We tend to think of charities involving Africans in terms of us providing assistance to them, not the other way around. Yet here is a man who spent part of his childhood in an orphanage in war-torn Uganda, changing young lives on our streets with a message of hope that flows from one powerful realization: Someone values me. I am not alone.
About ten days from time of writing, I think my three-year-old daughter is going to be a little annoyed with me. This is because at that time we'll be well into our second day of a 135km walk from our house in Toronto to Niagara Falls. I have no idea how much of this my daughter will remember or what, at this age, she will take away from the experience. But when she's older and looks back at this time, I hope these are four lessons she has learned.
The word "legacy" can mean different things to different people. To some, it means passing on wealth to their children. To others, it means ensuring their name lives on. In the end, leaving a legacy all comes down to being remembered, to making sure our lives counted for something that won't soon be forgotten.
MacKay's vision is embodied in Prairie Feast, an annual celebration of Saskatchewan food and culture that wrapped up its second edition last weekend. This year, chefs from around Canada came and cooked sensational food on the street, beneath tents and amid the hot sun and famous big, blue skies of the middle of the country.
When I arrived the first time I was taken aback by the devastation. Rows of charred trees, businesses and entire blocks of homes destroyed. The smell of smoke still lingered in the air. This time, I see full parking lots, line-ups at grocery stores, people going about their lives like they did before the fires.
For millions of children around the world, life can be a daily struggle. From managing a disability, to overcoming cyberbullying, to escaping conflict, children face challenges many adults couldn't even imagine. But the lucky ones don't have to go through it alone. Meet five sets of friends who remind us what giving truly means.
My life was forever changed in one diagnosis: cancer. After 25 years, I had finally learned that the rash on my body was the precursor to a rare form of cancer called for Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) that would need to be treated with full-body radiation. My treatment plan was as unique as my diagnosis.
In early May, we buried an amazing 19-year-old-boy. This was Ryan Marston, an inspiration to us all. He fought the good fight three times before finally losing his battle, but in his passing, this young man left behind a legacy -- he was determined not to be forgotten, though he did not know it then.
As seniors age, much of their time is freed from the commitments of work and family and they start to look for ways to participate more actively in their communities. As the saying goes, doing good makes you feel good, and the seniors who continue to make a difference every day are true testaments to that.
Every year, charities reap the benefits of Canadians' generous holiday spirit, seeing a significant bump in December donations. In fact, more than a third of CanadaHelps' annual donations are achieved in this one month alone. While that seasonal generosity is important for charities, there is an unfortunate downside -- as the seasons change and the weather gets warmer, donations tend to dry up, leaving gaps for many organizations. I call this the "summer drought."
You see a pamphlet or a charity commercial about suffering kids in third world countries. Do you feel the kind of empathy that facilitates generosity, or do you feel the uncomfortable guilt that you try to avoid? At first, the shocking statistics and graphic photos worked -- the message was powerful and emotive. But after one too many pamphlets and commercials, the message is plain.
Considering we now live in an age where virtually any piece of information is at our fingertips, it should come as no surprise that Canadians have become increasingly interested in seeing how their charitable dollars are being spent. People now want visibility into the impact their chosen charities are making in the world, and it is a charity's ability to drive results which will inspire donors to give more.
When my grandmother was in her early 70s, her children and grandchildren quickly learned that something wasn't quite right. My grandfather had recently passed away and my grandmother was living alone in her house in Charlottetown. When we went to visit her, we were never sure if she would recognize us.
Imagine a life where a saucepan is your most treasured resource. Where having access to a single a garden hoe can make a world of difference to your family's livelihood. Where that family consists of several orphaned grandchildren, many of whom are HIV positive. And you, an elderly grandmother, are their only hope for survival.