PINK MONDAY

putting our money where our heart is


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You can never unclutter enough!

Some tiny size 5 shoes

Some tiny size 5 shoes

When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last November it left a wake of destruction the country is still recovering from and will be for a long time.  One of my co-workers, Tara, is from the Philippines and still has many family members there. I heard about the typhoon on the weekend and when I saw her again on Monday at work I asked about her family.  She said that they were all very lucky that they were in areas that were not that affected – all except for an aunt and uncle.

Her aunt and uncle were separated for five whole days without any contact, not knowing how to find each other, not knowing if the other survived. I can’t imagine how awful that would be. They did find one another eventually, to everyone’s relief including mine!

... and some giant size 10 shoes!

… and some giant size 10 shoes!

I made a small cash donation to the relief efforts at that time and recently Tara asked me if I could add to a box of donated items she was planning to send over for her family to distribute to people in need. I wanted to help but I had just recently gone through my apartment and closets and already donated extra things to a thrift store in an attempt to unclutter a little bit.

Around the same time I was invited to a clothes swap and had the inspiration to ask my friends if they would be ok with me scooping up all of the leftover clothes to give to Tara for her shipment. My friends agreed and so this weekend I collected all of the leftover clothing, shoes, handbags and many reusable shopping bags (an item high on Tara’s list of things to donate).

Lots of carry-alls and handbags

Lots of carry-alls and handbags

I brought everything home where I sorted, folded and packed it all up. I went through my own closets again and miraculously found about 4 more bags of stuff I really didn’t need!

The next day I dropped everything off with Tara who combined it with her own boxes and today they were sent away. Tara and her family send things over twice a year and they send things by boat because you can fill a large box with as much stuff as you want and the weight does not affect the price – unlike when you send by air. It takes a couple of months to get there but it always gets there safely.

This embellished dress

This embellished dress

Tara’s family distributes the items in various communities – where ever they think there is a need including at orphanages. Usually my friends and I donate our clothes swap leftovers to local thrift stores – and all the winter coats and flannel pj’s will stay local – but it was interesting to know our things will be half a world away this time! Tara mentioned that sometimes her family takes photos of the places they visit with the donations so if I hear news of how it went or receive any photos later this spring, I’ll be sure to post them.

Thank you Tara for doing this!  Thank you Carlo for helping with the heavy lifting!  Thank you to all my friends who donated!

Happy Pink Monday!

Theresa

A few brand new things too

A few brand new things too

An entire carful of donations was tightly tetris-packed into these 3 large and heavyboxes!

An entire carful of donations was tightly tetris-packed into these 3 large and heavyboxes!

My wonderful husband helped me with pick-up and delivery

My wonderful husband helped me with pick-up and delivery

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Impressive Teens Pitch Environmental Business Ideas

Students formed teams with different schools to network and learn team-building skills - like building the highest tower using only spaghetti and marshmallows!!!

Students formed teams with different schools to network and learn team-building skills – like building the highest tower using only spaghetti and marshmallows!!!

It’s JA day on Pink Monday! How could it not be? I’m back home after two days of incredible events hosted by Junior Achievement of British Columbia. It took nearly every live body at our organization to pull this off!  I was the manager of registration (aka The Pentagon).

It’s our biggest annual student event – The JA Innovation Jam (formerly the BC Business Challenge).  Students from all over BC came to Vancouver to compete for the best business pitch with an environmental innovation theme. Last night we had a reception for all the out-of-town kids who were staying at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. Many of them had never been to Vancouver before.  Some of them from remote communities had never flown on a plane before!  What an amazing opportunity for these kids to come downtown and be part of what turned out to be two pretty amazing days.

Sam Thiara was our guest speaker at the reception and he was truly so inspirational that he was surrounded by a mob of kids after the event. Like a rock-star, they all wanted photos with Sam.

A highlight for me was a group of three teen girls who fearlessly approached me, hands extended, formally and confidently introduced themselves and told me about their school and their team and asked me what I do at JA. Networking is a big part of what we’re encouraging them to do at events like these. If you’re like me, you know it takes guts to go up to strangers at networking events and start conversations.  These girls are already pros at it.  I was so impressed!

My alarm went off at 5:00 am today as the event began for me just before 7 – getting ready for 123 students to mob my registration desk at 7:30 am.  It’s been a long day but I have that wonderful feeling you get after a well-run event – pride mixed with relief that it’s all done!!!  

During the day the students were led through workshops, a lightening round of presentations, breakout groups and filming of their pitch.  They were judged by panels of JA sponsors and a dozen members of the Top Forty Under 40. The top four teams were chosen and presented to the group.  Tomorrow morning there will be links on Youtube where everyone (even you!) can vote for the best pitch for a kind of “people’s choice” award. I love that the theme was environmental innovation and they came up with some incredible original ideas!  I’ll all a link to this post tomorrow.

So, I’m tired, I’m happy, I’m behind on my database entries back at the office.  Tomorrow will be filled with unpacking and catching up on all that was neglected in the last day or two before the event.  Like processing some of our most recent donations!  Speaking of which – if you like the idea of preparing youth for the world of work through business education and financial literacy, you might like to support Junior Achievement.

Happy Pink Monday!

Theresa


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Consider The Gift of Encouragement

goodtimes

One of the many ways supporting the Daffodil Campaign makes a difference – summer camp for kids with cancer – Camp Goodtimes!

I’ve started Telerecruiting for the Canadian Cancer Society and have decided never to hang up on a telemarketer/recruiter ever again! It’s true, I’ve just dropped the receiver many times as soon as I realized the person calling me in the safe haven of my home was not a friend or family member. I feel no guilt when I hear the pause-click of an automated dialing system which is a recording anyway half the time, but hanging up on a real, live, actual person – that’s cold isn’t it?

We’re calling people who have fundraised in the past for the Daffodil Campaign – raising money that will go towards research and support services to people fighting cancer and to their families as well. There are some pretty amazing programs like –

  • the Peer Support Service where you can connect with someone over the phone and talk about what you’re going through. This service is available online as well.
  • There’s a wig bank – and if you have 8″ of hair to donate, imagine what a treasure that would be to someone who’s gone through chemo and lost their hair.
  • Patients who must travel to receive treatment can apply for financial help for travel and accommodations.
  • There are volunteer drivers who can take you to appointments if you don’t have someone else available to help.
  • There’s the Jean C. Barber Lodge offering accommodation for patients and family at a reduced rate compared to hotels – it includes nursing supervision, 3 meals a day and is walking distance to treatment.
  • Imagine if your child had cancer? There’s a safe summer camp with medical supervision where kids and teens can enjoy some summer fun.

Can anyone really argue that these services aren’t worth funding? I don’t really think so. But I too have felt invaded when someone calls my home and don’t even get me going on someone who knocks on my door, but at the same time, I feel pretty strongly that there’s a difference between selling products and fundraising.

Besides the feeling of invasion, sometimes it’s just about dollars and cents. For me personally, I really do wish I could give every time I am asked, but I just can’t. We’re only 12 days into the new year and I’ve already been asked to support 5 charities. I want to give to each and every one of them! Instead, I will pick and choose as I have a budget to adhere to, not to mention I think I have SAD and really need to save up for a sunny vacation!

So today, besides my usual recommendation that you donate to or volunteer for worthy organizations, I’d like to suggest another way to contribute – by boosting the morale of those tele-recruiters out there! I called about 100 people on my first 4-hour evening shift and most either weren’t home or said they couldn’t help but I did reconfirm two past volunteers and signed up three brand new ones who had never done it before. I sincerely feel it was worth my time to accomplish that. So next time someone calls you at home, consider this – we don’t mind if you interrupt us to say “no thank you” but wish us luck and tell us if you appreciate the work we do. It puts a smile on our face and gives us that little extra boost of encouragement for the next call we’re about to make. In this small way, you can still make a difference! Believe me!!!

Happy Pink Monday 🙂

Theresa


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Do You Know A Classroom In Need?

Help students learn drawing and anatomy with a disarticulated skeleton

Help students learn drawing and anatomy with a disarticulated skeleton

Just before Christmas, I included information on a project in the US where a teacher needed funds to help with books for her classroom. My friend Yvonne thought it was a great idea and wondered if there were similar projects in Canada. I promised her I would find out and today I began a google search. My first attempt yielded no results and I started to think that this would be the perfect new charity to start up because everyone knows a teacher whose classroom is underfunded! I tried again, and this time I found exactly what I was looking for right away. Guess I’ll have to wait for the next great idea to start a charity of my own.

My Class Needs Foundation is a registered Canadian charity that lets teachers all across Canada submit project ideas for various needs in their classroom. This crowdfunding platform was launched in 2012 and so far only 4 provinces are involved and the majority of projects are in Surrey, BC.  Projects have to meet a list of criteria for approval and must be reported on by the teachers afterwards. If you donate to a project that doesn’t reach it’s goal, your donation is refunded in the form of a credit and you can choose a new project to fund.

Teachers submitting a project for the first time are limited to $1,000 and unfortunately, my teacher friend Catherine will be disappointed by this, you can’t ask for cash or perishable items like food.  Catherine is always fundraising for her school’s lunch program.

I saw a lot of requests for iPads which put me off a bit.  I’d rather donate towards books.  I’m not sure why I have this bias as I do 99% of my reading on a Sony E-Reader.  I’ll have to get over that perhaps.  Also, in some provinces (Ontario) you can’t fundraise for textbooks anyway (it’s against their school board fundraising policies), so why not fund some iPads? I saw projects for kids with disabilities, literacy barriers and sensory processing issues.  I learned a thing or two about what techniques are being used in the classroom to help kids learn. For example, I did not know that shape puzzles and toys used in math are called manipulatives!

My favorite pitch was by Mrs. Johnson from Frank Hurt Secondary in Surrey.  She’s raising funds to purchase a disarticulated skeleton to guide observation in anatomy drawing.

“Natural curiosity and engagement with the human body teaches a keen sense of observation and attention to detail, allowing students to wonder where these bones belong and how the body fits together,” says Mrs. Johnson in her project description.

If you know a teacher, or have kids and are familiar with the challenges teachers face meeting their classroom needs, this kind of giving might be for you.  Browse their projects and I’d love to hear if you found one worthy of your support. If you’re a teacher – I bet you have a need you could start crowdfunding for!

Good luck and Happy Pink Monday!

Theresa