Providing thousands of Books for Babes
Do teachers ever retire completely or suffer from a lack of ideas for promoting community programs? Not the Retired Women Teachers of Ontario (RWTO) and certainly not the local branch.
These women all share a high degree of enthusiasm for children and projects to aid them. The Blue Mountain Branch of RWTO, whose motto is “Caring and Sharing,” began a program in 2006 to promote reading with very young readers. Very young, as it was for newborns at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital.
When started, bags for books were sewn by members. Marg Rainbird, of Avening, made a great many of these grocery-sized bags. Placed into each bag were two or three easy-reading books for little ones. Along with the books was a letter to parents stressing the value of reading to their children.
Often, books for older children were included if a new baby was not the first in a family.
An average of 315 bags a year have been donate to the Collingwood Obstetrics for newborns. From 2006 to the end of 2018, this group has delivered 3,785 book bags. 2019 saw about 300 bags heading to the hospital before September.
Member Daisy Gregory, Stayner, has been instrumental in packing and getting these bags ready and delivered.
Trying to make that many bags became an impossible task so donations have been gratefully received from Loblaws, the Superstore, the County of Simcoe, individual retired teachers and friends. Donations of books are also from members, Saunders Book Store, Scholastic Books, book sales and any other places that new or gently -used books can be found. Monetary donations have allowed this worthwhile project to continue. These have come regularly from Collingwood Rotary Clubs and Wasaga Beach Rotary. Donations are also made by members and fundraisers are held at the three regular meetings of Blue Mountain Retired Teachers.
Nurses at the Hospital seem glad to receive these books and faithfully give them out for the Branch. They have said that parents seem to very appreciative of receiving these bags. R.W.T.O. members say “What a lot of babies and reading!”
The Retired Women Teachers of Ontario:
– formed in 1956 by a small group of retired women teachers known as the Rendezvous Club in Toronto
– formed to persuade the Ontario Government to raise the level of pensions for retired women teachers to the same level as their male colleaques.
– encouraged other retired women teachers in the Province to form their own Branches to add to a stronger case with the Government
– in 1967 the government agreed that the minimum pension should be raised to $1200 per year
– this group gave rise to the formation of RTO/ERO- the group which represents both retired women and men teachers- this group continues the dialogue with government pension matters on behalf of all retired teachers.
– RWTO/OERO continues to exist because there is still a need for an organization that cares for the special interests and well-being of retired women teachers.
Our motto is still “CARING and SHARING”.