One the great things about blogging are the people I have contact with that I may have never had the opportunity of meeting otherwise. Even better, I get to hear all the wonderful stories of how people GIVE in their lives. Everyone that emails me or leaves comments on the site inspires me to keep GIVING every day.
One of the first people that emailed me regarding 365give was a women by the name of Sophia. She is a local Vancouver resident and has been volunteering her time over the past few years to support an initiative called The Dunadarve Festival of Lights.
The first time I came across this event was my first trip visit to Vancouver prior to living here. I was here to “meet the parents” of what is now my husband. I was so amazed by this event, as they had at least 30 decorated Christmas Trees, all beautifully set up along a walking path with the natural backdrop of the ocean just steps away. Each tree was sponsored by different company and each tree was decorated by that company. (many with very fun ornaments to reflect the business). Funds raised were donated to help the homeless on the North Shore.
Just a few years after my first encounter with the Dundarave Festival of Lights our family moved just a few blocks from where this event takes place. Now with a child in hand it is truly a magical place to visit over the holidays. The world is a very small place and seems to get smaller at every turn – the organization the funds are directed to is a not-for profit organization which my brother in law worked with for almost 25 years called the Lookout Emergency Aid Society.
I am so amazed I had the opportunity to meet the organizers Michael and Mary, of this great tradition and to meet one of their dedicated volunteers, Sophia. I ask Sophia if she would do a guest “GIVE” for 365give. She graciously said yes and here is her story.
“Giving was modelled to me. My Mum is always willing to help people and she usually does it in a quiet, background kind of way. We didn’t have talks about giving when I was young, I just saw her example and she is still like that today. She’s a realtor and I remember when I was about 10, a family moved to Vancouver from Toronto, they bought a house with mum’s help but they didn’t have a place to stay until they could move in so they lived with us! It was great.
I volunteer with the Dundarave Festival of Lights Society because it’s a give that never ends. I am a graphic designer and I do the ads and signage for the festival. My giving together with Mary and Michael’s giving (they organize the whole event), together with the tree sponsors giving, together with all the other volunteers adds up to something spectacular.
The beautiful display of trees is representative of a caring community. It’s an event thousands can enjoy for over a month each year. It’s become a local tradition. Free concerts are also part of this festival and another way to celebrate local talent and the gift of the season. On top of all this, every tree sponsor also donates to the Lookout Emergency Aid Society – North Shore Shelter. 3 years ago they had a dream waiting in the wings – to open a culinary training program to give those without financial means the skills to work in the food an hospitality industry. Of course it does so much more than that. In part through the funds raised through the festival their dream came true! So, our combined gives allow the people at the shelter to do their amazing work in caring for the homeless, making a positive impact in their lives.
We all have something to give. It’s a cycle; I’ve been given so much therefore I can give, which means others can too. It goes on an on. Our pastor put it this way – we’re like a rock wall, each one holding up another and being help up by another and side by side supporting one another.”
Thank you Sophia for being a guest GIVER! You can Sophia’s video on the 365give YOUTUBE site or play it directly from my site on the right hand column.
Sophia’s Time Commitment: Endless hours of dedication
Jacqueline’s GIVE: A donation directed to Lookout when we attended the event.
Time Commitment: 0 Our families privilege to attend