Featured stories

A very revealing fundraiser

By Charlie Senack –

Residents of Unitarian House are stripping down for a good cause. 

Alice Bushe moved into the home, located at 20 Cleary Ave., after looking at her retirement options in 2011 and quickly got involved with the daily workings of the facility which houses around 130 residents. 

She decided the home needed “a bit of a shakeup,” so in 2014, she created a “Naked Truth” calendar which featured some of the residents. 

“It was very successful and raised $15,000 really by word of mouth and [selling] it at supermarkets,” she says. 

In the fall of 2018, Alice was approached by Christine O’Neil, executive director of Unitarian House, who asked her if she’d consider creating another calendar for 2020. 

“It had been over six years so I thought why not do it again,” says Alice. “It started with a conversation with a couple of friends last October where we tossed around a few ideas, and the most feasible thing we thought of was to have a sports theme.”

Alice decided it would be fun to have the residents strip down for the cause again. The new edition of the calendar is officially called “The Naked Truth 2020 Calendar — Sports Revealed.”

She reached out to local businesses for support and created partnerships with the Beaver Boxing Club in Centertown, Altitude Gym in Kanata, the YMCA, and Carlingwood Seniors Residence. 

The new edition of the Unitarian House calendar features photos of the seniors taking part in a variety of sports activities including wheelchair basketball, yoga, swimming, skateboarding, and hockey.

The new edition of the Unitarian House calendar features photos of the seniors taking part in a variety of sports activities including wheelchair basketball, yoga, swimming, skateboarding, and hockey.

“I wanted to involve outside organizations and I also borrowed sporting equipment to use in the photoshoot from Mountain Equipment Co-Op and the RA Centre,” says Alice. 

Some of the photos were taken on-site at Unitarian House with the use of a green screen, while others were taken off-site at the different sporting facilities. 

Without giving away any secrets, Alice says the calendar will feature photos of the seniors taking part in a variety of different activities including wheelchair basketball, yoga, swimming, skateboarding, and hockey. 

Unitarian House is a not-for-profit registered charity that was established in 1984 and caters to the needs of seniors who live independently or need assisted living services. 

Christine O’Neil says they have a policy that no residents leave the home due to financial issues. That’s why fundraisers like the calendar are so important. 

“The reason for this fundraising event is for a Financial Assistance Program we have for seniors living on the retirement floor who had outlived their money,” she explains. “Seniors live longer, and if you retire at 65, you may not have enough money to live until 95 or 100 years of age — especially if you need services in a retirement home.”

For seniors who require more support or have memory problems, their only option is to move into a traditional retirement home or long term care. That can bring monthly bills of up to $6,000, says Christina, which many can’t afford. 

“At Unitarian House we charge just under half that amount for all services, and we don’t do a la carte pricing like most private homes,” she says, adding that it’s a much more affordable option for residents who are on OAS and CPP and only bring in under $20,000 annually. 

The calendar will be printed in August and pre-orders are available via Kickstarter. (Go to Kickstarter.com and search Unitarian House.) The fundraising campaign hopes to raise $5,000 by July 12, 2019. Hard copies of the calendar will be available to purchase in person at Unitarian House later this year. 

For more information contact Jessica Veysey at retire@unitarianhouse.ca or by calling 613-722-6690.

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* This feature is brought to you in part by Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre

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