Charity Highlights | Volunteer MBC

Welcome to our charity and non-profit highlight. We shine the spotlight on a different charities and non-profits who, in our humble opinion, deserve some extra recognition for the work that they do.

This week we will be highlighting Volunteer MBC, a volunteer centre serving the cities of Mississauga and Brampton, and the Town of Caledon.

Volunteer MBC logo

It can be difficult to locate all of the volunteer opportunities in your community. Thankfully, there are organizations like Volunteer MBC who aims to promote and support volunteerism in an effort to engage and connect volunteers in the community.

All of Volunteer MBC’s volunteer opportunities can be found on their website, which utilizes three methods for locating meaningful volunteer opportunities. The first is a self-directed search, which allows users to look for roles based on their areas of interest in the On-line Volunteer Referral System. You may also arrange an in-person consultation in order to discuss your interests, expertise, and passions in a one-on-one setting, or you can use the email consultation service, which matches you with a volunteer opportunity based on information obtained on their Volunteer Opportunity Request Form.

Volunteer MBC is a training member organization of PREB-Ontario, a provincial volunteer recognition program based on Employment and Social Development Canada’s National Occupational Classification. They are also active members of the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN), which “provides a provincial network and voice to strengthen the individual and collective ability of Volunteer Centres in Ontario.”

As outlined on their website, Volunteer MBC’s values and focus strives to foster a community culture of respect, understanding, inclusiveness, and empowerment to all volunteers. Their goal is to link volunteers to organizations and opportunities they will succeed in, as well as to be a strong advocate for volunteerism in the community.

Volunteer MBC opened their doors in September 2008 with their main branch located in Mississauga and a satellite location in Bolton. Members gain access to benefits such as the ability to submit volunteer positions to the centre’s On-line Volunteer Referral System, networking opportunities with volunteers, organizations, and community partners, access to a members-only Good Practice Bank with sample policies and procedures, and more. Additionally, the Region of Peel has provided a grant for 40 Volunteer MBC member organizations to use Charity Republic’s volunteer management software. This offer ends in August 2016.

Do you know of an organization that deserves to be featured on our blog? Let us know!

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!

Charity Highlight | Pink Pearl Foundation

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.

Originating in Niagara Region, Pink Pearl Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that provides support, facilitates connections and empowers young women who are courageously working through the social and emotional challenges of cancer, currently across southern Ontario.

View More: http://nataschiawielink.pass.us/pink-pearl-proofs-1Meet Elise Gasbarrino, a 31-year-old ovarian cancer survivor and Founder of Pink Pearl Foundation. While undergoing cancer treatment in her early twenties, she felt certain elements were missing from her experience—a way to connect with women her age facing the same issues, and a means for women to conquer their issues together.

Fast forward 10 years and her vision has transformed into this extraordinary charitable organization made up of more than 30 dedicated volunteers, focused on bringing together young women affected by cancer through a network of peer support and innovative programs.

The Pink Pearl Foundation has successfully raised more than $185,000 to date through reputable fundraising initiatives, such as the Black & White with a Touch of Pink annual springtime gala. Funds raised provide effective and fully-funded programming for young women, between the ages of 18 and 40, battling cancer of any type.

Continual programming for fePink Pearl Foundation Retreatmale participants currently includes: day-long and over-night wellness retreats; ask-the-expert health information sessions; and in-hospital support packages.

So, how can you get involved? Start by checking out their exciting volunteer opportunities. Perhaps make a donation to help facilitate their cancer support movement. Or organize a group of friends to attend an upcoming fundraising gala on April 8, 2016 in Toronto! However you decide to get involved,  the Pink Pearl Foundation will sincerely appreciate your efforts!

Thank you for taking time to learn about Pink Pearl Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping bridge gaps in cancer support and care. To learn more and help spread the word, visit: www.pinkpearlfoundation.org

Twitter: @PinkPearlFdn
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pinkpearlfdn
Instagram: www.instagram.com/pinkpearlfdn

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.

Charity Highlight | KW Humane Society

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(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!

Phil

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

Whitney

One last attempt, from J.J. Johnston:

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.

 

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.

 

Charity Highlight | Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region

eaf

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 letting Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region steal the show.

Founded in 1980, Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region is a non-profit organization that exists to support people who have a developmental or physical disability to participate in community in their own way. Extend-A-Family’s approach is to work with the person that they serve by getting to know them and learning about each persons’ dreams, needs, abilities, hopes, and contributions.

Their Mission Statement:

Building Community, Choosing Dignity, Nurturing Belonging  

eaf2EAF Waterloo Region truly lives up to their mission statement.  In every situation where they provide their service they want to make sure that all of their values are represented.  They want all people to feel welcome in the community, and also bring the community together in a way that supports the individual.  They Wanting to make sure that people feel like they belong and are an important part of society is what sets EAF Waterloo Region as a true beacon of community engagement and inclusion.

They currently serve over 1,500 people in the community. Extend-A-Family has several programs:

There are numerous ways to get involved with Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region. You can make a donation, you can volunteer, and you can  become a Direct Support Person or Respite provider. As a Direct Support Person or Respite Provider you will be thoughtfully matched with families or an individual who has a disability. To get involved in this you can sign up as an individual or as a family.

Respite Link: http://visit.eafwr.on.ca/respite/

Direct Support Person Link: http://visit.eafwr.on.ca/personalsupport/

Eaf1You can also support Extend-A-Family at the many events they host in the community, such as their annual ball hockey tournament.  Check out more on their event calendar and get involved today!

It is quite amazing to see the great work of Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region. Our entire community benefits by having EAF in the Waterloo Region to help people who live with a disability.

If there is an organization that you think deserves some recognition, let us know!

Charity Highlight | Boys & Girls Club of London

Boys & Girls Club of London

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 focusing on the Boys & Girls Club of London.

hiThey are a non-profit family recreational facility that provides recreational activities for children and youth outside of school. During the school year, they offer free busing to the Club, as well as a nightly Supper Club that offers children and youth nutritious meals at a cost of just $2.

Their vision:

All members of the community discover and achieve their dreams to be healthy, successful, and active participants in society.

This vision is relevant and noble because according to the latest stats about childhood obesity and well-being, if our Canadian children are not more active, we will face an epidemic of obesity and related illnesses.

With more children choosing to stay inside and stay connected to their mobile devices, the cause for concern over our children’s health is certainly quite high.

It is because of this fact that we think the Boys & Girls Club of London is more important than ever before.

Luckily, with full access to:

  • Two swimming pools;
  • Gymnasium;
  • Exciting new room called the “Imagination Play Room;
  • One ball room;
  • Homework help room;
  • Games room;
  • Craft room;
  • Activity clubs room; and,
  • Club house café;

there are plenty of options for children and youth to have loads of fun while being very active.

It’s not just through the school year that children and youth benefit from the Boys & Girls Club of London’s exemplary services, though. During the summer they offer programs such as an Afternoon Adventure, Day Camp, and Summer Swim Lessons.

The Club also offers a full range of features for senior citizens to get active, and boasts an ‘extended family’ of over 1,400 citizens 55 years old and up.

We are delighted to know there are organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of London that strive every day to promote health, friendship, and team play for youth and children.

To sign up as a member, a volunteer, or to donate, visit their website here.

Do you have an organization you think deserves some extra recognition? Let us know!

Charity Highlight |Ontario Volunteer Centre Network

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 would like to bring attention to the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN), an informal network of 26 Volunteer Centres in Ontario.

If you’re already a volunteer , chances are you are familiar with a Volunteer Centre in your region. If not, then you might be surprised to find out that there are non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting volunteerism and helping connect organizations with volunteers and volunteers with opportunities.

The OVCN seeks to bring these VC’s together in order to achieve not only their own goals, but the goals of the non-profit sector as a whole within Ontario. The idea being that together their synergy will achieve more than the sum of them as separate parties.

Most recently, the OVCN was a huge part of recruiting volunteers for the Pan Am/Parapan Am games held in Toronto. The games would not have been possible without the hard work of all of their volunteers, according to the games’ organizers.

In coordination with the Pan/Parapan Am Games, the OVCN has coordinated the implementation of PREB-Ontario, which is a system set up to recognize volunteers for the skills they demonstrated while volunteering by creating PREB-Ontario certificates. These certificates outline in detail the tasks and activities, based upon the National Occupation Classification, and also details key aspects of a volunteer’s experience, such as hours of volunteering completed, activities performed, special achievements or training obtained and special comments by supervisors. PREB-Ontario is part of the Volunteer Legacy initiative from the Pan/Parapan Am Games and has been made possible through funding support from the Government of Ontario.

Recently completing its 8th year, the OVCN’s Change The World – Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge saw 42,000 youth contribute 225,000 hours through volunteering. This year’s goal was 37,000 volunteers and 111,000 hours volunteered. This initiative continues to surpass its goals. Find out how you can get involved right here.

Their Vision:

The Ontario Volunteer Centre Network envisions healthy, resilient and engaged communities where we provide a collective voice for Volunteer Centres and volunteerism.

The OVCN’s goals are to:

  •  Achieve sustainability for Ontario’s Volunteer Centres and the OVCN
  •  Assist Volunteer Centres to enhance their capacity to deliver quality programs and services
  •  Influence social policy as it relates to Volunteer Centres and volunteerism
  •  Increase public awareness of the value and impact of volunteerism

If you’re looking to get involved, you can locate your closest Volunteer Centre right here.

Thanks to the OVCN and their member organizations for all the work they do in raising the profile of volunteerism in Ontario.

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Charity Highlight | Canadian Mental Health Association

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 are highlighting the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in light of the one year anniversary of Robin Williams succumbing to his mental illness and committing suicide and the millions of others who suffer from mental illness.

The CMHA boasts some impressive numbers, helping over “…100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff across Canada in 120 communities.” These are numbers that give hope to the millions of Canadians coping with or helping someone live with mental health struggles.

Most of us know someone who has had or is currently living with mental illness(es). This is due to a combination of factors such as genetic, biological, personality, and environmental factors.

The thing about mental illness is that it truly does not discriminate. Your income or education level can not guarantee positive mental health throughout your life. In fact, 20% of Canadians will personally experience mental illness in their lifetime.

The CMHA advocates for mentally well people in a healthy society, and that is something that is currently in dire need. We still have a long way to travel before arriving at a place where all Canadians are receiving the support they need.

Some staggering statistics about mental health (from CMHA’s website):

  • In Canada, only 1 in 5 children who need mental health services receive them
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in 15-24 year old Canadians; 4,000 lives are ended prematurely in Canada due to suicide every year
  • Men are 4x more likely to commit suicide than women
  • in 1998, the total cost of mental illness was $7.9 billion with an additional $6.3 billion in time off work for depression or distress not treated by the healthcare system

The CMHA helps in so many ways, recently by hosting “Ride Don’t Hide“, a Father’s Day charity bike ride that raised $1.1 million for mental health. There are also other initiatives the CMHA leads, such as advocating for changes in government policy or providing training to individuals and workplaces to effectively support those living with mental illness.

Mental illness is not something that can be turned off. The same way you can’t just ignore cancer or Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a mental illness is not something to be downplayed and treated in a way that it is not a real issue.

As Canadians move toward a future where mental illness becomes destigmatized and our friends and loved ones receive the support they need, we should always remember that it’s organizations like the CMHA we have to thank.

To learn more about how you can donate your time or money, visit their website here.

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