A Face in the Fields

In coming to Vicente Guerrero, we had a mission… to build two houses for families in need. However, what we quickly learned was that although building the two houses was important, our priority would be building relationships with the families. In a land where water is scarce and work is arduous, the families we were working with gave all they could to us during our time with them. For one family, this meant working side by side, learning the required skills to assist with the framing of the home, painting, tarring, shingling – everything really. This single mother and her family poured their hearts into helping to build their house and the sense of pride and ownership was obvious. The other family, although only able to assist a small amount with the build, gave so much through their generous hospitality. This family expressed their gratitude by preparing two meals for not only the team building their home but for the entire group. In doing so, this family fed with us with their only chickens. We learned that it can take a whole generation for some families to build a home and by the group of us coming down, we were able to build these two houses in only 6 days. Both of these families had a difficult time expressing exactly how much it meant to them, but the humility and gratitude they displayed landed on our hearts, as did the tears and joy-filled eyes.

The diversity of our team added an interesting element to this project. Our nine decades brought a wealth of skill, workmanship, and challenges; such as our leadership styles and physical limitations. It did not take long to see how these differences became a strength and how everyone had something to give. Our God-given gifts were a definite blessing and we witnessed that what truly matters comes from within… a heart filled with love, courage, strength, and willingness. We were honored that these families trusted and accepted us so readily, with their whole hearts. And as far as our language barrier, it is true that a smile goes a long way and that it means the same in both English and Spanish.

During our bus ride back to the United States border, there was a different energy. We had so many questions on the way down and were fascinated by all the crops, both by the variety and the size. Now, we see those same fields and have an understanding of the larger story. The labour, the working conditions, the meager wages, the long days, the inequality, it goes on and on… Perhaps the biggest difference though is that our hearts now see a face in those fields. Our returning journey is one of quietness, reflection, and gratitude. Yes, the energy on the bus is much different this time. Our spirits are different. Our thoughts are different. Our hearts are different. We made a difference the lives of people from Vicente Guerrero and they made a difference in ours. As we make our way back to family and friends, we bring with us a commitment to LiveDifferent!

– Written by Heather. Melinda, Sarah & Marin, participants of the Anglican Diosese of Saskatoon’s Hero Holiday

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: June 18th, 2012

The Colour of Joy

“Today I’m Going to Try and Change the World” is playing on my iPod as I sit down to write this entry…a Johnny Reid song that seems to sum up the past week. “Going to take it one day at a time… I have made my resolutions, opened up my eyes… I am going to say hello to my neighbor and greet him with a smile…shake the hand of a stranger, sit and talk to him for a while.”

When the opportunity to be a part of the LiveDifferent trip in the Baja of Mexico was offered, I quickly jumped at the chance, as I had always dreamed that I could do something to change the world in a small way! The team is a collection of people from various parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, ranging in ages from 15 to 93 years of age. This alone says a lot about the group. When I met the team for the first time it was obvious that although different in ages, backgrounds, and life stories, we all had a common goal for coming together – we would build two homes for families in need and share our love with a hammer in hand.

Excitement, apprehension and enthusiasm – what am I doing? The first impressions of Vicente Guerrero were rather bleak. Grey and desolate were the first adjectives that popped into my head. Colourless; even the trees were dusty and the communities we visited on our arrival made me wonder how we could make a difference here… Where would we start?It was overwhelming, heartbreaking, and scary…I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. When we stopped to visit the school, tears started to well up. And then I saw the kids –in the middle of all the grey I saw the colour that was missing. It was the laughter and joy of the children as they played with a busload of strangers; the colour of the spirit of the people I have met in Vicente.

I have discovered in the short week since I have been in Vincente Guerrero that there is power in a dream. The LiveDifferent team has guided a group of Prairie people in discovering how we can make a difference – one person at a time. I know that when I leave Mexico I will be leaving a bit of my heart behind – I also will be taking some of Mexico back home with me. The poverty and hardship I witnessed here certainly puts life into a new perspective. As I reflect on this journey, I think the world I have been a part of this week has changed me for the better- and I do believe more firmly that we can change the world one person and one step at a time.

Debb, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday participant

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: June 11th, 2012

Welcome our New CEO!

As of June 1, 2012, LiveDifferent is excited to announce the new appointment of Charles Roberts as our CEO. Charles brings more than eight years of charitable management and international experience to the leadership position, and we are excited and confident in this transition.

From 2006 until his present appointment, Charles served as LiveDifferent’s Director of Programs. During that tenure, he gave oversight to all aspects of LiveDifferent’s high school and humanitarian programs, including Hero Holiday. Under his direction, LiveDifferent’s programs expanded in both Canada and globally, and continue to grow at the present time.

“It has been an honour for me to serve our staff and stakeholders over the past six years. I am humbled by this new responsibility and I look forward to serving in this role as we work together to continue moving LiveDifferent forward! Our exceptional philanthropic model exemplifies best practices in every aspect of what we do. I invite everyone to join us as we continue to bring measurable and practical change through all that we take on!” – Charles Roberts

Charles Roberts is taking over for Robert Irvine, who served as Interim CEO for LiveDifferent from October 2011 until June 1, 2012. LiveDifferent would like to sincerely thank Rob for his guidance, direction, and commitment during his time in leadership, and wish him all success in the days ahead.

For more information, please contact Christal Earle, Co-founder of LiveDifferent ( or call 1 866 432 4464.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: June 1st, 2012