Posts Tagged ‘hope’

The Gift of Hope | @HeatherR297 #12Days4Good

December 12, 2016

“Hope is an embrace of the unknown” – Rebecca Solnit

Hope. You never know where it will come from or when it will arrive. Sometimes you don’t even realize when you are giving this gift to someone in need. It can be as complex as food in the belly and a roof over heads, or as simple as a smile.

In the spirit of hope, I feel it is time I share a slice of my story.

My early years, from very young to budding teens, I grew up requiring the kindness from my community to get by. Food banks filled my cupboards and Christmas gifts came from strangers. These strangers never met me. They did not know my name, my age, my personality, or anything I was going through. Strangers who did not realize they were gracing me with a very special gift; the gift of hope.

One year, as I did for many years, I unwrapped my Christmas gift from a mysterious soul. I pulled back the wrapping to reveal a Swiss Army watch.  The watch was beautiful. Usually these Secret-Santa-like gifts would reveal a warm pair of socks or a pack of mittens.  I could not believe that someone would gift so generously.

I never wore the watch. Instead I kept it in its box, with hinges opening to reveal it’s contents. I did not wish to have it broken, worn or lost, for that gift was more than it’s hands to tell time. It was more than the dollars it cost to purchase. It was more than the name branded on the box. That watch was a sign of hope.

In the dark days, where hope seems unfathomable, I sit on the floor and hold that watch. Admire its craftsmanship and dream of the gifter. What were they like? Had I ever met them? Passed them on the street with a smile?  

How did they live? Did they spend their days in a factory and come home dirty at the end of the day? Did they wear a suit and tie to work, outfit complete with a similar timepiece? Would I ever be able to afford such a gift myself?

One never knows the effect they may have on others, or the need that person has for such a gesture. Whether it be a smile, a door held, a gift, or something more.

I’ll never know the person who sent that watch through our community to my hands.  That person will never know how that gift brought me hope for years to come. How I would stare at it and dream up a better life. How I built that better life, in time.

There is a child out there, a teenager, a mother, a father, who is in need of a little hope this Christmas. How will you impart this a gift on the soul in need?

by Heather Riemersma

Heather is today’s featured Do Gooder for #12Days4Good. You can learn more about Heather at and share the gift of hope!



Finding Hope in Pyjamas #12daysforgood

December 16, 2014

12 days for good hope

February 20th 1999. I still remember the day. I had spent hours being verbally assaulted by my intoxicated mother. As she often did, she became extremely physically abusive; but unlike any of the times before, on that day I gathered strength and courage…. and I ran. I went out the door of the rundown place we were living for the week with just the clothes on my back. I still remember the dark skies, snow lightly falling, and the cold wind biting at me through my sweater as I ran. I knew in that moment I was going to be free of that life, that I would never turn back.

A few days later, on my 15th birthday, I was brought to my first foster home still wearing the same clothes that I left with. I remember being taken shopping for necessities, but what stands out most were three things: warm socks, a new sweater to replace the one I was wearing, and new pyjama’s. The feeling I had putting on those fresh pyjamas was something I hadn’t experienced in so long: safety, comfort and even HOPE.

15 years later, I’ve committed a lot of my life to working with youth in care, AND I’m surrounded by pyjamas!

12 days for good hope

After seeing a screening of Red Light Green Light– a documentary on human and sex trafficking- I was able to learn more about an organization called Walk With Me and their emergency safe house for victims. From that, and my own experience of having to start fresh with just the clothes on my back, I came up with the idea of collecting pyjamas for women escaping trafficking. My hope was that when women enter a safe house or shelter they would not only be welcomed by a safe bed to sleep in, but a warm set of pyjamas to help them to start their first night of freedom feeling safety, comfort, and most importantly, a sense of hope.

4 weeks into the campaign I’ve collected over 200 pyjamas! With the help of some amazing community members, I held a pyjama party for the community to come and learn more about human trafficking and drop off donated pyjamas. It has left me in awe, how this wonderful community has come together and supported my small idea to make it larger than life! If anything, I’m beyond excited to know that so many others are aware and spreading the word about human trafficking and that together we can work together to bring change & hope for these victims.

If you would still like to donate a pair of pyjamas, I’m collecting until Dec. 20th. They can be dropped off any Waterloo Regional Police Station or The Family Centre at 65 Hansen Ave. Kitchener.

If you would like to know more about human trafficking & ways to help spread the word, tweet me at @MConeybeare!

15 years ago, as I was running down that snowy street away from an abusive and unstable home with just the clothes on my back, I had no idea I would be helping youth in care or victims of trafficking. But I do know I had sense of hope, and with that anything is possible.

It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars. << TWEET THIS

You can also read: Collecting pyjamas for victims of human trafficking via Waterloo Region Record