It’s been a few years of reflection for many of us. We had the time to learn more about the world around us as well as who we are, who we want to be and how we can make a positive impact in what matters to us. It’s also been a time to find ways to take care of us, those in our communities, and it doesn’t stop there.

There’s a South African expression “Ubuntu” which translates to I am because you are. It’s a beautiful reminder for everyday. A reminder also that helping others is important — in whatever capacity we can. Some give money, some give a voice, some offer an ear or lending hand. Helping whatever way we can.

I had recently attended a fundraising event for the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital with the theme “An Evening of Possibility” — An inspiring night with the Hospital’s kid ambassadors taking centre stage sharing their stories along side a night of culinary wonder as some of the city’s most loved chefs and sommeliers proved that there are no limits when it comes to thoughtful and innovative hospitality. Chefs including Nuit Regular (Kiin, Pai), Scott Vivian (Beast), Cory Vitiello (Flock), Alida Solomon (Tutti Matti), Nick Liu (DaiLo), Jill Barber (Barbershop Patisserie) and many others dedicated their one night off of the week to cook for over 250 donors as well as a few families who call Holland Bloorview an important resource and support.

Holland Bloorview - Toronto - Charity

It wasn’t my first time connecting with this special Hospital. I’ve known several families with children living with disabilities who have shown and talked about their experiences. Without this unique team of doctors, nurses, educational experts, and therapists, life would be very different. Unlike other children’s hospitals who often take care of emergencies, this one centres around the vision of building a world of possibilities. They aim to enhance the lives of children living with disabilities and their families. Offering personalized healthcare with the latest research and technology this hospital seeks the most meaningful and healthiest future for all kids.

Some examples that I’ve learned about recently…

Brain Computer Interface which helps kids with severe disabilities harness the power of their thoughts to control the environment around them. Link here to learn more.

holly™: empowers kids with disabilities by increasing their awareness of their emotional states and helping to manage their emotions. This wearable technology detects a child’s anxiety levels by monitoring their heart rate. The child’s emotional level is displayed on screen through a visual representation.

The Hummingbird: Imagine technology that allows kids who have no existing means of communication to speak and interact with the world around them. The Hummingbird is a technology that detects vocal cord vibrations – such as humming – and transfers them to different interfaces, including computers and communication devices. This technology can mean that a child will be able to communicate their favourite colours, their dreams, or even tell a parent “I love you” for the first time.

When Amarula Canada approached me about this year’s holiday #AmarulaGives campaign I really thought a lot about how Ubuntu embraces the idea of how much we depend on connection, community and caring. We simply cannot be without each other. I also thought about how isolation over the past few years had been very difficult for many of us. I thought about the families and kids who relied on places like Holland Bloorview to get them through their everyday while giving space to explore beyond society’s perceived limits.

Ubuntu is central to Amarula’s ethos and reflected in the brand’s global giving initiatives. But this philosophy also requires a conscious shift in how we think about ourselves and others, especially when the world is weary. This is much in line with my personal views. How do we give? My answer is always “in whatever way you can” because your impact is greater than you know.

If you want to learn more about Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the amazing work they do, as well as how your donation could also make an impact, please link here.

Holland Bloorview - Toronto

Amarula Canada’s #AmarulaGives holiday campaign shines a spotlight on the charities and individuals who help make our communities better. The brand has also made a monetary donation to each of the selected charities this holiday season. You can learn more about the other charities here at amarulagives.ca

Amarula Canada’s other charitable commitments in the past year include:

Amarula launched Canada’s largest virtual cookie exchange (Holiday 2021) with recipes shared by baker and mixologists offering their own cookie recipes and invited Canadians to share their family favourites. During the pandemic and knowing that many could not partake in the time-honored tradition of sharing cookies and against a backdrop of rising food insecurity, Amarula Canada made a monetary donation to food banks in BC, ON and PQ for every cookie recipe shared.

The brand also partnered with Second Harvest “Taste Toronto” to introduce its new plant-based vegan offering now in Ontario (and western Canada) and support the efforts of Second Harvest around food rescue.

 

*event photos courtesy of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation.