1Jan '12

“These people are our sisters & our brothers” Charity Choice Announcment

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I always want to buck the trend and not give into the reset that the date of January 1st gives us, I am a bit cynical about it. Perhaps it was years of bartnending on New Years Eve. I tend to set my resolutions on my birthday – but really why is setting it on my birthday so much better than joining the swell of enthusiasm that January 1st has behind it?  This year I am owning my hypocrisy and embracing the  beauty of resolutions – whether they succeed or fail they usually point you in a healthy direction.

– I will continue to take risks and embrace failure as a sign that I tried. Further to that, I will be bolder in making big decisions. 
– I will learn something new (oohhh.. I am excited about this one, as the wheels,okay two sets of wheels, are already in motion.)  
– I will find a new way to make a difference. 
I don’t know if it counts as cheating if the third point as already been started. As part of my Ten Years of Celebration I called for nominations for a charity that would benefit from professional photography. For five years I have been very active in helping Y.A.N.A. share the stories behind their efforts and I feel that I have room to do the same for another charity. 
I thank everyone who nominated a charity. One however jumped out. Not only was it nominated three times, however, it is something that strikes a chord for me and my family. 
I am excited to announce that I have chosen Dawn to Dawn, Action on Homeless Society
For many years I lived on the outskirts of the Downtown Vancouver Eastside. Many of my friends chose to work in the assistat living facilities in the area. They were working with a wide spectrum of needs, dealing with drug addiction, to abuse, to helping those fighting the final stages of AIDS live with dignity. They were helping those that could  transition to a better life, and providing support to those that wouldn’t. No matter the direction, I was moved by what a difference their kindness could make. From what I know of the those involved in Dawn to Dawn, their heart is right there – not making assumptions, not discriminating, just helping. 
I have always lived by the philosophy, never say never, and always do unto others as you wish them to do unto you. I see someone on the street and I know they have a story, people they love and those whose lives they have left their footprints on. They could be me. I could be them. 
My family was strongly behind the choice of Dawn to Dawn. My daughters have recently become more aware of the homeless and some of their school peers whose parents struggle to provide a lunch for them every day. Two of our daughters has even recently begun campaigning to spend a few days on the street and see what it feels like. Another daughter has been strongly asserting a desire to help at the Food Bank. I look forward to further breaking down the barriers between them, and those whose lives have taken a different path.
I don’t know what my work with Dawn to Dawn will result in or  what direction it will take. However I am so honored to find out. 
Of the three nominations for this charity I thought I would share this one. 


Respect, dignity,
warmth, shelter, health… these aren’t the items that you would find on a typical
Christmas wish list.  These words shouldn’t
express wishes at all… these words describe basic human need.  There are people in our own community who
find these basic human needs out of reach. 
Homelessness lives right here in our community.  Dawn to Dawn was created to address the needs
of the homeless population in the Comox Valley. 
Dawn to Dawn offers two services; a residential program that provides
accommodation in market housing and a mobile medical clinic that that offers
care to those who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in the Comox
Valley.  A total of 33 volunteers: 13
nurses, 5 doctors, 3 dentists, 2 pharmacists and 1 optometrist donate their
professional skills side by side with a group of dedicated volunteer outreach

After discussion with Helen Boyd
from Dawn to Dawn I respectfully submit Dawn to Dawn as a nominee for the
Christmas Charity promotion through McKinnon Photography.  I think that there is immense value in giving
a face to homelessness in our community. 
I would like to see Karen work together with this compassionate group of
volunteers to help bring an element of realism to the issue of homelessness in the
Comox Valley.  Homelessness isn’t a glamorous
issue…but it is a very real issue.  It is
a very worthy issue… because there is worth in every life.  It is an issue that touches the lives of a
very vulnerable population.  I believe
that all people have a story, a history, a past and I believe that it is
important to embrace the opportunity to offer a hand up towards a future to
those who need it most.  I believe that Dawn
to Dawn has identified a need and they are a charity in action.  Dawn to Dawn is ‘doing’ in our
community.  If selected, Dawn to Dawn
would like to work with Karen to respectfully share the story of homelessness
in the Comox Valley while
the anonymity of the population they serve.

“These people are
our sisters and our brothers. The right thing to do is to help them reclaim
their lives and their autonomy. There is so much left to be done in regards to
the issue of homelessness in our community. Photography is a strong medium that
bares witness in a very privileged manner to our universal need to be seen and
heard.” (
Helen Boyd – Coordinator
CARE-A-VAN Program Dawn to Dawn: Action on Homelessness Society)

Submitted by: A.B.