Change – so much more than a six letter word

The anticipation mounted as we made the trek to meet the family we would be building for.  The chanting of “Gringa” in the streets brought a huge smile to everyone on board the truck, and none any bigger than mine.  As we rounded the corner, I saw change!  Sandra’s dream is coming alive. I feel warm inside and immensely happy. 
The pole that once stood with a complete mess of matted electrical wires now stands with neatly strung wires. As I look to my right I see a fence around the basketball court. As we follow along our tour of the village, I also notice that individuals are sweeping their walkways, pouring cement around their homes, watering their plants and hanging their clothes out to dry. I am feeling their pride. 
So yes, change is much more than a six letter word, and I feel truly blessed to have been part of this change.
Jeanette, LiveDifferent Build Volunteer, Making More Change 2 Team, Fall 2014

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: October 17th, 2014

Feel Your Calling

I’m happy to say this is my third trip with LiveDifferent. There are so many amazing experiences that happen during these trips. It is always great to meet new people who are thriving to make a difference in the world in which they live. I feel honoured and privileged to be a part of this build.  Knowing that a beautiful family will receive a safe, new home to live in is a great feeling. 

This trip was different in many ways, after already learning so much in the last two. There are a large number of people living in these situations, and while we can’t help them all, we have to use what we have to try to make the most difference in the world.  We need to live our lives in a way that will reflect strongly how we would like other to live. To lead by example how we should treat one another, how we should care for one another, and how we should love one another.

That is the greatest lesson I have learned from the families here.  In my eyes these are some of the greatest teachers and role models because of their sense of community, relationships with friends and family, and their perspective for material things. The people we work with will offer you the clothes off their back and the food off their plates.  They have so much compassion and kindness in their hearts, and they have shown us more of this each time we return.  This perspective on life, this new awareness, is worth so much more than any toys, clothes, or money we have at home. I believe it helps us put a value on human life. It helps us want to make more of a change in this world.  Not seeing poverty in a foreign country as a challenge we can’t fix, but as a face and a name. We begin to have compassion for the struggles people go through. I wish everyone could experience this!
– Bruce, LiveDifferent Build, Making More change 2 Team, Fall 2014

Author: LiveDifferent


Hero Holiday is getting a New Name!

We have an exciting announcement to make…Hero Holiday is getting a new name!

As some of you will know, a few years ago, LiveDifferent transitioned from what we were formerly known as – Absolute Leadership Development. This was largely because we wanted a name that truly described the call to action we were sending out to both young and old across Canada; to live a life that really was different, that was about people, not stuff. At the time, we chose not to change the name of our international humanitarian program – Hero Holiday – due to how well-known it was, and because the original intent of that title, to encourage people to selflessly ‘be a hero’ to someone else, fell exactly in line with LiveDifferent’s values.

However, as LiveDifferent has grown over the years, the world around us has changed, with more and more people becoming aware of global issues. To our staff, nothing could be better than having more people invested in social justice causes, and we’ve welcomed questions about our programs, never shying away from the difficult ones, and even admitting with humility that we do not always have all the answers. One question that has come up frequently was whether the title ‘Hero Holiday’ accurately reflected the way we aim to partner with families and communities as equals, building with them, and not just for them.

This got us thinking…while we knew what a Hero Holiday was supposed to mean, it was a problem if it wasn’t representing our values clearly. We wanted to be sure that when people came on a trip with us, that they were left with the understanding that the true heroes were the families they were building with – those who struggled daily to provide for their children, to get an education, to change their communities for the better – those were the ones who inspired us! Finally, we realized that we would never want the people we partnered with in the local community to feel like they were any lesser than our staff or our teams simply because of a program title.

Maybe it was time for a change. Our team started brainstorming, trying to think of names that best described what our trips were about. What was our goal when we built in a community? What was it that we were building when we built a home for a family? What was built among a group of people as they came together for one week to build a home or a school?

In all of this, one word stood out…build. That is the one thing that is central to what LiveDifferent does in all of our host countries, we do building projects. But what we build is so much more than bricks and cement or a wooden frame. With each home or school we build, we’re building a community. We’re building health for the families and students who will have proper shelter and be able to get an education. We’re building dignity for the people who will have a place they will be proud to live in and to go to school. We’re building hope for a group of people who may not have believed that they had any value, or that anyone else cared about their community. We’re building a future for that community filled with people who are each just as valuable as I am, and as you are – who each have the potential to make a difference, whether we were born in Canada, or Dominican Republic, or Mexico, or Haiti, or Thailand.

So, you’ve probably worked it out by now…Hero Holiday’s new name is LiveDifferent Builds!

We’re really excited to embrace this new name, and to have you all come along with us as we continue to build a lifestyle that is about people, not stuff.

We’d love to hear from you too! What do you think of the new name? Send us an email and let us know!

 – LiveDifferent Team 

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: October 9th, 2014