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Community services committee monthly blog: Reflections on April events

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

FYBF Reflection

By Maaya Yui

On April 27, I participated in FYFB, food bank volunteer. The reason that I joined this that I was interested in contributing to society through food and I wanted to meet people who come to get food.

There are two shifts, first, cooking food from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m and second, serving food from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. I joined the second one and other members were Lu, Michael and other volunteers. We brought and served food and cleaned out cooperating with each other. Finally, we were able to serve food to 89 people.

I thought that this activity is very valuable for me. People who came to get food were mostly suffering from poverty, and I would be happy if I could help them even just a little. And also, It was more rewarding to see their smiles in a trivial greeting when passing food. Although the situation we are in is different, I felt a warm connection between us as humans through food. I learned that a FYFB is more than just giving food.

Toronto Clean Up By Wali Zia

In order to make the world a better, cleaner, more livable place, we have to take a stand. It’s up to us to make the difference. We often spend our times thinking that someone else will do something so it’s no point in me doing anything. However, if everyone thinks that way, then no one would do anything at all. Hence, we, at the Rotaract Club of Toronto decided to step up and do our part instead of just waiting for someone else to do it for us.

As part of our desire to make the world a better place for ourselves and everyone else on this planet, we organized a community clean-up event in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Clean-up Toronto event. Our main focus for this year has been to protect our environment through our 6-month long zero-waste challenge. To take that challenge one-step further, we decided to spend our Sunday morning cleaning up the streets and parks of Toronto.

Our day started when we met up near Ossington station around 10 in the morning. From there, we split up into 3 groups and set to work. Two groups walked down Ossington street towards Trinity Bellwoods Park. The third group went through Dovercourt road and then met up with the rest at the park itself. It was an incredibly rewarding and exhilarating experience watching the before and after moments right on the spot. The one thing we found most was cigarette butts, ruining the streets of the city. It was interesting to see just how many cigarette butts were thrown on the floor right next to garbage bins. It was frustrating to see how ugly the streets actually looked when we were paying attention. Though, just as hideous as it was, it was equally as pleasing to see it cleaner right after. Other things we noticed were a lot of random and weird things just thrown out, including bathroom supplies, gardening supplies, broken pots, toys, and house tools. We saw some disturbing things, but we encountered a lot of positive people. Everyone that saw us doing our work was super appreciative and thankful of everything we were doing. I can recount at least 5 people that thanked us for the clean-up work that we did.

Once we met at the park, we took a team picture to show just how much garbage we had picked up in just 3 blocks. After that, we split up into two groups and made our way through the park picking up more garbage along the way. It was really nice to see that there were other groups of people in the park as well, cleaning up the garbage just like us. It was heart-warming to watch other people also care about the city we live in. As we made our way to the end, we finally realized the positive change and difference our little morning had made in not just our lives, but the lives of those around us.

As a little reward and to enjoy the day, we then walked over to Sweet Olenka’s where some of us devoured some amazingly delicious homemade ice cream while the rest savoured the delicacies and chocolates that they had to offer.

In the end of it all, it was an amazing morning filled with incredibly positive people, doing the work, stepping up to the plate and helping to make the environment, this world, our city, a better place for us all. It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from the Robin Hood TV Series produced by BBC in 2006.

“For every man there is a purpose which he sets up in his life. Let yours be the doing of all good deeds.”

Poker Walk 2019

By Kamil Tasmagambet

It was a cold Saturday morning in Toronto. As I approached Toronto beach area, I realized that I am going to start an adventure

I enjoyed Poker Walk event on Saturday, because we had interesting outdoors activities where Rotaractors and Rotarians, from all over GTA, walked on the beach trails and learned new info from different non-profit organization booths.

People inside these booths represented AIDS/HIV social cause and majority of these volunteers shared with me that they are affected by this illness themselves or their social circle has friends who were directly affected by these conditions.

Most of these booths had SWAG items like eco-friendly bags, plastic wrist watches and various contraceptive products.

The cloudy weather, cold wind and shivering volunteers inside those booths didn't stop Rotaractors and Rotarians from abandoning their project.

Despite bad weather, I was confident that Rotaractors will persevere. I was correct.

At the beginning of the Poker Walk, Rotaract Club of Toronto members gathered in circle and wiped their cold noses to start doing tribal dancing which finished with squat exercises recommended by me

I was proud for making a difference and raising awareness about HIV/AIDS stigma by holding Rotaract Club of Toronto District 7070 sign throughout this event.

I enjoyed participating in this Poker Walk event, because I combined social event with a social cause. I would be happy to do this Poker Walk event next year.

I am thankful for motivated volunteers from Phillip Aziz Center, Casey House, Ontario Aboriginal HIV/Aids Strategy, Toronto Latinos Postivos, Dignitas, African in Partnership Against AIDS, Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, and The Stephen Lewis Foundation who continue to offer support to these people who were affected by these diseases and continue to fight to make our society better for the next generations.

I am thankful for all people who showed up at this event by sacrificing their Saturday morning and making monetary contributions for this social cause.

At the end, Rotaract Club of Toronto donated 485 dollars for this event to PWA organization.

As Audrey Hepburn said, "As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others."

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