Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On the Walks

This year, I was able to attend two World Partnership Walks. The first, of course, was Montreal.

(The only picture I took of the 2010 World Partnership Walk in Montreal.)

What a cold, wet, dreary day it was! Still, our team put together a stellar event and over 1K people attended despite the rain - including some people I didn't expect to show due to the weather, like the Social Woman team! In terms of media, we had a pretty decent Walk Day turnout, considering, including an early morning in-studio interview by yours truly at LCN, a live noon news report on SRC and a live hit and day-after report on Radio-Canada Première Chaîne. Our local media sponsor, CTV Montreal, also had us on the evening news. Coverage leading up to the Walk included this piece I wrote for Stock the Warehouse, and a couple of articles for some community papers by media team member Tabish Bhimani.

We also live tweeted the event, which was loads of fun! I helped out with the stage stuff when things got confusing and congested and had a great time hanging out with my media assistant, Karen Fournier, our MC, Paul Karwatsky from CTV, and Eric Bindman, who, with his team from Fatherly Films, provided fantastic live LED screen coverage. Our lineup was great and it's just so unfortunate that all the excellent planning from a core team of nearly all newcomers to the Montreal Walk couldn't be properly executed due to the weather. Still, I think they had a great time, and I hope that they know that we're all really proud of their efforts - we can see that they did/would have paid off.

One week later, I made the trek to Ottawa, even though my bum knee never quite recovered from the Montreal Walk. (It still hasn't, which is very depressing.)

Ottawa had a large Walk site at Major's Hill Park, alongside the scenic Rideau Canal, with the Byward Market steps away, and with Parliament as a backdrop. It was, in one word: nice. Also, they had a beautiful, sunny, nearly scorching day! I will admit I was more than a little bit jealous. Plus, my friend's band, Three Times Lucky, was the main entertainment act, and boy did they rock it out! Or, should I say, blues it out? Either way, it was a fantastic Sunday day trip, and I'm very glad I went, even though I wasn't able to walk the Walk(s).

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the cause, or supported me in my efforts for the World Partnership Walk. I not only reached my 1K fundraising goal, but you all rose to the challenge of doubling the amount in two weeks. That's right! I met my 2K fundraising goal! :D

I can't even begin to explain how great that makes me feel, and I've got all of you to thank for it. So... Thanks for putting a smile on my face and helping me put smiles on the faces of some of the poorest people in the world. Thanks to you, we're changing the world, one step at a time. Pat yourselves on the back!! You are now a poverty-fighting hero! :)

(Nursing my knee at the 2010 World Partnership Walk in Ottawa.)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

On walking the Walk

Tomorrow (or today - Sunday, June 6, 2010 - depending when you're reading this) is the 2010 World Partnership Walk in Montreal. Yes, we have finally reached this long discussed date.
Rain or shine, we will be taking steps towards a better world at the Quays of the Old Port of Montreal (between Jacques Cartier Quay and King Edward Quay) starting at 10:30AM. You can't miss it. We've got a bunch of big white tents set up and loads of glorious orange and blue banners decorating the site. Our start/finish line arch is epic. Oh, and TV people? We've got a jib.

"So... wait. What's the World Partnership Walk again?" It's Canada's largest annual event to fight global poverty by raising awareness and funds for the cause. It takes place in 10 cities across the country, including Montreal! Over 70,000 participants walk the Walk and donate directly to programmes that help people help themselves in fields like education, health, sanitation, strengthening of civil society, rural development, the environment and gender issues.

"Wait, what? What do you mean, 'directly'?" I mean directly! 100% of the funds raised through the World Partnership Walk go directly to international development initiatives coordinated by Aga Khan Foundation Canada.

"Aga Khan... isn't he that religious dude?" Yes, he's "that religious dude", aka the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community and a world renown philanthropist. Most importantly, it's thanks to his private funds that 100% of your donations can go to AKFC's development programmes. And by the way, AKFC is a non-denominational, not-for-profit, registered Canadian charity. Look them up: 10007 2586 RR0001.

"Okay, so my money helps everybody?" That's right! The Foundation's approach is to go into some of the poorest communities in Asia and Africa, ask them what they need, and then give them access to training, resources and often, Canadian expertise, so they can take full ownership of the projects they are implementing. By supporting the Foundation, you are empowering some of the poorest people in the world to take charge of their own lives and change their futures, immediately improving their quality of life and livelihoods. Oh, and your donation helps leverage additional funding from partners like CIDA or USAID.

"So, why me?" Everyone needs to come up with their own answers, but you can't deny that global poverty is one of the most pressing issues of our time. As Canadians (and Americans and anyone else who has the necessary financial and intellectual capacity), it is our duty to help those in need. We've proved time and time again that we believe in the potential of the developing world. Why not encourage them by giving them the proper tools they need to carry their future in their own hands? It works. I've seen it with my own eyes.

"Why do you Walk?" I walk because I have hope for a better world. One where the world heals itself through understanding, care, and love. One where people who can, help those who can't. One where there is trust in humanity, trust in our capacity, and trust in the power of a dream. I walk because I've seen the smiles of the faces of those we've helped in the past and the hope in the eyes of those we have yet to reach. I walk because I care. I walk because I can. I walk because it's the right thing to do.

Now let me turn the tables over to you. Why do you walk? Show me when you come out to the 2010 World Partnership Walk at the Quays of the Old Port tomorrow - Sunday, June 6 - and walk the Walk. If you can't show up, please donate now - I'm $270 away from my 2K goal! - and know that you've taken steps to make the world a better place. The entertainment lineup is pretty good too ;)

It is time for you to take the lead in changing the world. As Ghandi said... You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”

Oh, and "Be the change you want to see in the world."

To contribute to my 2010 World Partnership Walk in Montreal fundraising efforts in the fight against global poverty, please click here. 100% of your donation will go directly to helping people help themselves in some of the poorest countries in the world.
PS: Thank you.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

On smiles that trump a paycheck

Well, folks, there are only 5 days left until the World Partnership Walk in Montreal and I am getting very excited because it's shaping up to be a great day, full of fun activities and performances. Check out our lineup!

As you know the World Partnership Walk is Canada's largest annual event to raise funds and awareness to fight global poverty. It takes place in 9 cities across the country and is organized almost entirely by dedicated volunteers - like me! But between you and me, working on Media & Marketing for the Walk has been more of a full time job for the past 3 months and I'd love to be rewarded for my efforts. That's where YOU come in!

Thanks to the generosity of people like you, I met my 1K fundraising goal a couple of weeks ago. So I thought I would issue a challenge to my network to help me double the funds in half the time. So far, I'm at 68%. Do you think you can help me raise the $645 left for me to reach my new target? Any amount helps, from $40 to $100 to $500!

And don't forget, 100% of the funds raised through the World Partnership Walk go directly to international development projects that help people help themselves through long-term sustainable solutions in education, health, sanitation, culture, community strengthening, the environment, gender issues... Aga Khan Foundation Canada's multi-pronged approach aims to enhance the quality of life of some of the poorest people in the world in ALL sectors, and that's what I love about it.

Seeing the smiles on the faces of children who have benefited from their parents' hard work by escaping malnutrition and being able to go to school warms my heart. Just take a look at the pearly whites in the picture of the little boy on my fundraising page! This little kid in Mombasa, Kenya couldn't stop smiling at the camera, so I took a bunch of shots of him and his friends! Isn't he adorable?

I'd love to see all of you and your families at the World Partnership Walk this Sunday, June 6, 2010 at the Quays of the Old Port of Montreal. The activities start at 10:30AM at Place des Vestiges, near Place Jacques Cartier. I strongly encourage you to take public transit as parking in the Old Port is limited and can be expensive. The Walk goes on rain or shine and I expect to see all of you there so I can personally thank you for taking steps to end global poverty.

For those who can't make it to the Walk, I consider your donation a GIANT step towards making the world a better place. Please click here to donate now.

Thank you so much, all of you, for your generous support. It means the world to me.

The smiles we will spark by working together totally trump a paycheck.