A recap of National Philanthropy Day: Agents of Change Youth Session

“I PROMISE TO: take bold actions to change the world!” This was how the second annual National Philanthropy Day Agents of Change Youth Session began. On Friday November 16th, I participated in the in this session along with 164 other youth!

The event was held at the Victoria Conference Centre to introduce youth to the idea of philanthropy and how youth can offer “time, talents and/or treasures” to create change and better our world.

Two keynote speakers, Joe Roberts, the Skidrow CEO, and Sheldon Gardiner, founder of Do Some Good, led discussion on what philanthropy means (one definition that was offered by a youth participant was: “actively promoting the welfare of others”; another was “helping others who need it” – everyone had their own definition), and also shared their personal stories about how they came to participate in philanthropy.

Push for Change

Listening to the story of Joe Roberts, who pushed a shopping cart across Canada to raise awareness and funds to combat youth homelessness, was tragically inspiring.

Within the span of 12 years, he went from being a homeless drug user to becoming a successful business entrepreneur and motivational speaker across Canada to lead the Push for Change.

Mr. Roberts talking about the Push for Change

Do Some Good and #ipromiseto

Sheldon Gardiner spoke about creating the Do Some Good app to help volunteers connect with each other and share their volunteering opportunities and experiences.

Together with Mr. Roberts, the #ipromiseto challenge was introduced. Each youth received a card to create and commit to a promise. This promise can be registered, and can be tagged on social media (including on the Do Some Good app) to track the promisor’s engagement with their promise.

#ipromiseto: Thoughtfully and purposefully engage in positive opportunities to help make the world a better place, while inviting and engaging others to take part as well

Thank you, Mr. Beckerman!

A generous element of the Agents of Change Youth Session was a gift made by Andrew D. Beckerman. Because of his contributions to the event, each youth that attended the Youth Session received a $100 Canada Helps gift card to donate to a charity of their choosing.

After a fulfilling day of brainstorming ideas to better the world and learning about the significant impact of acts of service and philanthropy, I am grateful to Mr. Beckerman that I was able to take part in the act of giving.

In the wake of an especially devastating year of fires raging across BC and along the west coast, I chose to donate my gift card to The Fire Fighters Burn Fund Victoria, BC. It is a local, volunteer-run non-profit organization that assists and supports burn victims and their families.

This is the Canada Helps gift card I received. My favourite line that Mr. Beckerman’s used: “The time to give is now because the need is right now!”

About Giving Tuesday

An upcoming UVic opportunity to get involved in philanthropy is next Tuesday, November 27th – it’s Giving Tuesday! UVic is hosting its annual #AddSprinklesUVic campaign to raise funds for student-led initiatives. Food will be sold on campus, and every time the hashtag #AddSprinklesUVic is used on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, the Alumni Board will donate $2.

As you become busier with end-of-semester schedules and holiday activities, please keep my blog in mind. I encourage you to go out and learn about philanthropy, no matter how young or old you may perceive yourself to be.

It doesn’t always have to be about monetary contributions. Support what is meaningful to you and do what you can do (no matter how seemingly small your actions!) to make the world — and you in turn — a little bit happier. 😊

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