Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study- Impacting the Way We Interact with Youth & Adults

Most have never heard of the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study which followed over 17,000 people and studied the impact of childhood trauma (e.g. divorce, abuse, neglect) on adult health. The results are fascinating. We work with hundreds of teachers that we think would benefit from learning more about the ACEs study.

The number of ACEs a person has are strongly associated with behaviors such as: smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, promiscuity, severe obesity, depression, heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and shorter lifespan.

Having 4 adverse childhood experiences was associated with a seven-fold (700%) increase in alcoholism, and double the risk of being diagnosed with cancer.

An ACE score over 6 was associated with a 30-fold (300%) increase in attempted suicide. The statistics are staggering and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Another study found that students with at least 3 ACEs are 3 times as likely to experience academic failure, 6 times as likely to have behavioral problems, and 5 times as likely to have attendance problems.

10 types of childhood trauma were measured in the ACEs study – 5 were personal and 5 were related to family:




  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • Mother treated violently
  • Household substance abuse
  • Household mental illness
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Incarcerated household member

The trauma experienced can even alter a child’s or adult’s brain architecture (see image of three-year-old brains). The more types of trauma experienced — the higher the ACE score — the more likely the addiction or negative behavior.

This same study contains a seed of hope: all of the above-mentioned risk factors—behavioral as well as physiological—can be offset by the presence of one dependable and caring adult. It doesn’t need to be the mother or the father. It doesn’t even need to be a close or distant relative. More often than not, that stable, caring adult is a teacher.

To learn more, here are additional resources:

Paper Tigers (documentary)
Set within and around Lincoln Alternative High School in a rural community in Washington, Paper Tigers asks the following questions:
– What does it mean to be a trauma-informed school?
– How do you educate teens whose childhood experiences have left them with a brain and body ill-suited to learn?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Huffington Post (interesting read)
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the Largest Public Health Study You Never Heard Of

Charity Highlights | Habitat for Humanity

Welcome to our weekly charity and non-profit highlight. Each week we will be shining the spotlight on a different charity, or non-profit, who, in our humble opinion, deserves some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we will be giving tribute to Habitat for Humanity.

Charity Republic - Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 in Americus, Georgia by Millard and Linda Fuller. Their goal was to build safe and affordable homes for those in need at no profit, and with interest-free loans. Building costs are financed by a revolving fund called “The Fund for Humanity.” New homes are built using the money earned through fundraising, as well as no interest loans provided by supporters, and new homeowners’ house payments.

Local affiliates, Prince Edward-Hastings, have built 14 homes, and helped 15 families through “sweat equity,” where homeowners contribute hundreds of hours to the construction of their homes, and are responsible for repaying long-term, no-interest mortgages thereafter.

Affiliates also aid in the running of ReStores, which resell quality new and used building materials. Shopping at ReStore is an environmentally conscious decision, as the materials are kept out of landfills, and funds generated through the sale of the materials are used for Habitat homebuilding projects.

Habitat for Humanity has also aided in the rebuilding of Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake, and they run an Aboriginal Housing Program, which aims to provide the Habitat homeownership model in reserves and settlements (where it is estimated that 49% of existing housing requires repair).

Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has contributed to the construction or improvement of more than 600,000 houses worldwide, and served more than three million people. Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada has served over 2,700 families, and has improved the shelter conditions for one million people.

Click here to find information on your nearest affiliate office for information on how to volunteer, locate the nearest Habitat build, or find out how else you can help in the community.

Click here to locate the ReStore nearest you for information on how to donate items, shop for material, or volunteer your time.

Do you know of an organization that deserves some extra recognition? Let us know!

5 Unique Ways to Appreciate Volunteers (Infogaphic)


Recognition and rewards can motivate and increase self-esteem for volunteers who may seek to be recognized in a meaningful way.

Before recognizing the efforts of volunteers, it is important to understand why they are volunteering for your organization. Research from Statistics Canada shows the various reasons Canadians volunteer:

  • 93% volunteer to make a contribution to their community
  • 78% volunteer to use their skills and experience
  • 59% are personally affected by the cause
  • 48% use volunteering to network or meet new people
  • 46% will volunteer because of their friends
  • 22% use their volunteer experience to improve job opportunities

Here are 5 simple ways to recognize and show appreciation for your volunteers in a meaningful way:

  1. Recognize Unique Qualities

    After a conversation, write down unique things about your volunteers that you can use to appreciate them later. This will help you ensure they are being recognized in a personal way.

  2. Arrange a Volunteer Meet & Mingle Session

    Whether it is a short 15 minute mingle session before an event or meeting at the head office, it is always a great idea to hold a meet and greet with volunteers. This gives you the opportunity to get to know your volunteers and for them to meet new people.

  3.  Share a Hand Written Heart-Felt Note

    Writing a quick email to thank your volunteers is always nice. But, try taking the extra time with a hand written note to make that ‘thank you’ a little more meaningful & personal.

  4. Offer a Letter of Reference

    Writing a reference letter for volunteers that are currently looking for employment can be the best way to recognize that volunteer’s effort.

  5. Make your Appreciation Timely

    It is important to appreciate volunteers in a timely manner and the recognition can be used as a source of encouragement when they volunteer again.

Charity Highlight | Victim Services Niagara (VSH)

Welcome to our weekly charity and non-profit highlight. Each week we will be shining the spotlight on a different charity or non-profit, who, in our humble opinion, deserves some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we’re giving the speaking conch to Victim Services Niagara (VSN).

Victim Services Niagara
VSN exists to serve people who are in a particularly vulnerable state: victims of crime, tragedy, and trauma. They adopt an insightful approach to caring, listening, and supporting, the “HEAL” system.


Help victims cope with the impact of crime and/or tragic circumstance.

Educate about and promote victim assistance in the community.

Assist victims in accessing appropriate support services in our community.

Lessen the trauma of the victims.

VSN runs a number of programs, such as their 24/7 Emergency Referral Line, their Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP), as well as teaching people how to hide their internet activity, necessary for people who can’t have abusive partners aware of visiting the VSN’s site.

As well as running several of their own programs, they are also a hub for resources in the community. With direct access to Gillian’s Place and Women’s Place of South Niagara for victims of domestic abuse, and access to other victim’s resources such as Distress Centre Niagara , it is no wonder that the regional police are thankful for their contributions.

“Niagara Regional Police partner with and appreciate Victim Services Niagara in providing support to victims of all crime in our community.” – Chief of Police, Wendy Southall, Niagara Regional Police Service

Their unique volunteer position, which allows caring and compassionate individuals over the age of 25 to complete a 40 hour training course, is designed to send crisis responders to to assist emergency personnel wherever their services are needed.

Crime and tragedy can happen to anyone, at any time. Having a localized victim services program like the VSN often means that victims are able to escape toxic or harmful situations, as well as begin the process of healing, thanks to the appropriate supports being available.

Due to the nature of the VSN’s programs, the number of victims served and which crimes or trauma they are victims of, are not public knowledge. With that in mind, on behalf of all citizens of Ontario who hope to make this a safe and inclusive province for all, we at Charity Republic want to extend a huge “Thank You” to Victim Services Niagara and similar programs across the province.

Please visit their website to learn more about the work that they do or to become a volunteer.

8 Creative Ways to Show Volunteer Appreciation

Gratitude is the most powerful thing in the world. It’s said that it’s not happy people who are thankful but rather it’s thankful people who are happy.


Yet, recent studies have painted society as losing its civility, especially in the workplace. It seems that some people have confused niceties with inefficiencies and compliments with ulterior motives. And in our nonprofit space, this will not do.

Let’s put the gratitude back into our attitude. Volunteer appreciation should be the most important mandate we have. If it isn’t, there’s no time like the present for a nice change of pace.

Want to make sure your volunteers know you’re grateful for their service? Follow these suggestions and you’re sure to make them feel like the sun shines just for them!

… To continue reading our latest contribution to Volunteer Match, please click here.

Share via social media:
8 Creative Ways to Show Volunteer Appreciation by @CharityRepublic on @VolunteerMatch 

The Human Side of ROI: How to Qualitatively Measure Your Corporate Volunteer Program’s Impact

The era of employees clocking in at 9 a.m., completing their daily tasks, and then heading to physically clock out – and cognitively check out –  at 5 p.m. is over.

Quantitative and Qualitative

Work is intertwined with home life, and home life is carried into work each day. Technology has contributed to blurring the lines, but that seems to be the way we want it. Why? Maybe because more individuals are investing in their employer and taking pride in their organization’s brand – people actually want to be at work.

A huge contributor to this trend is employee volunteerism, which has risen steadily over the last decade. It’s a known fact that if you want the best talent you have to offer the best work environment, and lately, that means building an Employee Volunteer Program (EVP). People want to believe in what they do and more often than not this means giving your employees a chance to give back to their communities.

… To continue reading our latest contribution to Volunteer Match, please click here.

Share via social media:
The human side of ROI and corporate volunteer programs by @CharityRepublic on @VolunteerMatch

Charity Highlight | KW Humane Society

adorable 1 adorable 2 adorable 3

(Disclaimer: There are more adorable animal pictures at the bottom of this post)

Welcome to our weekly charity and non-profit highlight. Each week we will be shining the spotlight on a different charity or non-profit, who, in our humble opinion, deserves some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we will be barking up the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society‘s tree.

The KWHS is one of the largest humane society’s in Ontario and they have the space to care for over 62 dogs, 165 cats, and an assortment of birds, reptiles and small mammals.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like somewhere I wish I could live.

And, thankfully, there is a lot of life there. They have been saving lives since 1927.  One of the amazing facts of the KWHS is that they do not receive any government funding, yet they manage to do so much for their community.

It is said that the mark of an advanced civilization is one that protects its animals, and that is exactly what they do. Their programs are amazing. When I was a support worker, I used to take the individuals I supported through tours of the KWHS building. The staff were as friendly and warm as the animals.

They are currently heading up “The 1000 challenge,” which seeks to engage 1,000 Waterloo Region residents to sign on to donate a minimum of $10 per month. they are also actively recruiting many volunteers for varying positions.

Do you like soft, cuddly animals? Do you want to spend your spare time being surrounded by adorableness and pure love? Yes, of course you do. Sign up here.

Still not convinced to volunteer? You would get to meet Phil!


Whitney wonders why you haven’t signed up to volunteer?


One last attempt, from J.J. Johnston:


Thanks for taking the time to learn about the KWHS, an excellent example of what can be done when people put their passion into their work. To learn more, check out their website right here.


How teachers are using digital tools to truly personalize learning

Nov 4, 2015

Excerpt from Canadian Business, by Peter NowakIllustration by Matt Murphy - Canadian Business

…School boards are similarly seeking out Charity Republic, based in Kitchener, Ont. The company makes an online tool for digitally tracking work placements, internships and volunteer hours. The idea revolves around replacing paper-based tracking methods, which can easily be lost. Like Sesame, Charity Republic creates data that can shared between teachers, students and parents.

‏“We found students weren’t graduating because they’d lost a piece of paper,” says founder Popy Dimoulas-Graham. “When they see students not graduating because of paper inefficiencies, schools are definitely drawn to using products like ours.”

‏Dimoulas-Graham had previously worked as an online course facilitator in epidemiology for the Public Health Agency of Canada before starting Charity Republic in 2010 with an eye to helping charities manage their volunteers. The business only started growing three years ago, after she realized the software could plug an existing hole in the education system.

‏Thirty-five school boards and universities in Ontario are now using Charity Republic’s software, with more coming soon in Alberta and British Columbia, she says. The company, which still deals with charities as well, is up to five full-time and two part-time employees.

To read the rest of this article, which was originally published in Canadian Business, please click here.

Charity Highlight | Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Welcome to our weekly charity and non-profit highlight. Each week we will be shining the spotlight on a different charity or non-profit, who, in our humble opinion, deserves some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we will be giving tribute to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

MS Society Blog

An estimated 100,000 Canadians are living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Of those, many experience symptoms that are traumatizing and terrifying. The MS Society of Canada exists to not only find a cure for MS (which currently does not exist), but also to improve the quality of life for Canadians living with the disease.

What most people are not aware of is that Canadians are at a higher risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis than any other nation on Earth. As their website states: “Simply put, it’s Canada’s disease.”

The initial shock and grief that follows a diagnosis of an incurable disease is indescribable except by those who have experienced it for themselves. The MS Listening website offers stories from over 6,000 Canadians living with the disease. Through this initiative, the MS Society of Canada has not only shown compassion and empathy for those living with MS, but it has also indirectly advocated for the de-stigmatization of what is sometimes known as an “invisible illness,” meaning that often the debilitating symptoms of the disease go unseen by the vast majority of people.

The MS Society of Canada makes a major impact in the lives of Canadians living with MS, as well as their loved ones. Offering transport services, adaptive exercise programs, and even “Day Away” programs focused on relaxation and social interaction, makes all the difference in someone’s overall quality of life.

Do you or a loved one in your life live with MS? If so, please visit the MS Society of Canada’s website to learn more about how you can connect with the resources you need to lift you or your loved one’s quality of life.

If you are looking to learn more about advocating, becoming a volunteer, or becoming a donor, please click here and/or contact a local chapter here.


Which Fundraising Event is Right for Your Organization?

Fundraising is the efforts to gather voluntary contributions of money or other resources for non-profit organizations. The process is not as simple as picking up the phone, talking to an investor and receiving a check. There are several ways to collect funds in a fundraising process, like fundraising through walk/run/cycling process, School Fundraisings, Creative Projects and Special events. According to a recent infographic compiled by Maximillion, nearly 64% of millennials prefer to fundraise through walk/run/cycling process and nearly 50% of all charities use special events as a way to raise money. You can find out some more interesting facts and statistics about the fundraising process from the below infographic.