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giving back

In times like these, any effort to give back goes a long way.
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Repeated giving, even in identical ways, can bring pleasure.
You don't have to spend money to make a difference.
Do we want to only wait to give when there is a big problem? It's time to take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves what kind of Canada we want to be.
The WE Pledge isn't just about us. When I take the Pledge, I'm not just making a promise to our organization. I am making a commitment to my family, my community, my country and the world. I am committing to make a difference through my daily actions.
I dream of a world where every child, no matter where they're from, has an opportunity for education. And if I had a super power, it would be teleportation, so I could share the lessons of travel and exploration with everyone. There is so much to learn about the world, each other and ourselves -- and travel is the best way to do it.
Traditions are an important part of family life. Research shows maintaining customs makes families stronger and more stable, and gives children a feeling of comfort and security. But I don't simply want to build traditions for traditions' sake. I want to think about how I can use these family rituals to fulfill my pledge to live WE, to make a difference with my actions every day. Here are some ideas to start a tradition that gives back -- from my family to yours.
Let's all think about why and how Canadians can be encouraged to give their time, talent or treasure for the common good, and then find ways to put our ideas into action. And let's challenge ourselves to become an even more caring nation.
It seems like a no brainer. Supporting charitable organizations and doing acts of kindness is the right thing to do. Most people get that. My family and many Canadians are very privileged. I feel we have an obligation to give back, to "pay it forward."
Travel is more than rest and relaxation for me. It's how I learn, grow, and find inspiration for my sometimes dull life at home in Toronto. Every trip I take has a profound impact on me, but I want it to have a profound impact on the people and places I visit too. These five simple ways I travel consciously -- both environmentally and socially -- are easy for any traveler to implement and are guaranteed to make every holiday more beneficial for you and your destinations.
I say "Bah Humbug" to The Fraser Institute for saying an average Canadian is less generous than their American neighbour. Their 2016 Generosity Index makes Canadians look bad because Canadian give much less to charity. Cash gifts are only one part of the generosity story.
It was 1991 and my first Christmas in my new home after my emotionally draining divorce. We lived in a depressed area. My family was 400 km away. I was struggling financially with a small business, helping in the community where I could, while nurturing my four-year-old who had some health challenges.
Welcome to microvolunteering, 10-minute increments of doing good that can (mostly) be done from home. Code-slingers and charities are inventing ways to make use of these small pockets of downtime to give a growing movement of people the chance to step up for a cause.
The word "legacy" can mean different things to different people. To some, it means passing on wealth to their children. To others, it means ensuring their name lives on. In the end, leaving a legacy all comes down to being remembered, to making sure our lives counted for something that won't soon be forgotten.
Every year, charities reap the benefits of Canadians' generous holiday spirit, seeing a significant bump in December donations. In fact, more than a third of CanadaHelps' annual donations are achieved in this one month alone. While that seasonal generosity is important for charities, there is an unfortunate downside -- as the seasons change and the weather gets warmer, donations tend to dry up, leaving gaps for many organizations. I call this the "summer drought."
I'm sure each of us can remember a time when we've volunteered at a local event, donated to a cause that is close to our hearts, or simply did something selfless because it felt good. It may not seem like it, but every time we do, we are developing the leadership skills required to run a successful business and ultimately become a stronger leader.
On Nov. 20, 2014, my world was rocked by words we all dread: "I'm sorry, you have cancer." We have all been affected by cancer in one way or another -- loved ones, perhaps parents and/or other relatives who have had to fight that battle. Some may have won that battle; however, many may not have been not as fortunate.
This was the fourth Christmas with Amanda gone. It feels just like the first one with the deep sighs and sadness. I personally am not feeling that it gets easier with each year going by because the loss is still there. It's not about forgetting or getting over it. It's about missing someone you loved. Yes certainly, we have other family that we love and care about. And we don't love them any less. My experiences this Christmas season have been phenomenal for giving back. Some on my own and some with Amanda's legacy.
When was the exact moment that Christmas became synonymous with buying stuff I do not know, but it seems that we've reached a point of gifting no-return. The idea of simply spending Christmas with your family without the obligatory spending and consumption is not even a possibility. If you're an average person living in a Western nation you can be pretty confident that your intended gift-receiver already has everything he or she needs and most likely lives a year where their other superfluous wants are often met.
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- overspending...Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.