100 Women who Care – a simple, effective concept

100 Women who Care – it’s a very simple concept but one that has an  immediate, direct and positive effect in local communities.

One hundred women (or more) get together from the Grey-Bruce area who care about local community causes, and who are passionate about community support.

The group meets only four times a year for 1 hour each meeting and jointly selects a local charity or not-for-profit organization serving the Grey-Bruce area to donate to. Each woman then writes a $100 cheque directly to the selected organization.

The total yearly commitment from each woman is just 4 hours, $400 and a desire to be part of a group that contributes $40,000 a year to organizations in the Grey-Bruce area. 

     Lynda Legge presented the donation to teacher Dennis Watson

Thanks to the group, the Chesley District Community School (CDCS) Specialist High Skills Major agriculture program has been given a much-needed helping hand. On Saturday, November 2nd, at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton, the group presented one of its four ‘grants’ to Dennis Watson, teacher of the program.


Despite Chesley District Community School (CDCS) being closed by the previous provincial government, the campus is still hosting the agriculture program that is available to grade 11 and 12 students.

The idea of an agriculture program in the rural setting of Chesley was ideal and Watson said the program began in 2005 in a renovated barn on the school’s property.  “We were one of the first high school major programs to run in the province,” Watson said. “CDCS is continuing with the program during the second semester (February) and we have approximately 16 students from across Grey and Bruce counties.”

Students will receive four agriculture major course credits from the program while three other required credits in English, math and science are taken at the student’s home school.  In addition, two cooperative education credits are needed to complete the program.

Students must also complete three compulsory certification courses and three electives. The compulsory courses include CPR, standard first aid and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). Electives are chosen from a number of possible courses, including animal first aid, basic electrical safety, infection control, chainsaw safety, nutrient management, fundamentals of the combine, livestock medicine, working at heights, etc.

Watson said the courses are usually one day of training with a certified instructor and a number of courses are taken at the University of Guelph.  “In the past, we received funding to go to the University, but that funding has now been cut to a fraction of what it was.”

The four agriculture credits focus on animal and crop science, horticulture and ag-business, and the program is hands on working with goats, sheep, cattle, rabbits and poultry in addition to maple syrup production.

In the past, local farmers have donated some animals  and the vegetables grown are taken to the Keady Market to sell with proceeds going back into funding the program the following year.

As part of the work in the barn, the students weigh the animals weekly and complete a diet analysis to monitor food intake and weight gain. Students also vaccinate animals and treat them with antibiotics. Since looking after animals is a full-time effort, the students also rotate weekend work.

Some classroom work focuses on the basics of food, but Watson said they also discuss newer terms like organic and gluten free, which have grown in popularity in the last 10 years.  “The idea of understanding and growing food has become more important,” Watson added.

Watson said that many of the students go on to college and university with some becoming veterinarians and vet technicians.  “We have had 70 per cent go on to college and 10 – 15 per cent to university.  Interestingly 60 per cent in the program are young women.  Generally, students who come from a farming background have experience in one area and, therefore the program exposes them to a wider field of agriculture.”

“I am simply amazed at this donation and will really have to consider how best to use it,” said Watson.

For more information about the agriculture program, interested students or parents can contact Watson at dennis_watson@bwdsb.on.ca.

The 100 Women Concept – Simple and Efficient:

  • Each Member commits to donating $100 per meeting, four times a year.
  • Meetings are diligently conducted in one hour or less.
  • Any member who has signed a commitment form and who is current with her donations may submit an Organization Nomination Form to nominate an organization for consideration at a meeting.
  • The nominating members of three randomly selected organizations will make a five minute presentation about the organization to the group and a Q&A session will follow.
  • Each member who has signed a commitment form and who is current with her donations may vote (by ballot) for one of the three organizations.
  • Each member will write a cheque for $100 to the organization receiving the most votes.
  • Members will receive a tax receipt directly from the organization.
  • Members who are unable to attend a meeting are expected to give her cheque to another Member to deliver on her behalf.
  • Organizations under consideration must serve the Grey/Bruce area and provide individual tax receipts directly to contributing members.
  • The selected organization must agree not to give out member information to any third parties except for tax purposes.