Sunday, September 13, 2009

Peace Ranch

September 13

Several months ago Deb tracked us down out on the road and did a radio interview for Caledon Today. She told us that in her other life she was connected to Peace Ranch and invited us to attend their 15th Annual Open House in the fall after The Ride. Yesterday we drove out to Caledon to take part in their country fair. We had a great time - there was a BBQ featuring fresh corn and salads from their gardens, crafts and baked goodies, games, and a petting zoo.

Peace Ranch is a community mental health agency offering supportive housing and social recreation rehab programs for adults with schizophrenia. A century farmhouse on 25 acres of beautiful Ontario farmland provides a peaceful, rural setting for individuals working toward recovery. Offering programs of horticulture, animal husbandry, equestrian, fitness, art and music the social rehabilitation service promotes wellness and recovery.

Mary gave us a complete tour of the site. We met Rosie the pot bellied pig, then visited the barn housing goats, sheep and even an alpaca or two. Darlene gave us a spining demonstration using the soft alpaca wool. All the while we dodged the noisy and entusiatic Morriss Dancers.

In addition, Peace Ranch offers day programs for the Peel Dufferin community and operates several housing sites in Brampton, Caledon and Orangeville allowing residents to live independently and continue their recovery.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Golf day at Galt

September 10,

The Golf Tournament at the Galt Country Club for The Ride for Mental Health was good for everyone's mental health. That is except for Bob and Kathy who barely survived a near death experience. Luckily no harm done (I'm sure they can pop out the dent in the roof of the cart.)
Anne and Bill filled the course with golfers, many of whom had come from quite a distance, and all proceeds from the day's event will go to The Grand River Branch of the CMHA. The course was challenging and certainly tested the skills of our foursome - well, three of us for sure. OK, just me. Good thing I won a sleeve of balls in the lucky draw, though.
There was drama off the course too. Bob, our MC for the night conducted a live auction for one of Mel's riding jerseys and bidding was fast and furious. Now you just have to buy a bike to go with the jersey, Jim.
And the drama didn't stop there. The 50/50 elimination draw left two men standing but only one could win. Would they each take their chances and go it alone? Would they pool the tickets and split the pot? But they had a plan. The guys made a pact to donate all cash to the CMHA. Everyone came up a winner.
It was great to see so many friends out to support The Ride for Mental Health even after the wheels have stopped turning (for now, anyway.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thank You Xerox!

September 6
We are finally back home, which means Carol, Lindsay and I have a much needed break and an opportunity to reflect on our amazing journey across Canada. Top of mind for each of us is the overwhelming support for the Ride For Mental Health in every city and town along the route. The people of Xerox have always reached out to support one another, and the Ride is a fine example. Whether we needed a website to be developed, the theme song Open Minds Open Hearts to be written and produced, a blog to be set up, experienced riders to pull us through mountains, hills and river valleys, or hundreds of hours of planning and execution of no less than 16 awareness and fund raising events across Canada, the Xerox team was always there for us. What an amazing statement about the Xerox culture of caring and teamwork and being there for one another when we need it most. Although it is difficult to measure mental health awareness, I am comfortable in declaring that this 100 day campaign has been successful beyond all expectations. The funds raised will be in excess of $200,000 when we close the books in another month. The mental health awareness that we have all helped to create through the many local events is unprecedented in Xerox and I suspect in any Canadian corporation. As I have said many times this year, awareness works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. The Ride For Mental Health has been a solid start to bringing mental illness out of the shadows. My daughter Lindsay has had the courage to discuss her mental illness openly in every day language in front of groups and in classrooms across Canada. I am proud of our progress and realize we have just begun the journey. There is so much more opportunity. This is exactly how we must view it - as a big opportunity for each individual and for Xerox .
Thank you for your enthusiastic support. It means the world to the Thompson family and to the tens of thousands of other families who live with mental illness every day.
Awareness works! Stay tuned for regular updates to the Blog.