Archive for the ‘Volunteer Groups’ Category

Get (more) connected with your community: Timeraiser 2014

Monday, May 5th, 2014

John Grant, CEF Contributor

Timeraiser banner

This week we encourage you to get more connected and aware of the volunteer organizations in your community by checking out a local Timeraiser event if you’re in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Montreal, or St. John’s

Not familiar with the initiative? If you’re interested in art and in volunteering then this is the perfect event for you! Bid time (instead of money) on original local art. The time you bid then goes towards a volunteer non-profit organization who needs some help. Once your bid (hours) are fulfilled then you walk away with a beautiful new piece of art – and one that has a pretty cool story behind it when your friends and family ask about it! 

Read about one of our volunteers’ experience with Timeraiser here!

An Experience in 100 Hours

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

By John Grant, CEF Contributor

Timeraiser Vancouver is an annual event where attendees can bid volunteer hours of their own time in exchange for artwork by local artists. CEF has been participating in this event since 2010 as a non-profit organization who volunteers can pledge their time to.  The next event is happening May 8th at Segal Place in Vancouver, and you can get your tickets here.

John Grant shares with us his experience as a Timeraiser volunteer:

In November 2012, I took on a big challenge as a participant of Timeraiser Vancouver; I pledged to volunteer 100 hours with non-profit organizations in Vancouver over the next 12 months. In return, I got to take home a highly coveted piece of artwork, which was beautifully crafted by Sarah Mulder. My Timeraiser experience introduced me to a number of interesting and important organizations – including Compassionate Eye Foundation. What initially drew me to CEF was that it is a unique non-profit that marries two of my big interests: photography and support for developing countries. In some ways I thought it was too good to be true that such an organization exists!

I attended several CEF events, including their year-end celebration, Wrap8, and a fundraising event. I found both to reveal a community of very interesting people who I had great conversations with and who shared similar interests – something that isn’t always easy to find.

Chatting with CEF’s Executive Director, Susan McDonald, brought me even closer to the organization as she listened to the skill sets that I had and what my areas of interest were. She quickly identified a few ways that I could give back to the organization, while also building up some nice portfolio pieces for myself.  One of my favorite contributions is creating CEF’s monthly internal newsletter, In Focus.

I managed to contribute around one hour each week for the past year with CEF and met some great people along the way. I was also given some very cool exclusive access to a professional photo shoot; it was kind of a dream come true for an amateur photographer like myself!

You can read all about my experience with CEF and other volunteer groups I became involved with over the past year on my blog. Today, I proudly display my artwork piece in my home as a reflection of completing my volunteer hours. Now that my official Timeraiser experience is complete, I find that the artwork was merely a goal and a catalyst for me to experience something grander: The ability to connect with communities and to experience situations that I normally wouldn’t encounter. For that alone, I encourage you to also find an organization that reflects something that you’re passionate about and offer to provide them with a few hours of your time. In the end, the result will likely surprise you!

A huge thank you to John for sharing his experience with us, and for his continued work with CEF!

Join Us at Vancouver Timeraiser!

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

By Leah Yee, CEF Social Media Coordinator


It’s that time of year again – CEF is pleased to announce we have been selected to participate in the 5th annual Vancouver Timeraiser event! Timeraiser takes place on November 8th at 7pm at the Roundhouse Community Center in Yaletown and is an amazing opportunity for non-profit organizations to connect with new volunteers. Attendees are given a chance to explore and learn about the 28 different participating organizations, and find the perfect volunteer opportunity to suit their needs. The evening also includes a silent art auction featuring local artists, whereby people bid volunteer hours instead of money towards the art pieces. There are 17 beautiful paintings up for auction and this year.   Timeraiser has pledged to raise 4,000 volunteer hours. The event is described as “part volunteer fair, part silent art auction and part night on the town” and we at CEF are so excited to be involved in such a fantastic event! Tickets for night are $20 and can be purchased on the Timeraiser website.

In the past three years we have found some great volunteers through the Timeraiser event and are looking forward to meeting new members of our community this year!  So, if you’re looking to do some good and help out a great non-profit, why not Join us at Vancouver Timeraiser?


Masaai Mara, Kenya Water Kiosk Project

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Barbara Veres, Social Media Coordinator

We are delighted to announce the start of another exciting partnership with Canada’s own Free The Children (FTC) - a non-profit who has been working on a water kiosk project in the Masaai Mara region in southwestern Kenya.  These new water kiosks will bring so much more to the communities than just water- it will gives schools and communities accesss to fresh water on a daily basis, which in turn, will give the young girls of the community the opportunity to further their education.  This is truly something to celebrate!  Below is a letter from Gillian Dowie, Manager of Donor Relations for Free the Children.  We thought sharing Gillian’s letter would be an inspiring way to show our CEF supporters what  wonderful work FTC has been doing in Kenya and why we’re so proud to have partnered with them for the Kenya Water Kiosk Project.

In Africa Water Proximity Makes a Difference


Dear Friends,

[Free the Children] FTC has been operating in the Narok South District of Kenya since 1999, working with both Kipsigis and Maasai communities. It is among the poorest regions in the country, with low literacy rates and low school enrolment and attendance.  Through Adopt a Village, we’ve engaged many communities across the Mara and built schools, libraries, water projects, latrines, kitchens and teachers’ accommodations.  There are now many communities involved in our development and education projects and our team of community outreach and development workers consistently works with active women’s, men’s and youth groups.


In the Masaai Mara region of Kenya, families face a great deal of challenges and clear water is among them.  At FTC, we believe that clean water isn’t a luxury – it’s a basic human right.  The clean water program of our Adopt A Village model, which also includes education, health care, and alternative income, provides communities with localized clean water sources and sanitations facilities, reducing the spread of diseases and ridding children of their daily treks to collect water, freeing them to attend school.  Our clean water and sanitations projects include construction of wells, rain catchment systems, hand-washing stations and latrines. We also work with community members to promote local education in basic hygiene practices and waterborne disease prevention.

Water kiosks are stations which allow community members to access water from boreholes that FTC has dug.  Boreholes offer long-term sustainable solutions to drought by drilling up to 200 meters deep and protecting the water source from group contaminants.  From there, the water is routed to water kiosks at various points in nearby communities such as the school and central areas accessible to as many people as possible.  Water Management Committees are set up in each community to monitor the amount of water available and prevent overuse.  The use of a local Water Management Committee also promotes local ownership over the project, increasing the sustainability that FTC always ensures in our projects.

[Please take a look at this video.]  It depicts the first successful borehole that we dug in Kenya and Craig truly had no idea that they would strike water at that moment. It’s so much fun to watch and so moving at the same time. Providing access to clean water has the power to change lives!

CEF is a strong ongoing supporter of our work and the three kiosks that will be built in the region surrounding FTC’s newest borehole (construction dates TBD) will impact the communities both immediately and for years to come.  The ability to source clean water locally that CEF is providing improves the health of the community members, allows girls to have time to attend school and provides families with the ability to ensure safe and hygienic practices in the home.

The community names for the three kiosks are still to be determined, depending on the exact location of the borehole.  However, the Narok South District is a small region of Kenya and the communities in which we operate are all similar in challenges and often share resources because of their proximity to one another.  Once the community names are determined, further profiles will be created and sent to CEF.

Kenya at a Glance:

  • The average life expectancy is 54.
  • 46.1% of the population lives in absolute poverty.
  • The average adult literacy rate is 84%.
  • The maternal mortality rate is 530 deaths per 100,000 live births (as of 2008).

All my best,

Gillian Dowie
Manager, Donor Relations
Free The Children 

CEF & The Steveston Village Knitters Part 2

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

by Cale Simpson, CEF Social Media Coordinator

Yet again the Steveston Village Knitters, who meet every Tuesday @10am at Waves Coffee on Bayview Street in Steveston, have found a way to contribute their unique talents and compassion to CEF.  Our first partnership was for the Prenatal/Post delivery program in Guatemala that took place earlier in 2011.  Most recently the Village Knitters donated one-of-a-kind pieces that were sold at two community craft fairs in the lower mainland.  Some of the fine crafted items included felted hand bags, iPad sleeves, and children’s sweaters, along with colourful socks, scarves, quilts, and jewellery.  Both CEF’s Executive Director, Susan McDonald and photographer Suzanne Rushton can attest to the excellent quality of the Village Knitters products as they were given a chance to see their crafts prior to the craft fairs.
 From all of us at CEF, we would like to send a big, heartfelt thank you to all the Steveston Village Knitters!   Ladies, you really gave everyone a wonderful holiday gift by devoting your time and energy to creating such wonderful crafts and theny donating all of the proceeds from your events to support our work.   Thank you again ladies for your contributing your talents!
To learn more about the various projects that Compassionate Eye Foundation supports, please visit