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Windsor-Essex taking compassionate care into overdrive

Whether you’re elderly, disabled, a new Canadian or socially isolated, help and friendship is on the way.

A first-of-its-kind community care system is being launched in Windsor and Essex County aimed at improving the quality of life of local residents.

Supplementing existing agencies and services, local residents are being urged to volunteer and share their time, skills and passions to help create healthier communities by engaging with and helping their neighbours attain a better quality of life.

“We want to connect the skills and talents our communities already have,” said Deborah Sattler, project manager of the Windsor-Essex Compassion Care Community that formally launches later this month.

Developed over the past two-and-a-half years, she said it’s a new model to ensure nobody falls through the cracks of the current health-care-focused system.

“To our knowledge, all of it together doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world,” Sattler told reporters at a news conference at the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County.

Pastor Tom Harmon, of Kingsville Community Church, said there are many local seniors who live in social isolation who “don’t know where to turn to when they need help.”

Following the campaign’s June 23-30 launch in Windsor and across the county, anyone needing help or wanting to volunteer can simply call WECCC at 519-974-2581, ext. 2420, or email at


Harmon said his church congregation asked itself about a year ago “how we could really put love in our community.”

The result was the Kingsville Community Centre which has since grown to more than a dozen partners offering about 30 programs. “People are shocked when they see how quickly we can connect them,” he said.

“You can be in the middle of a wonderful group of people and still feel socially isolated,” he said, adding the solutions can be simple. He said a knitting group consisting mainly of widows recently drove to the home of one of its members to check out why someone didn’t show up and wasn’t answering her phone.

“There are people in our community who are isolated, stuck in their homes — we don’t want that, we’re better than that,” said Hospice director Carol Derbyshire, one of the originators of the local WECCC movement.

“It’s a philosophy, a vision,” said Sattler, adding the various community nodes — five are planned for Windsor — will be as strong as the level of participation of citizens. Online tools, trained “citizen coaches” and community engagements will help in the effort.

Asked who should get involved, Sattler responded: “Anybody who needs anything, anybody who can offer anything.”

And it’s not just those on the receiving end whose quality of life will get a boost, she added. “It’s proven … for volunteers who contribute to your community, it’s an investment in your own health.”

One of the goals, according to organizers, is to have the movement grow so that those involved on the giving side will age into a system where they’re already connected.

“A remarkable thing is happening in Windsor and Essex,” said Sattler.

Launch week will see neighbourhood fairs, entertainment and refreshments at:

Windsor, June 23, 12-4 p.m., Sandwich Teen Action Group;Leamington, June 27, 12-4 p.m., Sun Parlor;Tecumseh, June 28, 12-4 p.m., St. Andrew’s Church;Lakeshore, June 29, 1-4 p.m., Atlas Tube Centre;Kingsville, June 30, 7 p.m., Kingsville Arena Complex.

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