As a Canadian, I'm fortunate to live in a safe and prosperous country. I believe that Canadians are known for their kindness and compassion too. Certainly most of us want to help others who are less fortunate. Whether we give our time, skills or cold hard cash, we can all help make Canada even better.
This is why I'm thrilled to be involved with a new campaign that sees Canadians daring their friends, families and co-workers to "give" in whatever small (or large!) way they can. Research shows that one of the primary reasons people decide to give is just because someone asked them to. That’s the simple concept behind Dare2Give, the latest in the My Giving Moment Campaign, inspired by the Governor General of Canada.
What better way to inspire somebody to do something than by daring them? This innovative campaign asks us to dare others to donate or volunteer with us. In this simple way, we increase the impact of our giving and make Canada an even more caring nation. Plus, by daring others, we earn the chance to win a prize for a favourite charity, including the grand prize of a television commercial!
For my role as “giver” I challenged my husband and two kids to assist me with something I’ve always wanted to do – fostering an abandoned dog. Clearly my kids responded to this dare with enthusiasm. What kid says “no” to getting a dog? My husband took a little more convincing, seeing as we already have a lovely and sometimes challenging rescue dog of our own. But he loves animals too and he knows how important it is to me that we help some of the little lost souls in need of loving “furever” homes.
So I connected with the caring people at Bolton, Ontario-based Our Angels Dog Rescue. It’s a non-profit organization that finds foster and adoptive homes for abandoned and abused dogs of all breeds and ages. Often these adorable creatures are just days away from being euthanized when Our Angels Dog Rescue volunteers remove them from high-kill shelters.
We put in our application in the hopes of providing a foster home for Ace, a darling 1-year-old Beagle/King Charles Cavalier Spaniel mix. With all of these sweet animals to pick from, why did I choose Ace? I think what stood out for me is that Ace was still so shy around adults (based on who-knows-what kind of mistreatment), however, in his temporary boarding facility, he was “making great progress thanks to a boy who is his best friend.” I think it’s so beautiful that dogs recognize and appreciate the innocence of children. I knew that my own children could provide Ace with the love that he needs and deserves. And he would come around to the adults in his own time.
I challenged my three family members to participate in the care of the dog. Together, we would provide him with the food, water, exercise and training he would need. Our application approved, it wasn’t long before Ace arrived on our doorstep. If he is adorable in pictures, I can’t even find the words to tell you how sweet he is in real life. All I can say is he has a “presence” about him, a warmth that immediately infects you. We fell in love with him at first sight. He has not a touch of aggression in him, despite his previous fear of adults. And, while his tail wags for everybody who shares a kind word, it goes top speed for each and every child he encounters. He is going to make the most amazing family pet!
While fostering a dog isn’t for everyone (it requires patience with any potential “accidents” and a willingness to train), the Dare2Give challenge works for everybody, regardless of age or income level. The website has suggestions for charitable acts based on your personal interests. Choose from categories such as Animals, Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, International Development and more. Once you select the category, you get a range of ideas to start you thinking.
For example, in the category of Arts & Culture, you'll see this suggestion - If you own a business, offer it up for local artists to perform shows. Better yet, let them keep any money made for entry. In the category Children & Youth, this is one suggestion - Next time you buy a toy for your child, buy another one and donate it to a children's hospital or family in need. It's fun to browse through the ideas and come up with ideas that are a fit for you.
As part of the challenge, those who are dared to perform a kindness pick a further three people to challenge as well. These dares may be small acts of kindness such as delivering food to a mom with a new baby or volunteering at your child’s school. For those who can swing it, monetary donations are welcome too. If every Canadian giver challenged one other person to volunteer or donate along with them, imagine the good that could come out of it!
Dare2Give Contest – Win Big For Your Favourite Charity!
Once you have challenged your friends and family to a dare, visit the Dare2Give website or see below to enter how many dares you’ve made. You’ll then have a chance to win for your favourite charity (including that grand prize television commercial!). Enter your dares by December 14, 2014.
I think that most of us who have the opportunity to give find that we receive more in the bargain than the recipient of our kindnesses. I know that it’s true of our experiences with Ace. While he is clearly grateful for a place to snuggle, regular food and our affections, he brings us exponentially more joy than we bring him.
What would you dare others to do?
*Although this post has been generously sponsored by Rideau Hall Foundation, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Rideau Hall Foundation.