Posts Tagged ‘how you can help’

Crossing the Bridge and Seeing the Reality of True Compassion | #12Days4Good

December 8, 2016

Crossing The Bridge

I like to think of myself as a compassionate person. I’ve volunteered my entire life, cared about and supported a variety causes, and been known as a sort of ‘Save the (fill in the blank)’ type. But over the decades I’ve noticed that my view and expression of compassion is not only ever changing, it is also never entirely perfect, complete, or ‘full’.

In a compelling TEDtalk ‘The Power of Connection’ (that further shifted my ideas around what being compassionate truly means) Hedy Schleifer recounts how she would visit her ailing mother who was in a wheelchair and hadn’t recognized her daughter for months. After time, Schleifer realized that during her visits she was not truly visiting her mother. She was visiting with grief. She was visiting with guilt. So she decided she would cross the bridge from the world of her own emotion, leaving the place where she was struggling, so she could go to visit with her mother. When she did this, her mother recognized her.

Hearing Schleifer’s story challenged me to think of the ways I do not always stop to cross that bridge and how often our compassion is expressed without learning about the rich landscape of others. It’s an idea that is crystallized for me in the 12 Days 4 Good campaign, when we are called not only to give and do good but to pause and reflect more fully on the ways in which we do that.

How can I make my compassion more full?

How, as Schleifer describes, can I listen to others as though I am learning a new language, the language of another?

There’s an intimacy to compassion that calls on us to learn, to understand and to know more fully the journeys, challenges and humanness of the people around us:

  • knowing as much as we can about the organizations we support and the people within them
  • spending time with the people our actions impact through service, volunteering, and mentorship
  • having conversations about the needs in our community with people who are doing the work
  • setting aside our assumptions, stereotypes, and judgments to learn about issues from another’s perspective and experience
  • being willing to do things that are needed, rather than just convenient

-By Jane Barkley

 

Seeing the Reality

Compassion can be expressed in so many ways. For people like myself, I find that my compassion for others is not easily expressed in ways that others relate to. It does not mean I don’t have or don’t feel compassion – it is a daily, and hourly (if not more) emotion that affects my actions all the time.

I learned from my parents what compassion is. I did not always understand the reason why they did all the extra they did for just about everyone, but as I became an adult, I got it. We are here to make this world better. When we see someone that is in need of something you have, well… you share it. Every little bit helps, just by caring and investing in those around you.

Compassion is about seeing the realities of those around you. Not as how you would see them, but as how they would see them. Understanding and feeling the vulnerabilities, the fears, the challenges that these people have to face. When I take a moment to do this, the next thing I do is ask myself what can I do to help?

-By Darrick Hahn

 

12 days 4 good day 1

“Sympathy sees and says ‘I’m sorry’. Compassion sees and says ‘I’ll help’” TWEET THIS

Jane Barkley and Darrick Hahn are today’s featured Do Gooder (pair). To learn more about them and the 12 Days 4 Good campaign visit 12days4good.com

Advertisements

Sing The Song Of Your Heart And Trek 4 Kids!

April 13, 2016

Today‘s blog comes to you from the desk of Phil Martin, Trek 4 Kids Hike and Bike committee member and cycling enthusiast who is making week-long, overnight summer camp a reality for kids-at-risk!

1-phil martin

When I’m not on my bike, I’m introducing kids to the love of cycling through a school program I founded called Cycling Into The Future (CITF)! In schools across Waterloo Region I teach young people (and a few older ones) about cycling safety and etiquette by presenting the CITF program which includes hands (and feet)–on cycling experience! Many kids find that their world grows bigger when they take our course. They have more independence (I don’t have to rely so much on being driven everywhere), a growing sense of competence (I can fix a tire) and the great feeling of fresh air in their faces as they pedal off on new adventures. (more…)

Gardens Grow Volunteer Engagement

April 24, 2015

IMG_4678

 

This is the last post in a our week long series on the many gardens that have sprouted up around House of Friendship.  Aside from plants, there is a common thread that connects all of our different green endeavours together, and that is volunteers!

What better way to celebrate and recognize that amazing contribution than by sharing the words of Marlene, an all around incredible volunteer who was a dynamic presence at Supportive Housing last summer and fall.

She spent quite a bit of time working with tenants in the garden beds and kitchen, and shares some of her thoughts about what being a volunteer was like for her:

“Digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and watching things grow is every gardener’s delight. Last year, while digging in the dirt with House of Friendship residents, I had the opportunity re-visit the awe and wonder that comes along with seeing those little seeds sprout. We shared many laughs and chats while nurturing seedlings, creating new gardens and caring for mature plants.” (more…)

Gardens Grow Green Communities

April 22, 2015

cat photos 2014 133
It has been our experience that a garden always gives back more than it receives. At House of Friendship this becomes clearer each spring as different communities and people connected to us start coming together to plan, to plant, to work and to celebrate. So many things come sprouting up from the gardens beside the vegetables: friendships, inclusion, new skills, laughter, stronger neighbourhood connections, healthier minds and bodies.

Giving Back on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, celebrated around the world as a time to give back to the natural world around us and to promote greater environmental protection. It is one small way to give back to the world around us and to start up conversations about how we can continue to work towards greater stewardship of the environment- not just on Earth Day, but all year long. (more…)

Gardens Grow Healthy Food!

April 21, 2015

Today is the second day of our garden series on the blog. Yesterday we highlighted the different ways you get involved in the many different garden related activities at House of Friendship. Deb shared her experiences in the garden and how they helped her explore new food items and eat healthy treats like Kale chips!

House of Friendship gets creative in the garden with healthy choices and ideasWe had many opportunities to harvest the bounty of the garden and turn that bounty into delicious shared meals. We grew three types of kale last year, and it was by far the most celebrated vegetable.

The day we made Kale chips was a particularly spirited day, and everyone enjoyed trying out a number of seasoning combinations and waiting for these addictive treats to be out of the oven!

Kale Chips

Ingredients: Two bunches of Kale, olive oil, sea salt, other  seasonings as desired (garlic powder, cheese, cracked black pepper, fresh or dried herbs, curry powder) (more…)

Gardens Grow With a Little Help From Friends

April 20, 2015

House of Friendship Gardeners Get Ready for the 2015 Growing Season

In a sunny room at Charles Village, members of the Supportive Housing garden team gather amongst seed packets and pots of soil. They are getting their hands dirty starting seedlings and going over last year’s efforts in the gardens that have sprouted up around the Supportive Housing buildings: Eby Village, Charles Village and Cramer House, as well as at the Charles Street Men’s Hostel.

“I learned a lot about myself last year in the garden,” says one resident. “I’m excited to be a part of it again.”

Scenes like this are common for the garden team, as they work together to plan, plant, nurture and harvest garden beds and perennial flowers throughout the season.

Would you like to help out this season?

Today marks the beginning of the garden season at the House of Friendship and on our blog and social media! Our Supportive Housing programs, Community Centres and the Emergency Food Hamper Program need your help and your green thumbs now that we have cast off the cold and the ice of winter and are looking ahead to the growing season. Each day this week we will share a little bit about our past efforts and hopes for the coming season.

Why is it important to support these creative gardening efforts? (more…)

The Leaders of Tomorrow – the Girls in Your Community

May 12, 2014

Joe Cramer at Kingsdale Community Centre House of Friendship Girls Leadership Group

Teamwork, friendship, energy, laughter and learning together – these are the words that stand out to me after attending the Girls Leadership Group at the Kingsdale Community Centre.

Despite the fact that I was a stranger to the group, the girls were very friendly and eager to include me into all the activities of the evening. After brief introductions and everyone taking turns sharing recent personal events or reflections, the girls set to work making a cucumber mango salad and a berry yogurt smoothie. Working together, the girls supported each other, asking one another questions along the way (like what is a mango?), and checking in with the group leader, Tracy, for help along the way. When finished, they sat down to enjoy their snack and work on a craft before cleaning up for the night.

“I tell my parents and my family what we do each week. I wish I could do this everyday!”

In a time where many adolescent girls struggle to establish who they are and what they believe, The Girls Leadership Group helps put together the pieces in facilitating their self learning and discovery. It’s a great approach to encourage girls to get involved in their local community, to prepare them for the years ahead, and to develop lasting friendships.

The Leadership Group is one of the many groups coordinated by the community centre, which has been running for approximately three years with funding from the United Way. Within each 13-week session there is a focus on helping young girls, aged 11 to 14, become strong leaders and self-advocates to achieving their dreams, and to work on making an impact on the world around them. Each week young women meet to share in new experiences, learn to become more confident and open with others, and establish new relationships. There is no cost to participants; however the benefits are endless.

“I used to be shy, but I met my best friend here. I’m not afraid to be myself anymore.”

Listening to the details that each girl was willing to share during circle time made it quickly evident that this group has developed a sense of closeness and trust in one another. For example, one girl was able to confide in the group about a sick relative and the emotional impact that possibly losing this person would have on her life. However for tonight she was able to leave that stress behind and focus on herself by having fun with the group. Tracy, the group leader, said that this is one of the many things that make this group great: the girls feel comfortable to allow you to share in their life story; but they give themselves the chance to do something positive for themselves and strengthen their friendships each week.

“You’ll find a way to fit in here! Despite the diversity in the group, everyone is able to find a commonality and I call them all my friends.”

GiL (19). Turkey driveJPGNone of the girls know what they’ll walk into before they attend: it could be focused on self-learning, trying a new food, doing a craft, playing a game, or practicing a skill – but it’s never the same thing twice! They have even participated in a number of volunteer events like the Turkey Drive and Potato Blitz. There are only a few things that are consistent week after week: the high energy that each girl brings; the group focus on positive social interaction and overall healthy living; and sharing in a healthy snack together.

While visiting the program, it was clear to see the impact of the program on each of the girls. Each one isn’t just coming to spend time with their friends; they keep coming because they have a lot of passion and want to make a difference in the world. Many of the girls said they’re planning to go to college or university one day. One specifically mentioned wanting to help people through addictions; and that this group has helped her begin to understand how we become who we are. Another wants to become a social worker because they look forward to becoming the type of person that others can talk to about their problems and struggles.

In conversation one participant shared that “this group makes me live happier…sometimes I get bullied at school, but then I come here and I can learn and have fun with friends.” Another participant followed up with “More people should come!”

If you know someone who is interested in participating in the program they can do so by calling the Kingsdale Community Centre at 519-741-2540 or by registering for the program on the City of Kitchener’s website here using program code 157726 .

Volunteers and guest speakers are always welcome, as are donations of grocery store gift cards to help provide healthy snacks.

 

Quiet Moments of Community – Downtown and at Your Kitchen Table

May 6, 2014

One of the ways we are marking House of Friendship’s 75th year of service is with a special tea blend produced by local business, XTEA Co. House of Friendship is a leading provider of addiction treatment services. As such, we do not serve alcohol at any of our events. We do however, serve tea! What better way to toast our 75th year of service than with a special cup of ‘tea with Joe Cramer’? Read on, while you enjoy a nice warm cup of tea.

Zenia Horton of Xtea with House of Friendship Tea

The simple things bring back memories

I find that tea tends to slow people down. The preparation, the smell, the ritual… you are more present it seems when making and serving tea. Everyone seems to have a tea memory. When I started attending tea seminars I noticed that everyone has a favourite tea memory. The smell reminds them of something: maybe tea with their grandmother, or a tea cup close to their heart.

My name is Zenia Horton, and I own and operate a kitchen design business by the name of Zen Design. I am also the founder of a loose leaf tea company by the name of XTEA CO.

My passion for design and creating spaces for people to interact and communicate in led me to start a loose leaf tea company. Community is always an important part of what I do. (more…)

Feeding our furry (or feathered!) friends

April 15, 2013

The other day I was browsing the ALIV(e) (Awareness of Low Income Voices) blog, and came across this post, where Teri-Lee talks about how much her cats mean to her. In her words, “my cats give me a reason to get up in the morning and a feeling of being needed and loved. They give me a reason to laugh. When I feel down and alone, my cats make me feel secure and worth the effort of being.” Her post made me think of my own pets and how important they are to me, and of all the people who come in for hampers and ask for cat food, dog food, or even bird food for their animal friends.

Georgie is a dog without a home. Adopt him from the Humane Society!

Georgie is a dog without a home. Adopt him from the Humane Society!

A few years ago Matt wrote this post about giving out pet food. Many people who come in for food for themselves also come for food for their pet, usually a cat or dog. In fact, in a typical month about 17% of people we serve ask for pet food, which is over 400 hampers. We give out pet food whenever we have it, and many people are thrilled to get some food to get their furry friend through the week. This is a great service, but sometimes I am asked questions like “why do people coming in for food have a pet when they can’t even feed themselves?”

This is an important question and one I’d like to answer in this blog post. Being able to care for a pet is more complicated than simply having money, and everyone deserves to have the companionship and health benefits that come with having a pet.

(more…)

The Gift of Hope on Day 11

December 20, 2012

12 Days

If you have young children (or grandchildren) this time of year can be particularly joyful.  It’s an opportunity to start and pass along family traditions, spend time together and have some fun in the snow.  It is a time when a lot of workplaces wind down (unless you work retail of course) and, as the last ten days have shown, it is a time when a lot of people make an extra effort to help others and contribute to a better community.  What is there not to like about December?

Well, for many people on the receiving end of good will and charity, or those who are largely invisible in our community, like the homeless and those who are struggling with addiction, December is one of the worst times of year. December 25th in particular looms large as a reminder of broken families and relationships.

“We spend a lot of time getting people ready for Christmas,” Rick, a staff person in House of Friendship’s men’s addiction program told a group of us recently. “The guys get themselves mentally prepared for the loneliness and the bad memories and we make ourselves available over the holidays to support them.  But, in the new year, is when it hits the hardest.” This is a common experience for the staff in all of our addiction programs for men and women.

What can an individual do to build a sense of hope in people who are feeling like recovery might not be possible and that they may never be able to heal the damage that has shaken their families apart?

(more…)