2008 Annual Report – Education and Health

2008 Annual Report of 
National Chairperson of Education and Health
Cecile Miller

Catholic Education
Catholic Schools and Catechesis
Members were involved in Catholic schools in a variety of ways: teaching; serving on school councils, boards and committees; organizing safe grads and a special mass for high school grads with dinner and gifts; volunteering for reading programs; helping with fundraisers; donating textbooks; working together with the school board to support Catholic education; and providing financial assistance. Letters were written in support of the value of Catholic schools and against the elimination of $17 million for literacy programs.

Members provided gifts of prayer books, mass booklets, rosaries and bibles and also taught catechism classes and children’s liturgy. First communicants and confirmation candidates received prayer angels and other gifts. Small gifts were given at baptism and reconciliation to celebrate these rites of passage.

Rites of Christian Initiation (RCIA)
Members actively participated in RCIA programs as animators, presenters, participants, team leaders, coordinators and sponsors. Some provided gifts to the candidates/catechumens; others provided financial support, offered CWL membership to women completing RCIA and hosted receptions following the Easter Vigil.

Literacy and Continuing Education 
Members promoted Family Literacy Day, reading and reviewing books and holding a book draw at a general meeting. They donated money to libraries for books and financially supported literacy and early literacy organizations. Some took courses at local universities; others attended League conferences, conventions, and accelerated reading nights. They were involved in instituting a spiritually focused library and an early learning centre. Members acted as tutors for challenged students, immigrant families, community college students and adult learners. They celebrated March as education month, and they volunteered with literacy programs and distributed reading materials. Diocesan and provincial councils organized courses. One parish council gave financial help to a disadvantaged student to further her education by attending a musical drama with local high school. Funds provided bursaries to three women attending the Coady International Institute.

Scholarships and Bursaries 
Councils continued to provide bursaries and scholarships either directly or by contributing to ones provided on the diocesan and provincial levels. One provincial council reported a new scholarship initiated by life members for the son or daughter of a member to study in the area of arts and culture. Some joined with the Knights of Columbus to give a bursary. One parish council gave a bursary and pin to a grade ten student with the highest mark in Canadian history, keeping in mind the motto ?For God and Canada?. Members and councils supported the National Bursary Fund, and the League gratefully acknowledges these donations.

Individuals 
Genevieve Holland, Elmira, Prince Edward Island
Loretta Gismondi, St. Paul the Apostle, Thornton, Ontario

Parish Councils 
St. Anthony, Glen Levit, New Brunswick
Immaculate Conception, Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador
St. Patrick, North East Margaree, Nova Scotia
Our Lady of Loretto and St. Mark, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador
St. Dunstan, Scarborough, Ontario

Wellness and Sickness/Disease
Members addressed many issues through donations, canvassing, hosting information sessions, inviting guest speakers to their meetings and parish. Organizations supported include MaterCare International, leprosy relief, HIV/AIDS foundations, eyeglass collections, palliative care and hospice programs, Montreal Children’s Hospital, Canadian Cancer Society, Alzheimer Society of Canada, Lifeline, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Cohn’s & Colitis Foundation of Canada, Canadian Red Cross, Fidelis House and Teen Aid. Members promoted community events such as breast cancer screening, blood drives, the Terry Fox Run and the Cape Breton Relay Race for the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. Financial assistance was given to camps for children with cancer. Petitions were sent re: shortfalls in health care funding and long wait times for treatment. Petitions were also sent to advocate for the funding of services for autistic children.

Resolution 2007.03 Hospice Palliative Care: An Integral Component of the Canadian Health Care System, Resolution 2008.02 Restrictions on the Sale of Products Containing Triclosan, Resolution 2008.03 Toxic Substances in Household Products and Resolution 2008.04 Accurate Food Labelling were discussed and actions were taken such as letter writing. Letters were also written about the conditions at a local hospital Many reported promoting green products as well as reading labels carefully to understand the difference between ?Made in Canada? and ?Product of Canada? to educate themselves and make informed decisions before purchasing. Members were informed about products containing triclosan and were discouraged from purchasing products containing it.

Environment
Members continued to actively promote care for the environment by encouraging shopping locally, recycling, reducing, reusing, composting, using biodegradable products, participating in ecological practices such as doing away with Styrofoam and plastics at home and during League functions, being educated shoppers and good stewards of the environment, and participating in waste watch and roadside clean-up. Letters on environmental issues were written.

Genetics
This sub-committee was a challenge for some members. Actions undertaken included working with a pro-life organization to make members aware of stem cell research and in vitro fertilization, using the Catholic Organization for Life and Family publication on stem cell research, studying Bioethics Matters: A Guide for Concerned Catholics, learning about embryonic stem cells, placenta and cord blood cells, cord blood banks, the right to farm genetically modified free seed and listening to speakers on genetically modified foods, gene therapy and stem cell research. Petitions were sent advocating the ban of terminator seed and the regulation of natural supplements.

Members across Canada are to be commended for the amount of work and number of hours devoted to the work of promoting education, literacy, wellness, and care for the environment as compiled in this report. It shows the work accomplished by only one of the standing committees as members ?share with others at home and abroad the good things [they] have been given?.