Category: charity

madison community services annual gala

I wanted to share an awesome event coming up next Thursday! Madison Community Services is hosting their first gala at The Chefs’ House on King St. The evening begins with drinks and networking with attendees and the board. Following that, there will be a 4-course meal prepared by students of George Brown College’s Chef School.

Madison Community Services is an organization that promotes the independence, health, recovery, and community integration of persons with mental health and/or addictions challenges through advocacy, education and a broad range of case management, supportive housing, and other specialized services.

The event takes place next Thursday night and tickets are available online now for $125 each. These tickets will help fund programs such as RISE, aimed at helping refugees from war-torn countries with services to address both their mental health and settlement challenges and The Equitable Bank-Madison Client Bursary Fund which has provided funding for 77 clients to pursue formal education and professional skills training, they hope to increase this number in years to come.

I’m looking forward to this exciting event for a great cause – hope to see you there!

stroll for liver

Almost three years ago, my mother told me she had been diagnosed with liver disease. I was really confused because anyone who knows my mom, she has a corinita once a year and that’s it. Turns out, her liver disease is autoimmune (lots of that in my family). She was pretty sick for about a year, on some crazy medications but thankfully she was in remission in 2013.

It was after her diagnosis that I learned more about the liver foundation. They provide support for those living with all types of liver disease as well as funding research for treatments for the over 100 types of liver disease.

So, when my mother suggested we do the stroll for liver, it was a no brainer, I signed up as team captain to walk 5K for the liver foundation. And that’s where you can help! I know it’s that time of year where everyone you know is participating in a fundraiser but I would really appreciate any donations. Every dollar counts in helping those living with liver disease. It’s also not too late to sign up for a stroll, I’ll be participating on May 30th – if you need a team to join, we’re Cheryl’s Crew :)


memory ball: #MindOverAlz

I was fortunate enough to be invited to another charity event this month, this time, the Memory Ball in support of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. The event was started a few years ago by a group of young professionals who were all impacted by the disease. Before Saturday’s event, the Memory Ball has raised $120,000 since 2011 (and 2015’s numbers have yet to be added).

The event took place at the beautiful Palais Royale, I’ve never been to this venue but it’s really nice – and I’m sure just amazing in the summer with the patio on the water. The event had great silent auction and raffle prizes to bid on. The event also had the famous Toronto artist, Carlos Delgado live-painting a piece inspired by Memory Ball. It was unbelievable to watch this beautiful painting take shape over the course of just a couple of hours. You can see the finished product on his Facebook page. The evening also began with a fun woodwind band, I recognized a couple of the songs – including the song from Looney Toons :)

The event had a signature drink, the #Blue72, a drink with Hpnotiq and peach schnapps. I always forget how much I like Hpnotiq until I’m served a cocktail with it. I may have enjoyed a couple of them… They were really delicious. 

The herring vodka bar on the other hand, will fall under “try everything once” category. A staple of Memory Ball, you’re supposed to take a shot of vodka and chase it with herring… I stuck with the #Blue72 but others really seemed to enjoy it.  The food at the event was also amazing. I had poutine, smoked salmon, and a few cupcakes. There was also a late night burrito bar, because… burritos. Perfect way to end the evening after enjoying the open bar.  Aveda Institute also had a makeup touch-up station, which was great because it was really windy Saturday night and maybe my red lipstick ended up everywhere. They were also doing hand massages, the loveliest woman named Nirvana gave me a great hand massage – it was a great addition to the event.

 Around 10pm, the committee spoke and there was a few speeches about how Alzheimer’s has affected the lives of the committee members, their families and even the emcee. They showed these remarkably touching video about young caregivers. It’s estimated that 15% of caregivers in Canada are aged 18-24, they are young people who are trying to balance their caregiver responsibilities as well as school, work and other commitment. I will share this video as soon as I find it because I think it’s worth the less than 5 minutes to take to watch it. Following the thank yous, it was time for the party to get started. The DJ started and the dancefloor filled up.

It was truly a remarkable event, one I’m honoured I was invited to. You can learn more about Memory Ball on their site and make a donation to the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. An organization doing great work in the community, supporting people with Alzheimer’s and their family. I’m sure plans are already in the works for 2016, make sure to keep an eye on twitter, tickets to this event sell out quickly – and now I know why. :)


literature for life

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a fundraiser for Literature for Life, a couple of weeks ago. Literature for Life is a Toronto-based organization that uses literature to positively impact the educational and social outcomes for young moms and their children.

The event was hosted at the Fox and Fiddle on Danforth. The venue was decorated so nicely and they had a fun literature-themed scavenger hunt throughout the bar. I had an opportunity to speak with a number of volunteers about the organization and was really impressed with what they do. They host meet ups with young moms where they read novels within the group. Most of the groups are lead by local writers which facilitate the reading and conversations about the work. These groups are designed to help enable young women to develop the capacity and confidence to re-imagine their lives.

Author Chantel Guerin Speaking


Centennial Students Out Supporting This Great Cause

Many of the women in the program are moms from ages 13-30, many of them live alone or in a shelter. The goal of Literature for Life is to help improve reading skills and improve self-confidence in participants which they believe improves the opportunities for the whole family. The organization also encourages moms to begin a routine of reading with their children – investing in their children’s education.

The event was beautifully run and raised over $800 for this amazing organization, which is enough to sponsor one mom for 8 months. This organization is local to Toronto, so all the money will help women in our community. You can find out more about the organization here or help with a donation here.

five reasons to come to ‘hope and the city’

Last year, I shared with you a great event in support of women’s cancers in Markham called Hope and The City. In honour of the 5th anniversary of this spectacular event, here are 5 reasons you should go to this year’s Hope and the City on October 23rd.

1. The Pampering Stations: As they say “treat yo self” and with good reason. If you purchase your ticket before September 26th, you get a free pampering service and you can buy more the evening of. Pampering stations in the past have included make-up, massages and henna applications.

2. Firefighters: This is pretty self explanatory. Local firefighters support this event every year, and let’s be honest, they look good doing it. Come out and see the firefighters.

3. Delicious food: Every year, local restaurants and caterers present delicious samples to the group of ladies. You can expect delicious hors d’oeuvres, snacks and sweets to sample throughout the evening.

4. The Celebrities: So maybe these celebrities won’t be here in the flesh but there will be some great replicas the evening of in the awesome photo booth. Bring your girlfriends out and get your photos taken with Sean Connery, George Clooney or Shemar Moore (or all three, no judgement). You may never get the chance again!

5. The Cause: Of course this evening of fun, pampering, laughter and happiness with your best girlfriends is also for a great cause. The money raised from this event is solely for women’s cancer research through the Canadian Cancer Society.

These five reasons are just a peak of the fun night you can expect at Hope and the City at Angus Glen. Tickets for the event are $50 and as mentioned, if you’re one of the first 50 people to buy your ticket before next Friday, you receive a free pampering sessions at the event. Do you have a business and want to participate on a larger scale? Feel free to send me an email or leave your details in the comments.

I look forward to seeing you all there!


holiday shopping: six ways to think outside the box

The holiday season is fast approaching, soon we’ll be eating more than we should, sharing great times with our loved ones and exchanging gifts. Gift giving can be a lot of fun but it can also be a lot of stress. There’s the issue of knowing what to get someone (how many scented candles do I need!) and making the time to get all the shopping done. There is also the concern that Christmas has become too commercial and materialistic. The problem for me is, I agree but I still love to give gifts. I love the look on someone’s face when I know I’ve bought the perfect gift, but these gifts don’t need to be material, here is a list of places you can buy gifts that we go even further.

  1. Habitat for Humanity – A great charity I had the privilege of volunteering with a few months ago has a gift guide. For your friends or family, you can be equipment used to build a home or items for a home in their name that will go to help provide low-income families with safe and affordable housing. You can get tools like hammers, screwdrivers or hardhats or household items like shower heads, light fixtures or smoke detectors.
  2. Toronto Humane Society – For the animal lover in your life, consider a donation to the THS. You have the choice of helping a cat, a dog, an unusual pet or giving where the need is greatest. These gifts go to help feed, provide medical care and other needs of these animals living in the Humane Society’s care. These adorable gifts come with cards for you to give to your recipient.
  3. WWF – Another great option for animal lovers is WWF. You can select from a variety of animals and they send you a plush to give to your recipient. There is so many options such as turtles, polar bear, koala bears and pandas. This is a great option if you want to give someone something to open when you give your magical gift.
  4. SickKids Foundation – These gifts are perfect for just about anyone you know. This site is really well designed and makes it easy to sort by occasion and budget. There is a large assortment of items such as stockings for children in the hospital over the holidays, decorations for the hospital, as well as hospital equipment. You can also give ‘gift certificates’ to allow the person the chance to pick what kind of gift they want to give to the hospital. 
  5. Plan Canada – Plan Canada also has a large assortment of gifts to ‘give’ to your loved ones. Some are matched by various organizations meaning your dollars go even further. They also have a number of gifts associated with their “because I am a girl” campaign, which is dedicated to the rights of girls. You can purchase items like bed nets, to protect families from malaria, fruit trees, animals, school supplies and medical support which helps families in the developing world.
  6. Christmas Wish – This idea actually came from someone I know who worked with a group of people that were tired of candles, bath soaps and chocolates for Christmas. A couple of years ago, they started a Secret Santa with a twist. They each drew a name and purchased a toy for them to give to the Christmas Wish. The idea was to buy a toy that reminded you of your person which made it a lot of fun. They still had the typical Secret Santa price tag of around $20 but they really had a great time with their new Secret Santa. 

Hopefully this list has giving you some ideas of how to think outside the box. Do you have any non-traditional gift giving ideas? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Shopping!

canadian cancer society: relay for life committee

As promised, I will continue to post great volunteer opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area. Last year, I started on the committee for the 2013 Relay for Life in Richmond Hill. I was charged with the entertainment portion of the event but we had a fairly small committee. We were small but mighty, we all worked together and made something truly beautiful happen. We had a night of fun, laughter, tears and coming together to fight back against cancer. It was an unbelievably rewarding experience. I also put in a team with friends and family and it was really great to have everyone there most of the night. 

This year, I’ll be back on the Richmond Hill committee, with my role to be determined but I can’t wait to get started. It was such a rewarding experience to know that we brought together such a great event and raised almost $50,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. The committees are looking for passionate and enthusiastic members. The time-commitment is about one meeting a month, the tasks you take on and a few extra meetings right before the event. If you want to help make a difference, send me an email!

If you want to learn more about this opportunity, check out the Charity Village post.
If you’d like to learn more about the event or put in a team, check out the Canadian Cancer Society’s page. 

Canadian Cancer Society South York Region Unit Relay For Life Events's photo.

hope and the city: fundraiser for the canadian cancer society

Hope and the City is only one week away!

This annual event is a fundraiser completely dedicated to women’s cancer research – which includes breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine. This girl’s night out is a great way to have a fun and fabulous night with your girlfriends while supporting a great cause. 

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online or at the door. With your ticket, you receive a complimentary Hope and the City beverage, a goody bag worth over $150, food samplings, live entertainment and a ticket for door prize worth over $500. This year’s grand door prize is the use of a BMW Cabriolet for an entire weekend, thanks to Town and Country BMW. 

There will also be the famous $20 envelope and Digging for Diamonds ($10), both of which have guaranteed prizes. Along with those, there will be a live auction and an arms length draw, where you get to pick which prize your ticket goes in for. As well as a number of local vendors selling at the event. There is definitely something for everyone.

There will also be a number of pampering stations, tickets for the stations are $10 each or 3/$25 – there is over twenty types of pampering options, including eyebrow threading, henna, reflexology and massage.  And once you’re relaxed, you’ll have the opportunity to get your photo taken in the photo booth (price by donation). 

And last, but certainly not least – there’s firefighters. Firefighters who are there to ensure the ladies have a great time (I’m sure they don’t oppose a picture or two). If all the above awesome reasons were not reason enough for you to attend the event, the firefighters should be enough. 

I’ll see you there!

habitat for humanity – women’s build

Ready to unleash your inner superhero?

I’m doing something I’ve never done before. On September 18th, I’ll be joining a group of women in building a home for someone in our community. Habitat for Humanity helps low income families build and buy their own home. The idea is that these families will then require less social assistance and break the cycle of poverty. You can help this great cause by clicking on the link and donating any amount to Habitat for Humanity. You’ll be helping make a difference to families in need in our own community. 

You can help by sponsoring me in the build, my page is here: My Personal Page
Any amount will help make a difference!

To find out more: Habitat for Humanity Toronto 

scotiabank buskerfest

If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, you should check out Scotiabank’s Buskerfest. They’ve moved to a new location on Yonge St, at Yonge-Dundas Square because they’ve outgrown their old location at the St. Lawrence Market. The acts are truly remarkable; while on a patio yesterday, we saw a man hanging upside down from billboards, removing a straight jacket. There’s jugglers, fire eaters, magicians and a lot of people on stilts. The event is in support of Epilepsy Toronto. So, head down to YDS on this beautiful weekend, take in the entertainment and support a great cause.