Major gift to Sarnia’s New Beginnings Club

New Beginnings executive director Lori Gall says a “Can Do” attitude always wins and cites Sarnia resident David Peterson as a perfect example.

On Feb. 21 of this year, David Peterson realized he’d won $100,000 on a $2 Instant Poker Lotto ticket he’d purchased at Greer’s Variety on Indian Road in Sarnia. After getting over his initial surprise about his good fortune, Dave took a few days to consider what he wanted to do with his winnings.

When Dave visited the New Beginnings Club on February 24th, he advised staff that he wanted to make a significant donation. Dave, who volunteers at a local food bank, is a survivor of a brain injury that occurred in November of 2009. He has been a member of the New Beginnings Club, located at 180 College Avenue North, Sarnia, since June of 2010.

Staff at the not-for-profit organization was pleasantly surprised that Dave would selflessly want to share some of his winnings with the Club, but wanted to ensure it was really something he wanted to do. So, they asked him to take some more time to mull the decision over. Dave continued to stay in touch with the Club’s Community Integration Director, Sheila LeNeve, never wavering from his original intention to make a personal contribution to New Beginnings.

Dave collected his winnings from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming office in Toronto on February 28, 2012 and, when presented with his cheque, cited the fact that he planned to donate some of his winnings to charity.

On March 7, 2012, after numerous discussions, Dave said he would definitely be making the donation to New Beginnings, and began to make the necessary plans for his generous donation.

New Beginnings, which provides free day programs for Sarnia-Lambton’s survivors of brain injury/stroke, is extremely grateful for Dave’s generousity. When staff asked him what prompted him to want to make such a large donation, he told them it’s because he sees first-hand all the work that the organization does to help those that have suffered a stroke or brain injury, and simply says it’s, “Because I can.” Peterson adds, “I like the way the Club is organized and run. New Beginnings is open daily to help people that need support because of their injury, and it has an easy, relaxed atmosphere so that people can fit in and be themselves.” Citing the fact that the staff is supportive and friendly to everyone, Peterson is confident that his money is being placed in good hands.

The Executive Director for the organization, Lori Gall, knows that the money will be put to good use, helping to defray programming costs. “New Beginnings offers a variety of opportunities for members to interact and socialize with one another in a supportive environment that allows for their continued post-injury/illness recovery through participation in arts & crafts, exercises and other activities. Supplementary funding, such as donations like this, helps us continue to offer the high-caliber of day programs and services our members and their families/caregivers have come to expect.”

Charles Smith, President of the Board for the Sarnia New Beginnings Club, who himself is a stroke survivor, said, “It is extremely generous of Mr. Peterson to make such a large donation, and we are very grateful for his involvement and support. On behalf of our members/survivors and their families/caregivers, I accept this donation knowing that it will go directly towards member programming.”

To learn more about the free services available to survivors of brain injury/stroke through the New Beginnings Club in Sarnia-Lambton, to make a donation, or to inquire about volunteering, you may contact the organization by phone at 519.491.2668 or via its website at

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