The Teresa Group advances the dignity and well-being of children and their families affected by HIV and AIDS
InTouch – The Teresa Group Newsletter, April 2015
In Memory: Scott Gibson (October 27th 1968 - April 22nd 2015)

Scott Gibson joined The Teresa Group Board of Directors in 2011. He served first as Treasurer and then, for the past two years, as our President. Scott was a passionate and dedicated leader who gave so much energy to The Teresa Group. He inspired us all with his positive outlook, brave determination and constant humour. Scott was a person with an incredibly generous spirit. He was a very positive and welcoming Board member – always present with a wide smile and a wonderful laugh. He was always focused on recognizing the excellent work of The Teresa Group staff. Even after his cancer diagnosis he continued to go above and beyond his Board role for as long as he was able.
Scott bravely and openly shared the ups and downs of his cancer treatment journey with his family, friends and colleagues. His personal mantra “LIFE IS GOOD” always served him well and he repeated it often, even in the most difficult of circumstances. It will continue to offer us hope and inspiration.

Thank you, Scott -  LIFE IS GOOD

25th Anniversary - Save the Date!

Join us on THURSDAY JUNE 25TH from 6 - 8:30pm for a celebration of our 25th anniversary! The party will take place at Oakham House, 55 Gould Street, Toronto.

Details and invitations will be coming soon but in the meantime, save the date in your calendar. The celebration will be preceded by our Annual General Meeting from 5pm - 6pm.
Summer Camp Volunteers

As the weather warms up we are all thinking about this year’s Summer Camp! There are still opportunities for Volunteer Camp Counsellors.



It is rare that a fundraising event continues to be a resounding success for 18+ years but this is what The Mane Event has done. A day-long hair and beauty extravaganza, the event has evolved and grown and on Sunday April 19th, twenty five stylists generously donated their time and considerable energy to support the children and families who look to The Teresa Group for care and support.

It’s not too late to make a donation! The Brick Wall of Compassion recognizes donations of $500 (Platimum), $250 (Gold), $50 (Yellow) but any amount is welcome!

In 1997, hair stylist extraordinaire, Steve Roy, was inspired by the impact of HIV amongst his friends and in his community. He wanted to do something – to get involved and to give back - and so he founded this event to support children and families affected by HIV and AIDS. Through his incredible passion and leadership, the support of LIFT Salon and Spa owners, Heidi Hurtarte and Stracey Miller, as well as important sponsorship support from Schwarzkopf Professional, the event continues to bring dedicated stylists and clients back year after year.

Two years ago the Mane Event moved from individual salons to the Schwarzkopf Professional ASK Training Academy Canada in downtown Toronto. With expanded capacity, the event grew and flourished. Not only do participants receive a beautiful hairdo but they can also have a mini makeover, have Tarot cards read, receive a photo taken by a professional photographer and they can shop at the extensive silent auction. This year's limited-ticket raffle offered prizes such as an iPad Air, Canon camera, diamond ring and two huge baskets of 
Schwarzkopf products. The sweetest and most delicious eats are on offer all day and participants go home with a goody bag. But the biggest winners of all are the children and families who will benefit from the support services they receive from The Teresa Group.

Read more about Steve Roy in our 25th anniversary feature interview.

The Teresa Group 25th Anniversary Feature Interview

– Steve Roy, volunteer and
founder of the Mane Event

It was a cool evening in March when 25th Anniversary Committee members, Joseph Shangi and Suzanne Fox, sat down to chat with Steve Roy, but the conversation was warm. Steve, an internationally renowned, award winning hair stylist and founder of the Mane Event, is a vibrant and passionate man who has played a lead role organizing this event for the past 18 years.  For Steve, it is a bittersweet year as it marks his move from lead organiser to supporter – a shift in roles he has been working towards for a few years.

Joseph: Tell us about your involvement with The Teresa Group, when you first got involved and how your relationship evolved and grew over the years.

Steve: I was involved in a weekend called The Forum - a course in the study of being. This group challenged participants to do something that would have a positive end result. In the past, I had wanted to create a volunteer based initiative that would assist with the issue of HIV and AIDS, and this challenge solidified this passion. I used to cut the hair of one of the staff at The Teresa Group and during one of our appointments, I expressed my interest in running a charity haircutting event with proceeds going to an organization connected to HIV and AIDS. After researching a number of charities, I was drawn to The Teresa Group as it was providing a well needed service in the area of HIV and AIDS. I was introduced to Penelope Holeton, founder of the organization, and was impressed at how she started the organization helping one family from the basement of her home. I realized that The Teresa Group didn’t really have a voice and I have a BIG voice! I felt I could utilize some of my many contacts to get the Mane Event off and running.

Joseph: What would you like people that haven't attended the Mane Event to know about the day and what they should expect?

Steve: There are great goodie bags, it’s great value for your money, you get a beautiful haircut by one of Toronto’s top stylists and you support an incredible cause. It is a really great way to make a donation. The event is well scheduled, there are great auction items and there is a great sense of positive energy and community.

Joseph: What stands out most for you about the event?

Steve: Sense of community is very important. My vision for the event is to continue to bring together the hair stylists but also manicurists, local independent artisans, and local independent businesses.

Joseph: What is your favourite Teresa Group memory over the years?

I have more than a handful of fond memories, having been connected with The Teresa Group for 18 years. I recall spending time with Penelope at the Toronto AIDS Walk. That day, I was approached by an employee of Air Canada who filled me in on a charity called Dreams Take Flight which provided a trip of a lifetime to Disney World to medically, mentally, physically, socially or emotionally challenged children. From this one conversation, I was able to connect The Teresa Group with Dreams Take Flight and had the honour of chaperoning children connected with The Teresa Group on two occasions. Each time was amazing. Watching these little kids being kids was incredible. The reality of life for these families is tough and some of the children took on added responsibility in the family if their parents were ill. Each child received $25 to spend on souvenirs or treats. One of the children purchased a two dollar souvenir and said that he was taking the remainder home to buy groceries for his family. It’s an incredibly emotionally overwhelming day.

On the second trip I was chaperoning a young girl. At the end of the day she said to me “Wow, we’re so lucky.” I said, “Yes we were able to meet Mickey and Minnie” and she replied “No, look at the moon, it’s so beautiful.” It got me right in the gut. I was visibly emotional, and the girl responded to this by saying, “Don’t worry, it’s the same moon in Toronto.” This has stayed with me to this day and I am reminded to not look back, but to always look up.

Joseph: What do you wish other people knew about The Teresa Group?

Steve: There are only seven employees at the Teresa Group and the rest are volunteers. The Teresa Group provides services for around 300 families. That’s a phenomenal amount of work!

Joseph: If you had to sum up TTG in one word what would it be and why?

Steve: Compassion. It started in Penelope’s basement, helping one family that had nowhere to go. This is how it started, through compassion.

Joseph: Any additional insight you wish to add?

Steve: It’s been an interesting journey. My family is very supportive of me and this cause. Although this is my last year leading and organizing the Mane Event, I’m still going to be participating in the event as a hairstylist and continuing with my volunteer work at The Teresa Group. This 18th Mane Event is very symbolic for me. The number 18 represents the symbol “Chai” as well as the Hebrew word that translates to life. In Jewish culture it is a tradition to give 18 gifts or donations which is said to give chai, which means to “give life”.
In 2014 Steve Roy won the coveted John Steinberg Award for Community Service at the prestigious Contessa Awards for his outstanding contributions. Thank you for your astounding 18 year commitment and steadfast energy, Steve. Congratulations! The Teresa Group is a better place as a result of your ongoing efforts.

Program and Volunteer Update

The spring series of “Leading the Way” groups have started! These therapeutic groups for children run for 9 weeks in the spring and in the fall, culminating in a weekend retreat at the end of the spring session. Filled with fun activities, the groups help children develop social connections, develop a positive sense of self and learn problem-solving skills.

The “Leap for Success” tutor/mentor program continues weekly until the end of June. Children and their tutor/mentors are busy preparing for academic year-end assessments and exams.

For information about the New Moms Group, Toddler Group and Parents’ Club, please call a Family Support Coordinator in the office 416-596-7703.

For information about the Volunteer Program, please call Constance at 416-596-7703 or email her at


The Teresa Group, InTouch Newsletter

Our mailing address is:
124 Merton Street Suite 104,
Toronto, Ontario M4S 2Z2

Phone: 416-596-7703 | Email:

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