A gift to make the world a better place

by DaniGirl on December 27, 2008 · 10 comments

in Reviews, promotions and giveaways

I’ve got a couple of posts to share with you, neither of which is quite ready for public consumption. But I got an email last night about another great giveaway for me to share with you, and I wanted to post about it right away.

Let me tell you about CanadaHelps.org, a registered Canadian charity that helps other Canadian charities by acting as a portal website, fostering giving by making it easy for donors to find Canadian charities and make a donation online.

They are the first and only registered charity that makes giving to your favourite charities easy with secure tools for donating via credit card, gift card or even stocks and mutual funds. With CanadaHelps, it’s easy to find a cause you’re passionate about by searching the 83,000 Canadian charities. Here’s some information from their website:

For donors, CanadaHelps.org simplifies the donating process, making it easy, quick and secure. On any pages where you share personal information or perform financial transactions, CanadaHelps.org encrypts your data using Secure Socket Layers (SSL), allowing you to send and receive information without the worry of having it intercepted. Put simply, donors go online, select as many charities as they wish, make their donation and receive a tax receipt for each donation immediately.

For charities, CanadaHelps.org provides a cost effective alternative to setting up their own online donations facilities: there is no set up fee, no annual charges and charities receive immediate notification when a donation is received. Charities are only charged when a donation is actually made, thereby ensuring a charity is not paying for a service that is not being used.

Recognizing the benefits of online giving to both donors and charities, CanadaHelps launched its first website in 2000. Today, more than five years later, CanadaHelps facilitates over $10 million in donations to Canadian charities annually.

I wish I’d known about this before Christmas. This year, instead of teacher gifts we donated a backpack full of school supplies to a Canadian child in need in the name of each of the boys’ teachers through WorldVision. A gift card from CanadaHelps would have been another excellent way to share the gift of giving.

And now, thanks to CanadaHelps.org, I have a $25 charitable gift card to share with you. Leave me a comment telling me about a time someone made a difference in your life — big or small — and I’ll enter your name in a random draw for the $25 gift card. You’ll be able to use the gift card on the CanadaHelps.org site to make a donation to a Canadian charity of your choice. They were kind enough to offer a CanadaHelps gift card for me, too. Isn’t that great? They give to us, I give to you, and we each give to our favourite charities through CanadaHelps.org. Contest closes end of day on Monday, December 29. FYI, the deadline for making a donation that will be deductible on your 2008 income tax return is December 31 of this year. You can get more information about donations and tax deductions on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Note: If you win, I’ll need your full name and e-mail address, which will be given to CanadaHelps.org solely for the purposes of sending you the gift card.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Annie December 27, 2008 at 12:53 pm

I love Canadahelps.org. I use it every year to make my donations. So easy, one set of receipts via e-mail. Absolutely fabulous! This year, in addition to the universities that I attended, I will be donating to the Jack Newman Clinic, the Green Party, and the Food Bank.

2 hw December 27, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Around the age of 10, I started to feel pretty crappy about myself. My parents had divorced, my mother was a single parent taking care of myself and my disabled brother, I had to move schools, had no friends and dressed differently from all my classmates. My self-esteem was in the pits. My mother tried to enroll me in various activities to boost my self-confidence. Modeling lessons, judo and finally dance at the age of 12.

Dancing (tap and jazz) was the first thing I had enjoyed in years, but my crappy sense of self was holding me back. I was afraid to try anything new, especially a dance move where I might not be as good as the other kids or get made fun of. So I constantly said, “I can’t,” and defeated myself using my words without any ounce of effort.

My dance teacher, Merlene, was incredibly patient with me. She kept on encouraging me and coaxing me to try until I finally would and master a dance step. This continued my entire first year of dance – the tug of war of the “I can’t” with her wish to inspire me to dance. To share her passion for dance with each of her students. I was only there for one hour a week, but each week I just keep up with the “I can’ts.”

About halfway through the year she finally got completely exasperated with my most recent bout of the “I can’ts” and turned to me and said, “Holly, there’s no such thing as I can’t. There is only I won’t. And from this moment forward, the words I can’t will never be uttered in my studio again. You can go stand in the hallway until you can say I can or at least I will try.”

I stood in silence finally having got the message she’d been trying to deliver all year. There was only one thing worse in my 12-year-old-brain than not being able to say “I can’t.” It was not to be given the opportunity to say “I can’t” if I were to have to stand alone not dancing in the hallway.

It wasn’t easy, and I did a lot of tongue biting, but finally vanquished “I can’t” from my vocabulary and slowly began to like myself and regained a sense of self-worth.

My thanks goes to Merlene Samuel. For allowing me to pass on the wisdom of “there’s not such thing as I can’t” to my own children and all the kids I work with, and for giving me the self-esteem to become a pretty great grown-up.

PS – I love Canadahelps.org and the charities of my choice would be the Ten Oaks Project (runs summer camps for kids with LGBTQ parents) and Bruce House (offers housing and support for people living with HIV/AIDS).

3 Mad December 27, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Yes. I like Canadahelps.org too. It makes it all so convenient.

4 mrsgryphon December 28, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Just this past week, my friend Christine and I had a great conversation about friendships and how to deal with complicated relationships. Her words really helped me figure out how to handle a certain person in my life (a mutual friend of ours) and I think I can move forward into the new year with some new perspective.

Re: There is a fantastci non-profit in our community that is listed on CanadaHelps.org… Kokopelli Choir Association is a group of 3 youth choirs in Edmonton that have travelled to Africa on tour twice in the past 4.5 years, and have set out to support two of the choir organizations that they met there. They’ve developed chorister exchange programs which brings African choristers here to live and learn and sing with Kokopelli choristers for 3 – 6 months and sending Canadian choristers to live, work and sing in Namibia for 4 months at a time. They also do a ton of fundraising to help support the operating costs of these fantastic programs in Africa since there is just such a tiny fraction of public funding for arts organizations available in Namibia or South Africa. One year, they somehow managed to raise $150,000 in private donations to bring 40 members of the Namibian choir Mascato to tour Western Canada. An amazing opportunity for all involved, and a home-grown grass roots charity where every dollar raised goes directly to the kids and the choirs. You can hear some of Kokopelli’s music at http://www.kokopellichoir.com and read about their projects there, too!!

5 Shan December 28, 2008 at 5:44 pm

My family makes a difference in my life everyday. The family I was born into and the family I married into. No matter what happens I know they are always there for me. Just to know you have that kind of support system to back you up is an incredible feeling. This is a great giveaway. Thanks.

6 Lee December 29, 2008 at 8:09 am

CanadaHelps is a wonderful organization!

I’d like to give a little shout out to the kindness of strangers. While Christmas shopping (and trying to navigate stroller, packages etc through mall and store doors) on more than one occassion the kindness of strangers (opening or holding doors for me) made my day.

If that was you, thank you again!

7 Kerry December 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

hey Dani! I’d like to give a shout out to Mr Niiya. He was my grade 6 teacher in montreal. Mr Niiya taught thousands of kids in his career, but he made a huge impact on both my brother and I. David and I were recent immigrants and we both had serious british accents. Mr Niiya taught my brother our first year here, and me the next. He had a total knack for teaching misfits – especially people who learn better by doing than by reading. I’m still in touch with him via facebook and email. He’s retired and not having the best retirement – his wife recently passed, and he had to have a double bypass and a knee replacement. I’d actually like to do the donation in his name, if I’m the successful candidate (totally sounds like a job interview, doesn’t it?).

I’m packing my office today. Can you stand it?

8 Cheryl December 29, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Yesterday in the grocery store a stranger offered me one of those clear plastic bags that you put produce in. He had prepared it for his own use (opening them can be so difficult!) and when I was selecting a tomato for my elderly dad, he just asked me if I needed the bag. It seems like such a small thing, but that guy really rocked me. I had my hands full shepherding Dad through the store because Dad has some dementia but still tries to be independent. That man’s kindness made a big difference in my day. Thanks for introducing me to CanadaHelps.

9 Marianne December 30, 2008 at 8:42 am

I love your idea of a donation as a teacher gift. What a fabulous idea! As a teacher myself I would have been extremely touched to know that a Canadian child in need recieved a backpack of supplies. A giftcard to Canada Helps is also a fabulous idea.

I’m past the deadline, but wanted to mention that the nurses in the Special Care Nursery at eth Queensway-Carleton Hospital made a difference in my life when my daughter was born 4 weeks premature last year and stayed in the SCN for 11 days. Not only did they take excellent care of her, they offered us lots of support during that stressful time and plenty of parenting and baby care advice that has helped us through her first year.

10 Jonathan January 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm


I recently read your friend Kerry’s post on Mr. Niiya.
I am 25 now, I guess I had him as a grade 6 along time ago. I always think back to his class with the most fond and happy of memories.

For some reason I had a dream about his class last night and about him. Intuition? Who knows.
I would love to email him and send him my best.
I am not on facebook, though this contemplated me to join.

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