- Apr 22/13: The Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k is getting even greener!
- Apr 04/13: Big Brothers: One Hour a Week Makes a BIG Difference
- Apr 04/13: WISH: Katherine's Story
- Mar 15/13: North Shore Volunteer Gives Back
- Mar 11/13: Climbing past disability
- Feb 28/13: Camp Kerry Society's recording opportunity at Nimbus
- Feb 24/13: Why should you run for the Canadian Liver Foundation?
- Feb 24/13: Celebrating Victory Over Cancer
The Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k is getting even greener!
Vancouver, April 22, 2013 — The Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon and 5k is committed to producing a world-class event that showcases our city and is both socially and environmentally responsible. This year, the event is aiming to be a certified sustainable event, based on the definitions and measures of sustainability set out by the Council for Responsible Sport.
Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport formally recognizes a significant achievement: the successful completion of a socially and environmentally responsible sporting event. Standards can be achieved in areas ranging from waste management and climate impact to community involvement, health promotion and more.
Here are some examples of what the event is doing to reduce our environmental footprint and increase our sustainability:
- Divert our race-related waste from going to landfill — in 2012 the event obtained a 98% Waste Diversion Rate for our Finish Area
- Collect and donate all discarded clothing from Start Area to shelter programs
- Donate surplus food remaining after the event to local food banks
- Offer post-event shuttles to reduce two-way trips and car drops
- Use water conservation methods on course and at the Finish Area
- Print marketing materials using biodegradable inks on FSC certified paper
- Source post-race food locally whenever possible
- Virtual Goodie Bags
We encourage all participants to help us "run green" by getting to and from the event in a sustainable way — by foot, by bike, by transit, or carpooling — and by leaving no garbage behind on course.
About the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k:
The Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k (SVHM) is part of the prestigious Canada Running Series. As one of Vancouver's premier running events, the SVHM attracts more than 6,500 runners and participants of all levels, including many of Canada's top elite athletes. The event takes place Sunday, June 23rd, starting at UBC 7:30am for the half-marathon, and 9:30am at Stanley Park for the 5k. Register today at www.vancouverhalf.com.
Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic program, Scotiabank Bright Future. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $47 million annually to community causes around the world over each of the last five years. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.
April 4, 2013 — Big Brothers
Big Brothers: One Hour a Week Makes a BIG Difference
Surrey resident Rick Johal works full time as a child-care supervisor. He is also working towards completing his Bachelor of Social Work. Johal just finished his second year of studies at Kwantlen College and will attend UBC in the fall. In his spare time, the twenty-four-year-old likes to snowboard during the winter, go mountain biking in the summer, play guitar and squeeze in some time at the gym. Johal also finds the time to spend a few hours a week with an eight-year-old named Cameron. Johal volunteers as a Big Brother.
Johal is one of 630 volunteers currently participating in Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver's mentoring programs for children. Johal and Cameron have been spending time together for just over a year. Cameron's mother Tanya wanted a Big Brother for him because he didn't have a consistent male role model in his life. She explains, "Cameron and I are very close, but I can't teach him about "guy" stuff. I really noticed it when he wanted me to play soccer, baseball and basketball with him and I don't know how." When Cameron started to spend time with Johal, she noticed a big difference in her son. She says, "Cameron stopped being so clingy and became very respectful of me and of the things I do for him. He started to smile a lot more and really enjoy just being a kid."
Johal met Cameron when he decided to volunteer in Big Brothers' In-School Mentoring (ISM) Program to build up some volunteer experience on his resume. As an ISM volunteer, he spent an hour a week with Cameron on school property during the school year. The pair really hit it off. Johal says, "Cameron and I had a good vibe immediately. Because of the relationship we built, I wanted to continue seeing him through the summer." The pair transferred into the Big Brothers program and continued their friendship.
Big and Little Brothers meet for a few hours every week for fun and friendship, doing activities that both enjoy. Little Brothers are average boys between the ages of seven and 12 who have limited to no contact with their fathers. Big Brothers must be at least 19 years of age and be willing to commit to spend a few hours a week with their Little Brother for a minimum of a year. There are no special skills or experience required to be a Big Brother.
Cameron says that before he met Johal he had, "Nothing to do and no one to talk to about "guy" stuff. There aren't a lot of kids my age who live close to me." The two friends now do a range of activities together including playing basketball, frisbee, video games, hiking, and arts & crafts. Cameron loves having Johal as his Big Brother because he says, "Rick is really cool. He makes me laugh."
Big Brothers' Surrey Mentoring Coordinator, Harpreet Brar, says studies have shown that when a child has someone in their lives who spends consistent, quality time with them, other than a family member, "It provides a huge boost to the child's self esteem. This positively impacts their attitude towards school, their relationships with family and friends and ultimately, how well they succeed in life." Brar encourages men over the age of 19 to call Big Brothers now to obtain more information about volunteering. "There are children waiting to be matched with a Big Brother in every area of the Lower Mainland."
Johal recommends that anyone considering becoming a Big Brother just, "Do it. It is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. My friendship with Cameron continues to grow every week."
Tanya says she is very grateful that Cameron has Johal in his life, "Rick has given my little boy his smile back and put the sparkle back in his eyes. Words can never express how much that means to me. Rick has become part of our family."
April 4, 2013 — WISH
Katherine has been coming to WISH for the past year, and in that time, her life has changed for the better.
At 43 years old, she had been struggling with addiction for over ten years when she first walked through the WISH Drop-In Centre's doors in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Her addiction masked the unbearable grief of losing her mother as a child, which set her on a path of self-destruction. As a young adult she went to university to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry but the untreated symptoms of her childhood grief and loss left her unable to focus. It was then that her life began a 'downward spiral' that included drug use, frequent mental health interventions, arrests and hospitalizations.
“Life was irrevocably shattered for me with the loss of my mother and the shame I brought upon my father with my destructive behaviour…which had become a mainstay in my life as a means of supporting my addiction.”
Since Katherine turned to street based sex work to support her addiction, eventually she found her way to WISH, the only facility that is exclusively for women engaging in the survival sex trade.
“Long story short, I came to WISH as participant for the amenities of comfort it offered — food, clothing, camaraderie for women in varying vulnerable states of survival…It left me with a smile in my heart and my faculties refuelled…WISH became a mooring and it anchored me…”.
After a while, Katherine saw a notice on the board at WISH that the Peer Safety Patrol was seeking new recruits. The Peer Safety Patrol is a supported employment initiative that recruits, trains and employs women who use WISH to provide security services for the centre. Not only do women learn new skills and gain job experience through the program, they also give back to their neighbourhood. The training curriculum is comprehensive, based on an anti-violence model and includes sections on peacefully de-escalating crises, peer outreach, first aid and self-defense.
Women who complete the training become employees of WISH and perform a valuable service, keeping their community and their sisters safe. Women recognize the Peer Safety Patrollers in front of the centre and in the surrounding areas (wearing their bright yellow and orange vests) and feel safer knowing they are there.
“I feel the (Peer Safety Patrol) had a twofold benevolence, both to the community…but also as a role model to others that they may see that we have walked in their shoes and recognize the light in their hearts. They'll see the levity in our step as we find solace in reaching out and maybe they will also find a new way home.”
Katherine no longer struggles with addiction like she used to. She lights up when speaking of the bond she shares with her co-workers and sisters at WISH and enjoys the feeling of accomplishment she gets from being on the Peer Safety Patrol. She has found a sense of purpose and a caring community of participants, staff and volunteers in a part of the city where poverty is widespread and day to day life can be challenging.
The mission of WISH is to improve the health, safety and well-being of women who engage in the street based sex trade to survive. The women WISH serves come from all walks of life. While their present lives are characterized by trauma, violence, discrimination and extreme poverty, they are also resilient and eager for opportunities to move forward. WISH provides an overnight drop-in program that includes hot meals, safe showers and washrooms, on-site nursing care, literacy programming as well as supported employment and Aboriginal programming.
By running or walking for WISH, you are helping women like Katherine stabilize their lives and take those all-important first steps, with hope and dignity, towards greater well-being.
March 15, 2013 — Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
North Shore Volunteer Gives Back
Being a mentor to a child doesn't have to be hard work. You don't have to be a working professional at the peak of your career, a straight A student in university or college or come from a wealthy well-mannered family. All you need is a good head on your shoulders, a thirst for having fun and a little bit of time each week to spend with a child who could benefit from a positive role model.
Recent UBC graduate and North Shore resident Amir Mirbagheri is a Big Brother with Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. He spends 2-4 hours each week with his 10 year old Little Brother Adel, a vibrant, intelligent boy who also lives in North Vancouver.
In addition to full-time studies and full-time work, Mirbagheri also volunteers at the Children's Hospital and North Shore Stroke Recovery. So where does this busy Graduate student find the time to volunteer as a mentor?
“It's awesome just to hang out with him. It's my favourite time of the week!” says Mirbagheri. “Before, I had a super regimented life, full time school, full time work, and studying. With Adel, it's a few hours a week of pure fun. It's an awesome way to relieve stress and just be a kid.”
Amir and his Little Brother Adel have been matched for just over a year. Their favourite activities include going to the arcade, walking around Granville Island, talking about cars and go-karting. “I would never have the chance to go go-karting or play laser tag if it wasn't for Adel,” says Mirbagheri. “Adel is so awesome and such a pleasure to be with. We always have a good time.”
Rosa Aceves, Adel's mother, says that she called Big Brothers because she felt like Adel needed to have a positive male role model in his life. Since her separation from Adel's father, Adel hadn't had the opportunity to do much guy stuff.
“Adel is an only child and he really needed to have some time for male bonding, which is something that I couldn't give him,” says Aceves, “Adel really looks forward to spending time with Amir because they can talk about cars and video games, and play sports and hang out.”
“I almost feel selfish sometimes because I'm having so much fun when we hang out,” chuckled Mirbagheri, “but then I realize that this is what it's all about — fun.
And the benefits go both ways. Mirbagheri says that he's learned a lot from Adel. “I've learned how to loosen up and be a kid again. He taught me patience and to take things more lightly. He is a lot like me when I was growing up.”
“Adel and Amir have been a great match from day one,” says North Shore Mentoring Coordinator for Big Brothers, Alana Rogers, “Amir and Adel share the same dedication to school and extra curricular activities. They're always so excited to see each other.”
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver matches boys aged 7-14 who have limited-to-no contact with their fathers with adult male volunteers through the Big Brothers program. The agency also matches elementary school aged boys and girls with male and female volunteers through the In-School Mentoring program.
The North Shore is currently in need of volunteers for their school-based and community based programs. “We have many kids who are waiting for a mentor to spend time with and have fun with,” says Rogers.
When asked what advice he could give to someone considering volunteering as a mentor, Mirbaheri answered, “I would definitely recommend it. It's one of the most fulfilling things that you can do. It's great to build a relationship with someone.
You won't know how much fun and how easy it is until you sign up. I definitely think that even if you are considering it, you should apply because it's just so much fun.”
For more information on how you can get involved, call Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver at 604.876.2447 ext. 236 or visit their website at www.BigBrothersVancouver.com.
March 11, 2013
Climbing past disability
There are plenty of stubborn, courageous and feisty characters on Spinal Cord Injury BC's (SCI BC) Scotiabank Charity Challenge team, The Walk 'n Rollers, but few have experienced as many ups and downs as Gerry Burns.
He's a retired motocross racer, a passionate world traveller, a surfer, and one of the toughest athletes you'll ever meet. He's also a quadriplegic, with a C1/C2 spinal cord injury, one of the highest, most debilitating injuries one can get.
When he was injured while playing hockey in 2003, the prognosis was grim. Doctors told him he would rely on a power chair his whole life, and he'd be lucky if he ever took any steps with a walker.
Being a wild child, Burns wouldn't have any of it. He was still in rehab when he set his first goal for recovery: he would climb the Grouse Grind. “I told my physio and they didn't really believe it, but it fueled me to really do 'The Grind' one day,” says Gerry.
It took him five years to reach his ultimate goal, but in 2008, with the support of his friends, family, and peers at SCI BC, Gerry achieved his goal and became one of the first quadriplegics to ever hike up the Grouse Grind. It took him and a supportive team of friends 8.5 hours to conquer.
Last year, when SCI BC asked Gerry to take part in The Scotiabank Charity Challenge, he was game.
“I've got different goals I try to accomplish each year and the 5 km walk was a huge challenge and a new personal record to set,” says Gerry, a power chair user who used his walker whenever he can.
In the end, the 5 km Charity Challenge took Gerry 5 hours and 36 minutes to complete, but he pulled through to the very end. “By the time we got to the finish line, there was no finish line, not even one runner around. In fact the tents had been all packed up,” he chuckles. “But it was all about accomplishing a new personal best and raising awareness. I'm so stoked and I'm really proud to have raised over $1,600 for SCI BC.”
Tragically, Gerry slipped and fell just before last Christmas and broke his back again. Fortunately, this cat's got nine lives, and he is slowly getting back to the level of mobility he had last autumn. Despite all that, he's already looking forward to this year's Scotiabank Charity Challenge. “It's a huge goal to push for, but I think it's a great goal to work up to and I'm definitely gonna go for it.”
One thing that keeps him motivated is knowing that he'll be raising funds for Spinal Cord Injury BC, the non-profit organization that has been with him all along the way.
“I remember having SCI BC peers come to my bedside to check on how I was doing right from hospitalization through to rehab, and as soon as you get out SCI BC is there for you as a resource and a network,” says Gerry.
“Being invited to peer events in the early stages just enforces that you're not going through things alone. I think that what they do for people with spinal cord injuries is just awesome and they deserve more funds to help promote the great programs they run.”
We'll be walking and a rolling our way through the five kilometre course again this year hoping to meet our new fundraising goal of $20,000. If you'd like to join the Walk 'n Rollers team or donate to our cause through Gerry or one of our other team members, please contact Shelley: email@example.com.
February 28, 2013
Camp Kerry Society's recording opportunity at Nimbus
Recently the Camp Kerry Youth Group along with volunteer/long time supporter of Camp Kerry, Joshua Dahling recorded at Nimbus and it was a huge success.
Music Heals works to promote awareness about music therapy and work to promote organizations that use music to help people.
Recently they put out a youtube video with a member from Swollen Members where they asked to use one of our images: www.musicheals.ca/ANightOut.
The experience at Nimbus was awe inspiring for all of us because from the moment you walk in the walls are plastered with gold records all the way to the ceiling. Big names like Kiss, Nickelback, Marianas Trench, Hedley, Billy Talent, Slayer, Michael Buble, and more. This was more than any of us expected and truly a motivating factor for the youth to stick around all day. One of the recording engineers actually worked with Elton John! It was pretty cool. The staff who worked with us were ever so patient and encouraging the entire time we were there, which was about 9 hours. It was one of Camp Kerry's own youths 16th birthday, so we did a little party there and she said it was the best birthday ever! I got an email from Shawn Cole that says: “Hey Josh, It was my pleasure to be able to coordinate the project for such an incredible organization. I've heard from Dwayne and the rest of the students who participated in the session. They have been raving about the experience all week, and we are very thankful to have had the opportunity to help out.”
It is most likely that we'll be returning to Nimbus again in the future and I'm excited about the opportunities there are for the youth. Brad Ellis, one of the program participants, now has a goal to either work there or go to school there.
The proceeds from the recordings will be used to send families to camp as with the other two songs that are available through our website (campkerry.org). This was made possible due to a collaborative effort between Chris Brandt, Executive Director from Music Heals, Shawn Cole at Nimbus and Heather Mohan who worked together for the donated recording time and engineering.
February 24, 2013
Why should you run for the Canadian Liver Foundation in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and 5K? Or why should you pledge to someone who is participating in the event?
I don't know your answer, but I can tell you why I'm running and collecting pledges, and trying to raise awareness. My name is Jenessa and I lost my beautiful mom to liver disease in 2011 when she was only 47 years old. My mom's disease, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, is poorly understood and, save for a complete liver transplant, is incurable. Unlike common misconceptions about all liver diseases, it is not lifestyle related. Its typical victims are middle-aged women, although men are not exempt. My mom was the typical victim of this disease. Your mother, sister, wife, friend or you may be, too.
I miss my mom everyday. I still cannot believe she is gone. I am running for her. I am fundraising with the clichéd — but very real — hope that our efforts can keep another family from going through what we have endured. I am raising awareness because I do not appreciate the look I sometimes get when I tell people I lost my mom to liver disease. That look is based on misinformation and it hurts. I run because 21.1km is nothing compared to what my mom did for me.
February 24, 2013
Celebrating Victory Over Cancer
Chantal will be one of the 5000 runners lining up for this year's Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. A year ago, this would have seemed a goal beyond reach. In December of 2011, Chantal's life took a dramatic turn for the unexpected. Ten days after giving birth to her son, Ben, Chantal was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Experiencing fatigue before giving birth, Chantal believed it was attributed to being pregnant. It wasn't until she was in labour that her husband noticed a lump above her collarbone, a swollen lymph node. Getting used to being a new mother, going to see a doctor to investigate this was not the first thing on her mind. Chantal's diagnosis came on New Year's Eve, the day before the start of a very challenging 2012. “When I got news of my diagnosis, I wanted to understand how and why it happened. Could it have been prevented? What caused it?” Chantal, a 29 year old nutritionist and yoga instructor has always been focused on healthy living. It didn't make sense to get sick. But for most people there are no obvious reasons or risk factors for developing Hodgkin lymphoma. The good news is that this is one of most curable types of cancer.
One year ago, in February 2012, Chantal began 6 months of chemotherapy, followed by regular rounds of radiation treatment. “I first wanted to see what natural options there were for treatment, but after learning from my naturopath how successful conventional treatment is against Hodgkin lymphoma, I knew this was the way to go. I know that it's because of research funded by organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) that such technology and effective treatment options exist. But while it worked, treatment wasn't easy. 2012 was easily the worst year of my life.”
2013 is Chantal's year. In January of this year, she received the 'all-clear' after finishing treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma three months before. It was then that Chantal learned about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada's Team In Training. “I was thinking about what I can do to celebrate my victory over cancer, and I found a brochure for Team In Training. It seemed like such a great way to get involved. I talked to my radiologist and my doctor and I was advised that regular physical activity and training for a half marathon would be very good for my recovery and return to health.” Chantal describes this new year, the year of the snake, as being one of renewal, rebirth, and of shedding the skin of the previous challenging year.
So now Chantal, vibrant and healthy, has joined the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada's (LLSC) Team In Training (TNT) and is training to complete her first half marathon, the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. “Vancouver and all its beauty was the backdrop of my cancer journey. To run here to celebrate my victory and triumph over cancer with my friends and family on the sidelines will be a really empowering step forward to me. It will prove to me that I can truly do anything, right here in Vancouver. And I know this race boasts a coastal route showcasing Vancouver's natural beauty.” Chantal has committed to train for this race while raising funds for the LLSC whose mission is to find a cure for all blood cancers and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Team In Training is part of the Charity Challenge at this year's Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.
Only signing up to get started a few weeks ago, Chantal has already gotten hooked on the TNT experience. “My coach answers all my many questions and I feel very supported by everyone so far. Running feels great too and I'm already reaping the benefits. There are so many positive life lessons you can learn from running, many of which I can apply moving forward from my cancer journey.”
If you see Chantal on the course on race day in her purple TNT jersey, be sure to give her a cheer. Go Team!
Relentless for a cure, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada's Team In Training is the largest and most successful endurance sports training program for charity. Runners, walkers, cyclists, and triathletes of all levels have the opportunity to challenge their fitness and participate in a world-class endurance event, while making a true difference in the lives of 100,000 Canadians living with blood cancers.
Achieve YOUR goals and train with Team In Training for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.
Training has just begun so sign up today to join us! To find out more, visit www.teamintraining.ca or call 604-733-2873 or toll free 1-866-547-5433.