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“I feel hugged by my whole community!” We surprised a local person making a difference

EloraFergusToday surprised Stephanie Lines-Toohill, local community leader and changemaker, with a Random Act of Kindness

When Stephanie Lines-Toohill arrived at her workplace, she was expecting the day to be like any other.  

Instead she was met with a cheering group of over 40 people, who had come together with EloraFergusToday to celebrate Stephanie and her impact on the community with a Random Act of Kindness. 

We caught up with Stephanie after her surprise and she became emotional relaying the experience. 

“I feel hugged by my whole community!” She shared, overjoyed. “The room was full of people - people who I love, some of whom I hadn’t seen for years. I am still fighting back tears!”

Stephanie is the founder of Sparrow's Nest, an inclusive arts space housed at Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA) where she runs classes for adults with mixed abilities, teens and young children. It was here that we surprised her. 

We were only able to coordinate this surprise thanks to Barb Evoy, owner of Fergus Educational Services, who nominated Stephanie for an EloraFergusToday Random Act of Kindness. 

When describing why Stephanie was deserving of this recognition, Barb was full of praise.

“Some people in this life you meet and at that moment you realize you are in the presence of goodness,” she shared. “Stephanie is one of those people.” 

She went on to say, “Stephanie gives for the sake of giving, serves for the sake of serving. She does so much for our community, just because of her love and passion for people.”

It would have been impossible to organize this Random Act of Kindness without the network of people who gathered to celebrate Stephanie. 

Judy Anderson, a volunteer at Sparrow's Nest, was instrumental in bringing people together and keeping it a big secret. “Steph deserves the world,” she said when she learned of EloraFergusToday's plans. “Thank you for thinking of her!”

In addition to the wonderful gifts we delivered to Stephanie from our generous co-sponsors, The Friendly Society, The Evelyn and The Bloom Room Floral Company, her loved ones also took part in the gift-giving. Resa “the cake fairy” Lent brought a carrot cake, Gemma Botell and Autumn Grace Sutherland created a beautiful banner, Paisley Frasson brought an orchid and the Elora Centre for the Arts along with family and friends brought bouquets of flowers to celebrate Stephanie. 

“I always think that kindness and care are the best tools we have for building our community,” Stephanie shared. “Regardless of the age gap, everyone who comes to Sparrow's Nest is on one another’s team. So this recognition isn’t just for me, it’s for them, too.”

She went on, “I have set up the poster and the flowers in the arts space, so that the children attending my after-school session can also see them. I am sure they will feel so accomplished to be a part of it!"

Stephanie will give a public talk about her personal experiences of the impact of the arts on building community at Sparrow's Nest on Februay 25. Learn more about the event on the Elora Fergus Arts Council Facebook page

If you know someone in the community who deserves recognition for their selfless actions, positivity in the face of hardship, or just for being a great person, you can nominate them for a Random Act of Kindness. Fill out our nomination form today!

If you would like to support our Random Acts of Kindness program, please email [email protected].

EloraFergusToday is proud to make a difference in our community by highlighting extraordinary individuals and organizations with our Random Acts of Kindness, a foundational piece of our EloraFergusToday Cares program. 

The EloraFergusToday Cares team's mission is to create meaningful change in Elora and Fergus - and inspire others to do the same.