Author Archives: Leigh Aquart


We’ve again been offered the opportunity to set up an information booth at the Calgary International Blues Festival by the producer of the Bluesfest, Cindy McLeod.

We will be given 2 wristbands (non-transferrable) for Thursday & Friday (one shift, two persons per day), and 4 wristbands (non-transferrable) for Saturday & Sunday (two shifts, two persons each shift per day).

This year the dates are August 1 – August 4 with one shift on August 1 and 2, two on August 3 and 4 for a total of six shifts. Two volunteers are required for each of the six shifts.

BONUS!!! Your wristband gives you full access on the day of your shift to the Bluesfest AND the Twilight Series Dance Party across the street at the Kerby Centre later that night. When deciding what shift you want, maybe check which musicians are playing that day before you make your selection.

We will be conducting a small silent auction, and selling a few small items including Blues themed jewelry beaded by one of our members. Instructions will be provided to volunteers at the venue.
The main function of the volunteers will be to promote our silent auction, our Fall sale and give out handouts about Ujamaa Grandmas and our work with the Grannies in Africa.

This is a great opportunity to socialize, meet Calgarians and give them an idea of what Ujamaa Grandmas and the Stephen Lewis Foundation are all about.

WHAT: Calgary International Blues Fest 2019
WHEN: August 1, 2, 3, 4
WHERE: Shaw Millennium Park, 1220 9th Avenue SW (10th St. SW C-train station next to this park)

Register HERE to volunteer

Many thanks to all you wonderful human beings!


Thank you to all of the people who continue to create wonderful items for the BB&B sale. We have had many questions about what to produce. Remember that our motto is “Make what you like, like what you make and have fun creating it.”

We are a boutique sale with our focus on unique items.

  • Hats with pom poms or interesting patterns.
  • Children’s hats with interesting themes.  Be sure to consider size.
  • Home decor items in modern colours and designs.  Bright colours.
  • Interesting, useful eco friendly items.
  • The ever-popular microwave bowls made carefully of all 100% cotton fabric, batting and thread.
  • The larger 12″ bowls and matching sets of different sizes are popular.

Our fabric custodian might have kits and supplies that you can use. Please send an email to if you would like supplies brought to the gatherings for you to use or if you have any questions or suggestions about products. There will be sale update in the August E-news. Thank you!



The Carstairs G4G Mountainview Grannies will be holding their annual fundraiser “Tea in the Garden”
Tea, homemade scones and sweets in a beautiful setting.
A $20 donation (not compulsory) entitles you to a tax receipt from the SLF.
If you will be driving and can take passengers or if you need a ride contact
For directions contact
The official poster will be out in early July and a copy will be sent to you.

WHAT: Tea in the Garden
WHEN: Sunday, July 28, 2:00 to 5:00 PM
WHERE: Whittaker’s property just outside of Carstairs


When we read in Stephen Lewis publications, about the Community Based Organizations in Africa, I am amazed how far-reaching these are.  In the spring 2019 issue of Grassroots, the emphasis is on Home Based Care.  The articles are powerful – I am grateful that we are contributing to these.  You can subscribe to Grassroots by emailing  These articles reminded me that Ujamaa Grandmas also has far-reaching influences on our community of members and our local community in general.  Think about how many Calgarians and Albertans we reach in our many activities and events.

On June 1st, the Board attended a very productive and thought-provoking workshop to begin our Strategic Planning process.  The second session will be held in September with both the Board and all our Committee Chairs.  We reviewed our Vision and Mission, with very few revisions – these are on the UG web-site, along with our Statement of Respect for both members and our community.  Many of us participated at the SAIT Spring convocation, which is always a joyous event – we congratulate the graduates, while making sure they’re gowned properly for the walk across the stage.  Alison Longson and I participated in the Canmore Mountain Grannies ‘Stride to Turn the Tide’.  The latter were the first Grandmothers2Grandmothers group in Canada to initiate this, now Canada-wide, event.  We celebrated their 10th Anniversary with a gracious walk along a creek and the Bow River, on a surprisingly sunny afternoon, while comparing notes of our two groups.  We both reach out into our communities in many different ways.  At our South and North Gatherings this past month, Eveline Goodall presented her experiences “A Celebration of Women: My Work in Rwanda” – a stunning example again of reaching out to our communities.

And now, our community is reaching out to us! Ujamaa Grandmas have been invited to be one the recipients (possibly $5,000) of the DeSonus Charity Concerts, to be held in Airdrie on Friday, September 20th and in Calgary, Saturday, September 21st.  This event has benefited local and organizations reaching out internationally, for the past 5 years.   We are asked to advertise their concert on our web-site, to showcase our organization (which the Education and Awareness team will do at the two concerts), provide 3 volunteers for each evening (music lovers, sign up!), and provide Silent Auction items to enhance the amount of funds we will receive.  I’m approaching my car dealership, my dentist and my “nail” spa – think of who you know who might want to contribute to our cause.  We will have a form letter, describing the DeSonos Concerts and Ujamaa Grandmas, to approach donors – this will be posted as an e-Blast in the next week.  You may have an item to donate, which we can combine with other donations, or as a stand alone item.  This is an amazing request to be part of the DeSonus Charity Concerts.  Check out their home page on their website at



July 24th we’ll be working on Kid’s Activity Mats, stimulating and interesting. Come join us.  All the Activity Mat add-on’s will be supplied. Please remember to register and there will be an email sent out a week in advance with a list of supplies and things to bring.  Generally we just need each participant to bring normal sewing supplies and a sewing machine in good working condition.
If you have any questions, please email

WHAT: SEW ALONG with Elaine, Rose and Dawn
WHEN: Wednesday, July 24 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Along Came Quilting, 6432 1A St SW (right behind the Home Depot on the east side of MacLeod Trail South – just north of Glenmore Trail.)


If you have any questions, please email Dawn at


Reminder: Members from Education and Awareness are available for presentations to other groups you are involved with. Email

This month Education and Awareness highlights books about Africa and the challenges for African children impacted by HIV/AIDs. The four books listed below are all available at the Calgary Public Library.

A. One Hen: How one small loan made a big difference – Katie Smith Milway
This is the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many. After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo’s farm grows to become the largest in the region. (Elementary school aged children)

B. The Heaven Shop – Deborah Ellis
The Heaven Shop is a novel that puts a very real face on the African AIDS pandemic, which has orphaned more than 11 million African children. Inspired by a young radio performer the author met during her research visit to Malawi, Binti Phiri is a compelling character that readers will never forget. (Ages 7-9)

C. Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk about AIDs- Deborah Ellis
This is a collection of children’s stories dealing with poverty, loss as well as their new lives and hopes for the future. In the summer of 2003, Deborah Ellis traveled to Malawi and Zambia and met with children and teens whose lives have been touched by AIDS. In short, autobiographical vignettes, the young people, many of whom are orphans or living on the street, discuss their families, their favorite pastimes, their fears, and their dreams. (Grade 6 and up)

D. We are all the Same: The story of a boy’s courage and a mother’s love – James Wooten
This is the story of a courageous South African boy’s fettle with AIDs but also focuses on the failure of South African leaders to confront the AIDs epidemic in their country. ABC senior news correspondent Wooten tells the story of the bond between Nkosi and his birth mother, Daphne, who gave him up for the sake of his health and who subsequently succumbed to AIDS, and his white adoptive mother, Gail, who made his illness her number one priority. (16 and older)


Here are some of the ways that members of the Campaign continue to gather across regions to exchange ideas and connect with one another.

This month the New Member Conference Call will be held on Monday, June 17th at 12:30 PM Eastern Time. These calls are intimate and informative opportunities for new members to learn more about the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

We also host monthly Campaign Calls to take a deeper dive into questions and themes that you’ve told us are on your minds. The June Call will be a Fundraising Ideas Exchange!

Join us on Thursday, June 20th at 12:30 PM Eastern Time for a Campaign-wide brainstorm session about fundraising events and initiatives. Come curious, with ideas and questions for other groups, and your own top tips and stories about what fundraising strategies have been the most successful for your group in the past.

For New Member or Campaign Call dial-in details, RSVP to, or through the Grandmothers Campaign website:


It is Southern Alberta’s turn to host the Fall Regional Gathering if we want one this year. Some groups thought every other year would be adequate.

We have sent the request for hosts out to all Southern Alberta Groups, suggesting they may want to join forces with another group or groups to do this.

We need to make this decision soon.

The Aeroplan Mile matching week in February raised 2.1 million miles. Congratulations! Of course, you can donate miles at any time.

The GRL annual meeting was in Toronto in February and we are including a few items you should be aware of:

  1. A reminder that there are Conference Calls for new members or anyone who is interested or has questions on the 3rd Monday of the month at 10:30 a.m. MT. (Unless that Monday is a statutory holiday). These are information-sharing sessions to give new members an opportunity to speak directly with SLF Grandmothers Campaign staff. Those wishing to participate should RSVP to: and they will be provided with the conference call phone number and dial-in details. Calls generally last about 1 hr.
  2. Also, it is now possible to have Regional Conference Calls using the SLF Conference Call Line so keep this in mind if you ever what to plan events with other groups.
  3. The Grandmothers Campaign Team is proposing to start hosting Thematic Campaign-wide Conference Calls on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 10:30 AM starting in April. These calls will be open to all members and groups as a way to share ideas, best practices, tips and tricks that groups are using successfully. The first two sessions proposed are April 18 which would address “Recruiting and Retaining” and May 16th: “Rejuvenating Members: The Fun, Social and Educational Components of Groups and the Relationships Created Within Groups”.

Do you think these would be helpful to you? The staff would welcome your ideas and thoughts.

Additional themes could include but are not limited to:

  • Recruiting and engaging younger women to join group.
  • Building community partnerships
  • Sponsorship and Grants Start
  • Leadership structures within groups
  • Using technology: websites, FB and online resources that groups use

Of course, attracting new and younger members and retaining present members is a universal issue which was a big topic at the Toronto Gathering. There will be a compilation of suggestions and ideas related to this topic available on the SLF Campaign website at some point. There will also be an additional Conference Call toward the end of May for treasurers and group chairs framed as a “Treasurers Corner and Financial FAQ”.

Added to the SLF Fundraising page, there is a special section with fundraising suggestions for the “small but mighty” groups which could also be used by larger groups. On our Facebook page please tag your posts with @SLFGrandmothers for wider distribution and please “Like” another groups’ posts if you see that is also helpful to the Campaign.

Alison and Marilyn


Our Board of Directors extends an invitation to members to attend our Board meetings. We are grateful to the Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW  for the spacious room which they have provided.  Public parking is free within a block; note the times of parking on the street.  Please let us know if you’d like to attend, through We look forward to hearing from you.

WHAT: Ujamaa Grandmas Board Meeting
Saturday, January 5, 2019 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Thursday, January 31, 2019 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Thursday, March 23, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, May 16, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, July 11, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, August 8, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 31, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, November 30, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW


Serving on the board is a great way to get involved with Ujamaa Grandmas. You can play an important role in shaping role in shaping the future of our group.
We are looking for several enthusiastic members to replace directors that are retiring.
The position of Vice President is open as well as 2 members at large.
Someone with a communications background would be greatly appreciated.
The board usually meets once a month for approximately 2 hours.
If you would like more information please send an email to
Your name will be passed along to the nominating committee who can give you more information on positions.  If you know of someone who would make a great candidate, consider asking their permission to pass their name along so that we can be in touch with them.