Over the past two winters, during the Christmas holiday, we at SIRCH have used the season of giving as an opportunity to raise awareness about issues that some of our more vulnerable Highlands neighbours face on a daily basis. Our ‘Gifts from the Heart Catalogue’ serves not only to raise awareness and funds, but also to put the focus back on giving to others who truly need it. Of course it is us, the staff and volunteers of SIRCH, that are the proud change agents – the program developers and implementers – who ensure daily that the giving doesn’t end with the written cheque or credit card receipt, but remains the fuel that fires us to deliver effective, strength based programs that build resiliency and ultimately hope for our neighbours.
As we approach our Annual General Meeting and have crossed the bridge from one fiscal year to the next we can – and will – loudly exclaim the success of the ‘Gifts from the Heart Catalogue’ by retelling some of the more poignant stories and testimonials of who you helped, and how together we CAN and DO make a difference.
Medical treatment or food…what would you choose?
Recently one of our Community Kitchen volunteers informed us of a conversation she overheard at the Minden Food Bank, where a person came in to collect his Foodbank supplies only to be elated at the fact that there were healthy, yummy frozen meals available for him to take home (SIRCH’s Community Kitchen meals). With tears in his eyes he proclaimed that “I don’t cook for myself very much, often too tired to do so. With my current dialysis treatments [three times a week, all out of town, with transportation costs paid for out-of-pocket] I had to start making the decision between eating and dialysis. This food means more to me than I could ever say.”
Here are the results of YOUR donations to Gifts from the Heart Catalogue …
”I never would have been able to survive. It gave me reason to hope that things would get better.” Community Kitchen recipient
“Without the support I never would have been able to take my life back.” Hospice Client
“I no longer feel like a victim.” Parent – CAPC program
“SIRCH has implemented wonderful programs that assist families- programs that are meaningful to poverty reduction- grass roots projects that really make a difference and that’s what people in this community need, providing them with healthy food choices and resources they need to empower themselves to move forward in life.” HKPR Health Unit
So to you, generous donors and raving fans of SIRCH we thank you. We have the passion and commitment to do the work and your generosity fuels us to soar to new and better heights each and every year…..’cause just knowing you have our backs makes OUR days brighter. We look forward to yet another awe-inspired year with you by our sides.
Together we make a difference!
Recently my wonderful husband forwarded me a challenge, via email, to my work. It was going around his work environment and we decided to pick it up at SIRCH because it completely reflects our vision (to have a community where every member is healthy, happy, able to live up to his or her potential, contribute back to the community, and live and die with dignity) and philosophy – we focus on strengths, always looking for options and solutions that help everyone grow and thrive.
Before I launch into the information about this challenge, and please be prepared it is coming your way, I want to talk a little about inspiration. I don’t know about you but I find it in the oddest places, at the oddest times. We often don’t talk about it though, do we? After feeling the ‘goosies’ at moments of beauty in nature, after being inspired by what someone else says — the simple quiet moments (or not so quiet) oftentimes results in us keeping it to ourselves or sharing it quietly with a select few. Why do we do this? Is it because life gets in the way of those moments, causing us to forget them or put them aside as we rush through our daily lives? Are we a little ashamed to flaunt our joy in front of others who may not be experiencing it just then? Or are those moments just too good to be subjected to the sometimes inevitable cynicism people bestow on those who see the glass as half full?
It’s a shame isn’t it? We spend so much time focusing on so many other things in a day that we let those small joys and inspiring events drop from our radar in times of negativity or challenge. So here it is, a simple challenge where everyone wins — you and those around you – no risk. No additional time required.
Here is what Anita Roddick states in her ‘Passion Sells’ challenge “Within the next three weeks, or maybe three minutes, set a 2-day period as your days to actively inspire others. Two days where you’ll put blinders on to anything negative and be the one person who everyone else can count on for words and actions that inspire and encourage. Two days where you’re the light for other people – friends, family, colleagues the like. Here’s the rub- NO MATTER WHAT.”
“Allow nothing negative and focus only on your service to others. Once you set your two days, fully commit to the effort regardless of the inevitable challenges, regardless of the weather. Fall off the inspirational horse at 2:11 on the first day? Get back on at 2:12 – no excuses.”
Are you up for it? I’m in!
Download a pledge form, and come hike with us on Saturday April 27th, 2013.
A very close friend of mine (Samantha) recently adopted, as a single parent, a six year old daughter (Justine or J-girl as I like to call her). Through our many long distance phone conversations walking through the adoption process together we have talked about a multitude of things, most specifically Samantha’s experience as an adoptive parent and the subsequent reactions of those around her. As a Social Worker and also an adopted child myself this experience as shared through my dear friends eyes has been a journey that I cherish and learn through almost daily.
It was several weeks ago that Samantha said something to me that has continued to resonate deep in my heart and I feel compelled to share it with you. As Samantha navigates the system of social workers, school boards, play therapists along with her own personal support system she understands that others see Justine in different ways. Some see behavior, other’s see brokenness and sadly some see nothing but challenges. Discussing this one night, Samantha made an awe inspiring comment about where she comes from on this; she told me that from the minute she met Justine she “saw her”. This reference had to be explained to me but is related to the movie Avatar where the characters say to each other “ I see you” instead of I love you. (It has the same meaning but much, much deeper). She saw Justine for the beauty that resonates out of her six year old little body, sees her where she is and not where she should be, sees her exactly in the moment and because of this it allows her a level of patience and understanding that she never before has experienced.
This is when it hit me. In this month of Love celebrated by some of us through Family Day and Valentine’s Day we attempt to honor each other through gestures of love……time together, gifts, cards and the like. Thinking deeper on this, can we actually say that we ‘see’ those that we love? And can and does this extend to the greater work that we do on a daily basis when interacting with those in our worlds? Challenging thought isn’t it? To see each other, I think provides hope and light where maybe there wasn’t any before.
As an eternal optimist I believe that most of us do this, but maybe not as much as we like. So why don’t we spend the month leaning into this and do our level best to fully ‘see’ those around us, let the other stuff slide away. Because I truly believe that all of us share one commonality – the desire to be seen for who we are- it validates that our journey’s are special and in turn so are we.