Day 8 – Thank you Kathy, Kim, Jennifer, Yolanda and Michael!

Note: We have moved our website to www.TorontoWorksForHaiti.com

Ever since the earthquake, it has been quite easy to find media coverage about the orphans in Haiti. We hear about the ones who were going to be adopted as well as the ones who just lost their parents by the quake. Here in Toronto, it’s easy to find kids on the subway heading home with their parents – kids naturally cling to their parents’ arms and legs, look into their eyes with trust and lean on them to feel the warmth. So, let’s put it this way – you lose all of that one day, all of a sudden. If you can understand what that would mean to a child, you know why our help is urgent.

This past weekend, we spent most of our energy discussing our identity as a group and ways in which it will be communicated. As we grow into a more mature and experienced group, we know things may change a bit. However, our goal to help the Haitians in need and the grassroots approach will be here to stay.

We’re excited to have Kathy, Kim, Jennifer, Yolanda and Michael on board! Kathy is a fellow Torontonian who will be helping us out with her excellent writing skills. She’s already started writing up some pieces about us to be posted on the web. Kim and Jennifer are donating life coaching services. Their specially discounted package will help you with the perpetual question of the human race known as a work-life balance. If you are in a different kind of dilemma with numbers called statistics and surveys, Yolanda can help. She offers assistance with research design, stats analyses, and survey design through her firm Inquirus Research Design. She also tutors statistics course. And we have Michael who just may be an answer to your prayers when it comes to website design and IT consulting.

As you know, TW4H has been featured at several media outlets and it looks like that will continue in coming days. We’re very grateful for the interest in our work and always happy to answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to let us know.

Finally, just because we’re 8 days old, doesn’t mean we can use some facelift action here and there. We’ve already done some – if you noticed a few additions to our sidebar – and more is happening behind the scene. We should be ready to get it up and running soon. We hope you like what you see and as always, look forward to your thoughts and comments. Wish you a happy Tuesday!

Day 7 – We Need More Volunteers

Note: We have moved our website to www.TorontoWorksForHaiti.com

Looking ahead to this week, the situation in Haiti seems to have gone from rescue effort to salvage effort. Food, water, shelter and illness are things that the Haitians have to contend with now. This story in the New York Times describes the situation of the survivors, who are trying to return their lives to order, but find that they cannot do so when they have so little left to return to.

Needless to say, there’s lots that needs to be done in Haiti.

We’ve been busy, too – we’ve posted the Volunteer Form for potential volunteers to complete. While we have a great group of volunteers who are offering a broad range of services, we still need more people to get involved! We’re hoping to match up more volunteers with more clients who want to donate. So when you’re talking to your coworkers around the water cooler on Monday, remember to tell them about Toronto Works For Haiti and ask them to check out this blog.

Have a good week, everyone, and let’s keep it up.

Day 6 – Our day of reflection

Just because it’s Saturday doesn’t mean we stop our efforts to raise funds for the work in Haiti! We’ve had some significant progress in raising awareness and raising funds for the Haitian relief efforts (see yesterday’s blog about our mention in the Globe and Mail and by UBC Alumni Affairs), but like the aid agencies who are still removing debris and rubble in hope of finding survivors, we need to keep moving.

Today, there was a report that 24-year old Wismond Exantus was found by rescue workers under the remains of the Napoli Inn Hotel. Mr. Exantus, now in stable condition, was found 11 days after the Haitian earthquake and hours after the Haitian government declared that they would be ending the search effort for survivors.

While there has been debate about whether the search should continue, there is certainly no doubt that there is more work to be done. An estimated 1.5 million people are homeless and the city of Port-au-Prince has suffered a huge loss in infrastructure. While some camps have been set up to house the homeless, we should not forget those who lived outside the city itself, and for whom aid has been slow in coming, if at all. BBC News reports that in the town of Jacmel, an estimated one-third of the town is in ruins, and many survivors are not able to get the medical aid that they need.

Even if the search has ended, we need to continue raising funds to support the medical and health teams that are dealing with the aftermath, and to help re-build the local infrastructure. This weekend, send an email, Tweet or Facebook message to your friends, let them know about Toronto Works For Haiti, and ask them whether they can volunteer their services or if they can use the services of a volunteer and help donate to the cause.

Day 5 – Imagine (Updated)

Today, two miracles happened. A man was found alive under the rubble – after he was trapped in the rubble, without any food and water for ten days. Another 84-year-old woman was also pulled from the rubble [video]. It is a big sense of hope and encouragement when CBC’s David Common reported that water is increasingly more available (albeit unclean) in Port-au-Prince. The most encouraging of all is witnessing the unlimited support from fellow Canadians in the Canada For Haiti telethon and the Hope for Haiti Now telethon around the globe.

We were featured at several places across the country, and in fact all over the world! We were featured on The Globe And Mail’s “Disaster relief, v2.0” article (scroll down to the bottom); UBC Alumni Affairs; and Facebook – thanks to many of our friends, the word is getting out through FB! Consider updating your FB profile with our logo. If you’re part of our Google group, you can download the logo under “Files”.

We are proud and happy to let you know that the donation is coming in too. Our resident realtor Andrew La Fleur has closed his first deal since he started the $1 donation for $1,000 transaction campaign. Three hundred and twenty dollars will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross. Great job, Andrew! We also have Mark Savel, another local realtor, on board, as he joins the $1 for $1,000 campaign as well.

Furthermore, a special thank goes out to our youngest donor, nine-month old Carla van Eimeren who donated $25 to TW4H, to thank her dad for babysitting her. We also have secured another donation in exchange of babysitting , adding another $200. That’s already 10% of our target!

This week has been, simply put, awesome. We ran into so many people who are so compassionate and innovative. We learned about different groups and projects popping all over town to help people in Haiti. We already have eighteen volunteers on our team! (Noticed a new counter on the sidebar?) As a country, Canada is leading the informal Friends of Haiti group and will host the Montreal Conference to discuss what is and will be needed in Haiti, in days, weeks, months and years to come. We will be doing something similar over the weekend. What comes out of it, you will be the first to know. Happy weekend!

P.S. Thank you Becky, our newest volunteer , for proofreading for us.

Day 4 – We’re growing

A very important connection we made today. Katherine attended a fundraising event that pulled together the Haitian community here in Toronto and those who are wanting to help. The Built Haiti Fund is looking into ways to provide assistance to reconstruction projects in remote areas outside the capital. With the knowledge of the country and the communities, this connection presents to us a lot of possibilities in helping out those who were in a dire need even before the earthquake.

Yay! We were featured at BlogTO today. Check it out. Thanks Sophie, our resident Social Media guru.

On the business side of things, we are very happy and grateful to announce Andrew la Fleur as our first affiliate. Every $1,000 his clients sell or buy through him, Andrew will donate $1. This will increase our donation really quickly – for example, a $300,000 condo means a $300 donation! We also found out that a phenomenal french pastry chef and baker, and a long-time friend to Toronto Works for Haiti headquarters, Marie will be donating proceeds from her orders.

We’re also in the process of making you in charge of some of the tasks at TWH HQ. We’re growing and it’s time to delegate, delegate and delegate! If you’d like to help out, please let us know, just like Laura. We’re going to count on her for the PR work. Thanks Laura!

As days go by, the question of long-term assistance, the kind of assistance that empowers, involves, and is based on the locals, boggles our mind. Let’s think about that. It’s an important discussion and we have a voice that has an impact. So, keep it up team! Talk to you tomorrow.

Day 3 – The message of hope after the aftershock

The aftershock today sparked fear in tent cities. The aid hasn’t trickled down to those who need it. In the middle of all of this, two children came out alive out of the rubbles today, with their arms wide open to the sky, smiling and leading cheers from the rescue team. After being stuck in the ruins for more than 8 days, these children still managed to deliver the message of hope and resilience. This is what we’re holding onto today, day 3 at Toronto Works for Haiti.

In this part of the world, we have a few more amazing fellow Torontonians on board. Rick is a wonderful marketing effectiveness consultant and a freelance product photographer. You will be amazed by what he can do to make sure your products do well in the competitive markets like today’s! A political scientist by training and a project manager by day, Laura brings many precious talents to the team. Jeremy is an IT consultant who understands what most of us don’t. Yolanda runs a successful research design and analysis business and is ready to provide her expertise.

Lastly, but surely not least, we got our very first client signed up for a service! We will share with you more details on this soon. It’s incredibly exciting to think that we will be helping out more clients who simply refuse to stay complacent and do something to help the Haitian people. With our amazing volunteers, as long as Haitians need our support, our work will continue. And you can be a part of it!

P.S. Our poster is officially approved by Doctors without Borders today. Feel free to distribute.

Day 2 – More services added

It’s day two here at Toronto Works for Haiti and it’s been eight days since the earthquake struck Haiti. The number of the dead continues to rise, and the concern now is about bodies decomposing in open space, let alone identifying them or giving them proper burial. Nonetheless, the living needs to be taken care of too. Grandparents, mothers, fathers, children, pregnant women, and babies who have seen and remember everything. Yes, the aid is arriving. We don’t know when it’ll reach everyone who’s in need. With 1.5 million people homeless and 500,000 in tent cities, the need is great and urgent, and it will increase for some time.

If you’re visiting this site for the first time, a very warm welcome to you – we hope to see you participate as a volunteer or as a client. In fact, today we welcome Sophie, Ryan, Lida and Patricia to the team!

  • Sophie is an amazing social media consultant and if you know what social media means, you will benefit from her expertise and experience. (We all see how the Haitian people were using social media to get the message out about their situation and communicate with their families!)
  • Do you struggle every morning deciding what to wear? Ryan will help you with style consultation. Sit down with him and based on your lifestyle, needs and goals, you’ll get a chance to understand what you already own and go shopping with the style expert!
  • Lida, being a highly sought-after editor and a proposal writer/evaluator by day, will help you polish your writing.
  • Patricia is a great tutor and she’s waiting to hear about your learning needs.
  • We’re happy to report that there will be piano teachers and more tutors joining the team soon. So think about what you have been wanting to learn! We will very likely have someone who can help you with it.

It’s great to see excitement and interest in our project. Don’t forget to let us know if you have any ideas. Let’s keep our hearts together for people of Haiti!