Drayton writer shares advice with local retired women teachers organization

“When you write from the heart, you touch hearts.” These words of advice were shared with the Palmerston Branch of Retired Women Teachers of Ontario  RTWO by freelance writer, children’s author and inspirational speaker Glynis Belec of Drayton.

Members of the branch were given the opportunity at their fall meeting at Knox Presbyterian Church in Palmerston to hear Belec speak about the various aspects of her 20-year writing career. She loves writing short stories and devotions and has written numerous children’s books as well as many articles for the Chicken Soup book series.

Belec now has her own small publishing company called Angel Hope and is involved with many groups and organizations in the area. She is also an official speaker for Ovarian Cancer Canada. Belec, a cancer survivor herself, strives to give a message of hope through her writing.

Some of her children’s books such as Mrs. B. Has Cancer have been sent to Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. Her latest book, Hopeful Homer imparts a message of “never giving up” and has been illustrated by Mark Mullen of Arthur.

Belec spoke briefly of what it takes to become a writer and the trials of having your work published. She noted that even some famous books like Harry Potter, The Help and Chicken Soup for the Soul were rejected more than once before they were published.

Everyone was moved by a very touching story Belec had written about an elderly lady named Florence, who was living in a nursing home but could not speak because of a stroke. It was this story that helped to launch Belec’s career as a writer when it took first place in a local writing contest. Members had an opportunity to purchase some of Belec’s books after the meeting. A door prize kindly donated by Belec was won by Helen Grainger.

President Anne Darroch welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced members Kathy Watt, Tina Haldenby and Barb Foster who have volunteered for the new activities committee and will be responsible for getting the entertainment at each meeting. Janet Murphy has also volunteered to join the decorating committee.

Shirley McKay and Christine Sanderson have been given lifetime memberships with the organization.

Draw prizes donated by Tina Haldenby and Marilyn Cherry were won by Lynn Hodgins and Pauline Brown. Three members paid fines for not wearing their pin.

Darroch thanked the ladies for donations of children’s board books to be given to the two local hospitals and the Ramoth House in Mount Forest.

Reports were given by the various groups. Mildred Francis and Colleen Robertson attended an insurance workshop in Cambridge recently. The Walking Club was planning to meet at Sulphur Springs Conservation Area near Hanover on Oct. 13.

Lorraine Ballard, goodwill convener, reported two special wedding anniversaries were celebrated this summer with Lynne and Jim Bullock celebrating 50 years of marriage and Dorothy and Glenn Dixon celebrating their 60th.

Travel convener Lynn Morrison is in the process of organizing a five-day trip to Washington, D.C. for September 26-30, 2016 and a trip to Stratford Theatre to see A Chorus Line next year.

The Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO/ERO) luncheon and craft sale is being held at the Fergus Community Sportsplex on Oct. 29 with entertainment by the “Slide by Slide” quartet.

Janice Benson encouraged everyone to attend a concert on Oct. 18 at the Mount Forest United Church to support their efforts in bringing a Syrian refugee family to Mount Forest.

Mary Jean Hartwig announced a cookbook is being produced as a fundraiser in Clifford and asked members to send in favourite family recipes. They can be dropped off at the Wightman office in Clifford.

Barb Thompson asked members to keep supporting the elementary teachers as they work through negotiations for a contract.

President Anne Darroch reported some of the money received from the recent convention will be given back to the community in some way, such as through donations to school breakfast programs or local food banks.

A roast beef meal was prepared and served by the ladies of the church.

Greeter for the day was Sandra Cole.

The next meeting is scheduled for Oct.23.