Category Archives: Charities & Foundations

Charitable organizations

Baby Elephant Brought Back To Life

Baby Elephant Brought Back To Life

When it comes to performing miracles, in the world of saving elephants, there is nobody better than the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This is a charity I will support as long as I can because I know the work they do is amazing and it’s stories like this one that really demonstrate their commitment.

This story begins with a baby elephant on the brink of death after surviving on its own for far too long. Lucky for this little one a film crew in the area was keeping an eye on it and they knew something needed to be done. It became urgent when they watched the elephant curl up under a tree – likely ready to give up – so with the DSWT team called a rescue was coordinated.

Check out the video of this rescue and if you’re like me you will be so thankful that there are people who chose this as their job, their mission in life. (The picture above was provided to me a few years back by the woman in the photo. She also dedicated her talents to support this worthwhile charity)


Rescue Pets – Alternatives to Pet Stores and Breeders

Rescue Pets – Alternatives to Pet Stores and Breeders

When there are so many pets waiting for homes why are we still going to pet stores and breeders?

My husband and I were in our local pet store picking up bird food for our budgies. Often we walk over to the glass enclosure – that sits about waist-high – filled with budgies of all colours. It looked like they had just got a few more in because it was Christmas. As the store clerks tried to capture a budgie for a woman, who wanted to buy one for her daughter, I couldn’t help but wonder why is she at a pet store?

We adopted our little feathered friends last year from a local shelter. I had seen one of them on a Pet of the Week site and instantly took a liking to him. When I phoned the shelter they assured me he was still there along with many others. When we got to the shelter we saw that he was in a cage with one other budgie and we didn’t have the heart to leave one behind so now they both have a home.

If you look on Craigslist or other similar sites you will find an abundance of birds, dogs, cats, and reptiles waiting to be rehomed. Many people either can’t or won’t take care of their pet and are trying to find them a new home. It is a sad fact that many of these animals will end up in a shelter or worse dumped off somewhere like one of our budgie was. Not all animals survive the stress or lack of care that happens when they become a burden to their owners.

Adoption is a better option. Even pet stores have tried to be more ethical in their approach to pet sales by promoting adoption and supporting animal welfare charities.  Breeders are interested in profiting as a business so lets not bother to look for their support.

It is so important to consider the suitability of a pet to your home, children and lifestyle – whether you are adopting or buying. How stable is your living situation and financial situation? What’s your long-term plans? Many birds for instance can live longer than their owners and so planning for that pet is important.

Please consider adoption more seriously the next time you or someone in your family wants a pet. Move beyond “fad” or “cute” or “status” and instead realistically become part of the solution to animal overpopulation, homelessness and cruelty. Check your local area for rescue associations.

BC SPCA Alternatives to buying pets online or in pet stores





International Women’s Day 2013

To acknowledge this very special day I would like to provide some links to valuable organizations who support women in Canada, US and the World!

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

~ Anne Frank ~

White Ribbon Campaign ~ “White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.”

Miss Representation ~ “ believes that all people should be equally represented in our media, that our voices should be heard and that we should all be valued for our talents, capacity as leaders, and ability to contribute to the world at large.”

Canadian Women’s Foundation ~ “We invest in the power of women and the dreams of girls. The Canadian Women’s Foundation raises money to research, fund and share the best approaches to ending violence against women, moving low-income women out of poverty and building strong, resilient girls.”

World Health Organization ~ “WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.”

Women’s Sports Foundation ~ “Founded in 1974 by tennis legend, Billie Jean King, the Women’s Sports Foundation is dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity.”

Canadian Women in Science & Technology ~ “SCWIST, a non-profit association that promotes, encourages and empowers women and girls in science, engineering and technology.”

Kids Help Phone – A Call to Action

Have you heard of this wonderful organization, Kids Help Phone? Until I had spoke with Sherrie Cameron – Manager, Community Fundraising & Corporate Development at Kids Help Phone Edmonton Office, I did not know this service existed. Instead of me telling you about what they do Sherrie has offered to talk to you about their good work.

Kids Help Phone is a completely confidential professional counseling service helping kids in your community and across the country 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Vulnerable kids from the ages of 5 to 20 reach out to Kids Help Phone for all kinds of reasons, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse, depression and thoughts of suicide, eating disorders, self-harm and bullying. Every day, Kids Help Phone counselors answer calls, online questions and most recently live chat requests from all across Canada. No matter what the problem or concern our counselors are there to provide immediate and caring support, information and referrals to the kids who reach out to us.

In early May, The Walk so Kids Can Talk event took place in 50 communities across the country, raising $2.5 million! Great going Canada!

Walk so Kids Can Talk is Canada’s largest fundraising campaign to improve the mental well-being of the young people in Canada. It is organized on behalf of the 6.5 million young people in Canada to ensure they can continue finding immediate, non-judgemental, anonymous and professional support, and expert-vetted information on a wide range of issues that are affecting the quality of their life. 100% of the funds raised by Walk participants help young people who are dealing with mental or emotional distress cope with these overwhelming emotions by ensuring they will continue to have access to Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors 24 hours a day. All funds raised by the Walk go to support Kids Help Phone’s essential service.

Today’s reality is that the demand for our service is greater than our ability to meet it. In 2011, calls to Kids Help Phone have increased significantly, and online posts have seen an upsurge; sadly children, teens and young adults are being placed on hold and waiting longer to receive the help they seek and our online professional counselling site (Ask Us Online) closes during some days of the months to kids posting their issues.

Kids Help Phone must raise 100% of the necessary funds to cover the costs of delivering day and night professional youth counselling service, 365 days a year.

New launch of real time live chat counselling pilot:

Live Chat counselling lets young people participate in real-time Instant Messaging-type exchanges, with a Kids Help Phone professional counsellor, through either a smartphone or computer. Over the past 3 years, Kids Help Phone received a growing number of requests for immediate, live online counselling from young people. Kids are really excited about the service because it’s easier in many instances for kids to contact Kids Help Phone online rather than through the phone, users with limited privacy report feeling more secure chatting online rather than on the phone, users receive help in real-time during online chat as opposed to the wait for responses through Ask Us Online. Providing Live Chat counselling to youth across Canada will cost an estimated $7.5 million over the next 3 years so support is greatly needed.

As you can see there is a lot of support being provided to kids across our country who need help. Kids Help Phone has been visionary in its approach to finding ways to connect and provide the counselling necessary. I urge you to learn more about this great cause and next time when you think about a charity to give to…think Kids Help Phone.

Through your donation you may be helping to positively change the course of one child’s life.



The Variety Club Telethon – Callie’s Contribution

My niece, Callie, is a child who has experienced a lot in her first years of life. As a result there are many resources involved in her care. Her mother, Rhonda, managed to coordinate  two fundraisers in their community this past year in support of one of those resources – Variety – the children’s charity. Friends, family, school and anonymous donors managed to raise over $8000! That is awesome! Due to that effort they were invited to be on The Variety Show of Hearts Telethon . This annual telethon brings together thousands of volunteers who work tirelessly to present a show that features talented performers from around the world and the stories of special needs children who have benefited by their programs and services. 

First let me say, that even getting to this event is a challenge. After accepting the invitation from Variety to attend, many people became involved. It is not as easy as “let’s pack up and go.” Her school creatively designed a cheque banner with the amount displayed. Husband took time off work, (which they can ill afford) to drive them to the show, neighbours agreed to look after their dog, Grandma opened up her home for all to gather the night before, my sister organized everything Callie would need to be away from home and ready for her moment in the spotlight. It was disappointing to see that after all that preparation the moment was brief for all the kids and their parents who participated in coin drives. (camera didn’t even capture all of them, including my sister) However, a flash of our beautiful girl was seen, it was an experience to remember and hopefully viewers were moved to donate. If these children can do it anyone can!

The importance of children’s charities in our society is huge. Many families struggle to provide all the necessary care that comes with special needs children. Even if you are fortunate to have a child that does not require specialized support, you still are aware of how much it takes to raise a child. Imagine for a moment all that you do currently for your children. Now, compound that by round the clock care, multiple hospital visits, purchasing adaptive equipment, adjusting your home for adaptive equipment, therapy costs and travel expenses to get to appointments. You familiarize and educate yourself about all that care, plus medications, interview various practitioners, participate in all school meetings related to your child’s education, document everything and become an advocate on your child’s behalf. Countless hours are spent on immediate needs and considering future requirements as they move toward adulthood.

I have seen first hand what my sister has to do everyday since her precious daughter was born. There is little time for herself; all waking hours are spent wrapped up in Callie’s world. So many things that my sister and her husband dreamed for their life and for the life of their child was replaced with a new reality. There is no miraculous cures, only small victories. All of us wade into this unknown with hope, frustration, energy, helplessness, joy, confusion, tears and smiles. There isn’t one person who is close to parents of children with special needs that doesn’t become affected in some way or another.

When these children come into the world it really does take a village to raise them. So, I encourage you to see what you can do to support. Do you know a mother or a family in your community who has a child with special needs? I would ask that you make an honest effort to reach out to that family through friendship. It can be a very lonely road, especially for mothers. They wanted the same things for their child that you want for yours. Challenge yourself to find ways to get to know these neighbours, try to find a way to make life easier, share your skills or just engage in conversation. They are busy, often running on low sleep and high expectations but if you can be there when these parents need help, have your children be a part of their child’s celebrations or even just call to say “Hi”,you are giving a most valuable gift. 

Callie has made her contribution back to one organization that gives so deeply and she, through her mothers vision, continues to find a way to connect with her community. Hopefully this post will help inspire others to do the same in what ever form that takes.

(Check out my blogroll and to Rhonda’s blog Lets Be Wheelistic)

Surrey SPCA Needs Donations

In response to a recent plea for donations my mother and I went to the Surrey SPCA with blankets, towels, newspaper and food. Upon arriving we saw several cars pull up unloading their contributions for the society. My mother had never stepped into a place like this preferring instead to go to her local pet store for a look and a cuddle of a puppy. Inside this building contained the hustle and bustle of dedicated staff and volunteers who make it their mission to aid in the health and safety of dogs, cats and other suffering animals.

Amidst the bundles of donations arriving every minute was the signing of an adoption of a dog named “Jersey.”. A man had come in and decided that this was the dog for him, with paperwork and leash in hand he left as a new pet  parent. Jersey had half a look of uncertainty and half a look of happiness with a wagging tail. Let’s hope their partnership is a loving and long one.

Meanwhile, a little Chihuahua who had been found was being cuddled by the front desk clerk. Too scared and shivery to be left in the kennel he was nestled in the jacket of the staff member. This temporary home was just right until they find his parent which might come sooner than later as a missing dog report possibly matches his description.

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Betty Fox – Woman of Influence

Mrs. Betty Fox – Woman of Influence – Woman of Love – Woman of Vision – Woman with a legacy of her own.

This site was originally conceived with a very special agenda to feature women of influence, charities and foundations along with my own life reflections. Today, I honor one woman, Betty Fox, who led a life of service to not only her family, her community but indeed our country. She did this to carry on the legacy of her son Terry who courageously battled cancer and ran over 5000 km to raise money for cancer research. When he lost his life at the age of 22, Canada mourned but like a phoenix rising from the ashes Betty and the Fox family found a way to turn that loss into hope.

I was a teenager when Terry left us but he was a legend in many a kids eye. Growing up in Coquitlam BC it was cool to see Terry Fox Secondary become part of our school district. It was due to the tireless efforts of Terry’s mum and family that an entire foundation was formed and year after year people ran, served and donated in Terry’s honor.

It was not of her choosing that Betty Fox became a participant in all of this, as having her child alive and well would have been her first wish. However, the plans for both her son’s life and hers changed. Sometimes we don’t know what our full potential is until we are forced to find it. To dig deep and spread the seeds of our humanity, compassion, wisdom and service to others as she did so mightily. This my friends was a life lived – another great woman of influence – who through her love for her son continued the journey he could not.

Thank you Betty for your service to us all. For demonstrating what love of family, friends and community is all about. For leaving behind a foundation that will continue where you left off and know that we are eternally grateful for the time you had to spend with us. Sending heart-felt condolences to the family.

Please go to my charities page for a link to the Terry Fox Foundation.

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Women of Influence

Check out the latest updates to my Charities and Women of Influence pages.

Featuring Canuck Place Children’s Hospice which does such amazing work to support children with life threatening illness and their families. Also featuring Diane Swonk a woman who has not let her disability stop her from achieving monumental goals in the financial world as an Economist.

Go to the tabs above and follow the links to learn more.

Born to be Wild Movie 2011

I just had the pleasure of seeing Born to be Wild at the IMAX Theatre and it was magnificent! This beautiful documentary highlights the great work of two women who have devoted their lives to orphans. Who are these orphans? Baby elephants and orangutans.

INDONESIA: Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas of  Orangutan Foundation International has studied and focused her efforts on saving the endangered orangutans in Borneo while educating the world about their lives and habitat. This was a unique experience to see the characteristics and the needs of these little apes and receive an inside look at the daily rituals of those who protect and raise them.

KENYA: In honor of her late husband Dame Daphne Sheldrick began her life long quest to help orphaned baby elephants. As some of you know I am a supporter of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and an admirer of this woman who is featured in this movie. Her passion and dedication is contagious and as such she has a tireless team of people who work around the clock to support both elephants and rhinos; preparing them for their eventual release back into the wild.

One of my greatest highlights was interviewing Wendie Wendt who became the Vice-President of the US Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. That two part interview gave me a true understanding of how passion leads to purpose. For the Love of a Baby Elephant Part 1 and For the Love of a Baby Elephant Part 2 may be a past post you would like to read for further insight into their great adventure. I received multiple emails from people wanting to know more and support the organization. It was and remains my pleasure to pass along the information.

Go to this movie!! BORN TO WILD 3D directed by David Lickley and narrated by Morgan Freeman, it is so worth the admission. Whether playing soccer with the elephants, watching the antics of orangutans, scaling up the tall rain forest or flying over Kenya’s landscape you will be captivated and educated by it all. The primary goals are to protect the habitat, support the orphans and release both orangutans and elephants into the environments they were born to roam. Truly noble causes. These two women and all of those who assist deserve their time in the spotlights along with the adorable creatures that share, or shall I say take over the screen.

For more information on how you can give to these projects and adopt an elephant or orangutan go to the links provided or check out my charities page.



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