Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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On the twelfth day of donating

And for my final day of donating, as I did last year, I’m donating to Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA). VOKRA is the cat rescue organization from which I got my beloved Watson & Crick and I’m happy to be able to support the work they do to take care of kitties and find fur-ever homes for them.

VOKRA has a network of 350 foster homes where kitties live until someone comes along to adopt them. They also have an operations centre for kitties that need more care than can be provided in a foster home. Since they believe that every kitty should have a chance at a happy, healthy life, they spend a fair bit on vet bills, as well as on supplies for cats in foster care and on running the operations centre.

Crick & Watson know that the treats are in the cupboard right above them
Crick & Watson say “Merry Christmas” to all their VOKRA sisters and brothers!

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On the eleventh day of donating…

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank supports 22,000 people per week and share 4.4 million pounds of food per year. Giving them money allows them to get $3 of food for every $1 you donate, because they can buy in bulk – and they can buy the specific things that they need, rather than randomly receiving whatever food you happen to donate.

Their mission is:

Building strong, connected communities through the power of food.

https://foodbank.bc.ca/get-involved/donate-funds/

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On the tenth day of donating…

Today’s non-profit is the BC Humanist Association. The definition of humanism used by the BCHA comes from the Amsterdam Declaration 2002:

Humanism is the outcome of a long tradition of free thought that has inspired many of the world’s great thinkers and creative artists and gave rise to science itself.

The fundamentals of modern Humanism are as follows:

1. Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all of humanity including future generations. Humanists believe that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others, needing no external sanction.

2. Humanism is rational. It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively. Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. Humanism advocates the application of the methods of science and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare. But Humanists also believe that the application of science and technology must be tempered by human values. Science gives us the means but human values must propose the ends.

3. Humanism supports democracy and human rights. Humanism aims at the fullest possible development of every human being. It holds that democracy and human development are matters of right. The principles of democracy and human rights can be applied to many human relationships and are not restricted to methods of government.

4. Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. Humanism ventures to build a world on the idea of the free person responsible to society, and recognizes our dependence on and responsibility for the natural world. Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents. It is thus committed to education free from indoctrination.

5. Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. The world’s major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and many seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognizes that reliable knowledge of the world and ourselves arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision.

6. Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognizes the transforming power of art. Humanism affirms the importance of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts for personal development and fulfillment.

7. Humanism is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfillment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our times. Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere.

Our primary task is to make human beings aware in the simplest terms of what Humanism can mean to them and what it commits them to. By utilising free inquiry, the power of science and creative imagination for the furtherance of peace and in the service of compassion, we have confidence that we have the means to solve the problems that confront us all. We call upon all who share this conviction to associate themselves with us in this endeavour.

https://www.bchumanist.ca/about_humanism (bolded emphasis mine)

The BCHA is involved in a variety of different issues that I care about, including:

  • human rights
  • medical assistance in dying
  • reproductive freedom
  • secular addictions recovery programs
  • secular public education

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On the eight and ninth day of donating…

I missed doing a blog posting yesterday because I take the red eye to Toronto and then got distracted by seeing my family and going to the movies and also being super tired from taking the red eye.

So, for yesterday’s donation, I asked my family for recommendations of a non-profit and my brother-in-common-law suggested charity: water. Their mission statement is:

charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

https://www.charitywater.org/about

Also from their website: “We work with local experts and community members to find the best sustainable solution in each place where we work, whether it’s a well, a piped system, a BioSand Filter, or a system for harvesting rainwater. And with every water point we fund, our partners coordinate sanitation and hygiene training and establish a local Water Committee to help keep water flowing for years to come.”


And for today’s donation I’m going to do another local (to me) non-profit: Lookout Housing and Health Society. Lookout is a New Westminster-based non-profit that provides low barrier access to housing and other support for individuals who are already facing many challenges, such as poverty, mental health issues, substance use, disabilities, and more. Their mission statement is:

We provide housing and a range of support services to adults with low or no income who have few, if any, housing or support options. Because the people we serve have challenges meeting basic needs and goals, we place minimal barriers between them and our services.

https://lookoutsociety.ca/

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On the seventh day of donating…

The majority of the non-profits I’ve donated to so far have been local. Today, I’m going for a non-profit that provides services around the world: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Our medical teams act fast to save people’s lives in conflict zones, natural disasters and epidemics. We go where we are needed most.

https://www.doctorswithoutborders.ca/content/about-us

Founded in 1971, MSF provides medical care as an independent, impartial organization. Some of their recent work includes providing services for:

  • the Ebola epidemic in West Africa
  • conflicts in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Ukraine
  • migrants attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea

Goodness knows there’s more than enough conflicts, disasters, and epidemics happening – and they will continue to happen. An organization like MSF provides valuable services to people in dire need.

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On the fifth and sixth day of donating…

So I got distracted for various reasons yesterday and forgot to do a blog posting. So today I’m writing about two non-profits that I’m donating to for my fifth and sixth day of donating.

First up, the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society (VAFCS). I went to a fantastic workshop there this year and decided to read more on the services they provide, in addition to the beautiful venue. Their mission statement is:

“To provide practical tools for accomplishing our visionary ends through socio economic programs and services that empowers self reliance; responsibility; success and prosperity, for all urban Aboriginal individuals, family and community.”

http://www.vafcs.org/about/donate.php

They provide all sorts of great programs, including:

  • recreation for urban Aboriginal youth
  • Elders Wisdom, which “provides a nourishing environment for elders to apply and maintain their traditional practices in a social environment”
  • family support services
  • Aboriginal shelter
  • Family place for people with young children
  • community navigation
  • volunteer opportunities
  • catering

Next up is KidSport New West. Their mission statement is:

KidSport™ is a non-profit organization that is part of a national and provincial network of community based volunteer groups whose goal is to ensure that kids in financial need have access to the positive experience of sport and physical activity. We believe that sport and physical activity provides a life-long opportunity for self-expression, goal setting, dedication, positive thinking and increased self confidence for kids.

http://www.kidsportcanada.ca/british-columbia/new-west/about-kidsport-new-west/

Sport has always been an important part of my life and I like that this organization is helping to ensure that financial barriers don’t prevent kids from having a chance to participate.

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On the third day of donating…

Today’s non-profit is Aunt Leah’s Place, an organization that support youth who are “aging out” of the foster care system at 19 years of age, as well as helping mothers keep custody of their children.

Aunt Leah’s Place helps prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless and mothers-in-need from losing custody of their children. To support them on their journey to self-sufficiency, we provide supported housing, job training, and coaching on essential life skills.

https://auntleahs.org/about/

As they point out on their website: “In BC, 7 out of 10 parents with 19 to 28 year-olds at home provide groceries and free rent. Today, nearly half of young Canadians age 20-29 live in their parent’s home[2], mostly to defer rising housing and education costs. Therefore, extended supports for young adults past age 19 is already de facto ‘social policy’ – Aunt Leah’s works to catch up to the ‘best practice’ of average Canadian families and give young adults from foster care similar opportunities to succeed.”

Aunt Leah’s provide provides such services as:

  • supporting housing for youth transitioning out of the foster care system and for young mothers in need
  • education and employment programs
  • life skills programs

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On the seventh day of donating…

The fifth and final organization that my students worked with this semester was The Equestrian Association for the Disabled (T.E.A.D.)

T.E.A.D. Equestrian Association for the Disabled

T.E.A.D. provides therapeutic horse riding lessons for people with physical and cognitive/communication disabilities. 

It operates on a 92 acre farm in Port Hope, Ontario, with a very small staff, an active board of directors, and more than 250 volunteers! More than 300 riders per year take lessons with T.E.A.D., but they have growing waiting list.

Riding has many benefits including:

  • development of mobility, balance, and coordination
  • improvement of muscle tone and strength
  • development of confidence and motivation
  • increased concentration and improved learning skills
  • a fun and challenging form of recreation
  • independence

When someone who can’t walk, rides a horse for the first time, it’s like a miracle.

T.E.A.D. Parent

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On the sixth day of donating…

Another organization that my students worked with this semester was the Lifesaving Society – BC & Yukon Branch. This Society has been around since 1911 and its mandate is “to reduce water-related death and injury”. So whether you are swimming in a pool or at the beach or you are out boating or going out on a frozen pond, the Lifesaving Society has resources for you. 

They offer all sorts of things, including swimming lessons, lifeguard training, first aid training, public education, research, and consultations. They also “establish aquatic safety standards and consult on aquatic safety issues for the aquatic industry, governments, and the judiciary”. 

Of the many program offered by the Lifesaving Society, he program that my students focused on was Swim to Survive, which provides learners with the opportunity to learn how to protect themselves in the water. 

International Life Saving Federation research findings from around the world offer clear evidence that teaching the survival swimming skills taught in Swim to Survive decreases drowning, potentially reducing the mortality and morbidity from aquatic incidents by 50%.

Lifesaving Society – BC & Yukon Branch

The Lifesaving Society – BC & Yukon Branch does not receive any provincial or federal government funding, so they rely on revenue from their courses and donations.

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On the third day of donating…

This semester I taught a program planning and evaluation class at SFU and the main assignment was for the students to work with a non-profit organization to develop an evaluation plan that the organization can use. So I figure I will highlight the five nonprofits that we worked with as part of my course.

First up is the Arts Council of New Westminster. You may recall the ACNW from such things as me being on their board of directors for a few years. The Arts Council is so integrated in the community that they have a hand in pretty much ever event that happens in the city. Fridays on Front Street, New West Craft, Music by the River, Uptown Unplugged, the Cultural Crawl, etc., etc., etc.!

Bringing Community Together Through the Arts

ACNW Tagline

In recognition of the great work that the Arts Council does, both the Executive Director, Stephen O’Shea, and the President, Leanne Ewen, won Platinum Awards1 , this year. Stephen won Citizen of the Year and Leanne won the Bernie Legge Cultural/Artist of the Year award!

  1. For those of you not from New West, the Platinum Awards are given out by the New West Chamber of Commerce and are kind of a big deal. []