Giving Back – changing lives in a simple little way

Giving Back – Charities Update

christmas-charity Once again, it’s that time of year when we all are rushing around to prepare for this festive season with so much to do and so little time.

I know we all come from different backgrounds, ethnicities religions, etc. but one thing in common we all have is that we all would like to have a happy healthy safe life for us and our loved ones. For most of us that goal has already been met. Yes we have our challenges, but in comparison to so much of the world’s population we are incredibly blessed. It is with that in mind that I am writing about the spirit of giving… especially this time of year.

As I mentioned in my opening, this time of year is always a time for me to reflect on all the graces that have been bestowed upon me. It is also a time for me to give a little extra back.

This year has been a very interesting and tough year in many ways and yet I find it wonderful to see how many clients throughout the year are giving more and getting involved in charities. They share with me the causes they are involved in such as the fight against breast cancer, prostate cancer, MS, abused women and children, abandoned children etc. There are so many great non profit organizations in which to get involved as there is never any shortage of need.

My intent here is to only share some of the causes, charities and Non Profit organizations that are dear to my heart and do great work to change lives in case someone is searching at this time and wishes to support.

img_newwvlogoSo far I have and continue to happily sponsor 7 children around the world through World Vision Canada.

Over the years clients have asked me to provide an update on the sponsored children. Here is a little update on the children I am currently sponsoring:

  • Solomene from Chad is 13 years old and is in grade 5 now – her favourite subject is math.
  • Eduardo from Costa Rica is 17 years old and is in 8th grade and loves soccer
  • Rodrigo from Bolivia is 15 years old and is in grade 9 and his favourite subject is math.
  • Patricia from South Africa is 12 years old and is a new child sponsored as one of my previously sponsored children have left the area.
  • Inoussa from Niger is 9 years old and is in grade 2 and loves soccer.
  • Resha from Nepal is 15 years old and in grade 10. Her favourite subject this year is English.
  • Maimouna from Mauritania is 6 years old and she is too young to start school this year.

Also this season, while continuing to sponsor the children, I wish to do something more. I wanted to contribute to several key areas, disaster relief, the fight against disease, support my passion of music, and make a difference in the city I live in and love.

Colin Wiebe, a very good friend of mine shared pictures, videos and stories with a group of us about a very real and big need that still exists and the world in general has moved on from but there is still a great need for assistance. I am talking about the devastating earthquake disaster that continues to affect millions of people in Haiti. He went to Haiti and toured the damage, tent cities and massive need in Port-Au-Prince.

Two of the groups he found that had and still have a presence and that are making a profound difference in Haiti are Samaritan’s Purse International and Compassion Canada.

Samaritan's Purse InternationalSamaritan’s Purse International partners with their supporters in Canada and with local organizations (usually churches) abroad to provide compassionate and cost-effective assistance to anyone who needs it, regardless of religion, race, gender or socio-economic standing.

Compassion Canada As one of the world’s leading child development organizations, Compassion partners with the local church in 26 countries to end poverty in the lives of children and their families. Today, more than 1.4 million children are discovering lives full of promise and purpose as they develop in all aspects of their lives-minds, bodies and relationships.

Here is a link to Colin’s song and music video he wrote about Haiti.

Doctors without Borders Doctors without Borders also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is one of the world’s leading independent international medical relief organizations, working in around 80 countries worldwide and with operational centres and national offices in 19 countries.

For more 40 years, they have been providing medical help to people caught in many kinds of catastrophes, including armed conflicts, disasters such as floods and earthquakes, epidemics of disease and malnutrition crises.

Playing For Change As I have mentioned in the past, having a passion for music and being musician I also like to support another charitable organization called Playing For Change who are connecting the world through music. Its mission to ensure that anyone with the desire to receive a music education, would have the opportunity to do so. I have donated to their foundation.

The Playing For Change Foundation is dedicated to the fundamental idea that peace and change are possible through the universal language of music.

Sarah McLachlan's School of Music The Sarah McLachlan School of Music (SoM) builds self-esteem and fosters creativity through the power of song and sound. SoM was created for those inner city kids whom would not normally have access to learning music.

SoM reaches hundreds of young people every year, providing them with the space and the tools they need to express themselves. The school offers them a secure, inspiring place to learn, practice, and ultimately connect with others and with themselves. Students acquire a lifelong appreciation of music, an enthusiasm for learning, and a nurturing environment where they learn the skills they need to explore their creative potential and to develop friendships that will last a lifetime.

So many people have been caught in the continued economic downturn in both Canada and the United States and as reported there continues to be drops in charitable donations across the board, shortages in contributions to food banks and many great organizations the Salvation Army, even the blood banks are at all time lows.

Union Gospel MissionIn Vancouver, it is no different in the significant drops in contributions to many of our local charities. I have chosen to contribute funds to a particular charity that helps people in our local community who are in an extremely difficult position or have suffered. This season, once again I have decided to contribute funds to the Union Gospel Mission, which feeds literally thousands of people a day who would not eat if it wasn’t for this wonderful organization.

Covenant House Another charitable organization that is doing great work with kids and young adults that are homeless and at risk called Covenant House and they are in most cities across North and South America. Many of the kids have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse.

Many were neglected or turned away by parents and caregivers who gave up, or who were unable to care for them. Some have aged out of foster care at 19 with nowhere to go and no family support. Covenant House Vancouver “provides food, shelter, clothing and counselling to the estimated 700 (believed to be an undercount but no other number is deemed more reliable) street youth living in Vancouver at any given time.” They accept donations of clothing, shoes, blankets and funds to assist these kids.

MS Society CanadaThe MS Society provides services to people with multiple sclerosis and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. We have a membership of 28,000 and are the only national voluntary organization in Canada that supports both MS research and services.

Kiva Micro Loans Lastly, one very interesting non profit organization that I am involved in is one that provides micro-loans to small entrepreneurial businesses around the world. The organization is called Kiva.org. These loans do change lives.

Since I started this last year, I have made at least 18 loans of my choosing and 11 of those loans have been repaid already. Since then, I have re-loaned those funds to 11 more businesses in need also which I chose. I find it very cool that I, as an entrepreneur, am able to assist other entrepreneurs around the globe.

If you wish to find out more about any of these organizations, please go the above links.

By Andrew Schulhof
20 Dec 2012