juliannaIt is with profound sadness that I have been told of the passing of a very close friend, Julianna Matyas.

Julianna was the co-founder of the children’s charity We Are The Villagers (WATV), an organization dedicated to helping children of low income families to afford the cost of extra-curricular activities, including sports, recreation, culture and after-school mentoring.  I was lucky enough to be asked by Julianna and her co-Chair, Geoffrey Crompton, to join the Board of WATV to lead the fundraising effort.  I worked with Julianna to grow the charity from $40,000 annually to over $110,000 in two years, now assisting 345 families (with 200 still on the waiting list) and a presence in 19 communities in northern Ontario.  The stories from the children enrolled in the program, who often go on to receive many accomplishments and awards, are heart-warming.

None of that would have happened without Julianna’s tireless commitment to the cause and the children she cared about.   The picture here shows Julianna receiving the Town of Midland’s Citizenship Award.  In addition, Julianna received the YMCA’s Peace Medallion for her work.

Our efforts at WATV will now be doubled in memory of Julianna.  We will ensure that the charity lives out her dreams and continues to improve the lives of children in the Village.  You can read more about We Are The Villagers HERE.

I will miss Julianna very much, but her spirit and memories are an inspiration forever.