As part of our pledge to Corporate Social Responsibility, each Lett team member has selected an organization that resonates with their values and individual purpose. A donation has been made to each of the organizations listed below, on the team member’s behalf.
The David Suzuki Foundation – Ailan McKenzie
I choose to support the David Suzuki Foundation because they work to create a transformational paradigm shift; “that respect for nature and interdependence with it must be our species’ top priority.” They engage, on a large-scale, in activities related to activism, education, and policy to affect positive change on many levels, creating a healthier world. These issues resonate deeply with me, and as such, it is important to me to support not just a local change. But a larger national and potentially international change as well.
The Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides – Amanda Motyer
I have chosen to support the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, which is a national training school and charity that breeds, trains, and places service dogs with individuals across the country who need them. The dogs are provided at no cost to the recipients and provide them with freedom, independence, and safety. My connection to Dog Guides Canada is personal – I graduated from the Hearing Ear program with my service dog Tilley in February of 2012. For almost eight years, we walked side by side in life. Tilley was the inspiration for my Master of Architecture thesis and rightfully got to walk across the stage with me when I graduated in 2014. Tilley was a familiar face at the Lett studio. Sadly, at the time she was scheduled to officially retire, Tilley started to develop serious and life-threatening health issues and passed away. Her loss has been felt profoundly. But I will be forever grateful for the positive impact she had on my life.
The Peterborough GreenUp Association – Amélie Besnard
I am choosing to support the Peterborough GreenUp Association because of its commitment to creating an environmentally healthy and sustainable community by providing a community hub that partners with other local groups to assist them in reaching their environmental goals. GreenUp provides leadership and education for the community to expand their knowledge and awareness of sustainability. Without knowledge there cannot be action: GreenUp ensures that sustainability is part of the Peterborough zeitgeist. Lett is committed to supporting the communities in which we work, striving for a more sustainable future for everyone.
The New Canadians Centre – Bill Lett
I choose to support the New Canadians Centre (NCC) because they empower immigrants and refugees to become full and equal members of Canadian society and provide community leadership to ensure cultural integration in a welcoming community. Founded in 1979, The NCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting immigrants, refugees and other newcomers. Lett is committed to supporting the communities in which we work. The immigrant and refugee population supports and enhances the community and ensure longevity and future growth. Diversity and inclusion are important for a culture and community to thrive.
The Peterborough Theatre Guild Development Fund – Burak Ilhan
Art is the lifeblood of a civilized community. And theatre is one of the most ancient forms of it. Fortunately, Peterborough has a rooted theatre culture despite its population. As a an important volunteer theatre company that owns its own theatre, Theatre Guild has been entertaining the local residents and visitors for more than 50 years with award winning live productions.
The current theatre building has been purchased and renovated with the funds raised by local theatre enthusiasts and it opened its doors to the audience in 1965. Since then, the Guild has survived all hardships thanks to the generous donations of the community. It is again up to the community to keep this culture alive the same way.
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation – Christopher Lyons
I have chosen to support the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. I have a special relationship with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The year was 1995, I was primed and ready for my future career as a corrections officer with the prospect of working at the Metro Toronto East Detention Centre. I had passed my fitness, written, and psychological test, the last remaining hurdle was to complete a doctor’s physical. The doctor discovered a small lump in my armpit, and wanting to be thorough he requested bloodwork, X-rays, CT scans, and a biopsy be done. As I awaited my results, daily I began not feeling myself. I was experiencing fevers, chills, and night-sweats all indicative that I was becoming a host to an unwanted visitor. I was called in to go over my results and the doctor told me “you have cancer”, Hodgkin’s disease to be specific. I then went into a fog as he continued to speak, nodding to what he was saying yet not really hearing anything other than “cancer”. I left the office with my information for referrals to an oncologist and appointment times at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
While I awaited my fate in a hospital I did not want to be in, I was told by Corrections Ontario, off the record that my application would probably never be considered due to my underlying new medical condition. I met my case manager and oncologist, two individuals who I honestly love to this day. At the PMCC, I was fully diagnosed, and my prescribed course of action was to be 12 treatments of chemo, taken every two weeks and then potentially radiation. I guess my cancer, like me was stubborn and required 20 treatments of chemo and 45 straight days of radiation. My life became a depressing routine of driving myself to treatments, returning to my apartment to be miserable, taking a small pharmacy of drugs to offset my side-affects and then working my graveyard shift as a rent-a-cop, with my imposing mag-light and dreaded notebook. I worked through it all, with the exception of my chemo days, and then suddenly this pattern came to an end after a follow-up gallium scan and three more bone marrow tests. I was told, “you are in remission”. Cancer became a been there done that, bought the t-shirt experience for me. As I started to put my life back together, I enrolled at George Brown College in the Arch. Tech. program and loved everything about it. My health was on track, though still closely monitored with follow-up appointments, and my life felt on track, I had even found someone to be with. My cancer returned and I thought a few more months of chemo and I’ll be right as rain. However, the team informed me it was most likely a false remission, and the only way to truly eradicate it was to have an autologous stem-cell and bone marrow transplant. I thought I knew pain and sorrow; I was quickly schooled on this next level of tolerance and limits. There were eight of us warriors that went into the transplant program and after 90 days I was the only person left standing. You can’t fully comprehend the term “survivor’s remorse” until you can relate.
The team at PMCC gave me back my life and are all true heroes in my books. They do their work with one goal in mind, to help eradicate this non-discriminatory destroyer of life and to create success stories such as mine. The next time you see those lotteries for PMCF or if your local Cancer Society puts out a call for help, please consider it. You may just be impacting a story like mine.
The Wildlife Conservation Society – Divya Dhingra
I chose to support the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in their mission to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, education, and inspiring people to value nature. For myself, the preservation of nature and wildlife is very important, and in a rapidly changing world, the challenges surrounding conservation are greater than ever before. By demystifying the importance of biodiversity among species and the crucial components of ecosystems, through learning programs in zoos and aquariums, they create a generation of children who view the world with empathy, curiosity, and respect.
B!KE: The Peterborough Community Cycling Hub – Gleb Kornienko
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Gregorius Erico
I choose to support the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) in its mission to serve the poor with love, respect, justice, and joy. As a lay Catholic organization, SSVP has been helping and having personal contact with the poor since 1833 by providing food aid, educational support, shelter, and friendly visits, among other things. Many people face tough life challenges and live in the fringe of our society – and they are often forgotten. By reaching out and providing them with basic needs in life through love and compassion, this organization helps alleviate their sufferings and restores their dignity. If you cannot feed one hundred people, then feed just one.
Nature Conservancy of Canada – Harry Teng
I chose to support the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), because of their work to safeguard the lands and waters for their natural values today and for the long term. Since 1962, the NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares of the Canadian wilderness, coast to coast. Canada is home to a quarter of the earth’s wetlands and 20 percent of its freshwater. Land and water are essential ingredients that sustain life and biological diversity. I believe it is important to create a legacy for future generations by conserving the biologically rich world.
The Youth Emergency Shelter – Ian McGee
I chose to support the Youth Emergency Shelter (YES) because it provides an important service for the disenfranchised youth of Peterborough, who have nowhere else to turn. Assisting them with earning their high school diplomas and learning to live independently. YES works to reduce homelessness in Peterborough and the Kawarthas by providing shelter, education, and transitional supports to youth and families. They offer a number of programs to assist youth in crisis and helps them secure permanent housing. YES has been operating in Peterborough since 1999, and largely relies on financial support from the community.
Five Counties Children’s Centre – Kristy Hook
I choose to support the Five Counties Children’s Centre (FCCC) for their dedication to working with families and community partners to provide innovative evidence-based care for children and youth with physical, developmental, and communication needs: building their independence and enriching their quality of life. Our family, like so many others in this community, has seen first-hand what a difference Five Counties Children’s Centre can make in the lives of kids and their families. As Chair of the Board of Directors, I work diligently on behalf of the Centre and encourage giving whenever and wherever I can.
Save The Children Canada – Matthew Philip
I chose to support Save the Children Canada and their mission to help the most marginalized and hard-to-reach children around the world. I have a personal connection with Save the Children Canada. In 2010, I had the opportunity to volunteer through Algonquin College with a company called Housal, which was hired by Save the Children Canada to build engineered, dome structures on top of raised wood floors in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We built seven domes during my time in Haiti, which can house up to 100 people during events of extreme weather.
United Nations World Food Programme – Michael Gallant
I chose to support the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP uses food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change. The concept of using food, our most basic human need, as a catalyst for change is powerful. Using what connects us to unite us and create a better world.
Canadian Blood Services – Michael Stock
I have chosen to support the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) because their aid will be needed by over half of all Canadians. This means over 42,500 people in Peterborough, and at least twelve of us at Lett. I started donating after my grandfather passed away, and I am closing in on my 50th donation of whole blood and platelets. In addition to physical donations, CBS uses financial donations to advance research, expand its national supply, and fund mobile donation clinics. With the constant shortages, I think it’s important to rally our communities in which we design by becoming CBS Partners for Life, assisting in group donations, hosting a donation event, raising awareness, or starting a pledge.
Alzheimer Society of Ontario – Mitch Cossitt
I have chosen to support the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. This organization is dedicated to helping people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They engage in providing care, support, information and education for people living with dementia. This organization has programs and resources to educate decision-makers about the need for improved health care services and qualified health care workers to support people with dementia. They are also committed to funding research and increasing awareness of dementia and its impact on families. This organization is very dear to me as I have personally witnessed this disease turn a loved one, into someone who saw me as a stranger.
The Youth Emergency Shelter – Scott Donovan
Peterborough’s Youth Emergency Shelter (YES) is a youth and family emergency shelter and is my community-based organization of choice. They provide basic but essential supports for young individuals and families in crisis, namely housing and counselling. I believe every young person should be given the opportunity to be their best self. YES provides transitional supports for youth to bridge into full and positive lives. YES relies on the generosity of people and organizations from Peterborough and area to continue to bring much-needed stability to the lives of youth at risk.
The Canadian Cancer Society – Scott Patterson
I choose to support the Canadian Cancer Society because they are committed to finding a cure in by means of their research as well as supporting individuals affected by the disease. The likeliness is that we have all have known someone diagnosed with cancer. I personally have lost close family and friends to the disease. There are many cancers and it is encouraging that some progress has been made in research by making some cancers treatable. Thus reducing fatalities as a result. I take every opportunity to donate and engage in fundraising events in support of the Canadian Cancer Society.