Fueling Dreams for Indigenous Youth

Empowering Indigenous youth through mental wellness programming

This winter, LiveDifferent embarks on a vital journey across the ice roads of Northern Manitoba, reaching out to remote Indigenous communities. Our mission is clear: to connect with and empower Indigenous youth, whose voices and stories often remain unheard. With the distressing statistic that the suicide rate among these youth is 5 to 6 times higher than the national average, our initiative is not just timely; it’s crucial.

We’re bringing our 2-day Circles program, specifically designed to support the mental wellness of these young individuals. This program is more than just an event; it’s a lifeline, offering motivational assemblies, interactive workshops, and a space for meaningful conversations that inspire and foster resilience.

“This campaign embodies our commitment to making a tangible difference in the lives of Indigenous youth,” says Mary Anne Roy, Manager of Community Engagement at LiveDifferent.

The program is facilitated by our road team volunteers who travel by truck from Niagra Falls, Ontario to the first Indigenous community of Saint Theresa Point First Nation, Manitoba – a distance of more than 3,000 KM which takes them about 40 hours!

The fundraising goal for this campaign is a minimum of $10,000 and the initiative is designed to engage donors in a unique way – for every $25 contribution, participants gain an entry to win two round-trip WestJet tickets, making their support even more rewarding.

“Our partnership with WestJet adds an exciting dimension, giving our supporters a unique opportunity to gain while they give. We believe this approach will not only raise the necessary funds but also increase awareness about the critical need for mental wellness support in these communities,” says Roy.

Donations will directly subsidize the Circles program, ensuring that more Indigenous youth can benefit from this life-changing program.

Together, we can ensure that this winter, the ice roads lead to more than just physical destinations; they become pathways to understanding, growth and hope.

Join us in making a difference, in not only bringing a program but a promise to these communities. With your support, we can create a brighter, more inclusive future for Indigenous youth in these remote areas.

Donate today!

The “Fueling Dreams” campaign runs from November 28, 2023, at 12:01 a.m. GMT to December 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. GMT.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: November 28th, 2023

Q&A with Board Member Renée McGurry

We’re shining a well-deserved spotlight on the incredible individuals on LiveDifferent’s Board of Directors!

Each person plays a pivotal role in guiding LiveDifferent’s vision, strategy and impact—fueling our mission to create positive change in the world. Their unwavering dedication, expertise and boundless compassion have been instrumental in transforming countless lives and communities. 

Renee McGurry, Board Member

Meet Renée McGurry

Our spotlight shines bright today on a remarkable board member whose journey with LiveDifferent began in a unique and serendipitous manner. 

It all started at a fundraising dinner in 2017, where fate sat Renée next to Malinda Roberts, the Executive Director of Winnserv Inc. and sister of Charles Roberts, CEO of LiveDifferent. This chance encounter revealed Renée’s background as a retired Indigenous educator, catching Malinda’s attention. 

Acknowledging Renée’s expertise, Malinda connected her with the LiveDifferent team. There was an instant and deep connection between LiveDifferent’s commitment to service and positive impact and her own aspirations. This synergy culminated in her becoming a board member in September 2017.

Q: What is your favourite thing about being a board member?

A: I love everything! The board members are such a loving, compassionate and caring group of professionals who are a joy to work with. I’ve also had the pleasure of travelling with them. They’re such an amazing (and fun) group who have always made me welcome and have not only given me a seat at the table but have also given me a voice. 

I look forward to the meetings, the discussions and of course, the incredible retreats. I’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand, the inspiring work that LiveDifferent does in Mexico, DR, Haiti and Thailand. I participated in the Thailand trip on my own in 2019, which was, in itself, an unforgettable experience!

Q: How has your experience with LiveDifferent changed you as a person?

A: In my culture, we have four spiritual beliefs that tell us that everything in life happens for a reason. Some call it ‘synchronicity’. And so when you believe and accept this, it’s very easy to look at each day as a gift, and as a learning opportunity. 

For many, like myself, it’s proof that we are never alone. The first of the four beliefs states that ′′The people you meet are meant to bring something into your life.” That is, no one comes into your life by accident. You are meant to meet that person for a reason. Either you have something to give them, or they have something to give you. You need to see each encounter as a blessing, a lesson, and a part of your journey. 

So on my life journey, LiveDifferent was part of Creator’s plan. It has allowed me to share and receive the many gifts of this organization, its staff, its board members and the gifts of those whom we support.

Q: If you could pick one project or initiative that you are most proud of, what would it be and why?

A: It’s hard to pick just one so I’ll have to say that I am proud of both the school in Haiti and the Freedom Village. I wasn’t there when the school was built but I’ve had the pleasure of visiting it and seeing first-hand how many children and families have been impacted. I was fortunate to be in Haiti when we broke ground for the Freedom Village, so I have been a part of that journey from start to finish. Both projects have been life-changing for me personally.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering getting involved with us?

A: I would advise anyone who is looking to make a difference, to get involved in any way they can. As Mohammed Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”  Getting involved in service to others will give so much meaning to your life. It will help you build empathy, and humility and allow you to give and live from the heart. In the end, you will find that you receive so much more than you give. No better feeling than having a heart filled with love!

Learn more

Renée’s story is a powerful reminder of the impact one can make by aligning personal values with organizational missions. 

We are immensely grateful to the extraordinary individuals like Renée who make up LiveDifferent’s Board of Directors. We are privileged to have such an exceptional group who wholeheartedly believe in our vision and generously share their time, skills and resources to ensure our success. 

Learn more about our team and get inspired to create change alongside them. 

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: November 21st, 2023

Running the extra mile with the World Airline Road Race

On Sept. 24, 2023, the World Airline Road Race (WARR) held its 40th annual race and fundraising event in Calgary, Alberta. This event wasn’t just a competition; it was a beacon of hope and generosity, culminating in a fundraising effort, and LiveDifferent is honoured to be the chosen charity partner for this year’s race.

Beyond the finish line: A fundraising feat

Participants raised an incredible $14,233! These funds were designated for a special project: a Build in Mexico with our Academy student cohort.

Chair of World Airline Road Race, Jennifer Zimmer says, “After experiencing a LiveDifferent Build firsthand this year, I knew this organization was the perfect charity for World Airline Road Race’s yearly donation to a worthy cause. It is important to our membership, made up of airline employees from all over the world, to give back each year to those in need.”

A unique challenge, an unforgettable journey

The family selected for this Build was Olivia and her children, who had been living in a cramped, mouldy concrete block home with a leaky roof. The living conditions caused her children to frequently miss school due to respiratory illness.

In this scenario, the need for a safe, healthy and stable living environment was not just a matter of comfort, but a necessity. This Build was about providing a space where the children could grow, learn and thrive without the burden of illness and the constant anxiety of a deteriorating home.

A new home, a new beginning

Thanks to the generosity of the WARR participants and the hard work of our Academy students and staff, we were able to construct a new home alongside Olivia’s family. This home is not just a structure of bricks and mortar; it is a foundation for a healthier, brighter future.

The Build has been a testament to the power of community, generosity and hard work. Our Academy students have not only made a significant impact on a family’s life but also set an inspiring example for other young people to get involved. They have shown that with compassion and determination, we can make a world of difference.

“The group of rockstars at LiveDifferent make such a positive impact on people’s lives and we wanted to help them make this happen for another family. We are so honoured to support this Build and wish to thank the young volunteers who travelled to Mexico to help build this home and work within the local community,” Zimmer adds.

A heartfelt thank you

We extend our deepest gratitude to the World Airline Road Race organizers, participants, and everyone who contributed to this cause. Your support has not only changed the lives of Olivia and her family but has also reinforced our belief in the power of community and compassion.

Learn more

Interested in getting involved with LiveDifferent’s Builds Program? Check out our upcoming public Builds trips or organize your own private group Build.

About WARR

The World Airline Road Race (WARR) is an annual event held in September/October, attracting over 1,000 participants from 40+ airlines. Now in its 41st year, it’s one of the largest airline athletic events globally. Hosted by a different airline each year, in partnership with the International WARR Committee, it promotes team-building and company pride through a series of activities. Highlights include a meet-and-greet, a T-shirt swap party, and the main events – the 5K and 10K walk-and-run. The event concludes with an awards dinner and dance, offering networking opportunities with airline professionals worldwide. Visit to learn more.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: November 14th, 2023

How one small donation brings a whole lot of love

At the end of 2022, we held a fundraiser for LiveDifferent’s Emergency Relief and Community Development Fund (ERCDF) through our Give a Little, Love a Lot Campaign.

This ERCDF enables LiveDifferent to further support the communities in which we work by responding to urgent or critical challenges, assisting with community projects and providing emergency relief in the face of natural disasters.

Over the past several months, these funds have been instrumental in providing assistance to various individuals and community initiatives. Of the $7,080 raised, 80% have gone toward medical assistance and 20% of the funds have gone toward community development.

Here’s how the generous contributions have supported some of these cases.

Emergency relief

  • Cancer support

LiveDifferent aided the Mexican non-profit Isaac Everardo AC, providing crocheted and knitted blankets, toques and essential supplies like Pediasure for families with children battling cancer. This support helps families cope with the challenges of distant medical treatment and emotional strain.

  • Medical costs

This fund continuously supports individuals by giving them access to the medicine and healthcare they need. From helping children with allergies and asthma to supporting a young man who suffered severe burns, we’ve been able to help many people on their road to recovery.

  • Funeral costs

The fund has consistently supported families with funeral expenses during difficult times, including the passing of a young asthmatic girl and the mother of two staff members.

Community development

  • Community reading programs

LiveDifferent supported two community reading programs in Mexico,  providing books that teach important values and foster a love for reading among children, contributing to their educational and personal development.

  • Community Centre

The fund made a donation to a community centre in Padre Kino, run by a Canadian woman who provides valuable programs like crafts, English classes and a low-cost nursing program. This financial aid helps sustain the centre’s operations and services.

Rallying around families when they need it most

In the face of such adversity, meet Rafael and Yeraidi—a couple whose resilience and love shine through even in the darkest of times.

Rafael, a hardworking carpenter, experienced a life-altering accident when he fell from the second floor while working, resulting in severe injuries to his pelvis, back, ribs and legs. Miraculously, he survived, but the road to recovery has been arduous.

Yeraidi, his devoted wife, stands by his side, carrying the weight of their family’s future. With a 16-year-old daughter to care for and a baby on the way, she bears the immense responsibility of supporting her injured husband and preparing for the arrival of their new bundle of joy.

Beyond the emotional strain, financial hardships have added to their struggles. Rafael’s inability to work has made it difficult to make ends meet. There are days when they struggle to put food on the table, and they’ve been unable to afford basic necessities like medications and electricity bills. The family owed three months of rent, and their fridge and front door were both broken. The simple comforts we often take for granted had become distant dreams for this family.

Through the Emergency Relief and Community Development Fund, LiveDifferent has been able to cover their medical expenses while also paying for a new refrigerator for the family. One of our staff members has also generously paid their electrical bills.

Now that they have a refrigerator, Sandra, one of the community leaders who works closely with LiveDifferent, has committed to teaching Yeraidi how to make ice cream to sell within her community. This donation will not only help the family in their current circumstances, but it will also give them a source of income that will help carve a more promising future.

A collective effort is required to extend support and kindness to families like Rafael, Yeraidi and their children. Even the smallest gestures can make an enormous impact on their lives.

How can you help?

By donating directly to LiveDifferent’s Emergency Relief and Community Development Fund, you can help uplift this family and many others by showing them that they are not alone in their journey.

Even a small donation can make a huge difference in the lives of those struggling to get by – $50 has fed a family for a week, $30 has provided limb-saving medical attention and $80 has given a mother the medicine she needs to care for her family.

Become the change a family needs to transform their lives for the better! Donate today.

Author: Gina Alward

Date: November 3rd, 2023

Welcoming hope: Two sisters find a new beginning at Freedom Village

At LiveDifferent, we believe in the power of change, the potential for transformation, and the importance of community. We are thrilled to share a heartwarming update that marks a significant step forward in our mission to make a difference in the lives of youth. We’ve welcomed the first two girls, sisters, into the Freedom Village in Haiti.

Emanuela, our dedicated house Mom at Freedom Village, has opened her heart to these brave young girls. Her nurturing and unwavering commitment to their well-being has already started to make a  difference in their lives.

Life hasn’t been easy for these sisters. They’ve faced adversity that would have left most of us feeling defeated. But what sets them apart is their unyielding spirit, resilience, and the hope they carry in their hearts. It’s a hope that’s not only helping them overcome their past but propelling them toward a brighter future.

Thanks to our incredibly generous donors, this opportunity has become a reality. This support has created a safe haven for these girls and many more who will follow in their footsteps. The Freedom Village stands as a symbol of hope, a place where dreams can flourish, and lives can be rebuilt.

LiveDifferent’s Manager of Construction and Logistics and Community Liaison, Frantzo Begin says, “Today it is a pleasure to be here and to see the dream we had a long time ago and see the reality of the dream. There’s no words to say how appreciative we are for the work LiveDifferent is doing because of all the donors and the support from the LoveLegacy community.”

In the community of Calvaire, these sisters are discovering a new family, a loving environment, and the support they need to thrive. They’re not just learning, growing and living; they’re embracing a second chance at life.

Thank you to our donors for helping us make this new beginning possible for these two sisters. Together, we are creating a world where dreams are not just chased but caught, where lives are not just lived but celebrated, and where adversity is not a roadblock but a stepping stone to a brighter future.

Learn more

Freedom Village will soon have the capacity to house 28 girls who have experienced abuse through Haiti’s Restavek system.

Want to get involved? Become a monthly LoveLegacy partner and watch your contributions change lives.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly updates about our Compassion Projects in Haiti.

Author: Elissa Grohne

Date: November 1st, 2023