Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2nd Presentation: BiH's History, Social & Economic Inplications of 90s War, Government, Placement & Highlights from Alumni trips (06)

Last week I presented for the second time. I focused on the history of BiH (including the war in 1992-5), the implications of the Bosnian war and the Omladinsky Centar that was built post-war in an effort to create harmony via the youth. I also included some pictures of Gornji-Vakuf, surrounding cities in BiH & cities in Croatia which Alumni visited on their time off during their placements. Unlike the first presentation, my professor timed us and cut us off at the 10 minute mark. Two years ago when I was in "Speech Communication" I would have panicked when seeing the "2 min" or "20 second" sign; however, surprisingly enough I found myself rolling with the punches, summing up my key points and finish in the nick of time. (Mind you I had practiced my presentation at least 6 times before presenting to the class and had picked up some tricks from Matt's presentation, which I will explain below.)
It was interesting to see how my peers reacted under pressure. Some people where able to adapt to the situation while others struggled. I also loved analyzing my peer's PowerPoint slides and recall my IBT high school years when we learned about creating an effective slide, i.e., it should have X amount of words per slide, you should expand on the points in your verbal presentation and the slides need to be relevant (not common knowledge). However, I learned a new technique from Matt's presentation, which I then emulated in mine.
Since we had time restrictions, he put a little more than the average amount of information on his slides. He gave the audience a disclaimer that he would not have time to go over all the points. Thus, if they felt inclined they could read the slide for more thorough information. If not, they could listen while he verbally communicating the key points. This became increasingly useful when Joanne flashed the "2 minute" sign in front of me. Thanks Matt. :D


Monday, March 30, 2009

Hosting my 1st Solo Fundraiser: What a Success!

I don't even know where to begin...

After months of preparation, weekly visits home to get donated auction/door prize items and promote my event, the day had finally arrived, and I still had SO much to do! I had to get last minute auction prizes, organize the auction prizes and my presentation, get ready, find out when my friend, Jen, was coming to help out, greet early guests, try to figure out the projector for my presentation and serve customers at the bar. It was a very stressful beginning. I signed with relief when I saw Jen come in the doors. Right away I put her to work (don't worry she was getting a free meal/entertainment/ "life lesson from the regulars" out of it). She did a great job helping set up the auction and sell the products; thanks Jen. She also amused my regular customers. My mom was also a TREMENDOUS help. She blew my expectations out of the park! She did everything from arguing to get a float with a local Superstore manager, to helping manage the auction, from bussing table to helping me in the bar. Us Sesek ladies definitely have hard work ethics! I so proud of you mom!! (Jen and Mom: you two ladies were definitely super stars!)

For me, the night went so quickly. I was all over the place. I was working the bar, serving and bussing the band and their table, presenting, mingling with my formal customers/friends, etc. I definitely kept busy.

Those in my BB class know that I like to be ultra prepared for my presentations. Thus, when I was left "winging it", I was a bit nervous. It went over alright but do to nerves I said "um" quite a bit and left out some interesting facts. What can I say, I'm not the greatest impromptu speaker, however, I think I did alright considering I didn't have a script at all.

After my presentation I go some exciting news! My former customer and friend, John D., who works with the Mayor of Georgetown, presented an award on behalf of the Mayor wishing me all the best on my journey to BiH. Afterwards he added that they have something waiting for me when I return. "Something waiting for me when I return"?? My curiosity is running wild with that comment. What could it be? I guess I'll have to practice being patient.

The rest of the night was a blast. The dinner was done, my grandma and her boyfriend were dancing up a storm while the band was playing. I even danced with some on my old customers and got to converse with my favourite customers and co-worker while cleaning up.

The silent auction went well. I sold almost all of the items. I am SO grateful for the outpour of support I have received from local businesses, and friends. The items were amazing! I made an outstanding amount during my fundraising event, and in the end it was great to see family and friends. All in all it was a huge success. Moreover, I am THRILLED to announce that the fundraiser, along with my uncle's generous contribution, has helped me complete the fundraising portion of my program. All $2000 has been raised!!! :D

Thank you to all who helped make the event successful, and thank you to everyone who came out to support me.


The lost document... faith and perseverance

"all the pain and fear... maybe going through that is what keeps us going forward"
- Grey's Anatomy 5.19

Recently I lost something very important to me; a crucial document that could alter my path in life. I was devastated. Since then I have had anxiety on a regular basis, thinking of the "what ifs" and worrying about the effect it would have on my dreams, and future in general.

Looking back I think that it has helped me in many ways. It has helped remind me of its importance and necessity. It has also helped me realise my core group of supporters and rocks. Through this experience I have leaned on a few friends and family members, of whom I thank. I have also gained friendships and respect for others. My professor and Intercordia superiors have been very helpful and reassuring, always telling me to "have faith". Although I was very greatful that they were so supportive, I just couldn't stay positive. That was until I confided in my grandmother, my Baka.

One day I called her fairly upset and she immediately put me at ease. She didn't make excuses for me, but in a non condescending way she reminded me that I needed to be more careful. Then she added that accidents happen and that I NEED to learn from this mistake. She also told me an enlightening story about her grandmother who lost a very important key. Her grandmother was distraught and was panicking. My baka simply told her to pray to St. Anthony and eventually he would help open their eyes within three days. After three days my baka went outside looking for the key and sure enough St. Anthony helped her find it. She also recalled a time when she had lost some important documents. Again she immediately started praying to St. Anthony. Within the day, my uncle found the documents.

At the end of my fundraising event, while embracing me before leaving, my baka whispered, "did you find it?" to which I replied, "no" :( Many would lose faith but not my baka. She said that she would continue to pray.

Today I became anxious and unable to focus like usual. I checked my e-mail; I had received an e-mail I was dreading from my professor regarding my document. Immediately I called my baka and deda. Like always, they remained calm and helped me keep focused. My deda, along with my dear friend Holly an hour before, had convinced me that I would need to take action and speak with my parents. They made me realise that I could not put it off any longer; I would have to confide in them.

The phone call to my parents turned out much better than I anticipated. Like usual, my dad was calm and collected, something he's great at when ever I seem to be nervous or worried about something. He gave me great advice and helped me formulate a game plan.

Consequently, after 2-3 weeks, my anxiety over the whole situation is finally decreasing. I am less worried and more focused.

Looking back, my baka was right. I may not have found my documents within 3-4 days but I my eyes were opened. I was able to get up to courage to speak to all the core people I needed to speak with to get the ball rolling.

One thing is for sure, this process has definitely made me value Beyond Borders significantly more. It has made me appreciate and respect Joanne, Lisa and Mary Bee to a high degree. It has also allowed me to bond with my family and friends, and made me cognitive of my goals in life. I now know for complete certainty that I want to get an internship with a NGO/NPO before attending teacher's college and I need to make sure that I do everything in my power to ensure that that dream is accomplished. I need to care less about frivolous things and more about my goals. This pain and fear of losing another dream has definitely pushed me towards my dreams.

Now I just need to have faith that my dreams are meant to be. Faith and perseverance, those two key words are what I need to have.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Volunteer Award!

Last Monday I had a nice and unexpected surprise waiting for me in the grade 2 portable that the local elementary school I volunteer at biweekly. I had an award and invitation to an event honouring "outstanding volunteers".

It's crazy to think that I received an award for doing something that I LOVE SO much. Mondays and Wednesdays when I am able to volunteer at Keatsway are BY FAR the highlights of my week. A smile always formulates with I go to my placement. I adore the grade 2 students. Aspiring teachers will understand the joy I get out of a child finally understanding a concept or improving in their academic and or behavioural skills. Like my dear friends and soon to be teachers, I also love being called by my last name, "Ms. George".

The other week I was walking to school and I could hear a child tell his mother, "I think I know that girl." The mother replying, "Keep walking!" The child said, "I do know that lady, it's Ms. George, HI MS. GEORGE!!!” To this I responded, "Hi!" while waving from across the street. In the distance I could hear the child saying in a proud voice, "I told you I knew her!" A smile plastered onto my face for the rest of my journey to campus.

I have always wanted to be a teacher. When I was young I used to give my Baka English lessons, and from elementary school to middle school I would always play "teacher" with my best friend, Ashley. Since then I have mentored and tutored numerous children and have been a T.A./ teacher at my uncle's educational camps for 5years. With that said, it is great to be able to volunteering in a classroom all year long.

Moreover, I will forever be grateful that my mentor, Jason, asked me to assist in his class. He is one of the best mentors I have ever worked with (and I've worked with a lot). I learn something new almost every day I volunteer. He has taught me numerous, vital teaching skills such as being completely honest with the students, involving the parents in fun, interactive learning activities, having honest and open communication with the parents, incorporating movies and personal knowledge on topics that the students learn, and to stick up for yourself when it comes to the school politics and your beliefs. Unlike many teachers, from the beginning he has allowed me to take a major role in the classroom. I regularly work one-on-one with the students, facilitating activities that test their cognitive knowledge. I have also been able to write a lesson plan and rubric, and run an art activity that evaluated the students' knowledge on the water cycle. Moreover, he has taught me a huge, valuable lesson.

Since joining BB, I became interested in NGOs/NPOs. For months I have been debating whether to continue taking steps towards applying for teacher's college next fall or do a Masters/work for an NGO beforehand before teaching.

After observing Jason’s lessons and conversing about politics, development issues, and education after class, I have realised that his additional knowledge from person experience, running a company, owning a farm, and a desire to continuously expand his knowledge, has given him a competitive advantage over teachers who directly enter the school board after graduating from post secondary education and teacher's college.

I will never forget when one of the grade 2's fathers expressed his gratitude towards Jason. He said that his children learned more in his class than from any other teacher because he teaches the students more than what is in the textbook. For instance, he uses personal anecdotes, activities, and plays to help engage the kids. That afternoon I decided that I wanted to follow suit. I want to be able to make a large impact on children's lives.

Thus, I believe that the Beyond Borders experience and future internships with NGOs/NPOs will diversify my knowledge and understanding of the multi facet society people live in. I hope my worldly experiences will help enhance my future students' educational experience.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Within the past two days, two people have called me strong. This is very ironic to me because I don't feel strong at all. Sure I put on a happy face and try not to wear my heart on my sleeve, but I don't feel like enduring heartache and hardships makes me a strong person. I know that I have grown and have gain self discovery over the past little while, but haven't we all in our own way? I am glad to be able to share my stories, my struggles, and my attempts to overcome my hurdles. But I think that we are all here to become agents to someone or some people. I know that during my darkest moments, I needed the guidance and motivation of others. I feel honored to be able to share my thoughts and experiences with others and to receive such welcoming and positive feedback. However, I don't feel like "strength" can really discribe an emotion person that I am. With that said, I would like to thank Holly, John, Jessica, and Dan. Moreover, I feel like these seminars and the life stories always make me feel closer to the group and are a HUGE asset to the program.

Intercordia Seminar # 3 with King's!!! :D

Today we had our Intercordia Canada seminar in Kitch.. It was bittersweet. I had been excited to see the King's students for weeks. It was definitely nice to see Dan, Brit, and Chelsea again. During the seminar a L'Arche resident, Bill, came in to speak about his life. He made us laugh with his cute jokes, infectious laughter, and great stories. Lisa's husband helped Bill explain his life. We also learned a new, fun spin off version of volleyball game I used to play during lunch in high school. We talked about appropriate times to contact IPP/ICC. Chelsea and I found out from Lisa that we will be getting VERY basic language training when we first arrive in BiH. Specific details about our travel plans and required documentations were also presented to us.

Two people I lived with in first year (Wanda and Kevin) spoke during the seminar about their experiences in BiH and Ukraine in 2007. It was an AMAZING opportunity to pick Wanda's brain (BiH Alumni). For instance, I found out that only 4% of the land in BiH has landmines, which was a tad comforting. I also found out that the Croatian side has received more financial aid to rebuild their side after the war. Wanda also explained the differences between N.American lifestyles and Bosnian/Croatian lifestyles. She explained that people are much more relaxed in BiH. Since a lot of people do not work (the employed work in cafes or in construction) their days are very leisurely. She told us to be prepare to be bored. I have heard this comment a lot from other Alumni and have worried; I have been brought up in a family that thrives on being busy. The funny thing is that last year my second cousins from Croatia came to visit us in Canada. They were foreigners like I will be this summer. Their lifestyle was very similar to what the Alumni had explained; they took their time getting ready, making sure that they look very presentable. They definitely suffered from culture shock when visiting us in Canada. Most of the days they spend here were jammed packed with places to go and people to see. My poor extended family was exhausted half the time and probably needed another holiday once they returned to Croatia. It was interesting to hear that my 2nd cousins aren't the only ones with an opposing lifestyle. It's weird to think that I will have to adjust to their lifestyle like they had to adjust to ours. (I like to plan out my days and make them as eventful as possible, although I also like having my down time. It will be interesting to see how I will react to on-the-fly programming, potentially having numerous uneventful days in a row, and reintegrate back into a time crunching life in Canada.)

It was also interesting to hear that the language barrier in host countries caused people to interact with each other in a more simplistic way. Instead of talking about TV and movies, Alumni would play something with the indigenous people. The bonds were different. I've always wanted to immerse myself head-first into a new culture/foreigh language. To have to learn the basics. I know that it will be extremely frustrating at times because I will feel excluded from a lot of conversations. At the same time I'm excited at the prospect of learning the language and being about to speak to my grandparents when I come back to Canada, even if it's only a few phrases. I know that my Baka and Deda will be thrilled too!

Speaking one-on-one with Wanda and viewing her photos with Chelsea was SO useful. I found out that the U.S. volunteers bring an abundant amount of arts & craft supplies; one picture showed the kids hitting each other (in a playful way) with blow-up bowling pins that were as big as they are. I'm very excited to help facilitate their programs. Since discovering that we will be teaching English I have wondered about the materials I should bring. I had been debating whether to buy English work books (i.e., the ones found in Costco). Wanda gave us some really helpful advice: we should bring phrase books and teach them English phrases because it will be more useful than learning random words. I never thought of that. It was great insight.

Since volunteering at Speak English Cafe, I have wondered if Bosnia will have a similar program (AKA informal programs to improve our comprehension of the Bosnian language by facilitating activities that allow us to practice our Bosnian with patient people in the host country). Wanda explained that some of the permanent staff at the centre would love it if we took the initiative to start a similar program to SEC. This sparked some excitement in me. I would LOVE to start something up. We'll see. *Crossing Fingers!*
Moreover, I found out more about the relationships Bosnians and Croatians have. It was very informative and helped put me at easy. :D

One thing that was difficult was sharing my life story with most of the BB students and the King's students. I showed John my unedited (LONG) version. He definitely put me at ease by thanking me for sharing my story with him and letting me know that it would be a great thing to share with the group to give people more insight on where I come from and give a different perspective on my life. Jessica V. was very sweet by coming over to sit near me afterwards to show her support. Thank you Jess for the thought of a hug: D Dan was also very kind afterwards. Although it was very hard sharing my life story and I felt a bit uncomfortable with people afterwards, it was good to express myself without the worry of being judged. It was nice to finally show that there's more to me than what lies on the surface. I LOVE hearing other people's stories. I felt so privileged to be trusted with their personal struggles and achievements. It helps me understand their character and what got them to the place they are now at in their lives.

Moreover, I appreciated the talk I had with Lisa and MaryB. They helped put me at ease about an issue I was having so thank you to them.
Lastly, it was great hanging out with Chelsea.

Although logistics are putting a lot of stress on me, I am becoming excited at the prospect that in less than 2 months this opportunity of a lifetime will begin! My countdown to the airport party with Chels, Ryan and Jillian will commence very soon! :D

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cloud Nine! I'm in the paper!!!!

After A LOT of work, I got my story into the local paper!! I'm ecstatic!!! I hope that this will create some buzz and more people will buy tickets to my event!

*Crossing Fingers*

Here's the article: http://www.independentfreepress.com/news/article/66657

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Opening Pandora's Box

The other day an uncomfortable situation arouse. As a result, I decided to take some time off school work today and prepare for my personal story that I have to present during my Intercordia Canada seminar this Saturday. (The personal story must consist of 3 hardships and 3 achievements in my life thus far.) The combination of the two was very hard emotionally. It was like opening Pandora’s box. With that said, it was almost therapeutic. I saw some links between my uncomfortable situation and past hardships. I also saw how these hardships led to some amazing transformations in my life.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Water Shortage and Population Crisis

Two reoccurring, interrelated topics that I have come across are the water shortage and population crisis. It started a few months ago with conversations I had with one of my former Zio's customer Bob W. and my mentor Jason R., then two weeks ago when my friend, Lauren, who went to a conference on Water Supplies in Toronto, then during my BB class meeting in TWC, and then in a Globe and Mail (GAM)(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090311.wwater0312/BNStory/International/home)article & Population International Growth (PIG)article(http://www.populationaction.org/Publications/Reports/Mapping_the_Future_of_World_Population/Summary.shtml).
The overall concern is that the population is growing too rapidly and the result will be a shortage of water, although there are other factors involved. Consequently, there will be world conflicts over the scarce water supply. Specifically the GAM states that the world population is estimated to grow by 80 million people per year and the UN (in the PIG article) estimates that there will be approx. 7.5 billion - 8.3 billion people worldwide by 2025. This takes into account the predicted population decline in parts of the world, such as Eastern Europe (which is already experiencing decreases), sub-Saharan Africa and South America. It also considers the current, rapid population growth in northern South Asia and eastern Asia. These states take into account the worldwide increase of life expectancy. Moreover, the statistics are the lower-median estimates for the population grown. (Refer to the PIG website for charts projecting this information). The GAM sheds some hard truths about affects the interrelated topics will have on the world. The World Water Development Report notes that it is "[predicted] that by 2030, nearly half of the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress." Thus, new conflict resolution strategies MUST be designed to control global tensions that will arise. (Some of the countries that will be significantly affected are "Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Haiti, Sri Lanka and Colombia". As well, people living on the coast and in urban areas will be greatly affected. Interestingly, a water shortage might also have a negative effect on the economy in "in parts of China, India and Indonesia, and commercial centers in Australia and the western United States". These shortages are linked back to the population and urban growth. An additional cause of the water shortage is agricultural uses. According to the GAM article, 70% of water use by people is linked to raising crops and growing livestock. This is a partial result of our current lifestyle diets that require us to eat a lot of meat, eggs and dairy products. Besides an increase in potential, global conflicts, the water shortage will create more "climate-change refugees"- people displaced due to climate change- and an increase of world disease since ~10% of diseases come from unsanitary water.

This summary is NOT meant to scare you, overwhelm you, or make you pessimistic. I just ask that you merely use this as a learning tool, and that the article will help you become a more aware global citizen. I hope that my BB classmates will reflect on this post and perhaps come up with questions they can pose/ask locals during their placements. From there, I hope that they will be able voice their findings to myself and their blog followers so that we can all increase our knowledge on these topics.

Some additional information and thoughts:

http://www.overpopulation.org/solutions.html brings up some interesting ideas and facts. First of all, it compares the finite resource crisis with sharing a pie: an increasing amount of consumers will put limits on the amount of pie (resources) each person can have. The problem, besides overpopulation, is overconsumption and exploitation. This reminds me of The Pedagody of the Opressed. The developed countries consume/produce an exponential and unnecessary amount of water/emission, while developed countries suffer the most. The moral of the story is that we need to become more efficient when using these resources. This is something that we MUST do as individuals and encourage corporations and our society to do. As discussed during our recent BB class in TWC these goals can be achieved by changing our own live style, i.e., taking alternative trasportation, turning off the water while brushing our teeth, taking shorter and or less frequent showers, unpluging appliances between uses, pouring less chemicals and food down our sinks, etc. By changing our habits, we can lead by example. We can start to encourage others. This can either be done vocally or by simply and silently living our lives. Remember that actions speak louder than words. For those closeted activists, you can attempt to write articles in local newspapers, start facebook groups, or talk to local organizations, i.e., oncampus environmental groups or faculties, churches, schools. My mentor at the school I'm volunteering initiated/founded a composting program last year. Now there are composts in every class in the school. Just like creating new clubs, environmental and or social issues and initiatives can be brought up and acted upon. You just been a little support, a lot of confident, perseverance and "passion" (refering to our last BB meeting at TWC). (Personal or secondary connections also help.) I hope that this has been informative, if not a tad inspirational.


If Everyone Cared

After reading Matt's most recent blog entry, I was inspired to share my favourite music video. I think that the video is very inspirational. It compliments Joanne's views that sometimes the things that are the most difficult can end up being the most valuable/rewarding. We might have barriers but "We Can" break through them. It's all about "resilience", adaptation, mitigation, perseverance, and determination! ... I hope the video inspires you...

The Power of A HUG!

Reading a fellow BB classmate's blog, Struggling, made me reflect on the magic of a hug. I am a HUGE advocator for doing "the small stuff". For instance, if gives me great joy to motivate/listen to friends in need, make arts & crafts for people, say "thank you" to bus drivers, etc. Like many, I also love receiving the small things such as words of encouragemnt and pep-talks. I'm ever so grateful to my friends who, without a second though, led me money for a cab home, offer me a ride or a wake up call (*cough JK, Erin, Kate, Jen, and countless others*). Moreover, I believe in the magic of a hug. The other day I was struggling with some personal issues. I was trying to put on a strong, happy face for my friends because I was going out to an event with them, but they knew something was wrong. Long story short, I confided in a dear friend of mine, Wei-, who immediately threw her arms around me and embraced me in a huge huge. That was all I needed. It's like a kid getting a lollipop when at the doctors; it instantly made me feel better and made me value our friendship even more. The moral of the story is that, like my previous blog, I just want to remind everyone to value the small stuff and take a few minutes out of your day to try and do acts of kindness for others. You'd be suprised at how a small thing like holding the door for someone, saying "thank you" or spending a few minutes to ask someone "How are you doing" and REALLY mean it can really help brighten up their day and yours as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First Mail!!!

A few times a week I check my mail box. It reminds me of my first two years in residence. The anticipation of whether I would FINALLY recieve a personal letter, or at least something other than my monthly Rogers bill. Well Friday we my LUCKY day! A smile stretched from one side of my face to the other. Excitement filled me. A letter! From a donor! Who could it be?!
It reminded me of my placement three years ago when I was working up North for coop. One day I found out that a huge package had come in the mail for me. It turns out that my mom finally sent me a care package with socks, warm, new clothes, TONS of chocolate bar that my roommate at the time got my obsessed with, and a letter. It was the most amazing gift I had received in a long time!
Anyways, Friday I received a letter from a dear friend and former priest of mine, Father Kuzma. He sent a very generous, or "small contribution" as he said, of $200.00 to go towards BiH. I was overcome with shock and happiness. It was very generous. Even better, I received a personal letter wishing me luck and expressing his happiness to converse with me after so many years.
It truely made my day and reminded me that the smallest things can make such a difference in someone's life. It also reminded me that I NEED to send my letter and gift to my family friend. She's almost 100 yrs old and LOVES receiving letters. I MUST find out how many stamps are needed in order to send that package and I need to send it tomorrow while I'm in town promoting my event.

A special thanks goes out to Father Kuzma and his parish. Thank you for your contribution and thank you for reminding me about the importance of doing little things like writing hand written letters. :D

God bless,


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Readings from TWC & Reflecting on the Recession

Ivan's article speaks about the importance of mantaining an informal community in order to ensure that the coomon good is benefiting. The second last paragraph sums up the article very well by stating, "The determination of our culture to destroy the common good can only be confronted by “creating a different basis for morality, for action, for living, and therefore for politics”. The only way to overcome our collective alienation from nature and each other is to create conditions where human relationships flourish, where there is a commitment to diversity and mutual support, where people have the ability to shape their tools to create their own informal production and where there is respect for disorderly order."

I will be putting my two-cents into this very soon. But for now I will simply say that I agree with the majority of the article.


Joe's article seems to compliment Ivan's. He wants people to refocus on non-commercial goods.

I think this article, and our group discussion on these articles, come at a good time. We are at the beginning of what could be an indefinite recession. People need to refocus. We all need to minimize our spending habits. At the same time, this is a great opportunity to open ourselves up to the community and start doing things that are less commercial and more personable. Trying to come up with creative ways to occupy our time could be a great thing. When the income is low, people resort to doing more localized and personable activities. Store bought gifts and clothes might be replaced by personable, home-made gifts. Instead of partying all the time, people might be more inclined to attending all-inclusive formal functions or hosting group gatherings at local establishments or in the comfort of his or her home. Instead of buying new clothes and furniture people may find hidden gems in local second hand stores like "Worth A Second Look", or in friends' closets, or even revamp an old look in their own closet.
Finances are tight for many, myself included. On the up side, it forces us to become creative and interact on a more personal and equalizing level with others. It might also help us grow as people, whether it be helping us become bargin-savy, and or gain new connections through an increase in community involvement.


Refer to my blog entitled " Affordable Alternatives " for ideas on bargain-savy alternatives to old habits

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reflecting on Others Blogs

Reflecting on Others Blogs
I just finished reading Jen's quote on her blog and it really spoke to me. You can view it at: http://ternojen.blogspot.com/ (It's entitled: quote of the day, v. II. )

As I wrote on Jen's blog, I think this quote embodies what each of us hopes to get out of our Beyond Border's experience. We want to grow as people and become more at peace with ourselves. Our experience with BB will hopefully help us achieve these goals.

Moreover, it reminded me of a conversation I had with Maryam and Ruby where we discussed the role of governments. Specifically, we decided that perhaps change needed to start with the local people/communities. Going back to the quote, ‘knowledge and understanding are key elements to peace.’, governments don't create peace, PEOPLE do. With that said, I must remember Scott's words of wisdom, "you would be arrogant to think that you can change the world". Maybe I won't be able to do anything, but I will hopefully be able to converse with locals and NGOs in order to understand their situation in BiH and find out if they are satisfied with the status quo.

Matt’s blog (Lessons from Worth A Second Look) reminded me of a recent visit to Zio's Italian Restaurant, where I used to bartend. As Matt mentioned in his blog, many companies are only worried about "the bottom line". Even some companies that "helping third world countries" are only there to make money. However, every now and then we come across hidden gems, like WASL and Zio's who provided something more important than a commodity; they provided a welcoming atmosphere. My regular customers always reminded me that people don't go to the bar to drink, they go to socialize. It's nice to see that some places are in it for more than just a profit.

Another customer brought up a good point about the economy, which related to Matt’s blog. He said that the recession will be a good way to equalize citizens and make them humble. People will have to watch what they purchase. One can only hope that it will be a permanent or semi-permanent change. At the end of "The Plague", the doctor observed as most of the people within his community conformed back to their old ways. One can only guess whether we too will conform back or be permanently changed by our BB journey. On a larger scale, perhaps this recession will make today's population re-evaluate their priorities. On the other hand, many it won't.

One thing is for sure, a lot of people around me do not seem to be changing their spending habits. People who have always saved are continuing to do so. A lot of people who are used to spending frivolously don’t seem to be resisting their urges. It will be interesting to see how this recession will eventually affect the everyday consumers. I am interested to hear Scott Kline’s insight on today’s economy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sharing my experiences and growth

The other day I had a chance to share my overcoming fear and experience with a friend of mine. He was nervous to ask people to help support him in an endeavour he was pursuing. Recalling the fears I had mere hours before our conversation, I gave him some insight that helped motivate him.

In the past, the mere mention of fundraising and asking for donations/sponsorships gave me anxiety. Walking into a local business and asking a stranger for something was very nerve wracking. However, with the support of my two BB friends, Jen and Ruby, and a pep talk from my dad moments before, I felt ready. Sure, I fumbled through the first couple of encounters, but a couple of hours and one block of local stores later, I had received an outpour of support. A feeling of confidence and excitement replaced my anxiety. As you have read from my "My Own Fundraising Event : MARCH 28!!! " post, I have received numerous donated gifts from locals, I have gained coverage, and have gained support and help from old friends in order to ensure my event runs smoothly. This all took place within 2 days.

In conclusion, I told my very nervous, but very capable friend, that I too was terrified of the unknown and the chance of rejection. However, with every person that rejects you there are numerous others that are willing to help. Moreover, I told him that by conquering my fear, I gained such a valuable experience and that he would as well. Well, he also conquered his fear and now holds a very influential spot on a very important committee. :D

Findraiser for Future BB Students

Last Friday I was informed of Joanne's plan to help fundraise for BB students 2009-2010. This year’s students will bring back an object unique to their host country that can be auctioned off at a dinner/ceremony next fall. This ceremony will also give alumni a chance to speak on behalf of BB and describe their BB experiences. It will also signify the change over from this year to next years BB class.

I think this is a FABULOUS idea. It will be a great kick-start for next years BB students' experiences and fundraising. It will also allow the current BB students to reunite and meet the future BB class.

Good job Joanne! I hope it works out. I would love the opportunity to share my stories

Group Fundraiser and donation update!

Our group fundraising event (PANKCAKE SUNDAY) raised $700, which will be dispersed amoung 8 of us. The event was a great learning experience for all of us. When there was a huge rush of people, supplies were dwindling, and the cafeteria was unwilling to give us additional meat, we had to think on the fly and make some decisions. We rose to the occasion and solved the challenging situation fairly quickly. ( I especially liked Kate/Amy's idea to have pancake toppings instead of more fruit! Genius idea!) Moreover, a helpful customer (who has had her fair share of fundraising experience) gave us some advice. She informed us that a brand of pancake mix at Costco gives a 50% rebate to people who are fundraising. She also said that speaking with the managers can sometimes be beneficial. Well it was! The manager at a local Sobey's donated 5 pancake batter! It helped keep our costs down and increase our profits! :D

A huge thanks goes to everyone who helped make the event possible and everyone who come out to the event/supported us.

Moreover, I have been informed that my uncle will be donating $200.00 towards my BB experience. :D

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Own Fundraising Event : MARCH 28!!!

With ever day that goes by, I am getting increasingly excited for my second fundraising event. With the help of my old boss, I will be hosting a fundraising event at the restaurant that I call "my second home". It will be in conjunction with his business' fourth anniversary.

The following is information on this event #2:

What: Charity Fundraiser & Anniversary Party (Including LIVE BAND: COPPERFIELDS who will be playing today’s hits & classic oldies)

When: Saturday March 28, 2009 Where: Zio’s Italian Restaurant (10 Mountainview Rd. S., Georgetown)

Cost: Dinner, Entertainment & Donation: $55 Bar Service Only: $20

Why: It will help support my journey to Bosnia Herzegovina where I will have the opportunity to promote peace and conflict resolution, while educating youth from multi-cultural backgrounds. My overseas experience will be very beneficial to my self-growth, and help me become a better educator who can adapt more readily to diverse environments. It will also help motivate me to become a more active citizen within our communities.

The following has been accomplished:
  • One of the regulars at the bar, Ron, has be generous enough to create the posters and tickets
  • Peter H. has made a generously donated of $42.00
  • The current bartender has booked a band for the event: Copperfields
  • I promoted the event within Zio's, and most of my regular bar customers have expressed their support in coming to the event
  • Ruby, a friend I've gained from BB, has generously donated a digital photo frame for the silent auction
  • I've gotten permission to submit an article for Georgetown's local paper promoting my event (The Georgetown Independent & Free Press Newspaper)
  • After an afternoon in the heart of Georgetown I have received A LOT of support from the local community. The following items I currently have for the silent auction/door prizes: CIBC gift bag, beauty products from "The Spa on Main" and "Trendz Hair Studio", books from "The Freckled Lion ", a painting from the owner of "The Wood Heron Studio Gallery", $20.00 off from "North Star Dry Cleaners", and permission to put up promotional event posters in "Creature Comfort" and "RBM". My family friend, Aiden, is also going to donate some Pepsi products for the event.
  • Our local butcher is giving us a certificate to auction & "Curves" has put together something for the auction (I need to pick up both on Sun/Monday when I'm in town)
  • Another regular bar customer, Bob W., has gotten a LCD for me to used for my PPP at the event

My main focus: PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE! I want to have a successful turnout!

Thank you to everyone who has helped me thus far. Any monetary and or moral support during these last few months will be greatly appreciated; I have another $1158.00 more to raise. :D Moreover, if anyone is able to donate gifts that can be auctioned off, I will forever be grateful. If you are unable to attend the events, please help me by spreading the word to family and friends.

Thank you ,


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fundraising Update & Information on BB 2008-9 Group Event

During reading week, I visited an old priest and friend in KW. Father Kuzma was very helpful in giving me suggestions on how to personalize my sponsorship letter, and suggested new outlets I can go to for help. It was nice to catch up with him, and I am very grateful for the chance to bounce ideas off of him. In the coming weeks, Father Kuzma's parish and my friend Wei-Ling will be contributing to my journey. Moreover, as mentioned, I have two fundraisers coming up.

Post reading week, I have been extremely busy with assignments, a midterm, extracurricular and weekend events. With that said, I have taken many hours out of my personal time in order to help organize upcoming fundraising events and seek out support from the community. For the first event I have seeked advertising opportunities from out local church, helped brainstorm other advertising techniques, and helped get necessary equipment for the band performing at the breakfast.

The 1st Event (Group Event):

What: Beyond Borders Group Fundraising Event & only pancakes available in SJ this Sunday! (Includes slideshow on BB, breakfast, and the opportunity to converse with the Beyond Borders Class of 08/09 & SJU community

When: Sunday, March 8th from 10:30am-1:30pm

Where: Main SJU cafeteria How Much: Coffee/juice, 2 pancakes, 3 pieces of bacon = $5.00 minimum donation

Why: Allows you, your friends and the rest of the SJU Community to support and encouragement us as we prepare for our various placements. It is also a great way to learn more about the program and individual placements, and eat delicious pancakes.