2016 Year in Review

Friendship Bench at Little Rouge Public School, in memory of their teacher Evelyn

I recently attended a talk featuring Neil Pasricha, who is best known as the author of The Happiness Equation and The Book of Awesome. The talk’s topic surrounds his theory that we should be practicing instead of endlessly searching for happiness. One of the five daily happiness exercises he recommended was to carry out small random acts of kindness on a weekly basis. I was very impressed by his ability to translate his theory into practical, actionable items - however, what resonated with me the most was that he rephrased Random Acts of Kindness as Conscious Acts of Kindness. Not only this reminded me of the New Year’s Eve where Ev & I stayed up all night to prepare 100+ cupcakes to give out to random strangers - I really loved that he reframed the exercise as Conscious Acts of Kindness - which precisely is what ftLoE is all about. We believe that our consciously-planned efforts in bringing joy to others bring intrinsic happiness. I was fortunate enough to experience this through my involvement with ftLoE this past year. We designed our initiatives around a simple framework that allows us to give back year-round.

Working in Finance at an NPO, I know first hand that success should not be solely measured in financial terms - the key measure to success is IMPACT. Thanks to ftLoE’s friends and supporters, we had great success in 2016 delivering IMPACT to causes that we care about:

Christmas Shoebox

135 shoeboxes distributed to children across 15 countries

Our annual Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive has seen more than 40 participants, the most in our three years of partipation. Of the 135 shoeboxes, 21 were collected by our friend Josephine, who hosted a shoebox drive for her twin boys’ birthday party in lieu of presents.

Home for Dinner

130 home-cooked dinners served to 80+ families

Home for Dinner was a new event we participated in this year: cooking and serving dinner for families of seriously ill children at the Ronald McDonald House Toronto. Families staying at the House have come to the city to have their children receive medical treatment, and dinner is served after a long day at the hospital. It was inspiring to learn about all the initiatives the House has put in place to make their lives easier during these difficult times. They even have a school on-site! As for the 20 of us, it was our first time cooking for such a large group, so this has been a great accomplishment, and we look forward to a repeat next year!

Summer Camp Sponsorship

Sponsorship for 1 week of overnight camp

This year for the Love of Ev decided to sponsor one student for a week of overnight camp hosted by Stepstones for Youth.

Kiva Microloans

$5,000 in Kiva loans across tens of countries

We launched the ftLoE Kiva Team this year and collectively funded projects with more than $5,000 in Kiva loans. The loans are spread across tens of countries, funding higher-education for individuals and allowing local businesses to grow in developing nations. If you believe in microfinancing to help local economies prosper, please join our ftLoE Kiva Team!

The year 2016 is truly a year where we took the ideas of what we feel for the Love of Ev should be and put them into practice. Thanks again to all of you, our little community is able to contribute to all these causes we believe in. To wrap up the year, I’d like to share with you a very special event that took place at Ev’s school—Little Rouge Public School, on December 22nd before the holidays. Ev’s students, now in sixth grade, shared their favourite memories of their teacher and read Plant a Kiss to the school. It was an assembly to present Little Rouge’s Friendship Bench in memory of Ev, for all the friendships formed because of her. It’s such an appropriate name: as friends of Ev bring people together at each ftLoE event, new friendships develop, and through these friendships her kindness spreads. Together, we reach out to friends who we have yet to meet, or friends that we may never meet, and share that kindness as Ev would, in the ways that we know how. As we look forward to where this seed of kindness takes us in 2017, I will leave you with some happy memories from our Home for Dinner and Christmas Shoebox Photo Albums. See you all next year!

by June

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