  • Gaining acceptance within the community and making mental health an acceptable topic to talk about.
  • Teaching that all individuals should have a personally satisfying quality of life by bringing their demons to the forefront — and conquering them — through the use of a number of resources.
  • Giving support wherever and whenever needed.
  • Coming up with different ways to raise money.
Sandy Pines

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Napanee

Learn more at: sandypineswildlife.org

Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre
Napanee, ON

What they do:

Sandy Pines is a wildlife rescue facility. Since 2002, they have been helping injured and orphaned wildlife in and around the Napanee area.

They also help neighbouring property owners who may be having issues with wildlife on their properties, and offer humane solutions to solve these conflicts. There are more than 200 volunteers that help with the needs and care of nearly 3,500 animals per year.

How they Refuse to Settle:

On January 12th, 2018, Sandy Pines suffered a major fire on their property. Most animals were spared, but sadly two did not survive. The fire destroyed their feed barn, along with almost all the feed that would sustain the animals through the cold winter months. This did not dampen their spirits! They REFUSE TO SETTLE when faced with adversity. The community is banding together to help raise funds and all manner of supplies that are associated with running such a facility. This spring, they will be hosting a Barn Raising event and any amount of funding they can generate will go a very long way.

Autonomie Jeunesse

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Trois-Rivières, QC

Learn more at: autonomiejeunesse.com

Autonomie Jeunesse
Trois-Rivières, QC

What they do:

Autonomie Jeunesse is a local non-profit organization that helps 16 to 25 year-olds with personal, education, social and professional adaptation problems. In 2017, they housed 50 participants and helped 277 become autonomous.

How they Refuse to Settle:

People with difficulties in this age group are often overlooked. They have had a difficult childhood, usually with no good role models or encouragement. We expect them to become a productive part of the community once they reach a certain age, but they don’t know what this means. The Autonomie Jeunesse organization has been able to maintain these services even without government financial support. Everything they have accomplished has been through donations from individuals and foundations.

Most of the team of 10 employees have been there since the beginning — and have remained there through years of financial challenges — to help build the program to what it is today. And, despite these challenges, they are working on a new day centre to accommodate more individuals. That is what I call Refusing to Settle!

Isthmus

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Thunder Bay, ON

Learn more at: gronmorgan.lakeheadschools.ca

Isthmus – École Gron Morgan Elementary School
Thunder Bay, ON

What they do:

Isthmus is a Canadian charity that provides food for hungry students during the weekends. While many students are supported by school lunch programs, Isthmus is one of the only programs in the country to provide students with reliable access to food that bridges the food gap they experience over weekends.

How they Refuse to Settle:

In Thunder Bay, the organization is currently running in 9 schools; however, it is working to raise money to be established in École Gron Morgan Elementary School. There are 100 students who would benefit from this program. Currently, it’s being funded by the national Isthmus program — but this is only temporary. The goal is to establish enough funds for 3 years in order for the organization to fully commit to the school. It costs $120 per child to feed them for the 3 years… therefore, $36,000 is required.

On February 12th, 2018, parents and staff of the school organized a quiz night fundraiser at a local restaurant to continue the fundraising effort. To assist with the efforts, we donated a $500 dollar gift card for auction.

If Isthmus is selected as one of the recipients, Pita Pit Thunder Bay will match head office’s contribution.

Slate youth

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Truro, NS

Learn more at: archwaycounselling.ca/slate

Slate Youth Centre
Truro, NS

What they do:

Slate is a gathering place for Truro youth aged 10–18.

Whether they are participating in group cooking sessions, working on art projects, watching movies, playing video games, or surfing the web, Slate teens are engaged by adult volunteers who encourage them to learn valuable life skills, contribute to the community and make healthy decisions. Their volunteers are committed to making each teen feel welcome, appreciated and valued both as an individual and as part of the community. They believe that all youth are deserving of the best level of service they can provide.

They endeavour to meet each teen where they are at and encourage them to rise to to their potential. Their programs and workshops are developed and offered in direct response to the needs they see in Slate teens.

How they Refuse to Settle:

They are a second home to many Truro teens. It’s a place for them to relax, recharge and relate. They offer acceptance and support to everyone who comes through their doors. They don’t judge. They teach everyone in their programs that they have value and potential.

Slate’s drop-in times and programs are offered free-of-charge, and special events are offered at reduced cost so that there is no financial barrier for teens who want to access their services. They fundraise throughout the year to make their programs possible. Over the years, they have helped teens who felt like they were write-offs begin to see hope.Their greatest encouragement comes when many of their former teens come back as young adults to thank them for teaching them skills they needed to navigate the adult world, supporting them when they were in crisis, and encouraging them to be the best person they can be.

Many of their volunteers are Slate teens who have grown up and come back to help other teens because Slate had such an impact on their lives. They’re an amazing group with awesome volunteers doing it all on a shoestring budget.

Crossroads

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Sydney, NS

Learn more at: crossroadscapebreton.ca

Crossroads Cape Breton
Sydney, NS

What they do:

Crossroads Cape Breton is a clubhouse program for individuals with mental health and addiction troubles. It is an intentional community of hope and opportunity to help people with mental illness to recover and reclaim their lives accomplished through education, peer support and a focus on people’s strengths and talents.

How they Refuse to Settle:

Crossroads Cape Breton takes a REFUSE TO SETTLE attitude helping individuals. Everything they do assists people to address the barriers they face head on. Those barriers and realities are living in poverty, living with high unemployment and social marginalism.
They REFUSE TO SETTLE with the social barriers mental illness presents.

Crossroads has their members’ backs by offering transportation service in rural communities, education and employment support, assistance with housing and a nutritious meal program.

Crossroads continues to break down barriers and DO THE RIGHT THING through public education.

Crossroads STAYS HUNGRY by constantly seeking out employment positions with local employers. Employment is one of the most effective ways to attain a healthy, positive life.

BEING FANATICAL ABOUT WHAT THEY DO, Crossroads changes lives through fighting the isolation people experience. They are in contact with by people each day and spread a message of care and hope. Outreach and peer support are considered some of the most powerful tools for recovery.

Healthy eating and living are central in the recovery process. Crossroads STAYS FRESH by cooking with natural ingredients and growing their own herbs.

Crossroads constantly strives to improve what they do and just GET BETTER EVERY DAY. They see every day the impact that serious mental illness has on people in the community and feel every person has the right to opportunities for growth happiness and success.

Shelter Bay

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
2400 Dundas St. West, Mississauga, ON

Learn more at: schools.peelschools.org

Special Units Program, Shelter Bay Public School
Mississauga, ON

What they do:

Sarah is the Classroom Teacher in the Special Units Program at Shelter Bay Public School in Mississauga. All of her students have developmental disabilities, which are unique from one another. Sarah tries to offer field trips, musical therapy sessions and invites guest speakers in.

How they Refuse to Settle:

Sarah goes over and above in her position to help all the students reach their potential. She requires extra funding – which is not included in the school budget – for items such as wheelchair accessible buses for field trips. Music Therapy Sessions are a priority as these are used to target non musical goals such as communication, oral-motor movement and socialization.

Sarah Refuses to Settle with the resources she is given and acts as an advocate for her students. It is very inspiring to watch Sarah work with her students. Sarah was looking for ways to fundraise for her program, so she arranged Pita Pit School Lunches. Although she ran into roadblocks, she Refused to Settle for a “no” and found a solution to make the program work.

Sarah’s students Refuse to Settle as well — they help with marketing the program by making announcements, delivering pitas to students in the school and tallying the amount of pitas ordered.

We've got your back

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
St. Stephen, NB

Learn more at: wgyb.ca

We’ve Got Your Back Foundation – Charlotte County
St. Stephen, NB

What they do:

We’ve Got Your Back Foundation Inc. is a registered not-for-profit that was established to provide weekend food security for children and their families in Charlotte County. WGYB has volunteer shoppers, packers and drivers that distribute 60 bags of groceries to children via their schools each Friday to provide some food security over the weekend.

One in 4 children in New Brunswick don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Schools do a lot with breakfast and lunch programs, but many students don’t like weekends because there often isn’t food at home.

One hundred percent of the monies raised for WGYB go to buying groceries for children in our area.

How they Refuse to Settle:

They have identified a need and are restoring confidence in our children. No child should ever be worried they won’t have enough food to eat. WGYB’s efforts demonstrate that there is compassion in a world that doesn’t always seem fair. Their work is crucial in building a solid foundation for our future community and this value directly lines up with Pita Pit’s standards: healthy habits, healthy choices, strong futures, and the refuse to settle attitude.

LiveWorkPlay

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Ottawa, ON

Learn more at: liveworkplay.ca

LiveWorkPlay
Ottawa, ON

What they do:

LiveWorkPlay helps the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work and play as valued citizens. Based in Ottawa, they provide direct support to more than 100 people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, as well as individuals with autism. Each person supported has their own plan, with objectives that may be related to housing, employment or life in the community. With the help of more than 150 volunteers and 200 employers and community organizations, LiveWorkPlay is changing lives through improved access to quality affordable housing, great jobs with inclusive employers, and engagement with arts, culture and recreation alongside other citizens for fellowship
and friendship.

How they Refuse to Settle:

Every time I interact with this organization they are passionate about what they do. They never stop improving and never stop changing lives — this is exactly the type of organization that deserves more recognition!

Talbot teen centre

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
St. Thomas, ON

Learn more at: talbotteencentre.com

Talbot Teen Centre
St. Thomas, ON

What they do:

Youth at the Talbot Teen Centre come from all walks of life and are supported by people willing to advocate and listen without judgement or ridicule. The centre promotes programs such as healthy cooking, art club, game time, and many life skills activities.

Youth in Elgin County are often faced with stressful situations such as homelessness, mental health issues and family or relationship issues. The Talbot Teen Centre assist youth with finding living arrangements, financial support and mental wellness promotion on a daily basis. In return youth grow more confident, get involved in their community and can navigate their hardships with a more positive mindset for their future.

How they Refuse to Settle:

These kids come from broken homes and participate in this program to stay off the streets and give back. They engage with the community and volunteer at local businesses and charities to learn the tools necessary to change their lives and make a difference in their futures.

Brant Community

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Brantford, ON

Learn more at: bchsys.org

The Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation
Brantford, ON

What they do:

This organization is responsible for charity efforts to support the Brantford General Hospital.

How they Refuse to Settle:

The foundation is a great community partner. We work together for various events throughout the year. They are a great team that does great things for the hospital and the community it serves.

Big Brother Big Sister Moncton

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Moncton, NB

Learn more at: moncton.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Moncton
Moncton, NB

What they do:

Each Big Brothers Big Sisters agency provides direct service to children by matching volunteers and youths in quality mentoring relationships. Staff members are experts at screening volunteers and matching them with a mentor having similar interests.

How they Refuse to Settle:

Many children and youth in Canada struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives like detrimental living conditions, family violence, risk factors for mental health, school issues and identity challenges.These circumstances have nothing to do with the value of who they are or who they can become, but because of these situations, children and youth risk not having the opportunity to live up to their full potential.

Big Brothers Big Sisters matches volunteers and youths in quality mentoring relationships. With the guidance and support of a mentor, these risks can be reduced or even avoided, and youth are reminded they can be anything they dream of being!

BBBS Muskoka

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Bracebridge, ON

Learn more at: muskoka.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muskoka
Bracebridge, ON

What they do:

Big Brother Big Sisters enrolls children who are in need of mentorship and role modelling in a program that allows responsible adults to spend quality one-on-one time with them. This helps improve their lives with self-confidence, friendship, solid morals and values. The compound interest of mentoring a child is insurmountable in our society as our children will lead our future.

How they Refuse to Settle:

Rebecca Paul works endlessly to help improve children’s lives because she loves children. She, along with her husband and children, puts in endless personal time. They give much more than they ever receive and, with Muskoka being a small demographic, they have a very small budget to work with. There is nothing more important than mentoring our youth, particularly our girls, and Rebecca and the staff and volunteers at BBBS know this in and out. I personally have a Big Brother through this organization and can guarantee it is changing lives.

The ABLE network

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Aurora, ON

Learn more at: theablenetwork.ca

The ABLE Network
Richmond Hill and Aurora, ON

What they do:

The ABLE Network is a fantastic organization that encourages adults with intellectual disabilities to reach their full potential through access to better living and employment. The organization inspires them to continuously grow and learn.

How they Refuse to Settle:

They are a constant drive for their members that they guide, ensuring they continue to be involved and contribute to their community, and continuously grow to become independent adults where they can. Their desire to assist and encourage people with these disabilities demonstrates how they refuse to settle for anything less than what they can achieve!

Kinsmen

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
New Glasgow, NS

Learn more at: ngkinsmen.com

Kinsmen Club of New Glasgow
New Glasgow, NS

What they do:

The New Glasgow Kinsmen have been in operation in the community for 75 years. They supported 40 families last year through their Christmas for Families in Need program. They have a youth baseball program and a power skating program. They run a hockey equipment buy and sell. They make donations to the local food bank, MS Society of Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the local Aberdeen Health Foundation Oncology Client Fund (to help people with extra expenses related to their diagnosis and treatment) and much more.

How they Refuse to Settle:

They are consistently reaching out to serve the community’s greatest need. They engage the community in their work, and they are involved in many projects that make a difference throughout the community.

Bob's Hospice

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
Saint John, NB

Learn more at: hospicesj.ca

Bobby’s Hospice
Saint John, NB

What they do:

Bobby’s Hospice is our community’s 10-bed palliative care home that cares for over 115 people each year on their end of life journey. At Bobby’s Hospice, their focus of care is on comfort, not cure – and on life, not death. Their goal is to make each person’s last months of life as comfortable and meaningful as possible, while also providing support to family members and friends.

How they Refuse to Settle:

We believe Bobby’s Hospice should be chosen because the staff and environment make you feel comfortable in the hardest times of your life, and confident that your loved one is getting the care they deserve at the end of their journey in this life.

ONERUN

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
London, ON

Learn more at: onerun.ca

ONERUN – Theresa Carriere
London, ON

What they do:

Theresa founded and drives the ONERUN organization to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

How they Refuse to Settle:

In April 2007, Theresa went for her routine annual physical and, although she was only 43 years old with no history of breast cancer in her family, she insisted on a mammogram. Within a few weeks after a call from her doctor, she started a treatment program ultimately resulting in a double mastectomy. In response to this, Theresa decided to give back to the people who helped her by raising funds for breast cancer research.

In 2010, Theresa ran 100 km from London to Sarnia. She and the ONERUN team raised an incredible $180,000 for breast cancer research. The next year, Theresa ran another 100 km in one day raising $200,000. ONERUN’s momentum has continued to grow in the years since with an outstanding number of supporters and more money raised.

For the past 7 years, Theresa has been visiting schools across the province motivating students to reach their potential and teaching today’s youth that anything is possible. Because of that connection to youth, ONERUN has evolved into something truly spectacular.

In 2017, high schools across London, Ontario hosted their own ONERUN event and jointly raised over $100,000 for Wellspring. The event involved over 3,000 staff and students completing 100 kms of their own.

ONERUN continues to grow as more schools join forces in the battle against cancer. Community supporters and sponsors are excited about what lies ahead for this movement of hope. Funds raised will continue to be directed to cancer care programs at Wellspring and area hospitals.

Youth Parliament

Nominated by:
Pita Pit
4717 Lazelle Ave, #106, Terrace, BC

Learn more at: bcyp.org

British Columbia Youth Parliament
Vancouver, BC

What they do:

The British Columbia Youth Parliament is a youth-driven, non-profit, non-partisan and non-denominational organization that aims to further the development and well-being of the youth of British Columbia. The British Columbia Youth Parliament is composed of 97 British Columbians between the ages of 16 and 21. Each member is “elected” to represent a constituency and sit in the legislature for 5 days of the year. When sitting, members propose and pass bills that outline the various service-oriented projects that they strive to run throughout the year. These projects aim to develop and better the well-being of the youth of British Columbia, and are all organized and fundraised by youth parliamentarians, ultimately fulfilling their motto of “Youth Serving Youth”.

How they Refuse to Settle:

BCYP has a direct impact on the community in two ways; running service projects to better the community and organizing the local Regional Youth Parliament, the Northern British Columbia Youth Parliament (NBCYP). Throughout the year they run service projects to help better the community.

BCYP strives to make a difference in the communities of British Columbia and for the Youth of British Columbia. BCYP’s main service project is Camp Phoenix, where children aged 8 to 12, who would otherwise be unable go to camp, get to go to camp. Camp Phoenix is funded through the fundraising of the 97 members of BCYP and is not always a certainty for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the risks and challenges, the members of BCYP strive to not only make Camp Phoenix a reality but the members always put in the effort to make their communities a better place. BCYP impact and benefit communities across the province. These diverse and widespread impacts make the BCYP a unique and great organization that refuses to settle.