Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Philippines fundraising dinner supports two charitie

The second annual Philippines fundraising dinner was held on April 2 at the Heartland Community Church in Clinton. This dinner supports two charities, Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW) andHarvest of Love.

By donating to SCAW, people can purchase bed kits with the knowledge that 100 percent of their donation will be given to children living in poverty. Thekits include such items as a sleeping mat, mosquito net, clothing, personal hygiene items and school supplies. Husband and wife Chris andGailHills volunteer with SCAW. Volunteers can go overseas to assist with giving out the bed kits once per year. This is the last year Chris will be going to the Philippines as SCAWrequires team leaders to change which country they visit after four years. SCAWfacilitates 12-13 distributions per year, giving out between 5,000-6,000 bed kits per visit to each country. Chris explains that many of the villages that he has visited consist of homes that are approximately 20 feet by 20 feet with a dirt floor and no amenities of any kind. Many of the villages are on river flats that flood every year. The families are living in extreme poverty.

The Harvest of Love was founded by Charie Hendrick. This is a family- run charity to feed less fortunate people near her home in the Philippines.

The Fundraising Dinner began as a different project in 2014, when Hurricane Hayan struck the Philippines. The Canadian Filipino community realized that they needed help and held the first Philippines Fundraising Dinner. The first dinner was such a success that it was decided to hold it again, but this time making it a combined fundraiser for the two charities with half of the proceeds going to each.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dedicated Stratford volunteer honoured as recipient of Peace Medal from the YMCA

As posted in the Stratford Beacon Herald, March 24, 2016.

Click graphic for larger size.

Her effort to help others begins in Stratford and spans the globe.

Little wonder, then, that city resident Sue Orr has received the prestigious Stratford YMCA Peace Medal for 2015.

"She is absolutely a peacemaker," said Y chief executive officer Mimi Price in announcing the honour.

"Sue is one of those people who we know is there doing a lot, but when you take a moment and add it all up, you go, yes, she's definitely bringing peace to our community, and Canadian peace to developing countries.

"She shows people in these developing countries that we're listening, we care about you."

Price said the Peace Medal honours those "who make a difference, who make a contribution to make somebody else's life better, or a community better."

Orr was a natural choice, she added.

For nearly a decade, she's been active in global outreach with Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW), a Canadian-based charity started in 1971 by Murray and Margaret Dryden.

Since the Drydens began the charity with $3,000 of their own savings, SCAW has provided bedkits to over 1.4 million children in 34 developing nations around the world.

The kits generally consist of a mat, mattress or bedding, school supplies and a school bag, clothing and footwear, and a mosquito net.

Orr began volunteering with SCAW back in 2007. She said she was immediately impressed by the ideals of the group, with all funds collected going directly to improving the lives of youngsters around the world.

Volunteers like Orr pay for their own travel and accommodation.

She has served in Kenya, Bangladesh, India and Togo, and recently was named a team leader. She plans to continue to volunteer annually in India for the next three years.

In her years with SCAW, Orr estimated she has helped distribute 29,000 bedkits.

"It's brought so much to their world," Orr said of SCAW's efforts to help youth.

"This will change their lives."

In addition, she also serves as co-chair of Stratford and Area World Aid, and is involved in a water project to aid residents of Addis, Ethiopia.

Along with those global outreach efforts, Orr has also been active in helping those in need in her own community.

She serves on the board of Stratford House of Blessing and is a regular volunteer at the Erie Street facility.

Like SCAW, the House of Blessing is a charitable organization that she holds in high regard. It's a valuable local resource that provides cooking lessons, clothing, household items and food to deserving local individuals and families.

"I appreciate what they do," she said.

"They have been able to bless so many people by passing along donations of clothing and household items. They also make sure that we recycle as many items as possible in a responsible manner.

"I truly see the value in this mission and how it fits the needs in our community."

She also finds time to help with a breakfast program at Romeo Public School, and serves as secretary for the Stratford and District Council of Churches.

In years past, she's volunteered with the Stratford Skating Club, To Stratford with Love, Miles for Memories and Community Living Stratford and Area's annual Swing into Spring.

Asked what motivates her, Orr simply said, "It's who I want to be.

"I see value in making peoples' lives better, whether it's in developing countries or here in Stratford.

"I have been blessed, so I need to bless others."

Orr said her volunteer work would not be possible without the support of her family, including husband Jeff and the couple's two children Greg and Nicole, their extended family, and friends.

And while not one for the spotlight, she said she hoped her Peace Medal will help spread awareness of the various charities she supports.

"I don't like to draw attention to myself," she said. "I like to do things under the radar.

"But if I can bring attention to some of the organizations I volunteer with, I'm more than happy to do that."

Looking forward, it sounds as if Orr plans to keep as busy a schedule as ever, balancing her global volunteer work with her efforts closer to home.

"I've got to keep helping people. At the end of your life, if you look back at the things that matter the most, it doesn't matter how much money you have or what kind of car you drive.

"It's what you did for somebody else."

Tuesday, March 15, 2016





WHEN:          SATURDAY, MAY 28TH, 2016

8:00 A.M.


                        SPRUCE & REYNOLDS, OAKVILLE








Serenata Singers Concert

The Serenata Singers support three charities, one of which is SCAW.
Click on graphic to enlarge.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tuckersmith Township local aids Sri Lankans battling poverty

As posted by the Seaforth Expositor, November 2, 2015.

By Shaun Gregory, Huron Expositor

At first sight the mud hut woven with sticks and twigs appears to be a place where goats or oxen might call home, but that is not the case, this is someone’s house.

These types of homes in Sri Lanka are similar to most in the nation, which are constructed in a way not well-known to North Americans. The main building components are what’s identified as wattle and daub, a material usually assembled with a mixture of clays, plant fibers, and sometimes even cow dung. Long-time Tuckersmith Township resident Chris Hills said the woman who owned the dwelling was “absolutely overjoyed” and proud to show the guests her lodging.

“She was excited at her new house, as you and I would, if we got a new duplex in a sub-division down the road”, said Hills, who is from the organization called Sleeping Children Around the World.

The Canadian non-profit organization specializes in the donation of beds and since 1970 when the charity first touched ground, they’ve raised over $23 million to arrange bed kits for children in 33 countries. In 2009 they achieved the goal of providing a bed to a million children.

Hills has been connected to the charity since the early 80’s and this visit marked his second time travelling to Sri Lanka. He touched down on September 23 and left October 11, an arrival and departure that is an “extremely emotional” time for the veteran volunteer. From the first time travelling, which he refers to as “parachuting” to the developing country, it didn’t seem as bad as he had heard.

“There was these gorgeous dressed Sri Lankan women, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing, I said to the one of the volunteers, I’ve got pictures of women in (beautiful) sarees. It (will) be difficult to go back Canada and say that these people are penniless,” Hills stated in an interview at the Expositor office.

What the unpaid helper was not aware of is that this vibrant ethnic clothing was not theirs, the volunteer told Hills that these items are borrowed because they knew the offerings group was coming.

The volunteer explained, “what (we are) doing here is bigger than any birthday, wedding or any Christmas and what they are wearing is from friends, relatives. You’ll see them tomorrow, they won’t be wearing that.”

Before each family is given the $35 bed kit an interview process is required for each donee. This is essential for the perspective in case a modification is needed. After the meeting is done the children and parents are smiling ear to ear, said Hills.

“You talk to them in the parent interview, you ask them about the bed kit, you ask silly questions, is it useful? They look at you, yeah even the bag it comes in,” enlightened Hills.

The gear usually included a plastic mat to keep the children off the dirt in their houses, a mosquito net, school supplies, pair of socks and this year they added a pair of shoes to the kit.

These simple gifts keep the poverty-stricken families in Sri Lanka happy, a reaction that puzzles the three-decade volunteer who is originally from England.

“You’ll often have the translator, parents and the Canadian in tears over what’s being talked about, this is daily life.( I don’t know) how they wake up smiling in the morning, but they do," Hills said.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Terra Nova Barrel Blast 2015

Submitted by SCAW Volunteer, Jodi Pendry on September 11, 2015.

Pete and Jodi Overdevest and family, Bright Ontario

A picture from our silo of a horse
just in arena to do her barrel race.

One of the many recipients of an award!
Here are a few pictures of our event “Terra Nova Barrel Blast” My family has been involved in Barrel Racing for many years. My husband and I decided we would like to host a barrel race but did not feel the need to make any profit ourselves from doing so. I had the opportunity to learn of SCAW through Ken Graham and that had always left a big impression on me. We decided to use our event to raise money for SCAW. The barrel race was held over the weekend of August 21, 22, 23. It was a big success! We had over 130 competitors and their families, ran over 600 barrel races, sold 240 chicken dinners Saturday night and had over 90 trucks and trailers in our field. We had competitors from the ages of 2 years old to 80 years old. Our children and extended family and friends helped to run the food booth, my husband looked after all the equipment and arena management and I ran around looking after administration. The weather co operated which made our weekend enjoyable for all involved!

A large sign at the end of our driveway:
Sat. & Sun.
Spectators Welcome
Free Admission

We hoped we could encourage good family entertainment for free and with any luck spectators could buy from our food booth or donate to this charity. Funds raised came from personal donations, show host return money, food booth, and both Ontario Barrel Racing Association and National Barrel Racing Association gave $1000 each. With all accumulated we are able to present a cheque to Sleeping Children Around the World for $7500! The response has been very positive and we have decided to do this next year with even bigger idea’s to come!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Grants — A Circle of Giving

Submitted by SCAW Volunteer Karen Scott.
SCAW is operated by volunteers, from the processing of donations to the distribution of bedkits. Our financial structure ensures that 100% of every bedkit donation reaches a needy child. We neither receive nor request funds from any level of government. Grants provide a very important way to spread the word about SCAW and means by which more needy children can benefit from the comfort of a good night’s sleep so that they will go to school and have hope for the future.

This is the story of one grant. As a Senior Program/Project Manager by profession, I volunteered for the Project Management Institute (PMI), a global organization of more than 500,000 members headquartered in Newton Square Pennsylvania. As recognition of my service, in late 2014, funds in the amount of $1,000 US became available to me to designate to the charity of my choice. Of course, I chose SCAW! In order to secure approvals for disbursement, senior level PMI staff were involved and several weeks were required to complete the process. SCAW received the funds just in time to include the donation in the Togo 2015 distribution on which I served as a team member. The joy of seeing 37 beautiful children as recipients of bedkits from this grant was indescribable and emotions overwhelming.

My associates at PMI had not previously heard about SCAW. They were impressed by everything about us – our dream, our mission, our core values, and the work we have done to date to distribute more than 1.4 million bedkits to needy children living in abject poverty in the developing world. For more information, please go to the SCAW website and check out our blogs.

The circle of giving was completed and the word about SCAW was spread far and wide. 37 beautiful Togolese children immediately benefited. Countless more children will be beneficiaries in the near and distant future. Please consider how you may be able to acquire a grant to continue to support SCAW and give needy children the gift of hope. For the Children – thanks!

Pour les enfants – merci!

Friday, July 17, 2015

SCAW Travelling Volunteer Doug MacDougald Recognized

Dr. Doug MacDougald Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to the Swine Industry

OTTAWA, ON – Dr. Doug MacDougald was awarded the 2015 Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Merck Veterinary Award for his monumental work in the swine industry. He is widely recognized as a key opinion leader and veterinary leader within the North American pork industry for his work to minimize, control and ultimately promote the elimination of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus in Canada.

“We are pleased to present this prestigious award to a man whose contributions to the profession have so positively impacted the swine industry in Canada, with the benefits reaching both producers and consumers,” says Dr. Jean Gauvin, 2014-15 CVMA President.

Dr. MacDougald graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, in 1977 and is a veterinarian, and founding partner, in South West Ontario Veterinary Services, a Swine Herd Health Management practice. He has focused on production and health management with a broad knowledge of the economics of the pig industry throughout his career.

Among many other professional activities and organizations, he is the Chair of the Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board and a member of the Ontario Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Western Canadian Association of Swine Practitioners.

The Merck Veterinary Award, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, is presented to a veterinarian whose work in large animal practice, clinical research, or basic sciences is judged to have contributed significantly to the advancement of large animal medicine and surgery, including herd health management.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Huge Garage Sale for Sleeping Children Around the World

As posted by the Oakville Beaver, May 7, 2015.



Huge Garage Sale for Sleeping Children Around the World, 8 a.m., Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 304 Spruce St., all proceeds go to bedkits for children in developing world, contact Cindy at cindyhobman@gmail.com or Peggy at peggy.morrison@cogeco.ca.


Results of the sale submitted by Cindy Hobman.

The garage sale proved to be a bigger success than we could have ever imagined. Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers for their hard work, enthusiasm, relentless energy, and constant smiles. Without them, this could never have happened. Special thanks to Grace Lutheran Church in Oakville for their hospitality and for lending us their facilities.

Almost $5,000 was raised. 136 children in developing countries will receive bedkits as a result of this effort.

Thanks to all for your support.


Click photos to see larger version.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Seaforth resident visits the Philippines for charity work

As posted by the Seaforth Huron Expositor, May 5, 2015

By Marco Vigliotti, Huron Expositor

Chris Hills spent the better part of the first three weeks of April crisscrossing the vast island nation of the Philippines, helping to distribute about 5,000 bed kits to needy children residing in some of the country's most impoverished communities.

As part of his ongoing volunteering efforts with Canadian charity Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW), the Seaforth resident was once again afforded the opportunity to hand-deliver the valued aid packages, which contain 38 crucial necessities such as mosquito nets, toothbrushes and school supplies.

He also distributed 28 bed kits purchased with donations generated from a SCAW fundraising dinner held in Clinton back in late March.

Hills, who has now visited the Philippines three times for SCAW, remains upbeat about the impact the packages can have for impoverished children there, most of whom live in simple tin roof shacks in the country's derelict, typically flood-marred slums.

Even the sourcing of the products benefits the country, he explains, with the items contained in the kits produced in the Philippines.

“All of the items are manufactured and/or sourced in the Philippines, so that provides a boost to the local economy,” Hills said in an interview after returning from the trip, which ran from April 3 to 19.

Members of the charity’s Philippines-based partner group assisted Hills and six other Canadian volunteers as they ventured out to 16 different locations across Luzon, the country’s most populated island.

In addition to delivering the kits, the volunteers conduct interviews with recipient families to see what other items they would want included in the packages and to gain a firmer picture of their living situations.

Despite most residing in “grim” dirt floor dwellings often located in active flood plains, Hills noted that the families remained remarkably positive in the interviews even as they described the challenges of living in extreme poverty.

“They can sit there and tell you these horror stories and it’s so matter of fact that you’ll have the interpreter in tears, the Canadian in tears and eventually the mother and father in tears telling you the story,” he said. “But, you will never come along happier people.”

The interviews also provide powerful imagery for subsequent presentations by the volunteers back in Canada detailing the importance of the work they do, Hills said.

“As you learn more about (their) everyday life, you’re better prepared to paint that picture for people,” he added.

Hills points to school supplies as being among the most popular items in the care packages, stating that children there are greatly enthusiastic about the prospect of attaining a formal education.

Although there is no cost to attend elementary school in the Philippines, supplies for classes are not provided and must be independently purchased.

It’s a cost that can be especially burdensome for the families served by SCAW, most of who barely eke out a living pillaging scrapyards for pop cans and other recyclable goods, Hills said.

"There are huge sacrifices made to get children to school - you’ve never seen children as excited to go to school and as disappointed if they can’t go," he said of the Filipino children. “If they miss school, it’s a bad day.”

As a travel leader for the charity, Hills is entering the last of his four-year term visiting the Philippines. After next year, he will be shipped off to another yet to be determined nation served by SCAW.

Hills acknowledges that it will be difficult to say goodbye to the “dedicated” local volunteers and parents and children he met while stationed in the southeast Asian country.

“You develop really close attachments,” he added. “You see 5,000 children, you meet them. You meet family members, you also meet some of the parents and teachers involved.”

SCAW claims to be one of a few Canadian charities, if not the only one, to allocate all fundraising revenue to its services and programs. Declaring itself the 100 per cent charity, it guarantees that all bed kit donations reach a needy child.

Administrative expenses at SCAW are reportedly covered by a legacy fund set up by founder Murray Dryden.

It does not conduct telemarketing or mass mailing campaigns.

The cost of a bed kit is $35. For a donation of that cost, a donor will receive a photograph of a child with the bedkit, showing the donor's name and country on a label.
In addition to the Philippines, SCAW also provides bed kits to an array of developing countries, including India, Bangladesh, Togo and Kenya. Since its incorporation in 1970, it has donated about 1,415,000 bed kits.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Helping Indian children teaches Barrie veteran about Canada

As posted on Inside Halton, April 13, 2015.

By Janis Ramsay

Retired Lt.-Col. Bill Sergeant has his parents to thank for his current travel itinerary.

The Barrie resident has been to India four times in the past five years to volunteer with charity organization Sleeping Children Around the World.

During his latest month-long venture with wife Monika, which wrapped up March 5, he helped deliver 6,100 bed kits to impoverished children.

“It goes back to my parents in the mid-80s,” Sergeant said.

Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW) co-founder Murray Dryden had been on TV talking about the organization and, after watching it, Sergeant’s mom called Dryden at his Etobicoke home.

She volunteered to be the organization’s secretary, but just before Christmas that year, was offered the chance to go to South America to see the work herself.

“Over the years, my parents ended up doing about 17 trips through SCAW,” Sergeant said. “She had seen these children and I heard all of the conditions about the families — how they had nothing.”

In the army at the time, he would talk about his parents’ journeys.

“I never had the opportunity to travel with them, but in 1997, my wife Monika had the chance to go to Uganda with them on one of the distributions,” he said.

In 2007, the couple went on their first SCAW trip together to the Philippines.

Three years later, Sergeant retired from the Canadian Forces, but worked as a reservist for 15 months.

The couple has travelled to India every year since 2011, with Sergeant serving as team leader during the past three missions.

He’s made several friends over there.

“One individual got a bed kit 24 years ago in Mumbai and we now hire him to take us around on tours,” Sergeant said.

That boy ran away from home because his father beat him and his siblings, and he and his sister were found living in a railway station by a Jesuit priest, who ended up taking them to an orphanage.

“We were invited back to that gentleman’s house for a meal. It was absolutely amazing,” Sergeant said. “He had an apartment with his mom, sister and niece living there.”

Sergeant stayed in touch with the man through email, always using upper-case letters.

“He can’t read the small letters. He knows all the capital letters — he’s basically self-taught and now helps at this orphanage where he grew up.”

Sergeant said it’s nice to see the children smile when he hands out bed kits.

“They don’t smile much, until they’ve got that bed kit in their hand and they walk out the gate and go back to their parents,” he said. “Their parents say ‘bless you’. It’s the only thing they can give you because they don’t have anything else.”

Since its creation, SCAW has donated more than 900,000 bed kits to children in 33 different countries.

Sergeant appreciates the fact that 100 per cent of donations go toward buying the kits, which includes a wool blanket, plastic mat and kitchenware, such as a plate and mug or cup.

“There’s zero administrative overhead. We pay for our own trips out of our own pockets, without the benefit of a tax receipt,” Sergeant said.

Among the things he has learned through the trips is just how much Canadians have and how much we take for granted.

“We have so many safety nets here, between food banks, welfare payments and so many charities that do help people in Canada. Over there, there are so few safety nets and charities,” he said.

“You can do so many things, but it always seems so limited. People say it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people in India,” Sergeant said. “If you have enough drops in the bucket, eventually it fills up and if you have enough buckets, it becomes a pond.”

Monday, April 6, 2015

SCAW Fundraising Gift received in the Philippines

Submitted by SCAW Volunteer Chris Hills, Seaforth, ON.

At the recent fundraising supper held in the Heartland Community Church, on March 22nd, generous donors supported the "Harvest of Love", a feeding programme organised by Charie Hendricks, and "Sleeping Children Around the World." The proceeds of the supper provided twenty-eight bed-kits for the most recent distribution in the Philippines.

On April 6th, 28 Filipino children were the happy recipients of bedkits. As each child received their bedkit, they blessed the Canadian volunteer with a whispered "Salamat po." A thank you to those donors far away who shared their good fortune with an unknown child.

In total 5,000 bedkits were given to children at sixteen locations across Luzon, Philippines.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Heartland Community Church in Clinton helps SCAW

Submitted by Chris Hills, Seaforth, Ontario
Lil's Kitchen Link
Click to enlarge photo.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ambattur club spreads its wings

As posted on The Hindu, March 14, 2015.

From meeting at the modest canteen of a factory in Ambattur Industrial Estate to meeting at the cosy interiors of the Presidency Club, Egmore, the Rotary Club of Ambattur has come a long way.

In the last three decades, its members as well as its projects have spread across the city. To give just one example, the Club runs a vocational centre at Ayappakkam. .

In the 1980s, Rotary International expected each of its clubs to function within defined territories. “Only those residing or working in the territory designated for a club can hope to become a member of it. Therefore, the members of the Rotary Club of Ambattur either lived in the area or work in the region, which stretched up to Avadi,” recalls N. Krishnan, charter president.

During that period, especially the 1980s, executives of TVS companies in Padi, entrepreneurs with units at the Ambattur Industrial Estate, people working at T.V. Nagar and Avadi and a doctor who had a clinic in Padi were some of its members. The canteen of Deepak Banker’s office (Kunal Engineering) was the venue for the meetings in those days.

“Infrastructure facilities at the Industrial Estate were minimal and Banker’s offer was readily accepted. Also, Raju Iyengar, finance manager at Kunal Engineering, was one of our members,” he says.

The Club’s profile has changed over the years and, today, it has members from across the city.

“Of the 47 members, only three live in Ambattur. The majority of us live in areas around Mylapore and Anna Nagar. But, our projects are mainly concentrated around Ambattur and Avadi,” says Yadav Murti Sankaran, president of the Club and resident of Mylapore.

The Ambattur Rotary Hospital and the T.V. Nagar School are two of the Club’s pioneer projects. While the dispensary-turned multi-speciality hospital is being run since 1988, the Club has been associated with the school since 1980. “We get many patients on dialysis We also get those with cerebral palsy or requiring eye surgery,” says Yadav.

Its other major project is a join collaboration with Canadian NGO Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW), where sleeping kits are distributed to underprivileged children. This year, the Club handed over one lakh kits. It started distributing them in 1987. With the vocational centre, Rotarians invite any under-privileged students for mentorship and to help them find employment opportunities. For details, visit www.rotaryambattur.org

Saturday, March 7, 2015