Everything is jut perfect; from food to entertainment to staff. I never knew such a large place could also have such an inclusive feeling of caring. It is the main feeling & brings the most joy to all here. Thank you!
- Canterbury Resident
Heart of Gold: Young Student Makes Special Donation to Canterbury Foundation
Canterbury is grateful to receive many donations throughout the year, and each gift, big or small - is worth every penny. Such is the case when, this fall, we welcomed the warmth and generosity of a sweet young girl and her family. Penny Williams, a Grade 2 student at nearby Laurier Heights, recently lit up our hallways with a friendly smile as she eagerly dropped off a donation of her hard earned allowance.
“We have a three jar system – one for charity, one for savings and one for spending,” explains Penny’s dad Cary Williams, “When we do the monthly allowance, we split it into those three areas. Then about once a year we take the sharing jar and talk about what to do with it. Penny gets to pick hers, and her brother Cooper gets to pick his. We chat about who we think could really use some help.”
This year Cooper chose to give his charity jar to the Humane Society, and Penny selected Canterbury. “She knew right away,” says Cary, “she said she’d like to give it to the people who live across the street from her school.”
Penny first visited Canterbury with her classmates when they took part in last year’s Halloween costume parade event. This fun interaction with the seniors gave her the idea to give her allowance to them. One of the best parts of the Halloween school visit to Canterbury, the seven year old says shyly, “Is that we get to see the old people smile, and be proud.”
Connecting with seniors is special to Penny’s Dad for many reasons too. His grandparents reached an elderly age and his great-grandmother lived to 102 years old. He has fond memories visiting her in a seniors’ lodge as a young child. These extended roots and values are important. “We want to live our life in a way that’s thankful for the luck we’ve had,” says Cary, a successful investment counsellor who helps families plan for the future. “We feel pretty lucky to live where we do, have incomes that we do, and have our family and friends; so we want our kids to understand that.”
Penny was able to save a remarkable $100 over the year for her personal contribution. Cary contacted Karen McKinley at Canterbury to arrange to drop off the gift, and she was impressed by the valuable life lessons he and his wife are teaching their children. “When Cary called to ask if his daughter could - and then would -make a donation to Canterbury I was really touched. There are kids out there that don’t often think about other people unless they are actually brought up that way. So I was really pleased he brought both children in for a tour, and they could actually see where the money is going to.”
The Williams family was very interested in what goes on behind the scenes of such a large facility. “The kitchen was huge, we had no idea they make hundreds of meals every day,” remarks Cary, and lucky for the kids - they got to taste the cookies too. Penny’s favourite spot: The bunny hutch with pets “Thelma & Louise” upstairs on the second floor of Canterbury Lane, that delights residents and visitors alike. Penny’s donation enables residents to continue to enjoy important interactive and entertaining activities and help with operational needs. She was really happy with the whole experience and says it makes her “feel good” for sharing and hopes the older people like receiving her allowance money gift.
All in all, ““I think one of the most interesting parts of this process has been the decision making for them,” reflects Cary. “These types of community or family values are still new in our young kids, they don’t integrate them as their own yet, but they definitely are fully bought into that idea of choosing who needs the help the most.” He adds, “This is now the third year we’ve done it and for both Penelope and Cooper – there’s very little prompting or very little idea generating from their mom or I around this. That’s pretty exciting; it’s exciting for them to recognize and know ”OK, time for me to make a decision.”
You can bank on it that Penny’s made a good decision in her early years. Not only is she able to make a cherished contribution to Canterbury, but is learning important life lessons along the way. “Parenting feels a little bit like a bit of an experiment all the time” Cary says with a smile, “You just hope that some of these conversations stick and as they grow into adults they grab onto some of these values.”
To borrow from a famous quote “Giving is more than just about donating, it’s about making a difference.” Thank you Cary for teaching your family such important lessons of saving, sharing and spending time with seniors. And Thank you Penny for leading by example and giving with your heart; you have shown the residents and staff of Canterbury how truly special you are and how every little Penny does count!