Saturday, 13 October 2012


Sample Newsletter Assignment:

Avoiding Sickness This Winter

Hello, Sunshine Cafe team! Congratulations on another successful month. The sound of Christmas music in the malls and halls of public spaces can only mean one thing; it's the holiday season again! As we prepare for the weather getting colder, the days getting shorter, and the in-laws coming over, we also need to prepare our bodies. As we approach the hectic month of December, filled with trips, presents, and cooking, it is important to remember that our health is usually the first thing to suffer when our bodies become stressed, tired, and overworked.

Our objective at Sunshine Cafe is to deliver healthy and affordable food choices and promote a healthy and prosperous lifestyle. Just as we wish this for our customers, we also wish it for our employees. As the life blood of our company, your health and wellness is an important part of both our company's mission as well as our company's success.

Illness often seems to arrive at the most inopportune moments, but we can all most likely agree that there is never a good time to be sick. Doctor's agree that because the flu season reaches its peak in late fall and early winter, and because viruses circulate better in colder weather, the holidays can become a virus-distribution system.

There has been an increase in the number of employee sick days at Sunshine, and at this time of year it is imperative that we be proactive and cautious when it comes to our health. “Loss of productivity due to illness or injury is a big issue for us in our development stage at Sunshine Cafe,” says Jane Doe, our human resources vice-president. “When everyone is healthy and happy, we are able to reach the success that Sunshine is capable of achieving as a company and everyone benefits.”

One of the easiest ways to avoid catching any bugs or viruses is to practice frequent hand-washing. The proper way to fully sanitize hands while washing is to spend at least 20 seconds wiping both the top and bottom of hands, as well as between fingers prior to eating and drinking. Hand sanitizers are also a method to consider for extra precaution against the pesky common cold or flu.

Another effective way to keep your body in peak condition is to simply get enough sleep. Although a simple concept, many people struggle with getting an adequate amount of rest on a regular basis. Sleep helps to keep your immune system strong, which helps fight off any unwelcome bacteria and viruses. A tired person is a person more susceptible to illness.

Another method to boost your immune system is to eat well; plenty of fruits and vegetables and an avoidance of high-fat, high-sodium foods. Vitamin C is an especially important part of an anti-illness regimen. If you are unable to get enough Vitamin C from citrus fruits, Vitamin C pills are an effective and convenient way to increase your daily intake.

Participating in regular exercise is another great way to improve your immune system while also boosting your energy level and mental clarity. Physical activity has been proven to reduce stress while increasing mood. Just a reminder that as a Sunshine Cafe employee you are entitled to special discount membership pricing at Goodlife. Try working out with a coworker in a friendly competition to see who can lose the most weight before Christmas. Keep in mind that health is not directly tied to weight. Pay more attention to increasing endurance and muscle mass as opposed to the number on the scale.

One of the most common causes of sickness is stress. Cortisol is a natural hormone that responds to stress, lowering immunity and making you more prone to illness. Stress might be unavoidable in our daily lives, but getting enough sleep and staying hydrated will help keep cortisol in check. Stress can also be lessened by better planning. Shopping during the holiday season is enough to wreak havoc on even the most Zen person's stress levels, so consider buying presents earlier and avoiding the holiday rush. If you are feeling overwhelmed or overstressed, consider talking to someone in Human Resources. Sunshine Cafe has systems in place to offer our employees a support system for anything that might be affecting your performance at work.

Unfortunately, sometimes becoming ill is unavoidable. If you are extremely sick and coming to work is a risk to yourself as well as the health of your coworkers, then stay home, drink lots of fluids, and catch up on sleep. If you can reasonably come to work, however, this is preferred. When dealing with mild colds at work, there are several common sense practices to fend off illness. If you are sick, cough into the crook of your arm and be sure to wash hands as often as possible to avoid spreading germs. On the same note, if a coworker is coughing or wiping their nose avoid immediate contact with them, and maybe offer them a cup of Sunshine Cafe's world renowned herbal tea.

Workplace safety is another wellness issue that is very important to us at Sunshine. Avoiding injury at work is crucial to the growth and success of our company. Remember that proper safety equipment is mandatory and do not be afraid to ask if you have questions about how to properly carry out any of your responsibilities. You also have the right to refuse any work that you feel is unsafe– your well-being is paramount at Sunshine.

Keep these suggestions and tips in mind as we continue through the winter season this year. We can all work together to reduce sickness and viruses both around the office and at home. Let's keep each other, our families, and ourselves healthy this Christmas, and continue to spread the warmth of Sunshine Cafe. Happy Holidays!


EQAO (speech)



The purpose of my life in grade three was one thing and one thing only. Get Bobbie Canning to propose to me.

Bobbie and I lived on the same street. He was perfect. He said swear words that kids our age were not allowed to say, he would drink Coke out of a licorice straw. He was the definition of cool.

He was also my best friend, and anyone who has ever wanted to move beyond a platonic relationship with their best friend knows what a delicate mission it is to successfully break out of the friend zone. So on June 3rd, 1999, the day of EQAO testing, I decided it was time for my life's purpose to be accomplished. I was going to ace the testing and ride that wave of confidence right into having 'the talk' with Bobbie on the way home from school.

That day, I woke up full of purpose. I put on my favourite outfit that my mother had helped me lay out the night before and had a nice bowl of Cheerios. I met Bobbie like I did every day, so that he could escort me to and from school.

Walking to school with Bobbie, I just knew it was going to be a good day. The rest of the morning was a blur in anticipation of the afternoon. When it came time to take the test, I carefully removed my best pencil from my Disney Princess pencil case, ready to earn the highest score in the entire history of EQAO testing.

Having a librarian for a father, I was constantly immersed in books. As such, I pretty much thought of myself as the greatest literary mind in the third grade, basically the Shakespeare of Mrs. Skinner's class. I finished the test way before everyone else. Since I had so much time on my hands, I took the opportunity to reflect on how great Bobbie looked underneath the school-grade florescent lightbulbs. He was like a real live movie star.   

Then it hit me, I really had to pee.

Leaving the room was strictly forbidden during testing, but there was forty-five minutes left before the school day ended and the quarantine was over.  Fifteen minutes passed, and then another fifteen minutes. Feeling a sense of urgency, I raised my hand and begged to be allowed to leave. Mrs. Skinner, gave me a sympathetic smile and told me I was just going to have to hold it for another 15 minutes until the bell rang.

Another 5 minutes passed of that agonizing feeling that your bladder is about to rupture. I didn't know if I was going to make it. Fearing impeding doom, I took one last look at Bobbie's immaculate mushroom cut and prepared for a crisis. 

A couple more minutes dragged by until there was nothing I could do. I closed my eyes, and peed my pants. I sat there partially bewildered, trying to understand how such an atrocity could have occurred and wondering if maybe Bobbie had somehow not noticed the disaster, even though he was now staring at me. Mrs. Skinner then decided that it was probably okay for me to be excused.

Too ashamed to walk back into the classroom, I waited for Bobbie by his coat hook in the hallway til the bell rang. He didn't say one word to me as we silently started what was to become the longest 20 minute walk home I have ever experienced. I had an internal dialogue with myself regarding my chances if I still tried to have 'the talk'. I wisely decided against it, and we walked home in silence, my love for Bobbie forever unrequited.