#CharityTuesday – ALS Canada & #IceBucketChallenge

This #CharityTuesday post comes one day early.

Why?

Well, Paul Baltovich and Dana Baltovich nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and thus I only had 24 hours to make good on the nomination by both pouring a bucket of ice water over my head and donating to the cause as per the rules of the viral charitable exercise.

Honestly, though, our desire is not to highlight the #IceBucketChallenge, but instead to focus on the organization of ALS Canada – an organization whose good work is supported by the donations from the challenge.

According to its website, ALS Canada’s vision is simple, “To find a cure for ALS”. The organization is committed to:

  • Support research towards a cure for ALS.
  • Support provincial ALS societies in their provision of quality care for persons living with ALS.
  • Build public awareness of ALS and its impact.

As with many charitable organizations, there are many ways that you can get involved and support the organization through various fundraising events.

Turns out, that the Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t the only creative and daring fundraiser through which you can get involved either. Why not skydive in tandem for the cause with the Jumping 4 “PALS” (People with ALS) campaign?! Uh, let’s just not nominate me for this type of dare!

Oh. I almost forgot – see below for my video proving my fulfillment of the #IceBucketChallenge.

As per the rules of the challenge, I nominate three other Presidents of executive search firms in Toronto who serve the not-for-profit sectorMarnie Spears of KCI; Deborah Legrove of Crawford Connect; and of course, David Hutchinson of Hutchinson Group Inc. Would love to see your videos posted to #nfpsearchfirms if possible!

 

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Dress for Success

Give away your clothes this week.

We’re not suggesting you head to work naked (as that would turn #CharityTuesday into #AwkwardWorkWeek), instead we’re suggesting the donation of your high quality, new, and nearly new professional clothing to a worthy cause.

What is that cause? Dress for Success – our most recent selection for the #CharityTuesday spotlight.

According to the Dress for Success Toronto  website:

The mission of Dress for Success Toronto is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

As executive recruiters in the not-for-profit sector in Toronto, we know first hand the importance a professional wardrobe is to making a great first impression with a potential employer, but also how important it is to a candidate’s feeling of confidence and self-worth.

Consider what might be hanging in your walk-in closet that could give another woman the confidence to walk-in to a potentially life-changing interview!

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – The Children’s Aid Society

Being charitable or charitably-minded does not necessarily mean you have to give financially.

Sometimes being charitable means giving of yourself.

I sometimes open a box I keep in my office – it’s filled with moments of a lifetime lived, and I look at a picture of me at about two years old in a backyard in Etobicoke with a large german shepherd.

It is the last picture of have of myself, before I was adopted and given what I now refer to as my “forever home”, yet it is a reminder of the selfless love that was shown by two amazing people for me and it is a picture that I cherish.

For some, giving of yourself, is all encompassing and it means embarking on the journey that my parents did so long ago now. While for others it’s the simple act of thinking about the needs that surround us daily and acting out of kindness to provide hope and the brightness of future to young lives that will be forever grateful.

Our #CharityTuesday blog post today highlights The Children’s Aid Society. While each region will have their own Children’s Aid Society to serve the needs of its local community, many of these organizations have similar charitable needs to which you can give.

If this is an organization that is close to your heart, how can you give of yourself?

Sure, they will accept your monetary donations, but can you give more? Would you volunteer by giving of your time and energy? Would you give wholly of yourself – your home, familial love, and life experience?

If so, explore the website of your local Children’s Aid Society to see how you can best give of yourself and make a difference for kids and youth in care.

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Ronald McDonald House

Today’s #CharityTuesday blog post celebrates the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada.

Any parent would tell you that when your child is sick – even if it is just with a cold or the flu – you want to be by their side at every moment to care for them and comfort them. Even more so do parents with children facing critical illnesses desire to be with their children.

Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada do just that; allow families to be together and to heal together during the hospitalization of a child and sibling.

Quoting the Ronald McDonald House Toronto website, “When families stay at our House they receive more than just a cozy place to sleep during their child’s stay or during treatment time at a nearby hospital. We also provide specialized programs and support services to help bring some joy and normalcy back into everyone’s lives.”

Ronald McDonald House takes a holistic approach to the treatment, care, and well-being of both the child with an illness and the family. For example, in addition to the Toronto House and its specialized programs and support services, Ronald McDonald House Toronto hosts:

A Family Room in various hospitals, which provides, “a welcoming environment for families to retreat, rest and heal better together within the hospital, while being just steps away from their seriously ill child.”

An RMH Toronto School, which opened, “In September 2003 . . . in response to an increase in long-term stays of families at the House. At the Ronald McDonald House Toronto School, seriously ill children and their siblings have the opportunity to attend class just like they do at home.”

You and your own family can support this charity in a number of ways including:

Consider how you can make your local Ronald McDonald House an initiative in which your family makes a charitable difference.

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Hospice Palliative Care Ontario

“It’s time to talk about death and dying in Canada.” – Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO)

I couldn’t agree more.

Hospice palliative care has been a passion of mine for close to a decade now. While I have volunteered as a corporate fundraiser for the Hospice Association of Ontario in the past, my care for the cause is truly rooted in my own experiences with loved ones in their end-of-life care.

Most recently, I think of my wife’s grandmother who spent her last two weeks of life with cancer in a compassionate hospice in Brantford, ON. My wife recalls the warmth and genuine care both she and her grandmother received by the hospice staff and volunteers. Most important to her was that her grandmother was never in pain; was treated with dignity, respect, and love even beyond her last breath; and was memorialized in various small tributes available in the hospice itself.

My wife solemnly describes the beauty of the facility and atmosphere created by the volunteers as a “wonderful place to die”.

Not only was the hospice a relief and comfort for her grandmother, it was a safe and inviting place for her and her family to grieve the inevitable loss of a cherished and loved (and now, missed) grandmother.

What truly breaks our hearts right now, is knowing that the wonderful end-of-life care that our grandmother received is only accessible to 16-30% of other Canadians, according to HPCO.

If you are unfamiliar with hospice palliative care, it is simply described on the HPCO website as:

…aimed at relieving suffering and improving the quality of life for persons who are living with, or dying from, advanced illness or are bereaved.

Palliative care is a special kind of health care for individuals and families who are living with a life-limiting illness that is usually at an advanced stage. The goal of palliative care is to provide comfort and dignity for the person living with the illness as well as the best quality of life for both this person and his or her family. A “family” is whoever the person says his or her family is. It may include relatives, partners and friends.

An important objective of palliative care is relief of pain and other symptoms. Palliative care meets not only physical needs, but also psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of each person and family. Palliative care may be the main focus of care when a cure for the illness is no longer possible. Palliative care services help people in later life who are ill to live out their remaining time in comfort and dignity. (Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, About, para. 1-3).

While certainly monetary donations are needed and useful to hospices, this is yet another charitable opportunity where you can make a significant contribution without having to donate funds. Consider volunteering at your local hospice to make food, clean the facility, play music, do groundskeeping, or offer counselling services. Perhaps you can get involved in the greater Hospice Palliative Care Ontario association if you’re able to bring change to policy and government too.

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Canadian Blood Services

Blood. It’s in you to give.

“Oh! I get it! Like blood is actually in your body so that you can give it! That’s what they mean!” proclaimed my fourteen year old daughter from the back seat of our car as she heard the familiar Canadian Blood Services announcement on the radio.

A conversation about giving blood started among our family. My son, was especially serious about considering being a blood donor. I encouraged him to consider this further since he is old enough to donate blood.

What I appreciate most about my son’s willingness to donate blood, is that it is a way he can be charitably-minded without having to donate financially.

Turns out there are a few ways that my teenagers can be charitably-minded with Canadian Blood Services without having to give financially including donating blood, becoming youth leadership volunteers who recruit new blood donors, volunteering at a blood clinic, or even helping coordinate an event at their high school through the Young Blood for Life initiative.

According to the Canadian Blood Services website, the Young Blood for Life initiative boasts that:

Last year over 35,000 teenagers donated blood at Canadian Blood Services donor clinics – these young donors represented almost 8% of all blood donors – that’s a pretty significant contribution! This year we’re challenging young donors to continue giving and to help recruit the new blood donors we need to keep pace with the demand for blood in Canada.

Enter Young Blood for Life, a recruitment program focused entirely on young Canadians. This program depends on student leaders in high schools across Canada to advocate for blood donation with their peers. Young Blood for Life challenges high schools to recruit students, teachers, their families and friends to donate at Canadian Blood Services clinics. Will your school save the most lives? (para. 1-2)

Giving blood regularly is a great way to personally ease yourself into a charitable mindset if you are unable to give financially but it is also a simple way to instill principles of giving into your kids.

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Compassion Canada

Sometimes it is really easy to give to charity.

photoFor example, we received a small postcard in the mail from Compassion Canada congratulating us on our three year sponsorship of a child in Peru.

To be honest, it’s the easiest charitable giving that we do on an annual basis.

You see, our sponsorship is automatically withdrawn from our bank account each month, and until we get a letter in the mail from our sponsored child or the occasional additional fundraising material, we don’t even give much thought to our financial gift each month.

Instead, our sense of fulfillment in our involvement with Compassion Canada comes from the letters we exchange with our sponsored child, rather than the actual act of giving from a monetary perspective.

For the past three years, we’ve watched a boy turn into a teenager as we have read his stories of celebration, gratitude, joy, and challenge.

With this in mind, we hope that you’ll remember on this Charity Tuesday that being charitably-minded doesn’t mean that you have to always donate financially. Consider the ways in which you can donate your time, energy, ideas, creativity, and skills in order to contribute to the causes about which you are passionate!

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Wounded Warriors

“Honour the Fallen, Help the Living.”
– Wounded Warriors

Today is a Canada Day.

Across the nation we will celebrate this grand and beautiful country of which we are proud. Indeed, we have much reason to celebrate because we live in a country in which there is an abundance of freedom and respect for our fellow humankind.

This freedom and respect, however, has been bought at the price of many lives who sacrificed themselves in times of both war and peace over the past century.

Recently, during the most intense times in which our Canadian troops were in Afghanistan and we were losing multiple soldiers at a time, I would step into the role of team member, alongside so many others, conducting the repatriation ceremonies for our Canadian fallen.

Too many times it would now seem, I would drive the second hearse in the processional down the Highway of Heroes to deliver a fallen solider to the Toronto coroner’s office. Each time, a fallen warrior would have a fellow soldier escort the fallen everywhere until he or she was laid to final rest.

It was always overwhelming for these escorts to see the overpasses and bridges along the Highway of Heroes aligned (if not packed) with civilians, legion veterans, policemen, firemen, and emergency response teams, waving somber flags and saluting out of gratitude and respect for the sacrifice that had been made. Often the silence that filled the car would be the loudest representation of the true emotion of these warriors, and other times emotional responses could not be so easily controlled, but each time they were graced by the show of support from the masses.

So as I enjoy this leisurely Canada Day holiday and remember the cost at which this day has been afforded, I will use this Charity Tuesday blog post to highlight the Canadian charity called Wounded Warriors.

According to its website, Wounded Warriors was:

“founded in 2006…[and] is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces members – be they full time or reservists – who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.

Through a wide range of programs and services, we help find solutions where gaps have left our soldiers in need. Currently, our primary focus is on mental health and, particularly, the staggering impact of PTSD, perpetrated by Operational Stress Injuries. Overall, however, our mandate is to help any Veteran in need as they transition to civilian life.”

Consider how you can honour those who have made it possible to celebrate Canada Day year after year by donating to one of its causes about which you are passionate, or raising awareness through participation in events like Tough Mudder.
About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

#CharityTuesday – Canadian Cancer Society

I am by nature a bit of a collector, not Ferraris or Yachts, but mementos of moments that have impacted me over the span of my days.

It is a collection that I keep in my office and is displayed on the shelves that line my wall, some are little while others stand out, but all have a deeper meaning as I look at them. My collection calls me back to a time spent with people that I cared about and an event in my life that was worth saving a piece of.

I have another collection as well, and unfortunately, I had to add to it again yesterday.  As I sat quietly in the church, we gathered to bury another friend of mine who was 49 years of age; a wonderful man who was full of life and love for his God, his wife, four beautiful kids, and an army of friends.

Over the past several years my collection of obituary clippings, bulletins, and prayer cards has started to swell. As I opened that box yesterday afternoon, and looked through the stack, I realized that cancer was responsible for ten of them. That’s ten in the past seventeen years; one is certainly too many, but ten is ridiculous!

The ten represent parents, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters, and friends from the youngest at 16 to the oldest at 84. It’s not a collection that I want, and yet I know there are more to come in the days ahead.

On this Charity Tuesday, I not only want to highlight the Canadian Cancer Society, but I want to thank this organization for the overwhelming mission they have purposed to fulfill – “the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer” (Our Mission, para. 1).

Please get involved with this Canadian charity by donating, volunteering, or participating in a fundraising event – like the organization’s “Relay for Life”.

I know I am among many who have lost loved ones to this awful disease of cancer. Please feel free to leave a story here in tribute of your own loved ones’ who’ve battled with cancer, whether they’ve won or lost.

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

 

#CharityTuesday – Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada

My darling baby girl graduated from Grade 8 last night. Through blurry, tear-filled eyes, I watched her proceed down the aisle to participate in the ceremony which celebrated her class and their accomplishments.

I recognize that my daughter is who she is, in part because of my amazing genetic make-up, but also because of the mentors, teachers, and influencers in her life who’ve taken time to guide, teach, and shape her into the young woman she is today.

Similarly, the charity we wish to highlight for today’s #CharityTuesday blog post, which is Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, allows kids and teens to also develop these very important relationships within their own lives. Its vision is all encompassing of this concept, stating that the organization exists to ensure, “Every Child in Canada Who Needs a Mentor, Has a Mentor.”

Furthermore, according to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website:

For one hundred years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been making a positive difference in the lives of our nation’s youth by developing and implementing a wide range of mentoring programs. One-to-one and group programs, for both in school and outside of school.

Serving as role models, our mentors teach by example the importance of giving and giving back, of staying in school, and of having respect for family, peers and community. Each time we pair a child with a mentor or introduce a group of students to an in-school program, we start something incredible – a life-changing relationship built on friendship, trust and empowerment.

Consider whether you have the capacity to be a trusted mentor and confidant to a young person and explore volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, donating to the organization, or participate in a fundraising event – like the organization’s “Bowl for Kids Sake” events that happen between February and April.

 

About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

 

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