The month of December and the final month of 2016. It makes me think of how powerful this month would be, if we all could think of how we could bring some goodness and joy into action; each day coast to coast to coast.

Canadians have such a worldly reputation as “caring people”. We are seen as philanthropists, those who help, ready to give, peace keepers. When traveling, people know that Canadians bring light hearted fun and joy to the conversation. We light up the room. We have the humor and disposition to bring out the best in people. Does that resonate with you ?

Here at home, we have our own issues. What a wonderful month, in the spirit of Christmas , to step up and out with a little more goodness and joy for those who are in a time of need.

With that in mind, I did a quick search on some of the agencies and outlets that are found across our great land; with some goodness and joy in mind. I realize that there are many more examples that could be added to this list. Please feel free to add your favourite charity or not for profit to this list as well. Let’s spread the word about goodness and joy in our community.

This December, lets help spread some goodness and joy to help those who are in need. For many of us, this is a season of happiness with family and friends. However, for many, it is one of the toughest times of the year; as they face personal issues and challenges in making ends meet. When others are celebrating “good times”, I can only think that it must be very lonely and dark for those who are less fortunate.

Let us join together this December in helping Canadians bring some goodness and joy to our communities. Whether it is some pocket change to a person on the street with hat in hand, a donation to a charity, a box of food to the food bank, a Christmas tree bought via the boy scouts, a five dollar bill in response to the ringing bell of the Salvation Army, or a bag of “old clothes” from the closet – there are so many ways that we can help make a difference this December for an individual or an organization in their time of need.

Some Highlights of Goodness and Joy

Victoria – British Columbia

Starting on the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island, I can’t think of a better place than to consider challenges for the homeless. Given the climate, it is a natural place for people to seek the street, away from the harsher weather realities of other parts of Canada. However, the street is not a  place that any Canadian should find themselves. Hats off to the Greater Victoria Coalition to end homelessness. It is but one example of services that are spread across Canada in support of those who are faced to meet the challenge of life on the street.

Lethbridge – Alberta

Ever thought of missing a meal? Many people struggle with making ends meet, but the challenge of being able to feed their loved ones remains a fundamental challenge for some families. Food banks continue to be challenged on their supply, with the explosion of those in need. In Lethbridge Alberta, I point to the Lethbridge Food Bank Society as a great example of making a difference in generating food for those in need. Food banks abound in all communities, most fire stations accept donations, if you see that as an action in your day today. Here is a link to food banks across Canada.  You will find one close to you.

Regina – Saskatchewan

Ability is often something that able-bodied persons take for granted. However, those who have lesser ability are truly challenged with access to public buildings, events or just entering or exiting a restaurant or store. Thanks to the fine work of the Saskatchewan Voice for People with Disabilities Inc., those who have challenges with ability have an advocate in their corner to support them. We can all rise to the challenge of considering all persons in an inclusive context. What action might you take to ensure that physically challenged individuals can enjoy what you anjoy without any barriers for them to confront? How can we make it easier for access to our communities?

Southwest Manitoba

Westman Dreams for Kids is a wonderful organization in support of answering the dreams of kids in Southwestern Manitoba. It is a wonderful example of people coming together to make a difference for youth who face difficult challenges and situations in their lives. A little joy can go a long way in bringing comfort to kids with their own health challenges. Hats off to the Children’s Dream organizations across Canada.

Toronto – Ontario

There are now a multitude of support networks and charitable organizations to support families and loved ones who face challenges with their own ability. Over the years Variety Village, the childrens’ charity, has continued to perpetuate its wonderful facilities and programming for youth and adults in need. Variety Village remains a pillar of support for individuals with physical and mental challenges, and their caregivers and support network. With facilities spreading over 160,000 square feet, an indoor pool, track and common space, Variety Village continues to be a wonderful community institution, serving the Greater Toronto area.

Sherbrooke – Quebec

La Grande Table is a terrific resource in Sherbrooke supporting families in need. They are a resource to ensure that families are fed, but extend to broader support and services for those families with little income or find themselves in an occasional precarious situation. They offer services that demonstrate open listening and then personal recommendations for support. A wonderful community asset. Merci pour votre effortes La Grande Table.

Moncton – New Brunswick

Volunteering is such a wonderful opportunity to give back. Often times people may feel that they cannot give financially, or through gifts in kind. One of the greatest and most impactful ways that an individual can give is to give of their time. Through volunteerism, you can truly make a difference in supporting a cause and the work that they undertake in their community. The Volunteer Centre of Southeastern New Brunswick, based in Moncton is an example of one of these resources. They welcome individuals who have a desire to lend some time to making a difference in their community. Young, old, able, physically challenged – we can all participate in volunteerism and help to make a difference in our community.

Charlottetown – Prince Edward Island

An example in Charlottetown of the critical care provided by hospices across Canada is Hospice PEI – “A Community of Care”. Sad as it may be, when someone is faced with dying; they and their families need extra support. Hospice PEI is committed to easing the pain and assisting with comfort for those involved in dealing with matters at the end of life. It is but one example of the tremendous care and support that is provided by hospices, their staff and volunteers across Canada. Thanks to all who work to bring comfort at this fragile final stage of one’s life.

Halifax – Nova Scotia

You might find somewhat of a reoccurring theme related to homelessness across our land.  Adsum House in Halifax offers a range of services and support to women, families, youth and trans persons during periods of homelessness. Adsum operates four Halifax locations: an emergency shelter, second-stage housing and two apartments complexes where housing is supportive and affordable. Adsum also has three condos that are rented, as permanent supported housing, to women-led families. They shelter or house up to 80 people each day and more than 400 persons in a year. They provide services and support to more than 1,000 people each year. A treasured resource to help meet the challenges of individuals and families in a time of need. Thanks to those who support and work in thousands of shelters across Canada.

St. John’s – Newfoundland and Labrador

As we jump from the Maritimes to the far eastern province in Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador the theme of water safety strikes me as so appropriate for this Atlantic Canada province. What greater need than the assurance that youth know how to swim and how to be safe near our coastal waters. This is obviously true for any community in Canada, however particularly relevant and strong this close to and surrounded by the Atlantic ocean. The Lifesaving Society does wonderful working in educating the public about basic life-saving skills. If you don’t find the resources on their site, they have plenty of affiliates to whom they will re-direct your inquiry.

Nunavut

Circling back up northward and west toward Nunavut I turn to the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association. It is so important that culture, arts and crafts continue to flourish in all communities. In Nunavut the association is all about promoting the art and artists of Nunavut. What a wonderful organization supporting the creativity of artists in this fascinating part of our great country. It is but one example of how people in our communities across Canada can help to promote the arts and encourage our youth to be actively engaged in the arts.

Northwest Territories

The Aboriginal Sports Circle in Northwest Territories is focused on engaging all aboriginal people in NWT to ensure that they have the opportunity to participate in sport and recreational activities at a level of involvement that they find meaningful and valuable. They foster community involvement in sport and recreation encouraging involvement from initiation to high performance. They work to integrate Aboriginal culture and traditional values in sport and recreation activities. We can all embrace our First Nations people coast to coast to coast.

Yukon

Teegatha’Oh Zheh is dedicated to promoting community inclusion by providing meaningful support services, and advocacy for individuals who have a developmental disability. Their vision statement captures the essence of their work in the Yukon. Teegatha’Oh Zheh envisions a fully inclusive community in which all individuals have dignity, rights and respect and are encouraged to reach their full potential.

Your Month of Goodness and Joy

These are but a small list of organizations across our great land that are making a difference in the lives of Canadians. Feel free to add your comments and favourite outlets that demonstrate acts of goodness and joy in our community. Here’s wishing you and yours the very best this holiday season, and I hope that you will extend a helping hand to someone in need this December, and every month that follows. Be well, stay warm. @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork