Giving Back and Charity Involvement

Here at Your Real Estate Connection we strongly believe in giving back to our community, at home and abroad.  Over the years we have been involved with many charitable organizations and personal charity initiatives, with a strong focus on making a personal difference and having a direct impact.  The more direct the assistance, the better !

Some of the events we (I) have been involved in over the years are featured below.

The Children's Miracle Network

A portion of all my commissions are donated directly to the Children's Miracle Network which in turn support our local Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation here in Calgary. The Children’s Miracle Network has grown dramatically since its founding in 1983 from a televised fundraiser in a small studio to one of the North America’s leading children’s charities. The organization was founded by Marie Osmond and her family as well as John Schneider, Mick Shannon and Joe Lake and it set out with two simple goals:
1. Help as many children as possible by raising funds for children’s hospitals.
2. Keep funds in the community in which they were raised to help local children.
We are proud to support this charity each and every month.


Feed the Hungry

A friend of mine introduced me to this group and now this one is a new favourite! Perhaps that is an odd thing to say about a volunteer opportunity, but spending my Sunday with Feed the Hungry and its organizers left me feeling so incredibly joyful for days. This is a beautiful organization that provides a good well rounded meal to anyone in need and its a joy to be a part of. I now want to raise enough money to cover the cost of an entire dinner myself (well as soon as I get that house in Guatemala built). Each and every Sunday this group feed 4 - 500 people and offers to go bags. If you are looking for a great opportunity to give back to the community with your friends and family or even with children, this is a great way to help that doesn't cost a cent.


Maurice Law Charity Golf Tournament - Auction Items Donated

A local First Nations Law Firm organizes a charity golf tournament every year and divide the funds raised between different local charities that help the community. The funds raised from my items were shared with two organizations; The Friendship Centre holiday dinner and Santa gifts, and Little Warriors (a charity that works with child victims of sexual abuse).


Sponsoring Christmas for a Family

This year (2015) for the holdiays we participated in absolutely spoiling 2 families for Christmas.  What a rewarding and super fun experience.  Something I would definetly consider again in the future.


Building a House in Guatemala

This is one of our most challenging and rewarding fund raising initiatives and one that I feel very passionate about.

One of my dearest friends has been living between Canada, Mexico and Central America for several years now and in her travels she has come across this sweet family with two young children. They need a house. This family of 4 has been living out of a hostel room and struggling to pay for public school for their eldest son. We want to change that. We want to help this family get a real home that they can be safe in, have control over, and be in charge of.

I am so passionate about helping people acquire a safe space in the world that they can call their own - magical, wonderful things happen for people when they have a place to call home.  Studies suggest that people's interaction within their community improves, grades for children rise, self esteem and confidence increase, the way in which people carry themselves changes, and what people are capable of accomplishing in life all changes when they have a place to call HOME.

If you would like to participate in anyway; ask how.

Project Overview:

My dear friend Carie found a local land owner willing to part with a peice of his land just big enough to build a small house for this family. 
We raised money to secure the land, digg for water and sewer access (very mysterious process), and bring electricity to the property.
Then we raised funds to build a simple home for this family.  
Rough estimate of the break down of costs:
12,720 Q - Building Materials (2281 CAD)
5000 Q - Sewage Tank install (897 CAD)
5500 Q - Household Items (beds, pots and pans, etc.) (986 CAD)
2780 Q - Misc Funds (500 CAD)
26,000 Quetzal Total - 4,664 Canadian Funds Total
We built the house and are now looking at getting a roof built on the unfinished second level so that water does not enter the home during the rainy season.

We are also looking at the costs of schooling for the young boy, Daniel.  He is currently attending Public school which has been compared to attending a daycare centre and not so much an education centre.  Private school is available and that option includes breakfast every day and kids wear uniforms.  The cost for the Private School is equivelent to $550.00 CAD per year. 


Red Lips Malone Fundraiser

One of my clients, who became a dear friend and who also did some assistant work for me, recently passed after an intense journey through breast cancer.  We are raising money to help her husband manage the first couple months without her.
Michelle is one of the most brilliant and truely sweet human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  I think of her daily and remember her sweetness in so many ways. 
I cant imagine what life is like for her husband now.  To go from the best life ever, to living on your own has got to be a real shock to the system, to say the least.  If we can help Jamie eliminate some financial stress I am all for it.


Women's Centre

The Woman's Centre of Calgary is a great place to donate toiletries for woman and children, as well as donate cash, and volunteer time.  Over the years we have dropped off dozens of boxes and bags of items that woman can immidietly make use of.  This organization also gives women cash vouchers that can be used to purchase clothing and household items at the Women in Need (WIN) Stores around the city, which is another reason why we donate regularily to that group as well.


Integrative Equine Program

The Integrative Equine Program is is such a lovely not for profit group of people who create workshops to help parents, teens, abused women, and just your average person benefit from the therapy that hourses can provide.  In the past we have attended fundraisers for this group and donated cash.  I just love the work they do!  : )


Allary Family Kidney Transplant Fundraising

This situation was both sad and beautiful.  A young family learned that their son who was only a few weeks old, had a very rare condition called Congential Nephrotic Syndrome, at that time only the second case ever in Canada. This young boy had to wait until he was 2 yrs old to receive a transplant and with the support of the Kidney Foundation and Alberta Childrens Hospital the family was able to care for their son from home as much as possible for those 2 years.  The mother of this little boy was a match and was able to donate part of her kidney to her little boy.  However the father, now the only bread winner, needed to take time off work to care for his wife and son after surgery and they needed financial support to help make this happen.  This was a cause that was easy to get behind and a joy to raise money for.


Men's Crisis Service - Cell Phone Drive

There are so many different ways to help the community and one of Raena's favourite ways to do so is to encourage people to donate old itens that will help them clean and organize their own space while really benefiting a group of people in need.  This initiative did just that.  We collected old cell phones that people were no longer using and donated them to Men's Crisis Service Calgary so that the phones could be set up to dial 911 in domestic emergency situations.


Used Clothing Collection - Various Organizations

Donating clothing, winter jackets, blankets, Furniture and house hold items is another favourite of ours.  Over the years we have collected Winter Clothing and Blankets for the Mustard Seed organization here in Calgary.  We have collected and donated lightly used business dress for women transitioning into the work force through a charity called Dress for Success. We have sent trendy youth attire to the Door Way, a local organization helping youth get off the streets.  We have donated various items to the Women in Need Society, CUPS Community Health Centre as well as many other local organizations doing this kind of work in the community.


Give the Gift of Sight - Dollar and Donation Drive

Donations of cash and used glasses to Lense Crafters - Give the Gift of Site to help provide free eye care to people in North America and Developing Countries.  Another great opportunity to let go of that which no longer serves us and change someone elses life in the process - we love this one !


Spa for a Day

A teacher at a local junior high school has a daughter who had cancer as a young child and beat it.  At the age of 20 the cancer came back and this time treatment had been ineffective.  As a family they decided to let nature run its course and the junior high decided to collect donations to send their beloved teacher and her daughter to the Spa for a Day.  We collected money to help them do just that.


Baby Boy in Need

A troubled young family doing their very best to create a better life for themselves and their new born son were in need of some assistance.  With one meesage sent out to friends and family we had enogh donated items to get this family through their first year.  That included everything from a crib, car seat and stroller, to clothing and diapers and recieving blankets and anything else you can think of.  What a beautiful gift to deliver to a young family trying so hard.


Collecting Food and Serving Meals

This is yet another of our favourite ways to give back.  The Food Bank here in Calgary, as well as most Canadian Cities, is always in need of food and cash and volunteers.  Over the years we have donated time and money and food to our local Food Bank as well as encouraged friends across the country to do the same.  This one always feels good.

We have also served food and warm meals through the Mustard Seed over the years.  This can be a great experience for families and friends to spend time together and feels quite rewarding at the end of a shift.


Kiva - International Micro Loans

This is another favourite of ours.  If you dont know about this great organization its worth checking out.  KIVA partners with locals in various areas in developing countries around the globe and provides micro loans funded by people like you and I.  The loans are paid back and then that money can be lent out again and again to other parties looking for funding.  KIVA has personally brought us a great deal of joy over the years and we regularily have 2 - 4 loans out at any given time to different groups and individuals doing their best to make a difference in their own families and communities.  Very rewarding !


Charitable Donations

Sometimes life gets busy and we just dont have the time we would like to work on organizing charitable initiatives and volunteering our time.  As we all know this is easily taken care of helping support solid charities already in place by sending a financial donation.  In addition to some of the charities mentioned above, below is a list of our favourite charities to send money to;
Kids Help Phone (1 800 668 6868)
- this is an organization that we see a great need for and are huge supporters of.
Calgary Library Foundation
- the library has always been dear to me.  And now that there are no fees in Calgary to aquire a library card we donate cash to make sure we can all get access to the wonderful services provided.
Alzheimer Society
- I have had clients and loved ones with family members challenged by a dimensia diagnosis, its for that reason that we give to this organization.
Gimbel Eye Foundation
- Dr. Gimbel does great work and is a pioneer in his field.  He gave my mom the gift of sight after being legally blind for many many years. Im grateful for his skilled hands and vision for changing lives with the gift of sight.
The War Amps
- My Grandfather fought in a World War and he was a kind and generous man and its because of his kindness and empathy for others who are in need or struggling that I give to this cause each year.
Calgary Humane Society
- I love animals, have grown up around them, and have always had a great respect for their sweet and pure nature.  Im not able to go to the Humane Society and donate my time - I just can't deal with that place.  However, I am so incredibly grateful for people who can and that is how this group sucks me right in.  Im teasing but you know what I mean !  I dontate because I can't resist.
Meow Foundation
- I think this is a wonderful group doing their very best to care for cats that others are not capable of caring for.
Poppy Fund
- I have been paying between 10-50 cents for a poppy each November for most of my life.  However, in recent years I came to notice that the symbolism of the poppy really meant something to my Grandfather.  I love that man more than words can say and so now I make it a point to give a heck of a lot more than 50 cents a year to the Poppy Fund. 
The Lung Association
- I was a smoker, who just loved to smoke, for many years...until I didn't love it anymore, but I found quiting next to impossible.  Then I saw an ad for Romaine the hypnotist coming to town and borred money to check it out.  After 4 painfully long hours with that man and about 350 strangers I quit smoking with ease and have never looked back.  Its been 16 years now and Im so grateful to be free of that dreadful habit.  I donate to this group because I am healthy and happy and grateful to be so.
The Kidney Foundation, and
- Kidney failure sucks !  I have spent many hours sitting in dialysis rooms, calling to check in on creatinine levels, and following up with doctors.  The website for the Kidney Foundation gave me menu ideas, and a forum to ask questions and talk to people going through supporting loved ones through renal failure.  I felt supported by the people there and its for that reason that they get my money now !
Room to Read
- I absolutely love this organization !  They provide books, build schools, and help educate local teachers on lituracy education  for kids in Nepal, India, Cambodia, Loas, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and a few other places in the area.  They also publish local language children's books which I think is just wonderful.  And they promote and support girls to complete secondary school.