One of the things I love about The Little Give is that it’s truly a win-win initiative – not only for our incredibly dedicated charity partners, but for those of us who get to step outside of our world for 48 hours to learn more about our community, our colleagues, and ourselves.
One of #TeamSpuds’ challenges for Camp Awakening was to build profile around the camp’s 30th anniversary in 2012. We started to reflect on what it means to turn 30, and on our own “awakening moments.” Originally, we were going to share said moments during the final presentation – but time constraints dictated otherwise.
So, Little Give and Camp Awakening – thanks to you, I’ve been reflecting.
For me, turning 30 really was the start of my awakening moments. Just three short years into the decade, I’ve experienced true love, true loss – and true understanding.
True Love? My son, of course, who came into my world and changed it forever the year I turned 30. It sounds cliché, but for those of you who have kids, you know what a profoundly awakening experience it truly is. Let’s just say, I’ve been schooled. Having my son challenged everything I thought I knew about myself. It’s scary. It’s unbelievably joyful. It’s just the most powerful, take-your-breath-away mix of emotions I’ve ever experienced.
Just two short years later, I experienced the most profound loss of my life – the death of my brother. There’s just no way to describe the moment when you’re told there’s nothing more that can be done. Or what it’s like to watch your parents crumble with grief before you. You see the agonizing side of what it means to be human. And you realize that a lot of the things that keep you up at night, just really shouldn’t.
And true understanding? My jury duty experience this past fall. No – really. People always laugh and roll their eyes when jury duty comes up. But for three weeks, I got to experience a world that I never hoped I’d see. I came to understand how preconceived notions can jeopardize the freedom of others. How very different someone’s life can turn out if they’re given a chance – or not. And how you may think you know the answers – until you hear the perspectives of 11 other jurors who have walked a completely different path than your own.
So now, I’m about to turn 34. And if what I have in store for the remainder of my 30s even comes close to what I’ve already been through in the first few years of the decade – well, let’s just say I’ve told the universe I’m cool to just coast for awhile. But if that’s not what’s in store for me, so be it. My awakening moments have shaped who I am – and I’m a better person for it.
Thanks Little Give – and Camp Awakening – for reminding me of that fact.
Though the weather outside may be dreary, spirits are at an all-time high around the Edelman Toronto office. Last night while opposing teams were in a deep slumber, Team Nerf was burning the midnight oil…actually the 4am oil…until we achieved perfection. Sleep is for the weak. In my second year participating in this event, I have come to the realization that though this is work-related…it really isn’t work at all. The Little Give is actually an opportunity. It is an opportunity to give back to our local community, an opportunity to strengthen bonds with colleagues, and also an opportunity to show off hidden (and potentially underutilized) talents in front of the entire office. Over the course of these past 48-hours, there has been an inverse correlation between hours of sleep (all-time low) and level of happiness (all-time high) that really wouldn’t exist at any other time during the work-week.
It may be a bit cliché…but despite the fact that this is a competition, there really are no losers here. We are pumped to see the work that our amazing colleagues have produced. Everyone at Team Nerf is extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time and can’t wait to show you what we came up with. In only a few hours the 2011 Little Give will be wrapped up…let’s make sure to put a pretty bow on it!
TEAM SKIPPING ROPE Blog Post #5 - Down To The Wire
A not-so-secret fact about me: I’m the crazy plant lady who hovers over her balcony garden and keeps an eleven-year-old beast of a Christmas cactus. Really, it’s like a sickness. And so when it was announced that my team for the Little Give would be paired with the Green Thumbs Growing Kids initiative, I was pretty stoked, to say the least.
Now, coming down to the last six hours of the Little Give 2011, we’re finding ourselves still pretty busy tying up loose ends and readying our (winning) presentation, but we know we’re going in the right direction. After getting Laura’s fantastic wrapup email around midnight last night (without even being aware that Cam was still working away in the office, and would be there until 3:30 AM!), it’s pretty clear to me that not only did we have an awesome nonprofit initiative to work with, but an awesome team in general. The combined powers (and spectacular resources) of Team Skipping Rope really came together to create something amazing for Green Thumbs Growing Kids.
How amazing, you ask? You’ll find out this afternoon when we present our results to everyone (and win the coveted Little Give trophy!). See you at Labatt!
TEAM SKIPPING ROPE Blog Post #4 - It's All Coming Up Roses...Err, Vegetables)
On a glorious Friday afternoon, the awesome members of the sure-to-be-legendary Team Skipping Rope headed to Green Thumbs Growing Kids’s flagship location, the community garden at Winchester Junior/Senior School in the Parliament/Wellesley area. And for those of you in the Toronto area: Could you ask for a better day to be outside gardening?! The answer: No, you could not. (And as awesome as the Edelman TO office is, it was fun to get out and enjoy the sunshine while doing “work”!)
Anyway, I digress - this massive and well-kept Cabbagetown garden seemed like a great place for kids from Winchester and the community to both hang out and pitch in to help maintain. But now it was Edelman’s turn! Under the watchful eyes of curious parents and locals alike, our team set about doing a variety of tasks to help with the gardening and get a feel for the initiative we were supporting.
Intern Meghan takes us on a “tasting tour” of the garden - cilantro, spinach and garlic, oh my! (Don’t fear for our breath - the garlic wasn’t ready to eat)
A beautiful example of a budding head of lettuce.
The students were just getting out of school for the day, and once they saw us mucking about in their garden, a bunch of them were eager to help! (Cue uterus aches from all female team members.)
Case in point: these cute munchkins giving us a hand with adding layers of mulch to the garden pathways. (As one of them happily exclaimed, “I love helping!” Who says people aren’t bringing up their kids right these days?)
As I bang out this blog post and upload more pics and do mass amounts of tweeting to help promote GTGK, more team members are still hard at work at the garden site, so here’s to Team Skipping Rope (and the weather!) - may the domination continue!
Team Play-Doh has been hard at work both in the office and on the town. Our travelling counterparts got the chance to check out The Spot and meet some of the youth who frequent this safe haven in the Jane and Finch area.
Capturing both video footage and interviewing some of the incredible people who unite at The Spot, the team was able to get a sense of how amazing this place really is. Here’s what our team had to say, “It’s defiantly a place where these kids to come together. They are good kids who want to learn, and are eager for opportunities. On top of that, they really look up to the staff here.”
After a long day in the office, with some incredible wins on our side, this positive boost of inspiration is sure to keep us going well into the night!
Mentors. No matter in which capacity, shape or form, we have all been touched and inspired by someone. We’ve all had that one person who has guided us, encouraged us and most importantly transformed us. Whether we have labeled them as “mentors” or not, we’ve all had these special people influence us.
The YoYo’s team charity for this year’s Little Give is the Peer Project (Youth Assisting Youth). They’ve been around for 30 years and their focus is in mentorship. They pair up Toronto youth with youth mentors for a minimum of one year to establish a relationship which undoubtedly transforms them both. The Peer Project’s CEO, Sally Spencer shared with us that on many occasions, the mentors have told them that they got way more out of the program than the mentee.We all know students can learn from their teacher, but often times we overlook how teachers learn so much from their students. This exact principle applies to the Peer Project’s program members.
I’ll never forget my first mentor:
Danielle, one of my mom’s younger co-workers. She was easier to talk to and would listen objectively offering nuggets of sound advice. She influenced my choices and made me think about things that nobody else could make me think of. She helped me pick Queen’s as my university and throughout my undergrad I’d call her up in times of need and she was always there for me. Four years later, facing convocation, I only had three tickets to invite people to attend and celebrate with me. Danielle was one of them. To this day Danielle is still part of my life. I don’t necessarily talk to her often, but that’s what a mentor is: someone who is always there in the sidelines and ready to step in when needed.
We all have them. Who are your mentors?
If you want to get involved and mentor someone, please call 416-932-1924 to speak to someone at the Peer Project (YAY)
It was a gorgeous early summer morning outside as Team Skipping Rope got down to business back at Edelman HQ. Thanks to our great start last night and continual follow-ups by team leader Laura, the bunch of us were feeling pretty confident going into a full day of hot (perhaps literally) Little Give action.
Accompanied by plenty of caffeine (thanks Starbucks! #client) and the hard-rockin’ tunes (uhhhh, maybe not) of Paul Simon, we were thoroughly energized and ready to tackle our challenges from Green Thumbs Growing Kids. Two things were definite bonuses: the power of the Internet (what did we ever do without it? Thanks, Al Gore!) and Hayley’s persistence in hunting down a vital piece for our ask from Green Thumbs Growing Kids. Again, we’re not offering any hints just yet, but the news definitely perked us all up — and it wasn’t just the coffee.
Time to stash some beers in the fridge — there’ll be some hard work coming later on this afternoon, and Team Skipping Rope will need some cold beverages once all this is done with!
Team Nerf got off to a fast start this afternoon and have decided to call it a night so that we can rest-up for tomorrow’s action. So far, some fantastic ideas have flown out of our collective mind and onto pages and pages of poster paper. We have been invited on a tour of Humewood House bright and early tomorrow morning….er…this morning, and will be sure to use this experience as inspiration to power us through the remaining 40 hours.
Sweet dreams everyone!
I know what you’re thinking…what a handsome team right? This photo is intentionally blurry so that competing teams can’t view the pages of brilliant ideas behind us.
Clockwise around the table: Stella Mok, Sarah McEvoy, Scott Evans, Brittany Dow, Rob Manne, Melissa Graham, Briar Wells, Don Otter, Marsha Knoll (not pictured: Adam Fazakas & Jeanette Jones…we’ll make sure they’re in the next one!)
TEAM SKIPPING ROPE, Blog Post #2 – Music, Manscaping, Minor Injuries And More
Things were looking right on track as Team Skipping Rope worked away through the evening of the Little Give Toronto’s first day – everyone was chiming in with their various talents, favours were being called in from very helpful outside sources, to-do lists were being put together, and fun was being poked at Chris and Cam. (Cam: “I’m going to go get my computer.” *cue Cam coming back lugging his entire Mac*)
Accompanied by the healthy Little Give diet (covering the four food groups: beer, wine, sugar, and pizza), Laura was quick to bucket together team members who would take care of various parts of our challenge (no hinting – we don’t want to reveal our secrets!). Our team was very well-rounded, if I do say so myself – people with talents ranging from media outreach, video production, event planning, and more. All that, and our team was also ridiculously good-looking. A winning combination.
As we wrap up a productive evening of brainstorming ideas and making fun of each other, we’re looking forward to getting the show underway and doing our best work for Green Thumbs Growing Kids. Tomorrow’s going to be a busy – and fun! – day of hard work. Go Team Skipping Rope!
Team CRAYON Planting New Seeds with Interval House
And here we go again! Edelman Little Give 2011 is off to an awesome start. We’re so excited to be teaming up with one of the 9 charities Edelman is giving back to this year, called the Interval House. We had the chance to meet with our two charity representatives, Ashleigh and Arlene where we got a lowdown of who they are, what they do and most important of all, what they’re hoping for us to achieve by the end of our 48 hour volunteer marathon.
Interval House was founded in 1973 and is the oldest women shelter in Canada. They’re dedicated to providing women and children who suffered any type of violence including emotional, physical and verbal abuse. They provide a multitude of services from counselling, advocacy, outreach, legal and housing support to help the women get back on their feet. One of the stories that touched us the most was hearing about a woman who went from being homeless before being taken under Interval House’s wing, and following their program to owning their first home in about 2 years time.
We won’t reveal too many details on what we’ve got planned up our sleeves (where’s the fun in that!), but we can tell you that we’ve been tasked with creating a Community Engagement Strategy which may, or may not include the following:
toolkit for outreach
identify community stakeholders
a day in a garden …?!
fundraising drive ..?!
Team CRAYON with our charity reps Arlene and Ashleigh
Team Slinky is in the house!! We’re excited to be partnered with a phenomenal organization – The Remix Project/Blackboard Marketing. We met with three remarkable Remix Project members, Derek, Yasser and Jason, and had the opportunity to learn more about this organization and what they aim to achieve. Created to help level the playing field for young people from disadvantaged, marginalized and underserved communities, The Remix Project/Blackboard Marketing offers programs and services that help youth trying to enter creative industries or want to further their formal education. We’re not going to tell you what we’ve been tasked with …you’ll have to check back on Saturday to find out during the big unveil. J But what we can say, is that we are in awe of all the remarkable and wonderful things this organization has already accomplished. We’re excited and honoured to be a part of their journey and can’t wait to get started.
Now, we feel that slinkys are the best toys in the world. And we also feel that our team embodies some key slinky qualities, so here’s how we plan to rise to our challenge:
· Slinkys are flexible.
o The next 48 hours are going to be intense, but we’re ready to roll with the punches to create something we think The Remix Project will be pumped about.
· Slinky always delight.
o Digital, Consumer, Corporate, Finance, Admin and Tech…we’re quite a hodge podge of Edelman talent, and our only goal for this task is to delight The Remix Project. We can’t wait to see what exciting ideas we cook up!
· Colourful and unique.
o We’ve got one of the most diverse teams around for The Little Give…almost as diverse as our organization! We’re going to use our differences in opinions and perspectives to create something truly unique for The Remix Project.
· Always on the move.
o Juggling a hundred tasks at once, no problem! We can multi-task like nobody’s business and are a group of serious Type A personalities. We can’t sit still, and enough is never enough. We’re driven to push boundaries in the next 48 and can’t wait to see what we accomplish.
· Everyone loves a slinky! (and soon, our organization will love their Edel team too.)
o No need for explanation on this one. Enough said.
(You)nited together as one, Team Play-Doh Pyramid and The Spot have come together in true form (we created a BlackBerry group, and not just because they’re our client) to unite the youth of the Jane and Finch community.
With over a 120 nationalities residing in this area and more than 157 different languages spoken, the urban culture and social stigmas are just as diverse.
The ultimate goal of this project, and the ask of our charity, is to unite the youth of this community in annual event that allows them to interact in a safe and engaging environment, helping to break down these divides.
With more than a few ideas at hand, team Play-Doh Pyramid has hit the ground running, or rather the walls writing, to brainstorms and create the ultimate community-youth event. Our team, including our charity, has committed to coming out on top…failure is not an option. We will not sleep, eat, or put our pens downs (unless the ink runs out) until we have wowed ourselves and our charity!
This Saturday will be the ultimate reveal…what will Team Play-Doh Pyramid come up with?
Team Spuds (formerly known as Team Potato Head!) is off to a great start, brainstorming some amazing ideas to support the 30th anniversary of Camp Awakening!
Camp Awakening is an integrated, outdoor recreation program for youth, ages 9-18, with physical disabilities. They operate out of two mainstream summer camps in Ontario – Kilcoo Camp for boys near Minden, and Camp Oconto for girls north of Kingston. The campers have a wide range of disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, juvenile arthritis, epilepsy, spinal cord injury, acquired brain injury, vision loss, and amputation.
The campers succeed in conquering new challenges at their own pace and at their own level of ability. They enjoy wilderness adventures through the camp’s canoe-tripping program, and traditional in-camp activities such as swimming, sailing, kayaking land sports, ropes course, climbing tower, horseback riding, archery and handicrafts.
For the next 48 hours, we’re going to be putting our top PR talent to the test as we help “the best kept secret in camping” become the go-to organization for integrated outdoor recreation for youth with physical disabilities. Stay tuned!!
Team Skipping Rope meets Green Thumbs Growing Kids
Within moments of hearing Team Skipping Rope was going to be paired up with Green Thumbs Growing Kids, our team erupted into applause and cheers.
After speaking more closely with Sunday Harrison, Executive Director for Green Thumbs Growing Kids, as she briefed us on her organization and their needs, we could tell it was going to be a great challenge and fantastic partnership over the next 48 hours.
Green Thumbs Growing Kids is focused on educating children on food growing and environmental sustainability through 3 inner-city school and 2 park site educational programs in several east downtown Toronto neighbourhoods: St. James Town, Cabbagetown, and Regent Park. Every year, the program reaches close to 3,000 children and teaches children how to grow and handle food. More importantly, kids learn at a young age where the flavours and food that they find on their dinnerplates come from.
With issues such as obesity and diabetes II on the rise, and movements like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution taking the U.S. by storm, the importance of food and food education is slowly making its way to the forefront of urban consideration. In Toronto, we’re tremendously lucky to have an organization that is dedicated to educating children, youth, and families on how to grow and prepare fresh foods in an environmentally sustainable way.
The excitement in Team Nerf’s headquarters is palpable. We are fortunate to have an incredibly diverse team featuring members of Edelman Toronto’s corporate, consumer, creative, digital, finance, health AND Zeno teams (wowzers). We just finished the first meeting with our charity partner, Humewood House and are thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside such an amazing cause.
Founded in 1912, this organization has played an incredible role in regards to the empowerment of young pregnant and parenting women over the past century.
Over the next 48 hours we’re going to roll up our sleeves, draw on our unique talents and develop a strategy to help organize and promote Humewood’s upcoming centennial celebration (occurring in April 2012). Stay tuned!
Team Yo-Yo works with The Peer Project: Youth Assisting Youth
A life is a shaped by the people in it and circumstances faced. Many children find themselves trying to find their own way through our urban jungle alone. Without a guide in their life, a child can find themselves lost, choosing dangerous paths or making choices that lead to a much harder life.
That’s where the Peer Project: Youth Assisting Youth steps in, matching kids who are on a bad path or lost with young adults who can help guide the way. Quietly toiling away, this dedicated group of staff and volunteers has helped over 30,000 children over the past 30 years. These are kids that don’t need doctors, that don’t need social workers, they just need a little guidance and direction in order to make better choices. They need someone to care.
The Peer Project boasts a 98% success rate at keeping these at-risk youth in school and “out of trouble”.
Demand for their services has been increasing at a time where sources of funding have been growing tighter. As part of the Edelman Little Give, over the next 48 hours we are going to lend our skills to make it easier for The Peer Project to be able to keep doing the work that they’ve been doing. To focus on what’s important: the kids.
We look forward to unveiling our work on Saturday, but you needn’t wait for us to finish our efforts to help. If you know a young man between age 16-29 who is looking for a fun and challenging way to make a difference, please direct him to contact 416.932.1919.
Kids up front started in Calgary in 1999. In 2006, Lindsay discovered Kids Up Front. She was looking to start something similar in Toronto. She taught at a high school and begun taking students from priority neighborhoods to plays and activities.
What inspired you to get involved in this charity?
Inspired by J.M. Barry’s ”Finding Never Land”
How did it all come together?
It took about 1 year before the doors were opened, but in the first year, Kids Up Front reached 15,000 kids! These kids went to concerts, games, plays for the first time.
How to you pick the children to take to events?
Kids Up Front does not pick the children, they work with agencies to pick the children, including other Little Give charities (The Spot, YAY, Interval House). These are children from lower income neighborhoods.
Fast forward Five Years. Where are you now?
5 years later; 140,000 kids. Donated value of donated tickets is $4 million.
This provides a new environment for charities to do their work. Principals from different schools who partner with Kids Up Front are using these programs as “incentives.”