From 2001–2005, I learned a lot by chairing the Rouge Valley Vital Signs Capital Campaign for the Ajax-Pickering/Centenary Hospital Foundation. It was hard work but a fresh experience and neat chance to meet a whole new circle of friends. Try something like this sometime to get out of your comfort zone. This experience led to something new…. in 2002 I was honoured to be one of many Ontario recipients of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for work serving the community and contribution to fellow Canadians.
Since 2005, the melodious and therapeudic music from Room 217 has been a peaceful presence in the lives of thousands of people through the intuitive musical renderings of my sister Bev Foster. Bev asked me to be a part of this foundation dedicated to helping care for people through the gift of music. I am pleased to be a member of the Board of Directors. This is a new venture for me in the world of music but one that I find extremely gratifying as it all started from my father’s final days in Room 217 at the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital.
Although I’m not directly involved in Precious Minds, we are pleased to offer our support to this great resource for children with barriers to learning (including a full spectrum of learning, physical, developmental and behavioural disabilities). My wife Sharon, along with her dear friend, founded this charitable organization in 1999. In 2004 Precious Minds opened the doors to their resource center in North Durham which assist many children and their families as they learn to cope, move forward, and hopefully soar together.
A more recent venture was a Lenbrook partnership with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) to incorporate a scholarship award in memory Lenbrook’s founder, and my late father, David. S. Simmonds. “The David S. Simmonds Entrepreneurship Award” recognizes the top achievers in the UOIT’s Capstone Program which encompasses a team of 4-5 undergraduate students who, together with a local organization, work to focus on a key business issue to be developed, researched and analyzed. We feel this is a profound way to honour the entrepreneurial spirit that my father based his business on, and for this to be awarded at the UOIT, in the Durham Region where he lived and worked, is especially appropriate. We are thrilled to be partnered with UOIT in encouraging students as they gain such valuable business experience.