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Ice that turns money into water – what can be cooler than that!

March 15, 2013

Water we take for granted You saw them on Dragons` Den, two gals selling the Dragons on the idea of making money from ice. Not just any ice, but cool ice. Ice that looks good in a martini. On the Rocks Ice.

Compassionate Eye (CEF) is a non-profit organization that I have been following and supporting for quite some time – check out my earlier blogs including the one in September about the great Fort Langley photo shoot. CEF operates on a simple principle. Photographers and other creative people donate their time, shoot fabulous photos, deliver them to Getty Images which then returns to Compassionate Eye the proceeds from any sale or licensing of the photos. The funds are then used by CEF to support programs Read more…

If you like your theatre ‘fluffy’, don’t come to this

February 19, 2013

If you like your theatre ‘fluffy’, don’t come to this production of Agnes of God. But if you like to feel and think, be challenged, and experience the emotion of great theatre, you have to see it. I saw a run-through of the show on Sunday, in a big hall fitted out with a table, a couple of chairs and a practice stage. No-one was in costume. There were only the three performers acting their hearts out. This is a powerful story but it is the performances that are going to mesmerize you. It brought tears to my eyes and the rawness of the performances still resonates today.

A mysterious birth centres the play and the three characters each approach the reality and unreality of the situation from their own perspective. Read more…

The Plan for the ‘Last Post Fund’

February 1, 2013

PoppiesThere are some things that the Canadian Government does that defy any reasonable explanation.

On November 15, 2012, I wrote about the Last Post Fund which exists to ensure that no veteran will lack a dignified funeral and burial because he or she cannot afford it, a history that goes back to 1909.  What it actually accomplishes today is something quite different:

  • Since 2006, two-thirds of vets’ families who applied did not receive assistance because, in order to qualify, the combined assets of the spouse and deceased must be no greater than $12,015, an absurdly low figure.
  • Those few who do receive assistance from Veterans Affairs, receive a paltry $3,600 which is based on 1995 funeral rates. The average cost of a funeral today is considered to be around $10-12,000.
  • Worse, absolutely no assistance is given for impoverished veterans of the Cold War, Afghanistan or other theatres of war except in rare circumstances. Read more…

SOS, helping build leaders of tomorrow

January 24, 2013

The Idle No More movement gives voice to the burgeoning discontent of First Nations people. It is hard not to think of the lives lost and ruined by residential schools, the grave injustices perpetrated in the name of education and religion, the destruction of families caused by substance abuse, the cut of racism and the drudge of poverty. It is clear that more must be done by our governments to address the many serious issues they face. It is also clear that true change requires First Nations people also assume responsibility for moving themselves beyond the yoke and consequences of a colonial arrangement.

BC statistics illustrate the tragic disproportion of Aboriginal children in foster care. Aboriginal people represent just 4.8% of BC’s population but, as of August 2011, 56% of children in foster care are Aboriginal. [Source BC Stats report: Aboriginal Population in British Columbia: A Study of Selected Indicators for Off-Reserve and Urban Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Populations November 2011.]

SOS Childrens Village BC  (SOS) works with many Aboriginal children and youth who are working their way through the BC foster system, helping them by providing stable loving homes, counselling, job hunting assistance as well as educational and emotional support. I met one young man Read more…

The SOS solution: room to dream and the means to achieve

January 22, 2013

It is fitting that for my first 2013 post (somewhat tardy I admit), I revisit SOS Children’s Village in Surrey because this organization is all about the future – of children.

I had the pleasure of attending the SOS children’s party on one of those many dark, rainy evenings just before Christmas. Around 100 excited youngsters and “cooler” teens, parents, foster parents, volunteers and the committed crew at SOS celebrated Christmas in a big hall in Cloverdale. Volunteers manned activity stations, including a candy station, dangerous when you have a room full of kids but the sugar highs didn’t get out of control. Santa came and each child received a present, carefully chosen with him or her in mind. A little girl, when asked what she thought of her new doll, beamed and said simply, “it’s beautiful.” Santa went off to deliver gifts to other boys and girls and his departure was followed by a sudden exodus to the food line where everyone enjoyed a good meal. Read more…

An SOS oasis

December 4, 2012

Hands together

Children in BC’s foster system move on average seven times while they are in care, with some moving upwards of 30 times (see previous blog post). It is not hard to imagine the toll that such instability must take on children on top of the trauma of being removed from dangerous or highly dysfunctional homes.

The non-profit SOS Children’s Village in Surrey supports kids in foster care in the South Fraser region by providing them with stable, supportive homes. SOS BC also reaches out to children and families in the community by running learning clubs that provide both academic and
social assistance at the SOS facility and in schools. A learning club coordinator is on call to help children who live at the Village to prepare for exams. Read more…

A village’s answer to “Trauma, Turmoil and Tragedy”

November 27, 2012

Tucked into 2.5 acres in a residential neighbourhood in Surrey are five lovely homes built by volunteers and donors. Surrounded by trees, with big yards to play in and a sports court, these houses are safe, welcoming homes for 15 foster children and five others. When I visited the site, children of all ages were running and playing, a dog following excitedly behind. In addition to the five homes, a central building acts as a resource pod where therapeutics such as neurofeedback training, art, play and music therapies, a learning club, building of social and life skills, support for caregivers, cultural exploration and support for aboriginal children radiate out into the community.

SOS Childrens Villages are generally associated with problems in developing nations but many children in Canada suffer deprivations just as great. Read more…


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