Change the world. Yes, you can do it by investing in your community. Spending Canadian Thanksgiving in an ungrateful country like Italy has been a lesson for me—one of the many lessons I’ve learned from my country of origin.
Forget the magnificent ancient buildings, the world-renowned food, the crystal clear Mediterranean waters. Those are for tourists.
When you are emotionally attached to a country as I am to Italy, you have to look behind what shines to see how the country is run, how the people behave, how the resources are used.
Italy is stressed by politicians with no conscience, whose only goal is to perpetuate chaos so they can steal as much as they want. It is plagued by the Mafia, whose life mantra, “You help me, I’ll help you,” is embraced by almost everyone. It is abandoned by smart minds, who prefer to work in other countries.
These are the top issues, but there are many more: racism, close-mindedness, ungratefulness, self-centredness, lack of compassion. I could go on, but I’m getting depressed.
There I was on Canadian Thanksgiving, celebrating by myself and pondering what it is that makes Canada the best country in the world. Pondering, too, what it is that makes Italy so irritating for a person like me, who emigrated from a country in crisis over forty years ago and keeps returning to even greater crisis every year.
Lack of community engagement, that’s what’s missing.
If I had to pinpoint the one thing Italians need to start shifting to a more productive mindset and seeing better results, it would be engagement in the things they believe need to change.
I am so turned off by people who criticize, complain, and revolt without ever thinking that what’s needed is to roll up their sleeves and become involved in whatever they believe is important.
The single greatest strength I recognize in a country like Canada is that people are engaged. Whatever matters to them, they get to work on. Whether it’s singing, collecting clothing, donating money, fostering animals, or contributing time, everyone I know is aware and intentional about doing something that helps the community while making them happy.
Like most people, I choose to surround myself with like-minded friends and colleagues. I’m extremely grateful to have friends who exhibit the best in community engagement. Together, we guide one another, share our passions, and join together in our community efforts for better results.
I don’t know one parent in Italy who volunteers in their children’s school. I remember the thousands of hard-collected dollars we raised in my son’s little neighbourhood school to provide the kids with computers, books, uniforms, and a playground.
Most of the parents in his school contributed in one way or another. Not everyone collected money, but everyone modeled for our children the spirit of community that makes things happen when people become involved.
Canadians are successful at raising children with a social conscience because they model that social conscience and the importance of every individual on a team. When refugees began arriving in Canada from Syria, individuals, families, and groups of all kinds raised money and collected food, clothing, and furniture to start them on the road to a better life. Even our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shows up at the airport to welcome Canada’s first Syrian refugees.
The moral of the story? To create change and to keep it moving forward, we have to put our time and our effort where our mouth is. If you are not willing to work to change this world we live in, then please shut up and stop blaming others.
It is my hope to encourage the awesome people who are already involved to continue to inspire others. And if I’ve succeeded in persuading even one Italian to change their mindset from criticizing to acting, then that’s one more person out there who will model change.
I feel very strongly about the associations I’ve listed below. These are the communities that inspire me and that I follow. Change the world by supporting your favorite charities that make a change!
List of Vancouver, Canada, local charities
Cause We Care Foundation was founded in 2007 for the purpose of empowering single mothers and children living in poverty in our community. With support from donors and volunteers like you, our efforts are stronger and more impactful than any one of us can achieve alone. Together we can break the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children, and in doing so, we can uplift our communities. #singlemotherstrong
Providing love and hope to Vancouver’s homeless and at-risk street youth. We help young people aged 16 to 24 who have fled physical, emotional and sexual abuse; those who have been forced from their homes; and those who have aged out of foster care.
In a world that’s broken by poverty and addiction, we are determined to offer restoration to those in need. We do this by coming alongside men, women, and children to provide a hand up towards hope and recovery.
We are catalysts for change. We make beautiful blankets to donate to children who need extra love. Scalda Cuori means heart warmer in Italian. This is a private charity founded by myself.
The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund launched its first Adopt-a-School campaign in 2011. Hungry children were arriving at school in worn-out clothing, listless from hunger or sleep deprivation. They often had no proper beds, or their bedding was infested with vermin. Since 2011, The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund has directed more than $1 million to the Adopt-a-School program to help these kids. The need continues.
The Welcome Blanket Project aims to connect people already living in the United States residents with our country’s new immigrants through stories and handmade blankets, providing both symbolic and literal comfort and warmth. At the same time, the project offers a positive, hands-on way to understand the scope of a 2000-mile border wall and to subvert it from an idea of exclusion to one of inclusion. By participating in this project, people will also come together to talk about immigration policy and how it affects real-live people.
Abused and neglected dog, cat, pet, animal rescue, shelter and care. Animal Advocates Society hears — and truly listens — to the voices of many suffering.
Help us find homes for these Mexican rescued pups by donating! Located at Acre Baja in San José del Cabo, these street pups are adopted out to Canada and the US!
We are a small group of dedicated citizens from Canada’s Northwest who simply love dogs. We volunteer our time to bring sad, neglected and homeless dogs into loving homes where they can be nurtured back to health and happiness. Sponsor a Dog
Thank DOG I Am Out Dog Rescue Society is a registered non-profit society based in Vancouver, BC that is dedicated to the rescue and re-homing of dogs who are at risk of being euthanized, surrendered, abused, or neglected. Tax receipt for amounts $25 and over. 100% of your donation goes to helping dogs in need.
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