Wasn’t That a Party!

Sometimes someone comes along in life who seems to live to put a smile on other people’s faces. In our recent experience, Kendrick Sampson is one such person. A charming, handsome actor working in Victoria for a few months, Kendrick could easily skate through life on his good looks and rising celebrity, but that’s simply not who he is. Kendrick is humble, compassionate, a lover of Jesus and people, and a committed community supporter, – whatever community he is in.


It’s not often that we get phone calls from actors who want to dedicate their birthday party to supporting our programs, so when Kendrick called, we took on making it his birthday a special occasion. Kendrick invited his local friends – the cast and crew of the production he is working on – and we invited several client families with children, some of whom have special needs. It’s safe to say a good time was had by all!

The party was, in the words of one attendee, “heart-warming, stylish and seamless.” We can’t take all the credit for that, however, as our amazing community partners really stepped up to make the event spectacular, including

  • The Parkside Hotel and Spa, who hosted the party in their beautiful City Club Lounge
  • Kevin Wensley of MacDonald Realty, who sponsored most of the food
  • Crumsby’s Cupcake Food whose amazing snacks & service with a smile
  • Vertical Wine Consulting and their contribution of a case of Joie Farm’s ‘A Noble Blend’
  • Mike Hartshorne* of DFH Realty (*Personal Real Estate Corporation) who sponsored the champagne toast
  • Decorate Victoria with Huff n Puff, whose wall of Cridge balloons cheerily greeted guests as they exited the elevator

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We’ll have another post soon with pictures of the fun, but for now we want to thank our generous partners who made the party the success it was.

Dovetail Story: From Broken Hearts to Strong Hearts

Valentine’s Day can be a particularly challenging time for women who are rebuilding their lives after abuse. Society’s focus is so intensely focused on romantic love, especially during the month of February, and women can easily feel isolated from the celebrations.

The staff of The Cridge Dovetail Services has embraced Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate love, especially the love that women have for themselves, for their children, and for their friends. This year the women who access Cridge Dovetail Services were invited to celebrate Valentine’s Day by spending an evening “shopping” for beautiful jewelry and accessories (donated by Bungalow Gifts) while enjoying delicious desserts and the company of friends. It was a lovely way for the women to truly celebrate their own uniqueness by giving themselves a special gift.

Meanwhile our monthly Healthy Relationships group, which brings tenants and outreach clients together to enjoy lunch and a group discussion, focused on the theme of “How to Be Your Own Valentine.” A delicious lunch was served as women discussed the value of loving yourself, and the need to take time to care for yourself.

Valentine’s Day at The Cridge Dovetail Services has indeed offered us a unique opportunity to guide women from broken hearts to strong hearts.

Bill’s Story: A Novel Recovery

The cover image if Caught in the Crosshairs

Cover image of Caught in the Crosshairs

Story By Janelle Breese-Biagioni

William (Bill) Cawker is a father and grandfather with a newly developed passion for writing. Bill is also a brain injury survivor. He is a twin and was born prematurely and needed to have open heart surgery at 5 weeks of age. He has spent most of his life dealing with health issues.

Although Bill endured many challenges, he completed Grade 12 and a course for residential-care aid. As Bill’s health declined, he was no longer able to continue with this line of work. Not to be defeated, he went on to work in picture framing shops and eventually owned and operated his own framing business. In 2005, Bill had a cerebral cyst removed. The following year he needed a permanent shunt placed in the brain for drainage. In 2010, he experienced significant hearing loss and was no longer able to work. This left Bill to find a ‘new life’ for himself.

Bill has been residing at Mary Cridge Manor and participating in the brain injury rehabilitation program for the last two years. During this time, a character with the name Tony Marconi popped into Bill’s head one day. He decided to explore who the character was and what kind of story he could create. With the encouragement of Greg Goldberg, who is also an author and contracts as a mentor in the program, Bill developed Tony Marconi’s character and story line. He has now completed and self-published a 166 page novel titled Caught in the Crosshairs.

“I wanted the character and the book to be positive,” explains Bill. “So although the character was in the Mafia, he does change. He attends a funeral and this makes him reflect on his life and the crimes he committed. During his reflection he has an encounter with God, so to speak, and turns his life around.”

On February 26, 2014, Bill will celebrate this accomplishment with a book launch and signing. He is already working on the sequel and has plans for many more books, including a series of children’s books for his granddaughter.

Chef’s Corner: Frozen Strawberry Mousse

strawberry_mousseYou’ve had a lovely quiet evening. Maybe you had a delicious dinner of Greek Style Chicken for 2 to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Now you’re ready to finish it off with a light, luxurious touch. What could be better than frozen mousse in a heart-shaped mold, maybe drizzled with a little melted chocolate?

Of course, we’ve offered you some other flavour variations for other special occasions as well.

Frozen Mousse

Create the Meringue:

  • 125 g (approx. 4) egg whites
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils.
Have a pastry brush in a cup of warm water handy in case any sugar crystals form.
If this happens just wash them down.
Boil until the syrup registers 117°C on a sugar thermometer.
While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites in a mixing machine until they form soft peaks.
With the machine running, very slowly beat in the hot syrup avoiding the whisk.
Continue to beat until the meringue is cool and forms firm peaks.

Add Flavour Variation:

  • Berry Mousse – Force 250 g fresh or frozen berries through a sieve. Add to the meringue
  • Liquer Mousse – Add 90 ml liquor like brandy or dark rum to finished meringue (blend in)
  • Chocolate Mousse – Melt 125 g chocolate- stir in some meringue then fold chocolate mixture into finished meringue
  • Lemon Mousse – Add 90 ml lemon juice and the grated zest of 1 lemon to the meringue
  • Apricot Mousse – Soak 200 g apricots overnight, then simmer until tender. Drain and puree, then fold into meringue.

Add Cream to Flavoured Meringue:

  • 375 ml Heavy cream

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks then fold into the cooled meringue and freeze in spring form pan, heart shaped mould,  or freezable container.

For Frozen Raspberry Mousse Cake, freeze the mixture in a spring form pan and unmold before serving cutting into desired size. I suggest serving with warm berry compote, chopped fresh berries, or a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.

Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that “cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition.”

Childcare Story: “Let’s sing and dance and shout!”

Last year as Pre-school wrapped up in June, Child Care Manager Paula West-Patrick had a discussion with Christine, a pre-school teacher, about ways they could incorporate more music and present more Christian content into our programs. Christine reminisced about the days when child care staff and children  would gather in the gym for Praise Days. At that point they decided that this would be a goal for September.

The department purchased a small keyboard, and Tanya  (Christine’s pre-school teaching partner) and Christine set about creating a program of celebration of God’s love for each of us through music, movement and story. The plan was to combine day care and pre-school classes twice a month for 15 minutes to start and work up to half an hour each time.

The program has been quite successful. Children who were uninterested in September are now asking when the next Praise Day is. Each class has been provided with a CD and the children are singing the songs every day. “Let’s sing and dance and shout!” is the opening song and one of the children’s favorites.

At the last session Christine read a story about prayer. When she asked the group what they thought prayer meant one little 4 yr old boy who is very shy immediately put his hand up and when asked to, said “It is when you’re scared and you can talk to God and he makes you not be afraid anymore.” It is so good to hear these comments from the children and know that God is making an impression in their lives.


Preschool Teacher Christine shares her musical talents and love of God.

Chef’s Corner: Greek Style Grilled Chicken for 2

Whenever we see 'Greek Style' in the description on the menus here at The Cridge Centre, we know we are in for a real treat. Chef Nik learned his love of cooking at the side of his Greek mother and grandmother, and the passion, love and care they put into their food continues on through Nik's skill. 

Greek Style Grilled Chicken for 2


  • 1 lemon (zest & juice)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbp. oregano
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp each of salt & pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


  • Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
  • Rinse chicken breasts under cold water and pat dry.
  • Add chicken to the marinade and allow to take in these flavours for minimum 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Preheat your barbeque. Now here’s where the adventure begins!
  • With your tongs lift the chicken out of the bowl scraping any excess marinade off on the lip of the bowl and place chicken on the hot part of your barbeque (be careful – there will be flames).
  • Sear the chicken on both sides (about 2 minutes per side)
  • Move the chicken to the medium heat part of your barbeque.
  • With the remaining marinade that is in the bowl start basting your chicken, turning over as needed to cook the chicken thoroughly and evenly.
  • Use up your marinade before the chicken is done because you don’t want to add any of the marinade to the chicken after it is cooked; that would not be safe. You want to cook the chicken with the marinade.
  • Cook the chicken until clear juices are flowing or to an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius.
  • Finish it with a squirt of lemon and some good extra virgin olive oil on the plate.
  • Serve this with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc if you like wine, and your favourite salad.

YIELD: 2 servings

Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that "cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition."



Thank you.

In the course of going about our business here – in wiping a crying child’s nose, comforting a lonely senior, teaching a brain injury survivor a new recipe, or finding a young mom her first home – we often receive the most gracious of thank you notes. In The Cridge Respitality Service, Mimi Davis has preserved years worth of these notes in binders. Other program coordinators and managers pass on particularly poignant thank-yous to the other the management team and staff members.

One place the thank you’s rarely make it is back to our donors, society members and supporters – the people who make it possible for us to do our work. And so, for the next 12 weeks, we will be sharing some of these thank you notes with you. These are by no means the only thanks we receive; they are not even representative of every program we have. What they are is a sampling of the kind of difference that your support makes.

Every two weeks, we will update the thank you here on the website, and on our social media streams. Be sure to check back for the next installation. [flgallery id=20 /]

Chef’s Corner: Chef Nik’s Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cookies

This is what you picture when you picture the perfect cookie and a chocoholics dream: three kinds of chocolate, crackling cocoa outside, chewy gooey fudge on the inside, and a nice crunch of nut to give it texture. This is the kind of cookie that has to be locked away or it goes missing.

Chef Nik’s Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cookies


  • 400 g (3 cups) dark chocolate chopped up or good quality chips
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) unsweeted or bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 15 ml vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 350 g (1 3/4 cup) sugar
  • 60 g (2/3 cup) cocoa
  • 1.5 ml salt
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 125 g (1 cup) roasted chopped pecans or chopped walnuts
  • 170 g  (1/2 cup) each of dark and white chocolate chips


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Melt the dark and unsweetened chocolate with the butter over a double boiler gently (you want to melt not cook).
  • Whisk the chocolate butter mixture smooth and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer with the wire attachment or with a hand held electric beater, beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and fluffy (ribbon stage).
  • Add the vanilla and chocolate mixture to the eggs and beat in.
  • Combine the cocoa, salt and baking powder in a bowl and whisk together until smooth and combined.
  • Add with the nuts and chocolate chips and blend on low speed until all combined.
  • Pour the batter in a pan cover with clear wrap and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes for the mixture to set.
  • Scoop out using a small ice cream scoop or use a teaspoon to drop small cookies onto parchment line cookie sheets leaving an inch between cookies, do not press down.
  • If you have a convection oven you can bake 3 trays at a time. If you have a conventional oven set the rack in the middle part.
  • Bake cookies for 8 minutes do not over bake or they will be dry. They will be shiny and have cracks on top. Let cool before devouring (if you can!).

Makes about 48 small cookies.

Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that “cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition.”



Giving Tuesday 2013

charity-tuesday_580x269_2You’ve heard about ‘Black Friday’ – the biggest retail shopping day of the year that kicks-off the relative madness of Christmas shopping in North America. You’ve probably also heard about ‘Cyber Monday’ – online retailers response to Black Friday that continues the spending frenzy after the weekend of failing to find everything on your gift shopping list.

You may not, however, have heard of the new movement called ‘Giving Tuesday‘ – a day to move the focus to giving back. Giving Tuesday “celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations”. Started last year south of the border, we are proud to participate this year in Canada’s first Giving Tuesday on December 3.

Giving Tuesday celebrates the many ways your gifts of time, talent, and treasure make a difference for our clients. More importantly, it’s an opportunity for us to thank the many many supporters who throughout the year ensure that we can continue to support, encourage, house, counsel and ‘manifest the love of Jesus’ to those in need.

Here are some ways you can participate in Giving Tuesday:

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Both gifts-in-kind and financial gifts are essential to continuing and expanding our services. This Giving Tuesday, you can give either:

Support someone living in The Cridge Supportive Transitional Housing by providing them with The Gift of Christmas with a Christmas hamper.

Donate quickly and easily online withour dedicated Giving Tuesday donation page. If you’re more comfortable giving the traditional way, you can mail a cheque and mark in the Memo “Giving Tuesday” or phone our accounting office with your credit card information at (250) 995-6402 and mention Giving Tuesday.

BONUS: If you choose to give online using Interac, Interac will match your gift and double your impact!


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  • Talk to your children and family about The Cridge Centre, why you support us, and why charitable organizations are important in our communities.
  • ‘Like’ us on Facebook, share our posts, pictures, and events with your friends there; invite Facebook friends to follow us, and let us know why you care about The Cridge Centre for the Family.
  • Follow us on Twitter, retweet our activities that are of interest or importance to you, and encourage your followers to follow us.
  • Invite someone from The Cridge Centre to come talk at your church, service organization, or professional association. (email Shannon swhissell@cridge.org to find out more)


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Our services would be greatly reduced if we didn’t have generous and skilled volunteers who help lighten our load. They drive, cook, clean and encourage at The Cridge Transition House for Women. They take survivors of brain injury out in the community to reconnect. They keep our seniors engaged, active, and entertained. They construct the stunning and appreciated gift baskets that welcome parents of children with special needs on their Respitality stays.

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering, contact Shannon to find the best fit for your time and talents.


Want to learn a little more about Giving Tuesday? Why not watch this video (and keep an eye out for our logo).

3rd Annual Stuff the Stocking for The Cridge Respitality Service

Come enjoy a cup of cheer, festive treats, and the sounds of beautiful live Christmas music in our lovely Grand Lounge.

Our stocking will be hung and ready to be stuffed with your financial donation to support The Cridge Respitality Service.

Come by on your way to work, or  stop in on your coffee break. See you there!


Date: Friday, December 13th
Time: Anytime between 8:00am and 11:00am
Place:  The Cridge Village Seniors’ Centre Grand Lounge


To our event sponsors whose generosity makes this event even more special!:

Check back regularly for sponsor and event updates.