Interview with Noemie Pound
When I brought my family to last year’s Ottawa Children’s Gala, I had no idea what to expect, mostly due to the fact that I had never been to a “Gala” before. The fact that it was designed for children to come and have a good time was a major selling point for us and everyone in our family had an amazing time.
From face painting and princesses, to a candy bar and plenty of dancing, our kids spent the entire night with huge smiles on their faces. For my wife and I, it was an excellent opportunity for us to actually dress up and go out for once, which was really nice. The dinner was amazing and although I didn’t win anything in the many auctions, I tried my best and the prizes were very cool. Also, as if put there for me, there was a professional photo booth that was stocked with all sorts of goofy costumes to try on. Yes, I sometimes pretend that I am still a child.
Proceeds from the Ottawa Children’s Gala help support a program called ‘Plan-It Safe’ of CHEO. Corrine Langill and her team are dedicated to eliminating preventable childhood injuries in our city. Their mission is to increase local capacity, strengthen public policy, ensure effective programming and advocate for the creation of safe environments to reduce the toll injuries take on children and youth in our communities.
So with good food, loads of fun for the kids, a great cause and amazing people, I’m not sure what else you need to hear to convince you that this is a great event. This year’s gala, which will be hosted by Lianne Laing and Angie Poirier, starts at 4pm on Saturday March 8th, and will be once again held at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre. You can get your tickets RIGHT HERE and I hope to see you there!
I was fortunate enough to attend the Ottawa Children’s Gala last year and saw, first hand, the amount of good they are doing for our city. That is why I am happy to share their new contest with you, with the Grand Prize being 2 tickets to see the Ottawa Senators host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec 7th at the Canadian Tire Centre!
The Ottawa Children’s Gala is the only one of its kind in Ottawa: a formal gala filled with entertainment for both children and adults all in the beautiful setting of the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre. There will be a red carpet, complete with a professional photographer, a classy meal, exciting entertainment and, of course, a dance. The 2014 Ottawa Children’s Gala is being held in support of a program called ‘Plan-It Safe’ of CHEO.
I am a huge fan of the Gala and everything it stands for and plan on returning for this year’s event on March 8th, 2014! You can purchase tickets Right Here! Be sure to stop by their Facebook and Twitter pages as well.
Now, on to the contest! Entering couldn’t be easier. Simply complete as many of the options on the Rafflecopter form as you would like and we’ll take care of the rest. Good Luck!
I had so much fun with my last “Children Who Inspire” interview that I’ve decided to make it a recurring feature on the blog. I find it fascinating and inspiring to see how many children there are out there who are taking an active interest in making the world a better place, and I think it’s important to share their stories. This growing group of young change agents give me hope for the future and more importantly, inpsire me to want to make a difference with my actions.
I was excited to have the opportunity to interview a Canadian duo who are doing their part to give back. Jasmine (10) & Grace (8) are the co-founders of a local club called, The Charity Group. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because I had previously featured The Charity Group in one of my early posts, so I was excited to get a chance to see what they were all about. Here are their answers to my questions, along with some commentary from one of the parents.
CD: What made you want to start “The Charity Group”?
Jasmine – I had been collecting funds or food for my birthday for several years (i.e. 7th birthday – money was collected for CHEO; 8th birthday – money collected for Japanese Earthquake Relief; 9th birthday – collected food for Kanata Food Bank) with some success. One day I asked my dad how to do more. He mentioned that there were groups of people that raised money for charities and that maybe a way to raise or do more. I thought this sounded like a good idea and began typing a letter to start my own Group. I asked Grace to help out and we went from there.
Grace – It sounded like a good idea. Helping the neighbourhood and community is fun.
CD: How did you get others to sign up?
We made a sign up sheet with some cool visuals. We went around to specific kids in the neighbourhood (aged 5 to 12; and they had to be able to walk to our houses). We asked these kids to join; Grace and Jasmine each memorized a specific portion of their recruitment speech. Most kids were eager to participate and the age range expanded as other neighbourhood kids asked to be involved. Parents were also asked/encouraged to join as support and to assist in harnessing the kids’ energy.
CD: What has been your favourite experience with it so far?
The Cancer Carnival of 2012, by far. It was fun, we raised the most money of all our events, there were lots of activities, we met new kids and we had fun hanging with the other Charity Group members.
CD: What is next for your group?
We are planning on building bird houses/feeders for the Wild Bird Centre.
We have a Christmas Show to be done at a local Senior’s home for this holiday season.
We are designing a Hallowe’en Safety Brochure – that will be on the blog; and handed out to the neighbourhood.
CD: What advice can your give to other kids who want to start a similar project in their school/neighbourhood?
For a neighbourhood group:
a. Find like-minded people to help out.
b. Go out to recruit from the neighbourhood and ask your target group if they want to join.
c. Be ready for kids/people to say “No”.
d. Start with small projects and local, which can be very visible and easy to do- like cleaning the park
e. As you get momentum with finishing your initial, smaller, local projects, you may begin to “Think Big”. At this time, you will need to involve parents as support and to assist in logistics.
f. Be mindful of the school year – it is easier to get together in the summer, because there are less activities being done by group members. During school time, sports, dance, music, tutoring, other lessons, tournaments, competitions, family time may take away from when meetings or events can be held. Not everyone may be able to do or go to everything.
g. Send out communication to the group regularly (i.e. minutes from last meeting; follow up from ideas discussed). Be sure to include parent emails to this communique.
CD: What are your long and/or short term goals with your philanthropy?
Keep on using birthdays to raise awareness of charities or events
Do annual cleaning of the neighbourhood play areas
Explore how to interact with community more (hospital visits or senior home visits).
Explore technology – use of blog, Youtube, making a video.
Long Term (5-10 years)
The girls were quite struck about what they may be doing when they were 16-19 years old! They both began thinking of jobs and or school.
The Charity Group may still be going – the hope is that younger kids would be continuing the torch – maybe two portions, an older and a younger group membership?
Exploring other options of doing more things outside of the Charity Group – like volunteering at a shelter.
Using work experience to spread the word – doing something with part-time work?
Continue to be involved with the neighbourhood, but looking to expand impact.
I want to say a huge thank you to the girls for taking the time to answer all my questions and want them to know that I am inspired by what they are doing. My hope in putting this feature together is that it will inspire others to get their kids involved in making their community a better place to live. Great work, girls!!
The opinions on Princess culture run from those who love everything about the fairy tale stories, to those who think princesses are ruining our little girls and driving us further into debt with all the commercialization. I have always been in the middle. I love how much my little girl adores the princess culture but I don’t think it’s turning her into anything more than a little girl who has found something she loves.
I had a change of opinion this past week, however, when something amazing happened. My friend Christine, who blogs for “Life on Manitoulin”, was forced to take an emergency helicopter ride with her 4 year old daughter, who was experiencing severe stomach pains. When they got to Ottawa and were released from CHEO, following the little one’s surgery, I got the chance to spend some time with them. Her little one, tough as nails by the way, started telling me all about her favourite princesses, as little girls do.
Christine had asked me if I thought we would be able to hire a princess on such short notice and seeing as how I am no stranger to hanging out with and writing about all things princess, I decided to try to help out. I called Official Princess Parties, a company that has already impressed me in the past, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for the kindness that followed.
I explained why I needed someone on such short notice and the owner mentioned that they were all booked up for the next couple weeks, but would send out a feeler to see if anyone was interested in the extra work. Not one minute later, while we were still on the phone, she had already received 3 messages back with people saying they wanted to help out. That would have been enough for me to sing their praises but the owner then mentioned that she wanted to provide this visit, to cheer up a scared little girl, on the house, and my heart exploded. Our princess showed up that night and had everyone mesmerized and smiling from ear to ear. She was perfect and it is exactly the thing that little girl needed at that moment.
Long story short, you can think whatever you want about the effects of princess culture, but this single event and watching the joy on that little girl’s face was enough to convince me of the overwhelming positives that can come from it. At the pace life is moving these days, sometimes it’s just nice to let kids be kids, and when it comes to princesses, I am fine with doing just that. Thank you to the amazing staff at Official Princess Parties for making this little girl’s pain a little more bearable.
This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting Spencer Warren, and we got to talking about a huge event he puts on every year. The event is called The Ottawa Children’s Gala and it is being held in support of CHEO’s “Plan-It Safe” program.
The Ottawa Children’s Gala is a formal gala, which is filled with entertainment for adults and children. The event, held in the Grand Ballroom at the Hampton Inn Ottawa, will have a red carpet, complete with a professional photographer, a classy meal, exciting entertainment and a dance.
The doors will open at 4pm on February 16th, 2013, where you can enjoy a cocktail with ambient music from Kimberley Dunn. Walk down the red carpet to have your photo taken with your family, get your face painted and enjoy the evening with performances by ‘Orpheus’, Kimberley Dunn, Brothers Dube, Pulse N’Limited and many more acts. The Gala will be hosted by the CTV Morning Show’s Lianne Laing.
The longer we talked about the Gala, the more excited I was for it to actually get here. Spencer assured me that the tickets will sell out, so if you are interested in attending, I suggest you head over to the Ottawa Children’s Gala Website soon, to stay on top of the info. You can also skip right to the ordering tickets part by Clicking Here!
This promises to be a great time for the whole family and it also supports a great cause in CHEO’s Plan-It Safe program. For updates on the Ottawa Children’s Gala, you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook. In the meantime, check out this great video from last year’s Gala, so you can see what it’s all about. Hope to see you there!
More About CHEO’s “Plan-It Safe” Program
Corrine Langill and her team are dedicated to eliminating preventable childhood injuries in our city. Their mission is to increase local capacity, strengthen public policy, ensure effective programming and advocate for the creation of safe environments to reduce the toll injuries take on children and youth in our communities. The Centre works in collaboration with many of the community partners who deliver injury prevention programming. Its core competencies are injury surveillance, research and program evaluation, consultation on program planning, implementation and evaluation, advocacy and professional and public education.
Ben Franklin has been quoted as having said, “In the world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” While I don’t want to be the one to disagree with the great Mr. Franklin, I do have one more thing to add to his list of certainties.
That addition would be the certainty that you can trust the caring people at Ottawa’s, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, to take the best possible care of your children while they are there. I speak from personal experience, not only as a father but also as a former patient. The people at CHEO have never been anything but extraordinary each and every time I have had to take my little one’s in there.
Both my children screened for Biotinidase Defficiency at birth, so my wife and I have spent many hours in the Genetics department at CHEO, worrying about the effects it will have on our children. It takes a special kind of person to work in a children’s hospital and it’s evident from our time spent there that all the staff at CHEO have that special something to make parents and children feel at ease.
I’ve been starting to realize lately, that people are actually listening to the things I have say. With this realization came an opportunity to use that voice to do some good and that’s fully what I intend on doing. When I contacted CHEO a month ago to see if I could help out in any way, I was excited to hear that they were starting a blog. I mean, what better way to help that to do for them what I have already been doing for the past 7 months!
They even let me help out with the design of the site by running ideas by me and actually listening to my input, which was a surreal time for me. You’ll see the results of my efforts throughout the site and also on the main banner, as what started as CHEO Moms has now become something that all parents (Dads included) can be proud to be a part of. There are even 3 Dads on the Featured Bloggers list, which is amazing!
Without any further ado, I am proud to present to you, my first post as a member of the CHEO parenting blogger team! I wrote about my CHEO experience as a father and hope you’ll stop by to say hi.
I hope you’ll bookmark CHEO’s new blog as has some amazing writers working on it and promises to be an invaluable resource for parents. I’m so proud to be a part of the CHEO team and can’t wait to read more from everybody involved!