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Day 75: A Festival of Lights

One the great things about blogging are the people I have contact with that I may have never had the opportunity of meeting otherwise. Even better, I get to hear all the wonderful stories of how people GIVE in their lives. Everyone that emails me or leaves comments on the site inspires me to keep GIVING every day.

One of the first people that emailed me regarding 365give was a women by the name of Sophia. She is a local Vancouver resident and has been volunteering her time over the past few years to support an initiative called The Dunadarve Festival of Lights.

The first time I came across this event was my first trip visit to Vancouver prior to living here. I was here to “meet the parents” of what is now my husband. I was so amazed by this event, as they had at least 30 decorated Christmas Trees, all beautifully set up along a walking path with the natural backdrop of the ocean just steps away. Each tree was sponsored by different company and each tree was decorated by that company. (many with very fun ornaments to reflect the business). Funds raised were donated to help the homeless on the North Shore.

Just a few years after my first encounter with the Dundarave Festival of Lights our family moved just a few blocks from where this event takes place. Now with a child in hand it is truly a magical place to visit over the holidays. The world is a very small place and seems to get smaller at every turn – the organization the funds are directed to is a not-for profit organization which my brother in law worked with for almost 25 years called the Lookout Emergency Aid Society.

I am so amazed I had the opportunity to meet the organizers Michael and Mary,  of this great tradition and to meet one of their dedicated volunteers, Sophia. I ask Sophia if she would do a guest “GIVE” for 365give. She graciously said yes and here is her story.

Day 75 / GIVE 75

“Giving was modelled to me. My Mum is always willing to help people and she usually does it in a quiet, background kind of way. We didn’t have talks about giving when I was young, I just saw her example and she is still like that today. She’s a realtor and I remember when I was about 10, a family moved to Vancouver from Toronto, they bought a house with mum’s help but they didn’t have a place to stay until they could move in so they lived with us! It was great.

I volunteer with the Dundarave Festival of Lights Society because it’s a give that never ends.  I am a graphic designer and I do the ads and signage for the festival. My giving together with Mary and Michael’s giving (they organize the whole event), together with the tree sponsors giving, together with all the other volunteers adds up to something spectacular.

The beautiful display of trees is representative of a caring community. It’s an event thousands can enjoy for over a month each year. It’s become a local tradition. Free concerts are also part of this festival and another way to celebrate local talent and the gift of the season. On top of all this, every tree sponsor also donates to the Lookout Emergency Aid Society – North Shore Shelter. 3 years ago they had a dream waiting in the wings – to open a culinary training program to give those without financial means the skills to work in the food an hospitality industry. Of course it does so much more than that. In part through the funds raised through the festival their dream came true! So, our combined gives allow the people at the shelter to do their amazing work in caring for the homeless, making a positive impact in their lives.

We all have something to give.  It’s a cycle; I’ve been given so much therefore I can give, which means others can too. It goes on an on. Our pastor put it this way – we’re like a rock wall, each one holding up another and being help up by another and side by side supporting one another.”

Thank you Sophia for being a guest GIVER! You can Sophia’s video on the 365give YOUTUBE site or play it directly from my site on the right hand column.

Sophia’s Time Commitment: Endless hours of dedication

Jacqueline’s GIVE: A donation directed to Lookout when we attended the event.

Time Commitment:  0 Our families privilege to attend

What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)