HOPE worldwide Canada

Let’s Applaud Our Volunteers!

April 19th to 25th is designated as National Volunteer Week in Canada and it’s a week where we take time to celebrate and thank all the incredible volunteers that span our nation. To say thank you to our wonderful volunteers of HOPE worldwide Canada, we have some small tokens of appreciation for some of our volunteers. Simply watch our video and enter your name into our random draw for 1 of 10 small gifts. The winning volunteers will be contacted by May 1st for delivery information. Whether you win the draw or not, please know that your volunteer efforts are appreciated, recognized and are truly bringing hope and changing lives!

Spreading Kindness to those Experiencing Homelessness During A Crisis

 

As the Coronavirus pandemic is spreading its impact all across Canada, HOPE worldwide Canada is also spreading acts of kindness, especially to the needy and most vulnerable.

The Toronto Central, East and West chapters   had a special Easter outreach at St Stephens Community House, located in downtown Toronto, and Dixon Hall located at Danforth Avenue. Between them, they served over 400 people experiencing homelessness daily.

We handed over 55 handmade mats, 200 special hygiene products, 100 single use medical gloves  and 100 pairs of outdoor socks.

The idea was to distribute items that were needed the most by homeless persons and also tie it to Easter as a special show of love and offer them a ray of hope.

Milk bag mats offer people without beds, an invaluable, durable and washable alternative to sleeping on the often cold and damp ground. They have also been used by health-care professionals as a make-ready substitute for an operating bed/table where resources are scarce.

The mattress mats are made of recycled milk bags. Each mattress is made of approximately 420 milk bags, with a lifespan of approximately 25 years. They are also waterproof, bug-proof and can be easily cleaned and dried.  The  initiative was originally championed by Angela Kesthely and her Milk Bags Unlimited organization.

The making of the mats is truly a labor of love. The mats are made by cleaning and flattening the milk bags, cutting them into strips, looping them into a chain formation and then weaving them onto a loom. Each handmade mat can take as much as four hours or more to complete.

One teenager Tyannah Brown, made three mats from her home.

The mats for this initiative were made in 6 households in Durham and also sourced from another milk mat weaver in the GTA. Looms and milk bags were dropped off at the various locations to ensure social distancing.

Barb Panter, Manager, Housing and Drop-in and Homelessness Services and Francine Freeman, Director of Development for Community Services  at St. Stephen’s Community House, were deeply appreciative of the Easter show of love by Hope worldwide Canada.

The next outreach and distribution of essential items for the poor is being planned at Good Shepherd.

If you are in downtown Toronto, Mississauga, Oshawa, Ajax or Pickering and would like to volunteer with one of our chapters, please send an email to communications@hopewwcanada.org

Meeting Needs in a Time of Physical Distancing

The impact COVID-19 has made on our world is unprecedented. Our entire nation is striving to stay indoors and maintain physical distance so as to ensure the safety of not only ourselves, but our neighbours as well. And while the pandemic has forced us all to stay at home, the call to serve our neighbours in need is as loud as ever.

HOPE worldwide Canada volunteers are answering the call by staying true to the mission of Jesus — transforming our world through love and support for our neighbours in need. As we have changed our programs in order to follow government and medical mandates, we have looked to other ways to meet needs in our communities.

HOPE worldwide Canada volunteers in Ontario are spending time while physically distancing making mats out of milk bags to be used by local shelters

Chapters across the country are providing critical volunteer support and community connection to food pantries, Child & Family Service agencies, shelters and other helping organizations. Volunteers are also creating neighbourhood collaborations to identify and help elderly and other vulnerable neighbours with day-to-day needs. Social media and online tools are other methods by which our volunteers are identifying needs they can address around their community.

The people, families and communities we love are in desperate need right now. HOPE worldwide Canada remains focused on prayer, as we know our God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine. We appreciate all the efforts and hard work of our volunteers and supporters as we all strive to overcome this crisis together. Thank you for your continued support!

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

May 30, 2020: On Tuesday June 9th, 2020 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT HOPE worldwide Canada is hosting an All Canadian Worship Night. The evening is to say thank you to all our incredible donors who have contributed to the Loaves & Fishes Campaign which is providing support to those suffering as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Access our YouTube Channel to watch!

May 1, 2020: HOPE worldwide Canada has launched the Loaves & Fishes Campaign to provide immediate humanitarian relief for majority world countries. You can read more and donate at hopewwc.org/loavesandfishes. Donate NOW

At HOPE worldwide Canada, the safety of our volunteers and those we serve is of utmost importance. With Coronavirus (COVID-19) becoming more widespread, we have consulted with our partners at HOPE worldwide and researched the guidelines outlined by Canada Public Health and the World Health Organization. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and make decisions based on governmental guidance.

Most of our chapters are cancelling or postponing their regularly scheduled service programs in order to follow the guidelines and physical distancing protocols that provinces are mandating. That said, we are looking for and engaging in innovative ways to meet needs in our local communities while maintaining these guidelines. Please reach out to your local Chapter to find out more about how you can get involved in local efforts to meet needs during this unprecedented time.

For any additional questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 and HOPE worldwide Canada’s response, please contact:

Greg Taylor, Eastern Canada Co-Country Director
Kimberlee Potter, Western Canada Co-Country Director
Neville Yee, Board President

Holly Kennedy-Symonds’ Healing Journey To Nepal

Holly Kennedy-Symonds, a registered nurse, is a volunteer with our Vancouver chapter. She travelled to Nepal in 2019 to serve through HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corp. We asked her a few questions about her volunteer experience and are proud to share the conversation with you. Continue reading “Holly Kennedy-Symonds’ Healing Journey To Nepal”

Interview with Mackenzie Jessen on her time volunteering with HOPE worldwide Nepal

Mackenzie with students in Nepal helping them on the PC.

HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps Interview Questions

HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps’ main purpose is SERVICE in communities around the world. Volunteers gather from around the world to restore communities badly affected by material poverty; they teach children, train teachers, mentor youth, rebuild areas that have felt the impact of natural disasters among other areas. Each year, several volunteers from HOPE worldwide Canada offer to travel and to serve on several of these programs, some locally, others internationally.

We had a chance to catch up with one of our Halifax volunteers, Mackenzie Jessen, who travelled to Nepal and served there in July and August of 2019, and we wanted to ask her about her experience serving there.

First, thank you for volunteering on the recent HVC in Nepal! We could not do what we do without eager, dedicated volunteers like yourselves. What initially drew you to volunteer with on this Volunteer Corps?

For this particular HVC I wanted to go on it to challenge myself and travel to a place I never thought I’d visit ever before. As well wanting to go to use my strengths in leadership and to learn new ways to serve than I had done on previous trips.

What was your favourite part of volunteering on the HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps?

My favourite part of volunteering was the excitement of the children’s faces whenever they saw us come to visit them and play games, their joy is so contagious and something I don’t get to see quite often, and feeling like us being there does impact their days. As well as, when I was helping with a computer class and teaching Photoshop to some students, I was able to learn things I didn’t even know from the students and it felt very accomplishing to see them grow and learn with something I take for granted every day.

Is there something you have learned or observed about the communities that we serve in that has helped you or had an impact on you in some way?

The biggest thing I noticed about serving in Nepal is how resilient the communities are, their drive that they have to work and learn is so amazing and they really don’t seem to take life for granted.

Is there a particular motto or thought that motivates you to volunteer with HOPE worldwide and can you share a bit more about that?

I’m just striving to be more like Jesus and serve in a way that can help me see the love the world has and the love that I can give. From this it gave me the chance to apply to become a GSI and allow myself to motivate others to do the same!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you would like to add?

HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps offers such a great opportunity and I honestly feel everyone should go on an HVC in their life no matter their age, it is such a life changing experience like no other.

Update: Since coming back from the HVC in Nepal, Mackenzie applied to, and was accepted into the HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps Global Service Intern (GSI) Leadership development and training program; and will be helping lead the HVC to the Bahamas this coming July! She is also an active volunteer in her local HOPE worldwide Canada – Halifax Chapter.

The Power of Serving – Reflections from two volunteers with the Halifax chapter

The Power of Serving your community through volunteer work – a view from the Next Generation

For the past 18 years, volunteers from the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada and the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ have been volunteering regularly at a local “Sunday Supper”. This is an opportunity for members of our community to come together and provide a warm meal and an even warmer smile for those in our community who may be experiencing homelessness or other challenges in their lives. Each week about 200 to 250 of our “Guests” will drop in for a meal and fellowship. Supporting the Sunday Supper program is the Signature local program of the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada.

We are grateful for all the volunteers who chip in to help make our support of this program possible. We had a chance to catch up with a couple of our Halifax volunteers, Jaylynn Skeete and Humberto Diaz to ask them about their experience serving with the Sunday Supper program and here is what they had to share:

First of all, thank you for volunteering with the Halifax Chapter, we could not do what we do without eager, dedicated volunteers like yourselves. What initially drew you to volunteer with HOPE worldwide Canada?

Halifax Chapter
Humberto Diaz

Humberto Diaz: “For the longest time I have always wanted to serve people and HOPE worldwide Canada provides opportunities for me to be able to do that”

Jaylynn Skeete: “Ever since I was young, my family has participated in HOPE worldwide Canada events, which I always enjoyed”

What is your favourite aspect of your time spent volunteering with us?

Humberto: “The chance to change the situation for those whom we are serving and the chance to change people’s lives”

Jaylynn: “Engaging with a wide variety of people from all ages and backgrounds and having the chance to hear their stories.”

Is there something you have learned or observed about the communities that we serve in that has helped you or had an impact on you in some way?

Humberto: “What has impacted me the most is that I get to live Jesus’ command to serve in Luke 14:13 “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,” (NIV)

Jaylynn Skeete

Jaylynn: “From serving in the community, I have observed many people facing immense trials and hardships in relation to poverty but have also seen them having joy. These individuals are enduring much more harsh trials than I have and many of them still manage to stand there smiling. This has helped me to have perspective regarding my own trials that may be far different than theirs. I can in some manner relate. If those facing much larger stressors and pain can continue to keep moving, they inspire me to do so as well. Individuals that I have talked to and connected with encourage me with their joy, love and strength during trials.”

Is there a motto or thought that motivates you to volunteer with  and can you share a bit more about that?

Humberto: “Serve God, Love People”

Jaylynn: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NIV). I am motivated to serve and to love others because Christ has loved me. I am amazed by his love and it encourages me to strive to show that love to others. Volunteering with HOPE worldwide Canada gives me the privilege to do so.”

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you would like to add, to end our time?

Humberto: “Let’s explore how we can reach others who are even more vulnerable, like people in jail”

 

A Special Time To Serve for the Halifax Chapter

 

This past December volunteers from the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada and friends from our community had the opportunity to wrap up Christmas gifts and to sing Christmas Carols for the residents of the Aborstone Enhanced Care nursing home in Halifax.

For many, the holiday season can be a time joy and love, but for several people in our communities, it can also be a time that brings on feelings of great loneliness. We are grateful that we were able to visit the residents at Aborstone. We had the opportunity to sing with them, to spend time with them, and to spread Christmas joy which was evident in the smiles on so many faces as the residents joined along in singing their favourite carols.

A few days earlier, a group of our volunteers got together to assemble and wrap almost 200 individual gifts that we were able to hand out to the residents after we finished our caroling.

HOPE worldwide Canada had a chance to ask one of our volunteers, Lynne Gallagher, what this time of serving and helping meant to her this holiday season:

“Christmas was always a time that my mom made special for so many others. Helping out with this event was, for me, a special way to honour the memory of my mother, by doing something meaningful for others at Christmas.” – Lynne Gallagher, HOPE worldwide Canada volunteer

For more information about the Halifax chapter and to volunteer contact greg.taylor@hopewwcanada.org

HOPE worldwide Canada Volunteer At the Helm of One of Canada’s Best 100 Charities

At HOPE worldwide Canada, what stands out about our programs and events are the amazing volunteers we have serving across our nation. Whether in programs teaching life skills to youth aging out of foster care, assisting refugees in their transition to Canada or supporting those struggling with homelessness, our volunteers are known for how much they care and how much they work hard to meet needs.

One of those incredible volunteers is Clovis Grant, former Executive Director of HOPE worldwide Canada, current Vice-President of our Board and the Chief Executive Officer of 360Kids. Excitedly, 360Kids, whose mission is to help youth overcome crisis and transition to a state of safety and stability, was recently selected by Macleans Magazine as one of Canada’s BEST 100 Charities for 2020, and was included in the Top 10 of Canadian charities serving youth.

We recently caught up with Clovis to congratulate him and 360Kids on this recognition and to find out how he viewed his time as Executive Director of HOPE worldwide Canada (1994 to 2002) as instrumental to his successful leadership at 360Kids.

First of all, congratulations on the recognition of 360Kids as one of Canada’s Best Charities! That recognition speaks loudly of your organization’s work and use of funds. What drew you to work at 360Kids?

CG: Two main things. First, they had a very broad list of services they provided to young people. Second, there is within the organization an entrepreneurial spirit. It is not wedded to old ways of addressing issues…it looks for creative ways with new and different partners to come up with solutions to support young people who are homeless.

What is your favourite aspect of your work with 360Kids?

CG: What I really like in working at 360kids is that there are so many opportunities to be creative in the work. York Region is a growing municipality and with that comes opportunities for entrepreneurial organizations like 360kids to make a difference in the lives of even more young people.

What advice would you give to those who would like to work with or volunteer with at-risk youth?

CG: At-risk youth are first and foremost, youth…they have the same goals and aspirations as other young people. They want to work, they want to go back to school, they want good things for their lives. They need people who believe in them, who see their potential…not to be pitied but to be helped.

Is there something you learned in your tenure as Executive Director of HOPE worldwide Canada that you have carried with you throughout your career?

CG: Leadership is surrounding yourself with people who can take your idea and implement in amazing ways to accomplish amazing things because they believe in what you are doing. I have learned that people want to serve and do good. They just need outlets and avenues to do it and a leader to connect them to the needs. During my time with HOPE worldwide Canada, I had some of the best Chapter Directors you could find across the country, who took to heart the challenges to lead the work in their particular parts of Canada and they in turn inspired other volunteers which was at the heart of the successes we achieved. I have seen that throughout my career outside of my work with HOPE worldwide Canada. When staff feel that you, as a leader, care about them, they will rally behind you to implement your ideas and make them even more amazing than you originally conceived. Now as a CEO, I need those people even more…those who are trustworthy and want to make a difference and want a leader with a vision that they can rally behind.  

Is there a particular motto or thought that motivates you to continue to work at 360Kids and to volunteer for HOPE worldwide Canada?

CG: People who are at the margins of society, who are poor or are experiencing homelessness often have no voice in society. I want to be that voice for them. We need people who will bring that social conscience to our business leaders and our politicians. Without this, I believe society will become even more polarized with those who are rich become richer, as the saying goes and the poor will become poorer because of oppression. Organization like 360kids and HOPE worldwide Canada are important in helping to be a safety net to those who are pushed through the cracks in our social systems and the staff and volunteers can be amazing advocates for change…the voice that affected individuals need.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you would like to add, to end our time?

CG: The importance of the work of volunteers doing social good is often undervalued. It only takes a moment of reflection to think about the consequences for society if these organizations did not exist….many of us are only one accident away from becoming a client ourselves. Let’s do our best to support their work as best as we can. 

To learn more about 360Kids and their incredible work with at-risk youth, visit 360kids.ca and to read the Macleans article on the 2020 Best Canadian Charities: Top 100, please visit macleans.ca/society/canadas-best-charities-2020-top-100/.

Photo by Mike Barrett/Metroland Jan 14 2018

Winnipeg Maxes out the Holidays

On December 14th, our Winnipeg Chapter put on a fun-filled holiday party for the campers from our Max Out Summer! day camp. 35 volunteers served up pancakes and some heart- warming fun to 33 youth and their families to help max out the holidays!

Throughout the morning, the kids and their families enjoyed face-painting, getting their pictures taken in a snowman themed photo booth, creating reindeer gift bags and gifts for family members, as well as participating in a slew of holiday themed activities. The day ended with a door prize draw for board games packs, movie and Manitoba Moose tickets, as well as some nice Winnipeg Jets swag. The spirit of the season could also be seen as one of the young participants decided to donate his door prize back so that someone else could win and enjoy the gift.

It was wonderful to reconnect and continue to build on friendships that began with these kids in our Max Out Summer! day camp. Most of these kids have attended our free summer day camp for children involved with Winnipeg Child & Family Services for the past 2 summers. The day camp is part of our Winnipeg HOPE Volunteer Corps with the goal of teaching and mentoring youth in care to build life skills and friendships while having simple, good old fun. Volunteers, young and old, were inspired that many participants remembered their time at the day camp and the special connections they had made with volunteers they had met. It brought joy to see the hearts of the children be encouraged and excited.

Winnipeg volunteers look forward to continuing to build these relationships with more opportunities to meet up throughout the year. We would like to extend a huge thank you to True North Sports and Entertainment, Giant Tiger Store #446, Safeway Inc. and our many volunteers for helping to make this event so special for everyone.