Absolute in 2008 – Video

In 2008, we were a part of some incredible moments! Together, we were a part of life-changing projects, opportunities, and memories. Through our High School Assemblies Program (Think Day), we saw hope come alive and we were able to spread the word on how we can all be a part of change in our world as we did over 340 presentations in schools across Canada. Through Hero Holiday, we worked alongside of  600 students and adults who participated in one of our 14 trips. Each of us came on Hero Holiday to accomplish change and inspire hope in communities in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Thailand. Together, in 2008, we built 20 homes in Mexico, completed one school and worked on two others in Dominican Republic, worked on a Children’s Home in Thailand for victims of child prostitution and exploitation, and we brought food, clothing, supplies, hope and dignity to many children, families, and communities in these countries.  We even managed to release our first book, One: A Face Behind the Numbers. It has definitely been a busy year in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)!2008 has also been a year of incredible events in our nation and around the globe. We live in a world of change, and while change may be inevitable, that does not mean that we need to give up and forget about those who need us the most. We can each play a part in restoring hope and building a future for those who don’t seem to have much hope for a future. Because of all that we have experienced together, we truly believe that hope can change everything, and we have been a part of that change. However, the truth is that we cannot continue to do this without you. We need you to help us move forward. The children and the families in the communities we work in need us to continue to push forward to bring change.Check out this AMAZING REMINDER of all that we have accomplished together this past year!

For those reading this in an email, click on the link below to view the video.

2008 – Year Review VideoLiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) truly needs your partnership. We are unable to do this without you. Without financial partnership, our programs and projects would not be able to reach the Canadian High School students that we do, nor would we be able to host our Hero Holidays, build our projects, or reach the communities that we currently operate in.  Without your help, we would not be able to continue to see lives changed, hope realized, and history being made. Would you please consider helping us for the year ahead? We cannot do this without you.We are looking for people, just like you, to commit to $10, $20 per month or more. A little goes a long way, and with a little you can help to make a HUGE difference.For more information on how you can partner with us, contact our office at 1(866) 432 4464. As well, you can donate online through our paypal account. Just go to our donation page at /donate and follow the link.We look forward to what we will accomplish together in 2009!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 30th, 2008

A different kind of Christmas


Dec 25, 2008

Hello Family and Friends! Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!

Everything is going amazing down here! The weather is fantastic and we’re a day ahead of schedule‼ Werx Mexico 443We have the roof up and half shingled and the door is on and the windows are in! We did all that work in three hours. Julia (the mother) then made us a lunch; she made us tamales which in Mexico is equivalent to our turkey dinner. Keep in mind that this family is living on 1.50 per person a day! Julia fed 22 people and the neighborhood boys! She made 2 for everyone and some kids had thirds. The amount of meat that she put in the tamales could feed her family for weeks. After our amazing lunch we went back to our dorm and wrapped all the presents we brought for the family. Thank you to all the people the donated gifts to the family! Later that night we went to the family’s house for a bonfire and we gave them their gifts. It was just magical to see the faces of the family as they opened their presents! Florencia and Salvador lit up when they opened the box FILLED with baby gifts. Christmas here is based on family. Our culture can learn so much from these people. Family here seems so important. Even though some of our families aren’t here this Christmas it was easy to feel like everyone here is our family, Julia and Oligario’s family, our group, even Santiago our translator!

Today we are going to have breakfast at ten and then Charles and Ryan have a Christmas story for us. We will be going to the the beach to celebrate our Christmas!!! Ha ha – NO SNOW! Tonight we will eat supper here and then we’ll go to Charles and Tricia’s house for a bonfire, pinata and exchange gifts that we bought for each other as a Secret Santa.

Merry Christmas‼

Jessica Derksen

Werx Mexico 457

Werx Mexico 091

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 27th, 2008

First few days of the Christmas Adventure…

Hola Family and Amigos!

So far, everything has panned out amazing! It has been a blast for everyone on the team so far! We’ve been trying to keep our blog up dated but poor internet connections have prevented us from doing so. We were very surprised at the insane poverty that is taking over this area. When we got to the site where we were building, we were shocked to see that part of the family was living in a muddy shack made out of cardboard, plastic, and twigs. The expanding family of 8 could not live together in a single house and was in desperate need for another home on the site. On Sunday, we arrived in Vicente Guerrero to see our expectations blown away! The dorms were as good as anything you would find in Canada which impressed and surprised us all at the same time. When we first met Charles (The Director of Hero Holiday) we knew he was going to be crazy fun. From climbing into 15 foot outhouse pits to get a soccer ball and leading work sites, to taking hundreds of people down to Mexico and changing their lives.             On Monday, our group was very excited to get started on the project. We were introduced to a Mexican Fiesta at a Woman’s Co-op opening we went to. This Woman’s Co-op was built by a group on a fall Hero Holiday. After that, we started work at noon and ended up getting two layers of paint on Florencia and Salvador’s house, bathroom, and shower. We also built the walls and roof for their new house.  We had a debriefing time in the evening where we shared our first impressions.            Yesterday, Tuesday, we finished up the painting on Salvador’s house and got all the walls and roof up on the new house. We also got a chance to explore the markets in the afternoon and in the evening, we relaxed and played games at the dorm.

There are so many more details that we could talk about but we have such a small amount of time to say so much. Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Felize Navidad,

Jackson & Christa

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 24th, 2008

Mexico…Here we come…Eventually!

Just wanted you to know about Christmas Mexico Hero Holiday ‘Roadblock’ that happened today(Wednesday, December 17th)…We were so incredibly excited and were down to 12 hours, 15 minutes, and 10 seconds left to go when we got a call from the people who we are renting the bus from…they had just found out that the greyhound that we were taking down to San Diego had some trouble…unbelievable!!! We’re so close to our departure time (6 am on Thursday morning!!!!) and now we might not even have a bus. You would think that this would throw everything into a tailspin but instead my husband, Kerry, remained calm and cool. His only comment was that he was so thankful that we weren’t in the middle of Montana when we found this out!! The guys went into action immediately and by now (11:30 at night) have a couple of very good options for the morning…we have 4 vans lined up if we need them…we still have the bus option (We really want to leave at 12:00 pm tomorrow) depending on if they have found the problem by that time and depending on how big the problem is…and we have just found out about the option of another greyhound bus but that one is a lot more money than we had been budgeting for… I am sure that we will have clear direction by morning… The team is ready  to do amazing things and I am very intrigued as to how things will pan out (even if it isn’t exactly like we had planned)…we’ll keep you posted…Map of Bus RouteThis afternoon (Thursday, December 18th), Hero Holiday received word that Barb and the rest of the Christmas Hero Holiday crew were able to use a famous hockey team’s bus…the Winkler Flyers!!!!! The excitement level has sky rocketed again for this team as all their plans have come through as well as generous donation for the extra cost of this new bus! Someone is definitely looking out for them. They are all expected to arrive in San Diego on Saturday.Safe Travels Guys!!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 18th, 2008

The Best Christmas Experience…

Christmas can mean many things to many people: for some of us, it is a time we look forward to as we get together and catch up with those that are close to us. To some of us, Christmas can seem very overwhelming or we can feel that it is much too commercialized.(I know that I personally dread going into the busy mall and being surrounded by people who often seem to be the most uncheerful givers!)Christmas Mexico     A group from Manitoba have decided to get away from it all and go back to the true meaning of Christmas: to give the Gift of Love. This Christmas, these amazing people will be giving a family in Mexico ultimate gift: a home that they have only dreamed of!Each member of this Hero Holiday team was asked what they most look forward to, and this is their answers:

Jessica – I am most excited to see the people that live there and the family that will be living in the house.

Harvey – I’m excited about sharing this experience with our kids. I’m also looking forward to meeting the family we’re helpingBarb – Kerry and I have dreamed about taking our kids on a humanitarian trip for so many years and it’s finally happening!!! I’m also blown away by how passionate each one of my children and husband is about making a difference in this world. I can hardly wait to see how our lives will be changed and I am so excited to finally meet the family who we are building the house for!

Quinton – I’m excited about building a house and tasting new foods.

Jackson  – I’m excited about being in a place I’ve never been before.Hannah – I’m looking forward to the scenery, to speaking Spanish, and to fun traveling!!Christa – I’ve been wanting to go on a mission trip for a very long time! I am so pumped to build that house and see the looks on the family’s faces!Judy – I am excited about working together with others I hardly know and being part of an awesome “gift” to a family!Alison – I am wicked excited to see how those people live, and hope that I will come back as a changed person and more grateful and blessed!Danae – I have been dreaming about experiencing Christmas in another culture.Kelsey – I am really pumped about meeting the little kids and being able to make them smile and give them hope again!!Jeannine – I can’t wait to interact with the locals especially the children – and watch my own children do the same!Ashton – Everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Alyia – I can’t wait to meet all the kids!Gina – I’m extremely excited about learning about a different country and culture. The thing I’ve been looking forward to and thinking about the most is meeting the kids. I can’t wait to play with them and create some new relationships.

Thomas –  I’m excited about doing something different for Christmas, helping less those who are less fortunate, and touring Mexico!!

Lori –  I’m excited about building, meeting new people, and being surrounded by another culture, language, etc.Savannah – I’m excited to see all the little kids and to play with them and make a difference in all the people’s lives there!!So, stay tuned! There is more to come from this group as they travel across the country in a bus and continue their 2008 Hero Holiday Christmas Adventure!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 8th, 2008

Great Opportunity – Road Team Assistant Positions Open!

Road Team Assistant

Do you have a desire to be a part of what LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) is doing in high schools across Canada? Would you like the opportunity to travel across our nation, meet amazing people, become an advocate for change, and be a part of something that is helping to shape the next generation? Why not consider joining an LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) road team for the Think Day spring 2009 tour?We have openings for Road Team Assistants for our Jan 19 to May 30 2009 Canadian school tours. Here is a brief description of the position:

  • Qualifications:
    • Good Public Skills: willingness to share your story and speak in front of crowds
    • Team Work and Interpersonal Skills: able to work well as part of a team and interact maturely with other team members
    • Willingness to learn new skills in both the technical requirements and the interpersonal opportunities that Think Day offers
  • Compensation:In addition to a small bi-weekly stipend, we will provide free housing while local in Hamilton (you provide your own food),  and we will cover food and lodging costs while touring.

For more information, contact christal@Live Different (formerly Absolute).org.

Author: LiveDifferent


We make them Disposable People

Since we started this year’s tour and the new class for our school of leadership started, we have been reading books alongside the students on our teams. One of these books was called Disposable People and while reading it I started to think about my role in supporting the process of disposing of people. We are all directly involved in this disposal, whether you believe it or not.

 We have to recognize that money shouts where pleas for human rights go unheard

P.147 Disposable People: New Slavery In The Global EconomyKevin Bales

If we are going to effect any change in our world, we first need to be educated on what injustices are going on and where, and we need to make our money speak louder than words.

We are citizens of an ever shrinking globe, and we need to become aware of that. I want to recognize that the problems in countries like Thailand, Brazil, China, Mexico, Haiti etc. are our problems. They are my problems. We, in the Western world, are causing or supporting the ongoing exploitation of people around our world. People, real people. We are the richest people in the world. Our consumerism  supports every industry that exploits people. Whether it is the shoes we wear or the cars we are driving or the houses we live in, it is fairly safe to say that someone was exploited somewhere along the lines of production. Whether it is the steel in our houses or cars, or the rubber used to make our shoes, or the cotton used to make our shirts, almost nothing is exempt. We must make our money speak louder than our words!

Media mixed with many voices lobbying huge corporations to act instead of turning a blind eye could have major influence. Making your voice heard in Governmental circles could, by extension, make those corporations listen. Ignoring the exploitation of human beings to maintain a huge bottom line is one of the greatest sins of our corporate history, and we have been a part of it. We have demanded lower prices which in turn has “forced” companies to lower production costs. And where do they get this cheaper production? From cheaper labor, by moving factories to countries where they can find people who will do anything for a dollar a day. People who live in situations so desperate that it becomes easy to exploit them, stateless and faceless people who are ignored or unknown by their governments, the UN, and us. And there are so many people who are desperate that if this one doesn’t work out you can just go out on the street and pick up three more to replace her. Let’s demand something new. Let’s demand to know where our money is going. Ask people “do you know where that dollar just went?” Ask Steel workers in Hamilton, Boutique owners in Toronto, corporate associates in Vancouver, Oil rig workers in Alberta. Canadians wouldn’t buy what they buy in the quantities they buy if they knew the cost to other individuals.

“The people back home wouldn’t buy a ring if they knew it cost someone else their hand”      Maddy Bowen in Blood Diamond.

We need faces not statistics (see One: A Face Behind the Numbers) and we need to see these faces first-hand. We need Canadians, ordinary Canadians like me and you, to travel to these places to see with their own eyes the things that plague the people of developing countries. We need education on so many levels, not just the education for nations that can’t afford to put their children through school, but also for us. We need a life education: an education of experience.

What can we do? From home, we can try to get corporations to knee jerk react to a violation of human rights in a production supported or owned by them. Then Lobby our Governments to put in place and sustain effective policy makers and keepers. We can research and put a little work into finding out where the clothes you are about to buy come from. What hands touched this fabric? Were they free or slave hands? What you buy can define what you care about. From abroad? Just go! Mother Teresa used to say “just come!”. So go, see, and experience with your own eyes and life what is going on in these places. Meet and talk with the people, get to know a family and then come back home and try to live according to what you saw.

If we realized that the problems of our Global community are also our problems, things would inevitably change. This is my problem. If we truly understood that our consumption of goods really did place or keep people in slavery, would we consume the same products in the same way? In the same quantity? Would we be more inclined to do something about this Modern Slavery? We have the Fuel, we need a Fire.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: December 3rd, 2008