top of page


Mary Lou.jpg



This article appeared in Collingwood Today on September 28th, 2019. 
A link to the article can be found here.

A unique fundraising idea has made a massive difference in
the lives of women and children escaping dangerous
situations locally. For this week’s edition of People of
Collingwood we sat down with Marylou Gollert, retired teacher,
golfer and fundraiser for My Friend’s House.

Q: Have you always lived in Collingwood?

A: No.

Q: What is your background?

A: How far back do you want to go? I was adopted. I recently found out who my mother was. She was a single mom during war time. I think my father was a pilot. She gave me up for adoption at 11 months and a family in Kitchener adopted me. I went to school there, and went to Stratford Teacher’s College and became a teacher. When I married my first husband, we moved to Ottawa. We had two girls, and I stayed home with them until they were about Kindergarten age. Then I went back to work. I also got a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree while I was teaching and raising a family. I worked primarily in the Peel Region area. I taught all grades and most types of special education courses, and did some consulting. I worked to try to put kids on an even keel to give them a chance to make it in life happily. I retired, and my new partner Ron and I have been together since about 2000. I tried out retirement for about three years, and decided it wasn’t enough. I tried golfing and going for dinners but it wasn’t that fulfillment I wanted. I went back to work for a few more years. (Through my work), I would try to get kids on an even level. I found (intervention) needed to happen earlier. Once I got to Grade 1, the buck stopped there. I realized that if the kids didn’t have their literacy skills at an average level by Grade 1, they would start to fall behind... and the gap widened. The more you read and write, the better you become at it. A lot of times people wouldn’t have the materials. I did my thesis on dyslexia. It simply means difficulty learning to read. I wanted to balance kids’ chances in life.

Q: What brought you to Collingwood?

A: We’re here in the summer months, and we live right beside the (Cranberry) Golf Course. The path between the seventh and eighth holes goes by our side yard. Ron was building a golf course in Burlington. We lived there for a year while it was being built. The recession hit in 2007 or 2008. The economy was getting really bad, and TD bank was calling in its loan, and they didn’t have another backer so he lost the course. We were trying to figure out where we were going to live.

My best friend from the ninth grade lives in Collingwood. I had actually met Ron through her and her husband.

We moved to Lighthouse Point for two summers before buying here. We wanted a place on the golf course.

Q: How did you first get the idea for your creative fundraiser?

A: I would golf on the course by our house, and I’d have all these golf balls near the house. At first, I’d just put them in a tray (on the path), and I gave any money that came from it to World Vision. Sometimes I’d go for walks when there are no golfers and the balls would just be everywhere. I collect them, wash and scrub them, sort them into the different kinds. Do you know a lot about golf balls?

To download and read the rest of this article, click here.


Golf Ball Lady was started by one person, but the success of Golf Ball Lady has been due, in no small part to the contributions, help, and commitment of so many people and businesses who have donated small and large amounts of time, patience, golf balls, and expertise to help us get to where are today (over $30,000 in donations) and help us grow and continue to contribute.   THANK YOU!

bottom of page