Five Days In

I can’t believe we are five days into our trip. It’s been an amazing experience from learning Spanish, to playing with the crazy amounts of children. There are truly no words to describe how amazing this trip has been so far. Here we are, 17 high school teenagers in various grades with five different teachers. We have not only come together as a hard working group but we have become a family. On Tuesday night I became extremely ill and I can’t count how many times the other guys and girls had come to check up on me. It felt so nice to have people that truly cared.

Today we did A LOT of cement mixing. The process is frustrating at first but you soon figure out a system that makes everything much easier. It starts off with four wheelbarrows of dirt, then one wheelbarrow full of sand, two cement bags, and a lot of mixing together with water. There is never a dull moment on the site. Either you are playing with the children, the kids are chasing you around, or cement is being splashed at your face. The kids here are amazing and all they want to do is help. It’s great because they even try to teach you Spanish by either hand gestures or just repeating the word over and over again. They love us all so much, I feel like they are all my younger siblings. They just want to laugh, cuddle and run around. Nicole and Freddy have to be the cutest kids on earth. They are Pastor Garcia’s grandchildren! Nicole is adorable and follows me around with buckets to try to help us out and her smile is precious. Freddy is just crazy! He hides in the bushes with his friend and while you are working on the cement mixing they are screaming and tickling us. Trust me when I say that is hard to work when the kids are around.

The contractors do like to laugh at our weakness sometimes, which I respect because, man how do they do all that work as a living!! Props to them. On the basketball court sight all you hear is AGUA, AGUA, AGUA!!!! It’s HARD work and extremely tough on your Canadian muscles! But we showed them today by creating our own cement volcanos. Junior and Kent were definitely our cheerleaders throughout today.


After the half day at the site we got the go the Monkey Jungle. Let me tell you that is one thousand times better than the Toronto Zoo! Have you ever had squirrel monkeys climb on your head?! They just jumped on us and hung off us. They are adorable!! They love fruit and after they ate all mine they just use you as a object to get from place to another. You feel a little betrayed to be honest. But it was an amazing experience.

Well off to karaoke night now! Rubin and Marcel have made the band Queen a bit of memory now. It’s too funny. Sending love to all in Canada, we miss you all but I’m pretty sure none of us want to leave, hehe.

– Sloan, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Volunteer, 2013

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 26th, 2013

With an opened mind and a welcomed heart

Today was our orientation and awareness tour.  Our team got to visit the school in Arroyo Secco, the worksite and to meet our new family.  

This year we are building for a lady named Lucia and her six children: Domingo who is 20, Jose Ramone who is 17, Rutester who is 12, Jose Betone who is 8, Antony who is 7 and Emily who is 3.  This family of seven has been renting a house which is probably about half the size of my bedroom.  We had the opportunity to visit their old house, as the new one is being built in a separate location.  Only three of us were able to fit inside it at a time and the walls hardly looked strong enough to hold up against a rough storm.  It is impossible to comprehend how this big family must have been living in this tiny little shack.  The conditions were devastating.
Despite not having much space, the family was so appreciative of all that they had.  It was amazing to see how each member of the family was helping in every way they could, and how well the community comes together to support each other.  Even-though I went on this trip last year I was blown away by the absolute love and support offered by each member of the community. There is an unexplainable sense of welcome that I felt as I returned here. 
Today was a extremely important day for me as we also had the opportunity to visit the two families Gonzaga had built homes for in previous years.  The first community we went to was Agua Negra.  This is where Gonzaga had built two years ago for Elias’ family.   What really caught my attention was when Elias said that he was especially grateful because the past couple years he has not had to worry nearly as much about his children falling ill because their living conditions are significantly better now.  Seeing the positive change in their lives really got me thinking about our family from last year and how different things are for them. 
After this we drove out to Arroyo Secco to finish the rest of our tour.  Before anything else we stopped at the home of Fredi and Ramona, where we built last year.  This was my favourite part of the day because as we were pulling up in front of the house, and the family saw who we were, there was an unmistakeable look of recognition which crossed all their faces.  It was so amazing to me that the family still remembered who I was.  It completely reinforced that we had truly made a difference in their lives.
Being in the communities today really made me realize how much I had truly forgotten since last year.  It opened my eyes for a second time and reminded me of the happiness radiating from everyone here and how contagious their smiles are.  Seeing how appreciative these people are for all that they have is truly inspiring.  They value so greatly the intangible things in life and have such a united community that you cannot help but want to be a part of the experience.  
Overall, today’s awareness tour really helped to prepare me for the days ahead.  Having met everyone i feel so comfortable and amazingly welcomed into this family. I am so excited to start working tomorrow! This is going to be an unforgettable trip!
– Brittany, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Volunteer, Dominican Republic, 2013

Author: LiveDifferent


(FILLED) School Liason Job Posting – April 2013


About LiveDifferent

LiveDifferent was established as a Canadian charity in 2000. From the very beginning we have been passionate about making a difference in the lives of the people we encounter through our high school presentations, our humanitarian outreach programs, and our leadership development opportunities. We have grown over the years, but one thing will never change: our commitment to inspiring those around us to embrace hope and change, starting with their own lives.

To “LiveDifferent” is to embrace a lifestyle of caring for people, not “stuff”. It starts with the everyday choices we make:

  • to pour into at least one social issue or cause that we are passionate about
  • to daily seek out opportunities to show kindness toward others
  • to live simply, as our choices impact our global community

LiveDifferent’s Motivational Presentation has emerged as the most popular school assembly in Canada’s public, Catholic, and independent schools. LiveDifferent offers a live, concert-style, school-wide motivational assembly and supplementary workshops, presenting programs and resources that focus on how every person has value, and stirring students to take immediate action to make a positive difference in their world. Our presentations also create the forum to invite students to participate in a Hero Holiday humanitarian relief trip, giving them a tangible hands-on opportunity to show compassion and to meet the needs of others.

School Liason Position

The School Liaison position is LiveDifferent’s connection point with middle and secondary schools all across Canada, facilitating the booking and scheduling of our school tours.  It requires an organized person with a strong sales focus/skillls, initiative to think strategically and logically, and who is passionate about the overall values and programs of LiveDifferent.

We are looking for a person with a proven track record in sales, as this position involves making outbound sales calls and email campaigns, and managing a large number of accounts. We are looking for someone who will enjoy the responsibility of this type of sales/administrative position, and will find personal fulfillment in this role and in making a contribution to the bigger picture of our mission. While there is always room for advancement within LiveDifferent as the organization grows, we are looking for a person who will be an enthusiastically dedicated School Liason for the long term.

This position includes the following:

  1. Full time salary position  (40 hour work week)
  2. Office located in beautiful downtown Hamilton
  3. Free Parking
  4. Health Benefits
  5. Daily supply of fair trade coffee!
  6. Opportunity to be a valued team member in a fun and collaborative work environment

This position would include but is not limited to the following tasks: 

  1. Sales communication with schools all across Canada for the purpose of booking presentations and Keynote Speakers
  2. Receive and care for inbound inquires regarding the LiveDifferent Presentation/Keynote
  3. Outbound sales calls to schools to ‘sell’ them the presentation/keynote
  4. Email communication with schools (for sales and maintenance of current contacts)
  5. Manage contracting, invoicing, and client support through booking process
  6. Ensure accurate and consistent input of information/data into sales software
  7. Assist in strategically planning efficient touring schedules for the Road Teams
  8. Supporting and providing accurate information for the Road Team Managers as they are touring

Required Qualifications

  • Experience in sales and marketing
  • Experience as a customer service representative
  • Strong administrative capabilities – organized, task-oriented, with good attention to detail, and calm under pressure

Preferred Qualifications

  • Above-average knowledge of IT/Computers
  • Experience with Salesforce CRM an asset
  • Knowledge of Canadian geography, experience planning Canada-wide tours
  • Design and Marketing Skills are an asset
  • Education or experience with youth work

Starting Date:

Either mid-May OR late-July 2013


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 25th, 2013

Friends are the family that we choose ourselves

Today was a day of celebration as our families received the keys for their new homes. Each tear shed was a mark for hope, prosperity, longevity, health, and happiness. This, like all experiences previous, was a mixture of emotions not unknown to any of us as we laughed and cried on our roller coaster ride. 

The final preparation for our families was a trip to the grocery store. Each team had $75.00 to spend per house to outfit them with the necessary supplies to start out a home. I was quick to volunteer, as those of you who know me know how I love a bargain! Nettie gave us a list of groceries, highlighting the essential ones, like soap, brooms and mops, rice and beans, etc. Once those where bought, any remaining money could be used for non essential items on the list. Just so you know…everything on the list to you and me would be essential. Finding the best deal was easy, deciding what to buy was difficult. When you have nothing every little thing is a bonus. With enough money left for one more item at a $1, we decided on a can of vegetables. One can of vegetables not two.

When we arrived back at the resort we excitedly put together their gift basket of groceries and started on our ride back to Nuevo Renacer. We placed the donations and groceries in their homes on their brand new beds. Not on a mattress that is ripped, wet, and filthy but a brand new queen size mattress. These families will be dry from now on, but there definitely was not a dry eye in sight. 


When I looked into Tony’s eyes, the man who would be receiving this new home and all the supplies we brought, I knew that this is the most that they have ever had. He embraced me in a tight hug numerous times, as well as each one of the team members. The joy, gratitude, and love from our families was absolutely beautiful. They will be dry, safe, and cared for now and this is is exactly why I came. To give my heart and soul. I am proud. Watching and listening to my team dedicate the keys to these 5 amazing families was amazing. The gap is closing. Speeches where made, God was blessed, friendships were shared. 

If I had one more thing to say to my new families I would say, “Although you’re receiving your homes means that it is time for us to go, only our bodies will be gone. Forever you will stay in our thoughts and hearts, just as we hope we will stay in yours.”


Rhonda ~ Hero Holiday Volunteer, Dominican Republic, 2013

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 15th, 2013

A Day To Remember

The LiveDifferent Academy students have spent two days working in Mexico in the raspberry fields as part of their shack experience. They got up at 4 am each day and worked long days alongside the locals picking berries and weeding the plants and then went home to their shack in the evening.  Keep reading to find out more about what they thought and felt and to hear some stories of a few of the amazing people they met along the way!

The field was an interesting experience.  I don’t want to imagine what it’s like getting up every single day and doing that kind of work.  After two days I was done.  My knees were toast.  I am truly thankful to have had my eyes opened to how hard people work for such little money to feed, clothe, and provide for their families. Unlike yesterday, today we were able to keep up the pace with the rest of the workers and got a chance to work in rows beside the locals.  When I think about how much time the locals spend in the fields, it’s overwhelming.  It’s cold here in the morning, gets very hot in the afternoon, and the work is very physical.  Yet somehow, they manage to get up and do it everyday with a smile.  I was unprepared for how welcoming the local fieldworkers would be.  They not only shared smiles among themselves but even with us.  They happily helped us learn our jobs and didn’t hesitate to share their lunch at mealtime.  Not only were the people I worked alongside determined, but they were so many other things as well.

We met many people today.  Here are a few of their stories:

I met Eva, she has four teenage daughters who are fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen years old.   Today she was working with the youngest one.  They were sharing one pair of gloves between the two of them.  They were so sweet and  I ended up giving them my pair of gloves at the end of the day.  Eva asked me lots of questions and I told her that next year I will be going to university in Canada.  She got really excited when I told her this and started asking me what I wanted to study.  I told her that I wasn’t sure yet and she gave me a strange look and started listing all the possible choices: doctor, lawyer, construction worker etc.  I just smiled and nodded.  Wow.  That was a big “aha” moment for me.  It really put things in perspective and the contrast between my life and Eva’s life was unbearable.  Living in Canada I have the incredible, amazing opportunity to study whatever I want so that I can have a job to make money and be successful.  Eva is stuck working here to provide for her four children who are destined to a similar fate. I can only imagine her greatest wish is to see her kids go to school, get an education and build a life for themselves that is better than the one she is living.  I am no different than any of Eva’s daughters, yet I seem to have the world at my feet simply because I was born in a different part of the world.  And even upon knowing this, Eva and the rest of the workers treated me only with kindness and grace.  I have gained a whole new respect for field workers and their families. 

I also met Jose today.  After talking with him I thanked him for helping me so much with the berries and teaching me what to do.  He simply said, “That’s what we do.  Help others.”  And it made me realize that raspberry picking and the people that I met at the field have taught me so much in such a short time.  I learned about teamwork and how everyone can’t move on to a new section without finishing the prior section completely.  Even if you have finished your row, you go back and help someone else with their row.  And so we help each other and there is a joy from being helped and helping others and seeing their eyes crinkle up in a smile as they acknowledge this.

I met Rosio and Anna when we were picking alongside each other and they were arguing over who was going to ask for my name.  Finally one got the courage to ask me and they asked me many more questions.  It was refreshing because it seems that we as foreigners always initiate most of the smiles, waves, and “Holas”.  But at the fields, everything felt different and I felt so much more like myself and I truly experienced what I’ve heard everyone say about Mexicans being helpful, sharing, and happy.  I found out Anna has worked here for a year and Rosio for 2-3 years.  We talked about music and when they asked who I listened to, I told them I liked Taylor Swift, and guess what, Anna loves her too!  They also like Justin Bieber.  It took some time for me to understand who they were talking about because they pronounced his name “Hoostin”. 

It was a little sad saying goodbye today because I knew we wouldn’t be back again. I won’t forget those who are at the raspberry fields.  When I wanted to just stop working under the heat and the strain of my back I remembered that those around me do this everyday.  At one point, Rosio and Anna asked if I liked working here and I said “Yes” because I could not bring myself to say otherwise.  I asked them back and they said “Yes” as well.  I can’t help but wonder, there must be something else they would rather be doing with their lives.  They have so much potential.  It was truly an honor to work alongside these people today and get to know them.  They show such perseverance and strength and are still able to find joy in life.  It was definitely a day to remember.

LiveDifferent Academy Students, 2013 Spring Shack Week


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 11th, 2013

Hamper Shopping in Mexico

The first weekend that we here in Mexico, “hamper shopping” was introduced to my vocabulary. The Give Different Campaign over the winter holiday had raised enough money to give every family that had received a new house in 2012 an opportunity to receive a generous amount of groceries and other household supplies.

We picked the families up in our mini-bus and brought them to the local supermarkets. Our role as Academy students was to follow a family and help keep track of the amount that they were spending. Even though grocery shopping seemed like a very mundane task, I wanted to learn something from it. My passion in life has always been to connect with others through empathy (the ability to identify with another person’s situations or feelings), so I set a personal goal to be an interested observer of how a Mexican family’s shopping list might differ from my own.  If nothing else, I would get to see what constitutes the ingredients for Mexican food!

Armed with a calculator in one hand and a shopping cart in another, I followed the families as we navigated the narrow aisles of the crowded store. Fifteen families later, there were some noticeable winners of the “most sought after items”. Flour was incredibly popular because tortillas are such an integral part of their daily meals. The majority of the houses were without electricity so few of the families bought meat and milk because there wasn’t anywhere to store them. I never stopped to think about the role that a fridge played in my life but it allows me to keep foods fresh, whereas that day, the shopping carts were being filled with mostly nonperishable items.

Other than the basic necessities of food, the families also got to buy things that might otherwise have been more luxury items. So many loaded up on cleaning supplies and I reveled in each item’s potential to add more comfort and health into their lives. I was told that the price of eggs had recently gone up thus making them less affordable. But, on the bumpy ride home, most families kept safe a tray of eggs in their laps.

At the end, we helped unload bags and bags of groceries into their kitchens and each family expressed the most sincere gratitude. I tried to imagine what must have been going through their minds as we shopped.  How did they feel having more groceries than they could carry? Do they have more pressing things in life that they are now able to pay for like land payments and other bills? My mind worked frantically wanting to get to the bottom of exactly what an impact receiving a hamper made to these families.

In retrospect, I realized that the entire experience was made up of moments of shared gratitude. It was the perfect way to get right into the community. We got to visit the family’s houses and took in the additions that they had built to make them their own. We shook many, many hands, and played with the kids. Our newly learned Spanish phrases were put to the test. Finally, we smiled as the families told us how their lives have changed since living in their new homes.

Throughout it all, I could hardly wrap my head around how lucky I was to be a part of the shopping process. Food is such an essential part of a human being’s daily life. Thanks to the generous donors of the Give Different Campaign, we were able to be with the families as they picked out exactly what fulfilled their greatest needs and desires.  I witnessed money, something that is so commonly associated with greed and consumerism in our society today, being put towards helping people who are now the first friends that we made in the community. I held on to their names and faces because even though I could not absorb quite what this gift means for the families, I felt joy knowing their stomachs will be more satisfied and that their houses will be cleaner. A week into Mexico, I already felt so at home because of the people that I have encountered. These are the people who made an ordinary, everyday process seem extraordinary.


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 10th, 2013

The nights are long but the dreams are longer

Our day began with what I can honestly say was felt by all – anxiety and nervousness. Today was the garbage dump day, or better described as, “In their shoes.”

Our team is a mix of first time visitors and others on their second or even third trip to the Dominican. The briefing Nettie provided for us this morning was a reminder for some, while a blank canvas to others. “The garbage dump day is by far the most impacting day you will experience.” As you looked around the room, the expressions on our faces, the bowed heads, the tears streaming down cheeks….you couldn’t tell which ones of us were new and which ones were returning.

As our truck approached the dump you could hear a pin drop. Words were not spoken, just the odd glance or nod of “we will get through this together.”

The purpose of this day is to try and help the people of La Union, mostly Haitian refugees who work at the dump, collecting plastic bags and bottles so they can earn a few dollars. With our help for the day, they can possibly earn a few more dollars towards their dream of a better life. We were each assigned to either a man, a woman, or a child, given a clear plastic bag, and were on our way.

Being my second time to the dump, I found myself not so focused on the site of garbage and awful smells, but on the people. I was constantly distracted in hopes of coming across those I met on my last trip. Looking around over heaps of endless waste, I found my distraction was actually a dedicated team of locals and gringo’s, engaging in conversation, smiling and digging through oceans of garbage in hopes of filling at least one large bag of plastic.

Today LiveDifferent provided gift bags for the people who regularly work in the garbage dump. Those people got a ticket and when called came to collect a bag that included rice, oil, chicken stock, toothbrushes and soap. The look on their faces as they collected these things for their families was that of hope and happiness.

It was time to leave and just as my first experience, we were all slow to board the truck. In our hearts we didn’t want to leave as there was still so much we could do. The ride back to our hotel was much like how we approached, silent.

During our debriefing it was prevalent; it didn’t matter how many times you’ve been to the dump, the feeling of anger, hopelessness, frustration, sadness, and wanting to do more doesn’t go away or get any easier. In fact, it empowers you to fight harder and speak louder for change!

We then had some free time to unwind, reflect on our morning and prepare for minds for a celebration of unity.

Three Haitian couples had a dream to one day be married. They didn’t care about where they’d marry or what they would wear, for them the meaning of marriage was sacred, a commitment of their life-long love…their dream as one. This evening, on the grounds of our hotel three couples dreams came true! We had the honour of not only witnessing their wedding ceremony, but we all pitched in to ensure their union was complete with new wedding rings and a wedding gift. The ceremony lead by Frantzo was heartfelt by all; once again there was silence and a few tears but this time heads were high.

A day of remarkable highs and lows was felt by all, no matter who you were or where you came from. As Cole shared with us from one member in the community of Nuevo Renacer, ” the nights are long but the dreams are longer.” We are all free to dream, but with a little help, kindness, and inspiration we can all make each others dreams come true.


Terese ~ Hero Holiday volunteer 2013

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 9th, 2013

A crazy, wonderful day

What a another crazy, wonderful day today was. Second day on the build site and things were running like a clock. Almost all of the concrete walls were put up by the end of the day. I was so proud to see how hard everyone works on the site. If someone needs something, it just gets done. My wife Donna and I talked today about how well the whole LiveDifferent crew including the contractors are able to keep things so organized. Tonight we washed off the work grime and were treated to an incredible meal in the town of Cabarete.  Lots of great food and a chance to catch up with all of the week so far.

It has been very interesting to see how the culture works here. I still have not been able to figure out how this country truly operates. There is no well defined industry here besides the tourist industry, and I am still not sure who is a citizen or who is not. I am not even sure how the government raises money to pave the roads, or decides who gets a paved road or not. Amongst all of this there, is a very beautiful thing going on. This country has an amazing sense of community within its borders. Whether it be the Dominicans or the Haitian refugees, you constantly see smiles on peoples faces, a wave or a warm handshake from perfect strangers. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone is like this, this place has its bad apples too, however I have found most are welcoming and friendly. It brings back memories for me when I was younger and this type of community was seen in my neighbourhood where I grew up in Saskatoon. We played hockey in the street, neighbours knew each other, we looked out for each other. I miss this in my community. This place has left me with the realization that for all we have back at home in Calgary, I am truly missing this sense of community in our society. Just a little food for thought.

I love being here in Dominican Republic, I love being with the people I have met and most of all love be here with the love of my life, my wife Donna.

Tom ~ Hero Holiday volunteer 2013

Author: LiveDifferent


What a difference a day makes

Yesterday was gut-wrenchingly hard. I cried my eyes out more times than I care to share, but thank goodness I left the mascara at home. I am a small town girl living in a big city, so I can change my own tire and chop wood, but I can also rock a dress and killer heels. I thought I needed to give back, appreciate what I have, and learn about the world, so here I am. I am ready to experience something new and learn from people who live a life so different to mine.

When I toured around on day one I thought, this cant be real. This is staged. So many children, lonely, hungry, dirty, and all on their own. How do they live here? I was emotionally rocked and went to bed doubting my choice, my ability, and my person. “Who am I and what can I do?” Was on repeat in my head. The things I saw made me question so much about what I knew at home and also challenged me in ways I never imagined possible. I saw so much beauty and yet so much that was so wrong in my eyes. The children smile and laugh with such happiness, yet do not wear shoes, and seem to go without things I think they should have.

I woke up today with love in my heart but fear in my eyes. As we got to the job site I thought I was going to throw up from the nerves. I got of the bus and decided to dive in, it’s sink or swim time. I sifted, I lifted, I laughed and I played. The first brick I laid today, yes that I LAID, shot sparks through my veins and I felt every ounce of joy that I had seen on so many faces. I can do this, I will do this and I can change a life.

I’m just a girl but I made a difference today.

Heather ~ Hero Holiday volunteer 2013

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 6th, 2013

Punched in the heart by love

Last November my life changed forever; I began to see the world through a new lens, I learned what it meant to “LiveDifferent”. A group of 50 came to Auguas Negras (meaning black water) to build 5 homes for truly amazing people with our organization, WestJet (the second trip of it’s kind for WJA). When I returned from our trip in November the only way I could articulate the experience to others was to say “it’s like being punched in the heart by love”, the kind of love that literally sucks the air out of your lungs and leaves you breathless. It was building life long friendships, strengthening the knot that already tied some together, and it was finding family, community, and generosity like I have never seen before.  



And now here I am, 6 months later, sitting in a place that’s as familiar as home. This is a place that I knew I would see again, but I could never imagine what I would feel when I returned. The undertones of anxiety on the plane ride over nagged at me, as I wondered how this trip could possibly compare. It has all felt surreal until today; today we saw “our families” again, the families that each of our teams built a home for. Cole, one of the LiveDifferent leaders here said in our debriefing tonight that with every brick that we lay and house that we build, “we are just trying to catch up with what they are giving to us”. That could not be more true of what I experienced today. As I hugged our proud home owners Jolanda and Obidio, I saw the joy and pride in their faces, and I felt that punch even stronger than before. We are truly given the greatest gift in this experience, the gift of a new pair of eyes – the ones that I will forever see through. 



Since my experience on my first Hero Holiday, I have felt that love in every single day of my life, and seemingly I have a little more patience at every traffic light, with the way my boyfriend loads the dishwasher, or my dogs when they track mud on our freshly mopped floor. And I have a lot more love and appreciation for the people in my life, not the things. I have a job to drive to, a home with a dishwasher to load, and a floor to mop. More importantly though, an organization full of amazing and inspiring people that foster our infectious culture of care, (insert koolaid jokes here:), and a family, a boyfriend, and two amazing dogs to love completely and unconditionally. I can only imagine what this next chapter of Hero Holiday will bring…



This experience has taught me more about gratitude than any other moment in my life, so it might be strange to say thank you in a blog post but I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity. Thank you to the people who put this all together – to ALL of the amazing staff at LiveDifferent who made this possible, to WestJet for supporting this initiative and bringing us all together the first time, to Justin for initiating this trip where many of us are returning together, to Donna and Glenn for coordinating and to the friends and family who joined us this week for their first Hero Holiday experience. To those from April and November 2012 who couldn’t be with us on this trip, those who fundraised with us, donated time, money, effort, and even copious amounts of cheese (yes, cheese!) – you are in our hearts with every brick that is laid and every hug that we give. They say “It takes a village”, and there is a village here at Sousa By the Sea, (and back home, but in our hearts), who will have helped to build these homes, brick by brick. There is a village here that doesn’t know they will be leaving as a family. 



It’s easy to get caught up in our world of work, text messages, and PVR’d episodes of our favourite shows, but just take a moment to turn it all off and appreciate why we are here. And ask yourself this, “In 5 years, will this really matter?”. In 5 years I see this community prospering. It is already on the road to a new life, quite literally, being re-named Nuevo Renacer (meaning new life). This is what matters – community, connections and being present in the moment. As my coach and good friend Kim would say “What are you watering, the flowers, or the weeds?” You don’t have to build a house to make a difference (but you can!), just spend some time with your village of people, raise awareness for something you believe in, support a local charity, or just plain smile at a stranger. The flowers will matter 5 years from now, so why not give them a little love?


Laurel Myers ~ Hero Holiday volunteer 2013


Author: LiveDifferent