2015 Slice of Life, World AIDS Day, Red Scarf
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The 4th Annual Slice of Life Event in Support of HIV/AIDS Awareness a tremendous Success - Stories with Hope...

Scarves with Warmth and World AIDS Day

 

From: Joanne Ashley, RADAR:

The Rotary Club of Whitby’s 4th annual Slice of Life event was held on Nov. 25, 2015 at the Ability Center in Whitby, Ontario. The blended stories of stigma and despair became stories of hope as 7 individuals shared their personal journey of living with or being affected by HIV/AIDS. The many listeners were captivated by the uniqueness of each and every speaker and the reality of their Slice of Life...

The further blending of hope came about with the energized partnership between the Aids Committee of Durham Region and the “AIDS Action Team” of the Rotary Club of Whitby in a first try at what is known as the Red Scarf Project. This Scarf project took AIDS awareness to an entirely different level and involved people from all walks of life who became engaged and took personal ownership of the Project.

Let me explain how this came about...at our regular AIDS meeting on Nov 3rd to plan our Slice of Life, a new member of the Aids Committee of Durham Region asked to come to our meeting and discuss this Project. Her name is Sophie McKenna and she had browsed the internet and found this particular project had originated in the Niagara Region and was also well established in London, Ontario. She needed some assistance.

What Sophie divulged was that she had already met with the City of Oshawa’s Mayor and Council and approval was granted for this project which required some license and insurance, as poles around town would be utilized. Bright Red Scarves were to be tied to specific poles on December 1, World AIDS Day. Getting the scarves knit to a particular size and tying them to poles was the Easy part.

Then entered the Rotary Clubs of Whitby and Whitby Sunrise. Rotarian Debbie Morgan took the lead for us to accomplish for Oshawa “maybe”100 scarves and for Whitby perhaps “maybe” 50 !

 

 

At the Slice of Life event, the red scarves that had been gathered up were displayed for all to see and if our counting was correct, the total number of scarves was more like 300! These will fly in both towns on poles on December 1 World AIDS Day. There were so many knitters from Rotarians to families of Rotarians to perfect strangers to Seniors Centers to our Whitby Public Library Knitters Group to wool shop owners to their customers and again from people who simply cared...

The Slice of Life Stories from diverse speakers was humbling and they filled the many listeners with a sense of oneness for this had been a long journey. Now we sat at the same table, shared the same food and shared the same symbols of hope and warmth by virtue of being there.

What an evening the 4th Slice of Life event was! What stories stigma and isolation we heard! And what stories of warmth our knitters have given to all those in need! If only those knitting needles could talk about the unknown deed they were making come true.

The learning curve continues into its 5th year, for certainly the event made those many in attendance more aware of the needs of those living with AIDS within our own communities. Thank you so much, it does sound so insignificant, but it comes from the hearts of the Rotary Club of Whitby’s Aids Action team in our partnership with the Aids Committee of Durham Region.

 

Joanne Ashley

Chair RADAR

 
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