The Daily Bread Food Bank lacks funding this holiday season

By Andrea Iseman
Off-Campus News Editor
Published: December 11, 2008

The world wide economy troubles have an effect on a local food bank. The Daily Bread Food Bank has noticed a 15 per cent drop in donations this year but the number of food bank users has increased.

With files from Daily Planet reporter Karolina Walczak.

Santa Clause Parade a success, attracting hundreds of thousands

By Andrea Iseman
Off-Campus News Editor
Published: December 11, 2008

The Santa Clause Parade was held on Sunday November 18, 2008 on a cold, snowy afternoon. As usual, the parade attracted hundreds of thousands of people from all across the province, and beyond. See below for the photo gallery, or click here to see it on The Daily Planet website.

Students on assistance to keep more of income

By Andrea Iseman
Off-Campus News Editor
Published: December 11, 2008

student assistanceStudents on social assistance can expect to not have the income they earn from their jobs reduce their social assistance.

An Ontario poverty reduction strategy released last week has new provisions for students on social assistance.

Taking effect immediately, students who are on social assistance, or who have parents on social assistance, will have their earnings fully exempt as income.

“What it means is a son or daughter on social assistance, or an adult on social assistance who is going back to school, can earn money without that jeopardizing their social assistance,” said Deb Matthews, minister responsible for women’s issues and chair of the cabinet committee on poverty reduction.

The new provision is part of the larger picture in recognizing the importance of all levels of education, starting from kindergarten all the way up to post-secondary, said Matthews.

In addition, the Ontario government has tripled the number of non-repayable grants available to students, such as the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant, which limits repayable student loan debt to $7,000 per year.

“There is no better protector against poverty than a good education,” said Matthews.

Manager of Financial Aid at Humber, Holsee Sahid said the new provisions are a great idea in helping students pay for their education.

“I think social assistance funding, lets face it, is not a whole lot of money,” Sahid said. “If [students] are able to work, I don’t see that’s a problem. I think it is a good idea to have students work, especially living in Toronto, where the cost of living is very high.”

As well, the strategy also makes mention of increased funding to colleges and universities. As part of the plan, $970 million will be invested to build and improve the places where students learn, and $560 million to expand and improve training and apprenticeship programs across the province.

Humber Students Federation Vice-President of Administration at the North Campus, Amanda Connolly said any money that goes into post-secondary education is helpful.

“I think it will allow colleges to keep their equipment updated, which will increase our institutions’ competitive edge because we are learning using the most recent technology and equipment,” said Connolly.

Connolly also mentioned Ontario’s textbook and technology grant, which was implemented this year and gave some students a cheque for $150. Connolly said the grant was a step in the right direction, but needs to be increased.

To see this article on its original website, click here.

Humber’s dining, food and catering personnel honoured with luncheon

By Andrea Iseman
Off-Campus News Editor
Published: December 11, 2008

luncheonThe luncheon brought out HSF reps, as well as staff from campus food and dining services.

Humber Students Federation joined forces this week with facilities, campus services and food services to give back to those employees.

The luncheon on Dec.9 featured a variety of foods including meatballs, sandwiches and cookies, as a way for HSF to show appreciation for all the hard work and dedication campus services employees provide.

“It is time to recognize those people and they work they do, because so often it is overlooked and expected,” said Amanda Connolly, HSF vice-president of administration at the North Campus.

Having worked at Williams, Connolly knows how hard employees on campus work.

“I never realized how taxing a job it is – it takes a lot out of you,” she said. “Those employees and people in those positions, you just think it is something that you should have, but it takes people to have good service and a clean school.”

This is the first time HSF is teaming up with all departments on campus to throw a joint Christmas party and Connolly said it is something that should be carried on every year.

“I just thought it would be nice to have a little luncheon, a social time for them, where they can be with their friends and do what we do,” said Connolly.

Monica Allen and Diana Barcho, employees in catering services, said the luncheon was a great way for them to enjoy each other’s company outside a work environment, and to see people they haven’t seen in a while.

“Even though we are the same staff, we don’t have time to sit and chat with them,” said Allen. “Maybe we know some of these people, but we can’t put the right face to the people.”

Barcho said events like these make her happy to see people smile and being appreciated.

“It is good to have this once a year,” Barcho said.

General Manager of Dining Services, John Thompson agrees.

“I think any recognition is great,” he said. “You need to motivate people, and make them feel wanted.”

Connolly and Thompson both said they hope to continue to strengthen the relationship each department has with each other on campus.

“Hopefully this will be the first, not just of this, but annually, and other events too,” said Thompson.

To see the post on its original website, click here.

Olympic torch relay aims to raise Canadian pride

By Andrea Iseman
Off-Campus News Editor
Published: December 11, 2008

Olympic torch relayRelay will feature over 12,000 torchbearers and last over 100 days.

The Olympic torch relay for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics is expected to hit Toronto Dec. 17 and 18.

“The Olympic flame will be within one hour drive of 90 per cent of the [Canadian] population. Everybody can get close to the flame if they want to,” said Duncan Ross, senior executive advisor of major international events and special projects for the city of Toronto.

The relay will also help bring about a tremendous sense of national pride, Ross said.

“It symbolizes internationalism and that Canada has the capacity to host the world,” said Ross. “The winter Olympics will be watched by billions of people around the world and will give our country the chance to be seen.”

In addition, because the flame is going to be reaching smaller communities that might not get the chance to feel so close to the Olympics, a sense of togetherness will be felt, planners believe.

“If you are a kid growing up in a smaller community and the flame comes through your town, you are connected to the world,” Ross said. “And that is incredibly powerful for people to realize – that this international symbol of stronger, higher, faster is in your time for that very brief and fleeting moment.”

Case Ootes, councillor of ward 29, Toronto-Danforth, said by having the relay pass Toronto landmarks it can increase the city’s presence on an international platform.

“It is all important and all part of the picture that creates publicity as it goes along the route,” he said. “It will probably be on the news every day.”

According to Jim Richards, director of torch relays for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 games, the relay and ultimately the Olympics is all a part of building a legacy of a better Canada.

“I think that having the Olympics here is really going to raise our spirit for the sport,” said Richards. “It is about creating a legacy of healthier Canadians – a living Olympic if you will. It is about making better choices every day to contribute and to participate.”

The torch will travel from Victoria all the way back to Vancouver, finishing on Feb. 12. Expecting to travel to 1,020 communities nationwide the relay will also stop twice a day for short celebrations along the way.

To see the post on its original website, click here.

Cyber bullying rising: Kids Help Phone counselor

By Andrea Iseman
Off-Campus News Editor
Published: December 11, 2008

cyber bullyingOnline bullying has joined more traditional forms in school.

With the advent of the internet, Kids Help Phone is seeing an increase in calls regarding cyber bullying, both from bullies themselves as well as those who are bullied.

“The majority of the times [kids] are looking for ideas and strategies to deal with the issue,” says a Kids Help Phone counselor who wishes to remain anonymous. “For example the kids who are being bullied may express their fears around what it feels like to be bullied.”

Kids are calling into the line now more than ever, because bullying is not just taking place in the classroom, where help is more easily accessible.

Kids Help Phone chooses to give callers a model called brief solution therapy, which the counselor said focuses on the solution, not the problem.

“If [kids] are ready to talk strategies that is great, but a lot of kids call and they just want to talk about how they are feeling and are not interested in strategies just yet.”

Dannette Graham, president of the Canadian Association of Psychoanalytic Child Therapists, said cyber bullying is just one example of how bullying has evolved.

“Ten, 20 years ago it was just rough-housing and boys do that,” she said. “Now it is physical, verbal threats, kicking kids out of a social circle. Our definition of what is normal has changed.”

Graham has been in the field for 24 years as a therapist working with families and children and the last 18 years as a child therapist. She said bullying affects all types of children and is not limited to just boys or girls, although boys and girls usually bully differently.

Sarah Chana Radcliffe, member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario and a therapist in private practice for 30 years, agrees.

“Girls do a lot more ostracism and exclusion. They are just not going to call you and play with you and will drop you as friends,” said Radcliffe. “Boys tend to use more physical threats, pushing, shoving, intimidating and hurting.”

Therapists say their role is to guide children to help them understand why and how things happen to them. Bullies need such guidance as well but don’t always seek it.

“I see fewer bullies because the bullies aren’t usually the ones who have the problem,” said Radcliffe. “The victim is also experiencing the problem and comes in for help more frequently.”

National Bullying Awareness Week  runs November 16-22.

To see the post on its original website, click here.