TekSavvy, Leons show local love

(Melissa Doyle/Special to The Voice) From left, Ken Edwards, Leon’s Furniture and donor of a couch to the VON Kids’ Circle waiting room; couch, Zara Belanger-Pepper, teen advocate of VON Kids’ Circle and United Way; Milinda Chambers and Dava Robichaud, TekSavvy volunteer committee members.

When you visit United Way of Chatham-Kent there is a special room just a few doors down from the VON Kids’ Circle room. It is a place where the families of children going through the Kids’ Circle program can relax as they wait for their loved ones.

This new space could not have been made possible without the partnership between United Way, TekSavvy and their committee of volunteers.

“When we went on the seeing is Believing Tour, we visited the VON Kids’ Circle and that made a huge impact on the whole group. After, we at TekSavvy wondered what more can we do,” said Dava Robichaud, Administrative & Event Co-ordinator at TekSavvy in a media release.

They saw firsthand how the program’s main space offered peace for the children; but in contrast, its waiting room was in the hallway – a public space that offered little privacy to the parent, guardian or siblings going through complex emotions.

While working with United Way, TekSavvy mobilized a committee of staff and volunteers to turn the room next to VON Kids’ Circle into a waiting room.

They organized with local businesses Leon’s and Davos Furniture, and transformed the once drab storage room into a tranquil space where, families waiting for their appointments can relax, watch TV, play on the computers or tap into the free wi-fi.

To announce the new room United Way produced a video which features Brian Rupert and Zara Belanger-Pepper who are now advocates, both having benefitted from the VON Kid’s Circle, the United Way supported program.

In the video Belanger-Pepper talks about her personal experience in the tragic loss of her father when she was just eight. Now in her teens, she is open about her emotions surrounding the loss, her involvement with the VON Kids’ Circle program, and her desire to give back to the program that provided her a place share with other children going through the same experience.



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