Tag: Charity

Kids Up Front Toronto: Making A Difference One Ticket At A Time

Coming from a background of the non-profit world, I have the utmost respect for many charities who work tirelessly for their causes.

During my tenure as a fundraiser, I encountered Kids Up Front Toronto and was impressed by their mission and impact. So I was excited to introduce them to the youth clients and to all the staff members that I worked with.

Now as a parent blogger, I am excited to introduce this amazing organization to all of you and this is way overdue.

“Remember your first concert. Now imagine giving a child that feeling for the first time.”

Kids Up Front believes that all children deserve to experience the magic of the theatre or the excitement of a hockey game. Kids Up Front makes sure that children and their families affected by poverty, abuse, illness as well as newcomers to Toronto gain exposure to the community through the distribution of tickets.

Photo courtsey of Kids Up Front Toronto

How did it all start?

“Kids Up Front began in Calgary in 1999. Our founder, John Dalziel was surrounded by empty seats in the Saddledome and believed that thousands of deserving children and youth could benefit from unused tickets. Kids Up Front Toronto’s founding Executive Director, Lindsay Oughtred, had the same idea in 2006. She was a high school English teacher, inspired to fill seats on the field trips she was taking her students on. Lindsay discovered Kids Up Front, left the classroom behind, and the rest is history! Kids Up Front operates in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Atlantic Canada.”

Photo courtsey of Kids Up Front Toronto

The Impact on the Lives of Children, Families and the City of Toronto

The impact of the work that is being done by Kids Up Front Toronto is one that uplifts children, families and the whole community.

• Children benefit from developing a sense of belonging; feeling included; gaining exposure to “normal” childhood experiences.
• Parents benefit from feeling valued; having the means to give their child a special experience; re-connecting with their child in a positive way.
• Families benefit from sharing constructive leisure activities; encouraging positive social interaction between parents, children and siblings; healing and strengthening relationships.
• Communities benefit from having engaged citizens; strengthening of community values; inspiring future leaders.

“Thanks to our generous donors and over 240 agency partners, Kids Up Front Toronto distributed nearly 85,000 tickets valued at over $2.8 million in 2017. Children have community building experiences that help boost self-esteem and families form stronger ties by allowing parents and children to connect in a positive way. We believe Kids Up Front is helping to create a more inclusive city by removing financial and social barriers.

Photo courtsey of Kids Up Front Toronto

Making a Difference Through Kids Up Front

“Kids Up Front is a simple idea with an incredible impact. Thanks to our extensive network in the GTA, we are able to accept tickets (even just hours before game time or show time!) and get them into the hands of children and youth who do not otherwise have the opportunity. Kids Up Front also provides charitable tax receipts for the value of the ticket donation (with proof of purchase). It truly is a win-win for everyone!

If you don’t have tickets to donate, EchoAge birthday parties are another great way to help Kids Up Front give deserving kids a break.”

It is easy to make a difference in the lives of children and their families through Kids Up Front Toronto. You can donate your tickets, donate money or even donate your time. So many options to make a world of a difference in the community.

How Can a Child Be Referred To Benefit From Kids Up Front

“Kids Up Front partners with child and youth serving agencies to ensure our tickest are going to families who will truly benefit from these incredible gifts.”

To see a list of these amazing agency partners, click here.

Upcoming This Year

“We are working toward our goal of 100,000 tickets valued at over $3 million by 2020. The more tickets we have, the more people we are able to reach. We would love to finally get rid of our waiting list of agencies looking to partner with Kids Up Front. We are also continuing to raise our profile in Toronto. We want every single person in the city to know what to do with their unused tickets.

Nationally, we can’t wait to watch Kids Up Front Ottawa and Kids Up Front Atlantic grow in their first full year as our newest Kids Up Front regions.”

Photo courtesy of Kids Up Front Toronto

I have personally seen the impact that Kids Up Front Toronto has done in the community. The smiles, excitement and pure enjoyment that the youth and kids exhibit during an event is the most heart tugging moment for anyone to see.

So if you have tickets that you can’t use or just want to give a child an opportunity of a lifetime, then I say Kids Up Front is the place to start in making a difference!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tanya, Program Manager at Kids Up Front Toronto for taking the time to do this exclusive interview with us at Momma Braga.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Advertisements

Swim With Santa Event Splashes With Joyous Spirit

We had the pleasure of attending the Swim with Santa event which was done by Aqua-Tots Swim School in Mississauga.

This was a member-exclusive event which was an all-ages and complimentary with the annual membership to the school. It is one of many great perks of registering at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.

The event was on Saturday, December 2nd from 2pm to 4pm and we were excited to go, especially Nikki who just adores going to swim school.

We arrived a little early which gave us some time to settle. We couldn’t help notice how beautiful and festive the swim school was decorated. They did not miss a single detail, from the candy cane shaped balloons at the front entrance to the festive décor at each activity section.

Our first stop was to drop off our non-perishable food donations for the Mississauga Food Bank which Aqua-Tots Swim School was collecting. Nikki happily placed our donation in the box and we were ready to see what to do next!

Nikki of course sat right at the arts and crafts station as it was her opportunity to get creative before Santa arrived. Nikki made a snowman ornament, coloured an Ollie with Santa page, and made a snowman mask. She had a blast!

Santa soon arrived and Nikki was in disbelief that he made it all the way to her swim school. Nikki was awfully shy so she opted out to take a photo with Santa. However, the pool was open for the family swim and Nikki was very excited to swim with her daddy (my husband , Mike).

It was so wonderful to see them both go into the swimming pool and Nikki showing her daddy all the skills that she has learned during swim class. They had such a wonderful time swimming together and Santa even made an appearance on deck to say hello to all the children with their families (please note that Santa did not go in the swimming pool, hehe).  Even though I was only a spectator, I couldn’t help feel the joyous spirit with the Christmas music playing in the background and watching all the families having so much fun. There was a holiday story corner where you can hear your favourite holiday story, a festive photo booth with props to capture your moment at the event and there was also a relay game where you need to help Santa deliver his gifts. All of these activities combined made it such an amazing event.

Not only did this event encompass all the fun from the holidays but it captured the spirit! Aqua-Tots Swim Schools showed the true spirit of the season by collecting non-perishable food items for the Mississauga Food Bank and they were also selling Ollie ornaments (Ollie is their official Otter mascot and the ornaments were created by one of the staff members – talk about talent!) which proceeds from the sale was benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters Charity. The true spirit of the season is giving and that is exactly what Aqua-Tots Swim Schools was doing on this fine Saturday afternoon.

Of course we had to purchase one and we have proudly hung it on our tree at home.

Above all, we had an amazing time at this very special event. We enjoyed every piece of it and the best take away for us was doing it together as a family. As we left the event, my husband turned to me and said that this was the best afternoon! He got to spend some real quality time with Nikki and this is everything that he ever wanted. Hearing that made my day as it was so nice to see them bond as my husband works different shifts and sometimes long hours so quality time is hard to do. This event gave that opportunity and it was just so much fun!

Remember that if you are looking to enroll your child in a swimming school, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools would be a great choice as they offer these types of events that really bring the community together.

Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new.

Until next…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

 

Teaching the Spirit of Giving

My parents were not born in Canada but emigrated here from Azores, Portugal in the 70’s and like many immigrants who were coming to Canada at that time it was for a better life and future. My parents did not have much when they arrived in Canada but were hopeful on the life they can build with the opportunities that were here.

Growing up I saw how much my parents worked to ensure that my sister and I had everything we needed. I remember seeing the struggling times and then some better times; above all, I always saw them give to others. They had their own way of giving and it would be discreetly as “you give from your heart and no one needs to know,” they would say. I always thought this was what we should always do so of course I inherited that mind set. It could explain why I wanted to go into social services and how it transitioned into fundraising as I have always had a passion to help others.

So now here I am in the most important role of my life, a mother. I have the opportunity to shape, guide and support the teaching of giving to my daughter.

Our first lesson of giving was making a toy donation during the Christmas season to a toy drive. The toy that would be picked would correspond with our daughter’s age. As she gets older, it will be her job to pick the special toy for the toy drive. This has become our family tradition and one that we can do together as a family. We will explain to her how important it is to give to others who are less fortunate and it not only makes other people happy but it does for us as well. Nikki won’t understand this yet as she is only 16 months old but it’s never too early to start teaching her.

As our little girl grows we will incorporate other ways to teach her the spirit of giving and done throughout the year. We feel that by teaching her the spirit of giving, it will lay the ground work for her to become a compassionate and giving individual to others. Giving does not mean monetary all the time as well and we will need to teach her that she does not need money to be giving. I came up with a list of ideas that can help teach children how to be giving.

1. Donate gently used clothes and toys
We personally do this one already as Nikki like many children grow out of their clothes and toys so quickly. When this happens we go through it all and give them to a family in need. If you don’t know a family to give to, then Goodwill will take them.

2. Volunteer
This is a great way to give and it does not require money but only time. Think of causes that are close to your family’s heart and volunteer. It could be at a food bank, toy drive, animal shelter, etc. The options can be endless.

3. Involve your child in the decision-making on a cause
Let your child tell you what they care about and what they are passionate about. It gives them more pride and drive in giving to something they really care about. If they love animals for example, they may want to support an animal organization or shelter.

4. Help a neighbour or someone elderly
This could be as simple as baking them some cookies as you see they are lonely or helping them shovel the snow. The simple acts are the ones that mean the most.

5. Create a ‘donate’ jar for change
Throughout the year you can put your spare change in this jar and at the end of the year, you can count what you have and donate it to a cause that the whole family cares about.

6. Have a ‘Charity’ Birthday
There are many ways of doing a Charity Birthday party but the concept is that a portion of the proceeds or presents will go to your child’s charity of choice. A great example of an online services that does this is called ECHOage.com.

7. Be a role model
Our children are like mirrors or reflections of us. When we lead by example, they will follow and then in turn they will become their own giving leaders.

If you would like specific ideas for you and your family, leave a comment below and I will help you with some ideas.

In the meantime, our giving lessons will continue in my household in hopes to create a more generous world.

– Momma Braga

 

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.