President David’s Christmas Season Message
The festive season has arrived and today we celebrate with The Rotary Club of Toronto’s 2015 Annual Christmas Party.  I hope you all enjoy the wonderful buffet and the music at the luncheon today.  We also celebrate the ability to help others at this time of year and we will feature a raffle and a silent auction to that end.   Every year, The Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation has a ‘charity of choice’ at our Christmas Party, this year the Foundation will give $5,000 to benefit our Syrian Refugee Family.  The family is being sponsored in partnership with the Rosedale United Church and The Rotary Club of Toronto’s Sponsorship Group.
t last Friday’s meeting we continued another long standing tradition by hosting The Rotary Club of Toronto’s Annual Seniors’ Christmas Party.   This party has been held continuously since 1963. This is our chance to welcome many of our more experienced members of the community to come and celebrate with us.  We all had the privilege of being entertained by the Grade 6 Choir from Crescent School; not only did we get to hear the boys’ choir but also two of their teachers, both opera singers, who together, produced extraordinarily melodic harmony with their voices.  Of course Santa joined us to spread cheer and deliver a gift bag to all our senior guests. This is one of the highlights of the year for many of these seniors.
Continuing with our traditions, 2 weeks ago we held our 86th annual Christmas Party for Children with special needs.  For all the children and their families, there was face painting, crafts, scrapbooking, and a raucous snowball fight with the Police.  Fortunately the Police men and women wore their vests as they took quite a beating from the kids.  Several Rotary exchange students became clowns and elves for the day and added a truly international flavour to the party. Santa arrived to make sure all had presents and a chance to have a photograph with Santa.   
This year’s party drew 235+ children and their families from the following groups:
  • Easter Seals Society
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  • Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf
  • Holland Bloorview
  • Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto
  • Starlight Foundation of Canada
If we ever get to wondering whether it is all worthwhile to take the time we do, away from work and family to do the great work of Rotary, I leave you with a note of appreciation that we received from the parent of one of our disabled child guests: “I just wanted to say a big thank you for the opportunity to attend Saturday's party. My son and I had a great time and made some great memories with friends. It was our first time attending, but won't be our last.
I don't know who to ‎share our gratitude with so am hoping you can get this note of thanks to the right folks.
All of the volunteers were so kind and warm at each turn. Hotel staff made us feel welcome and special the moment we entered to time we left. Our police escort to the party was lovely. He especially loved the "snowball" fight, dancing and story time. Sometimes the thought of attending stuff like this can be stressful, but nothing about this was stressful. Well, except sitting on Santa's knee, but my son did it after not doing it for three years so big deal for us and we now have a great photo memory of his uncertain, but very brave moment. He has proudly looked at that picture a few times since the party. Big thank you to everyone involved. Everyone helped make a very special day for at least one four-year-old and his Mom. Thanks again!”
From the Hetherington Family to you and yours, best wishes for a Merry Christmas,
Happy Holidays and a Joyous 2016!