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"A thousand mile journey begins with one step"

Archive for June 2011

We’re in Dr. Simone’s House

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Organization: Dr. Simone’s Canadian Food for Children (CFFC)

Date: May 31, 2011

Location:1258 Lakeshore Road East,Mississauga,Ontario

Facilitator: Mike Slynn, Volunteer Coordinator

About the Organization: In 1985, Dr. Simone and his wife founded Canadian Food for Children following a rendezvous with Mother Teresa that made them “discover their true purpose in life” and that is to help provide for the less fortunate children. CFFC has shipped million pounds of good to developing countries around the world. They operate on a volunteer basis, no one gets paid, and it is all for non-profit.

Tasks: I swept the floor of the warehouse with Nicole and I took out the garbage.

            The Ministry of Health periodically checks in to see the cleanliness of the warehouse. By helping keep the place immaculately clean, I make the place a healthier place to operate in for the volunteers and keep the food donated goods free from dirt and contamination.

To volunteer at a warehouse setting is a different experience compared to what we have done with the Good Shepherd, Scott Mission and Daily Bread Food bank. We got to see the mounts of goods that are shipped to third world countries around the world. We think that is a lot but it is still not enough. So, that gives us perspective how unfortunate the conditions these countries live in. We have to give more than what we already provide. We have to continue to help them build up and hopefully they can stand on their own in the future.

 

 

 

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:37 PM

We’re Taking Over

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Organization: Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE)

Date: May 28, 2011 (Date of presentation)

Location: Ryerson University (245 Church St.,Toronto,Ontario)

Facilitator: Alexandra Nguyen, National Coordinator

About the Organization: SAGE is a network of high school students from all over the world that are all interested in entrepreneurship while making a difference in the world. It fosters creative and innovative projects “that impact schools and communities”. Students are given a chance to develop their network and skills in the business trade. Student groups that are a part of SAGE compete annually on national and international level showcasing initiatives and successes.

            As a part of SAGE Canada, our class was tasked to exhibit our projects from our leadership program while competing for national honors. So, we picked our two main projects for the semester – the community orchard and our Costa Rica mission.

Nicole, Nigel and Rapha practiced their speeches for days, Donita and I worked on the visual presentation aspect. Sofia worked on the annual report with the help of Sarah. Tom was jumping all over the place, helping out with every facet.

We stayed at Delta Chelsea the night before the presentation date, so we got some more polishing of our presentation.

The next day was presentation day, and all of us were very anxious but ready to go. So, we did and we just absolutely destroyed it. I think we did pretty well, considering we only won three national awards (overall champion, most socially responsible and best social enterprise). Boasting aside, we are very proud of our achievement, we worked so hard to get to where we are. Add to the fact that we have only been together for a semester and to win three awards, it is truly amazing. We have definitely showed everybody that a small group can make a difference by being really passionate for it, and it definitely showed. Our projects are very ambitious that it impacts society and the environment positively. To be quite honest, our aim was mostly to showcase, to let people know we exist and we are doing these awesome things locally and internationally. Winning was the cherry on top, and we gladly took that.

We do not stop here though; we are always continuing to make strides by continuing our volunteer initiatives and making progress in our main projects.

We are set to compete on the international level in Buffalo, NY, USA the coming month of July. We are excited and hope to take that international trophy home.

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:34 PM

MEC: Not just about outdoor equipment

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Organization: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)

Date: May 25, 2011

Location:400 King Street West,Toronto,Ontario

Facilitator: Dave Robinson, Sustainability and Community Coordinator

About the Organization: In the 1960’s and 1970’s a group of climbers from British Columbia wanted to make mountain gear available in Canada. So, they came together and became the founding members of MEC. Eventually, they grew and expanded to different provinces in Canada. Since then, MEC has made it a point to operate in a sustainable and ethical manner. Most, if not all of their items are sustainable and ethically source. They are very dedicated to helping the environment; they are affiliated with programs such as “1% for the Planet” (where they give 1% of their profits towards an environmental cause) and “The Big Wild” (it is a conservation movement started by MEC to protect forests and its wildlife inCanada).

            Dave Robinson showed us around the store, showcasing the company’s sustainable products and environmentally-friendly building. We went up to see the greenroof.

A greenroof is so practical to have, who knew? If you did not know, a greenroof is where you plant vegetation on the roof of a building (awesome concept, eh?). A greenroof is not only practical but also all-around environmentally awesome. Some of its benefits include cooling/warming the building (season depending) and absorb water from rain to prevent floods.

It was a cool sight to see and it makes me want to have my own greenroof in my house (unfortunately, our townhomes association is not permitting). We even learned that if every building in Toronto had a greenroof, there would be less flooding and the city could be significantly warmer or cooler depending on the season. Think about it. Greenroofs can save us a ton of money! Add that to the many list of things we have to demand from our government.

Besides, the greenroof, MEC has tons of green products (from clothes to boards). Despite the name of the store, it is not actually exclusive to outdoor gear, there are stuff there you could use for other things as well. It makes me think twice where I should buy my stuff. It is not even expensive and I can become part of the co-operative, which means I can have a say in the way the store operates (the way democracy should operate).

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:29 PM

The ‘TREC’ to Clean, Green Energy

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Organization: TREC Education

Date: May 25, 2011

Location:Exhibition Place,Toronto,Ontario

Facilitator: Katrusia Balan, Kid’s World Energy Festival Educator, TREC Education

About the Organization: TREC Education “empowers Ontarians to make informed choices about our shared energy and natural resources”. TREC Education has won several awards, including the 2011 Green Toronto Award, for their environmental programs. They focus on linking young students to the environment and sustainable energy practices. They believe everyone should have access “to good information about renewable energy and conservation”.

Tasks: Learn about the alternative, sustainable options for energy. We also visitedToronto’s only wind turbine and did some exercises that applied solar power to low-powered items.

Our objective was to learn about the alternatives to our environmentally abusive means of energy (ie. oil, petroleum, coal, etc.). As we found out, there are definitely cost-effective ways to power society without killing the environment. It is funny to realize though, that if a society we demanded for these sustainable options, we probably would have had them by now. Unfortunately, our society dictates we go with oil.

            Hopefully, by applying what we learned we can be a part of the change to demand for these alternative means of energy. We have to let the government know that we are disgusted by our addiction to oil. We want a clean and green future.

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:26 PM

Posted in Environmental, Events

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Peel Water Story, It Wasn’t Hard to Tell

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Organization: Region of Peel Public Works (Education)

Date: May 20, 2011

Location: Farm in Caledon to Badlands to Water Treatment Plant inInglewood to park besideCreditRiver to park beside Lake Ontario in Mississauga

Facilitator: Damian MacSeain, Education Specialist in Environmental Education

About the Organization: The Region of Peel Public Works “does a lot of things for you and the community [of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon]”. Public works is everywhere in Peel, it may be at work on our tap water, road improvements, or waste management. The Region of Peel “provides residents with infrastructure and services that we depend on every day”. It focuses on “safe, reliable service that respects the environment as well”. The Public Works education sector has provided opportunities for teachers to relate to their students about how water works in the region through a tour of the water facilities or through the “Water Story Program”.

Tasks: We went around the Region of Peel exploring the convergence of natural and human water systems in a cycle. We specifically took a look at what cater towards helping our water system and how we also negatively impact this.

            Throughout the semester, we have learned about the social and environmental implications pertaining to water. By participating in the “Water Story”, we have taken what we have learned and put it under a microscope and relate it to the water system we have in our own community.

We have strengthened the knowledge we have gained and even further expand this by learning new concepts. We learned how farms can have a negative impact on our water through nitrogen runoff stemming from animal manure but of course, we also learned how farms can collaborate with organizations such as the Credit Valley Conservation to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable in their practices. We also saw in the Cheltenham Badlands “the effects of deforestation on erosion and water quality”. We were witnesses on how our water is treated, so that it can safely be brought back to Lake Ontario without having adverse effects on the water. We were educated of the importance of plant life beside the river. Plants help ‘filter’ out waste that goes through the river, into the lake. Overall, it was a good experience that sufficiently covered how water takes its path in our community. Personally, knowing this, it gives me more responsibility to educate peers of our water system and how we should be wary of it and not abuse it.

           

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:23 PM

Posted in Environmental, Events

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The Grass is Greener in Evergreen Brick Works

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Organization: Evergreen in collaboration with TREC Education

Date: May 18, 2011

Location: Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Ave.,Toronto,ON)

Facilitator: Heather Keczan, Education Assistant

About the Organization: Evergreen “is a national charity that makes cities more liveable”. The organization started in 1991 engaging Canadians on how to lead a sustainable life in their homes, schools and work. It seeks to “[deepen] the connection between people and nature… in urban environments”. Evergreen Brick Works is a community centre that focuses to be a place to educate the community about a sustainable future. It is also a place where “Farmers’ Markets”, seminars and plantings occur.

Unfortunately, Nicole and I did not really do anything that day. We were supposed to lead a class to their respective workshops and whatnot but they were late to arrive and it changed the whole agenda for us. We were reassigned to help out in the activity centre but they did not need help there. So, we ended up just going around the site.

The objective was clear though; it was to lead a group of young minds to learning about alternative, sustainable options for energy and ultimately, the environment. While we were supposed to lead, we were supposed to absorb the knowledge in the workshops too.

Despite Nicole and me practically being useless on that day (but at least, everybody else had a great time and learned a lot while being ambassadors to the young students), we still learned a lot through our own mini-trips at the site. We learned that there are definitely ways around to our unsustainable practices of energy. There are paths we could take that would take us to a greener future; we could invest in wind and solar, instead of oil.

 

           

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Tending Sheep, the Third Installment

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Organization: The Good Shepherd

Date: May 13, 2011

Location: 412 Queen Street East,Toronto

Facilitator: Rebecca Ferguson, Fundraising, Events and Resources Coordinator

About the Organization: The Good Shepherd Ministries was founded by “Br. Mathias Barrett, an Irish-born Catholic with a passion for serving the poor” in 1955 inNew Mexico. The Good Shepherd is named after the stories of the good shepherd, Jesus Christ and His compassionate stature. The Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd operates based upon Jesus’ love and care. The ministry grew and found missions in England, Ireland, Haiti and of course, Canada. In 1963,Toronto’s Archbishop Pocock invited the Little Brothers to open a refuge for the poor and needy. The Good Shepherd Centre opened at Queen Street East, “a historically poor area in Toronto”. Today, the Good Shepherd besides providing food, clothes and shelter, also aid deprived people get back to their lives through several programs. Some of these programs include, drug rehabilitation programs (DARE) and house resettlement plans. The Good Shepherd is guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ and is “a leading provider of comprehensive services to homeless, disadvantaged and marginalized people”. The Ministry operates thanks to its staff and many volunteers.”

Tasks: In our third trip to the Good Shepherd, we sorted out toiletries (soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toilet paper, etc.) and made beds.

            In our past trips, we have learned the importance of serving the poor food as they battle starvation. This time, we learned the significance of people’s other basic needs such as cleanliness and shelter. The toiletries we sorted are used directly by Good Shepherd patrons for their personal hygiene and health (you know what they say, cleanliness is next to godliness). In making the beds, we ready the beds for the patrons to sleep on (these people have no place to stay for the night). Also, by making the beds we let the Good Shepherd patrons know that we value their dignity.

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:17 PM

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