Let’s focus today on all the amazing people out there who are doing incredible things because they really give a darn about creating positive change. They’re doing it not just so they feel good (although, that really can’t be helped: serotonin is released in our bodies when we are being kind and it happens to be Nature’s antidepressant) but because they want to make life easier for people they might never meet. Today I want to increase YOUR serotonin levels by telling you about just 3 of these organizations (because learning about/witnessing acts of kindness also gives you a natural high) and if you are so inclined to get involved with one or all of them, well, that would make me so happy!

This love-fest is brought to you by #3ThingsThursday, a linkup hosted by Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch. If you’re a blogger and want to link up, please visit one of their sites and add your link! I look forward to reading it!

1. Ruben’s Shoes

Remember I went to the inaugural SheTalksYVR event in March to hear my friend, Jamie, speak? Two of the other speakers were best friends Kelly Strongitharm and Desiree Dupuis of Ruben’s Shoes. This organization, run by five besties, was founded by Kelly after a trip to the Dominican Republic had her concerned about the fact that kids were missing school because they didn’t have shoes to wear. These kids were walking around on all kinds of terrain without anything on their feet which is dangerous, unsanitary and uncomfortable. Kelly was in the Dominican Republic with her mom, and meeting a boy for the first time who they were sponsoring: Ruben. Once Kelly was inspired by the idea to collect shoes she got her friends on board and they hoped to gather a couple hundred pairs of used shoes. They ended up collecting 12,000 pairs for the Dominican Republic in 2013. Since then that number has grown and so has the number of countries reached.

What’s really cool is that TODAY my daughter’s school gets to meet this amazing non-profit at an assembly! I was so excited when I heard this was happening, because I had told her about them after hearing them speak at SheTalksYVR! This weekend we are going through all our gently-used shoes (from babies to adults and including cleats) and sending them to her school next week for the drive.

You can help by dropping off shoes at a location nearest you or by donating financially.

Image Credit: rubensshoes.com

2. Cause We Care Foundation

Last September I went to the Leading Moms presentation – but only caught bits and pieces as I had 9 month old Alyzeh with me! But still, I came away with 5 awesome lessons that I hope motivate you to do something!

The presentation by Andrea Thomas Hill about the foundation she started to help single moms went through my head several times this past week during my short but eye-opening experience. In fact, Andrea was inspired to create this organization after she became a new mom and recognized the challenges that faced mothers who didn’t have access to help.

They have several drives and initiatives to meet the needs of single moms in the downtown eastside area of Vancouver, but one in particular stood out for me as I perused their website: The YWCA Cause We Care House. In yesterday’s post I mentioned the efforts of the YWCA in supporting single moms. The YWCA of Vancouver, Cause We Care Foundation, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Public Library are teaming together to build a housing and library facility due to open in 2016. The housing component will be subsidized so women and children can have a safe place to live.

Check out their donation page to be a part of their initiatives. They are also running a Mother’s Day drive to provide hampers to single moms, so if you are being hounded about what you would like for Mother’s Day…there’s an idea.

Meet the amazing moms you’ll be standing in solidarity with:

3. Feed the Hungry

Canada’s poorest neighbourhood is the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Members of the Muslim and Jewish communities of Vancouver came together 5 years ago to initiate a monthly luncheon program for the residents of this area. Close to 300 guests are served a meal prepared for by volunteers. Over the past 5 years, they have had more than 1500 volunteers of all different faith backgrounds participate in this endeavour – and they are always looking for more help! If you are interested, please join their Facebook page to stay posted. You have to sign up to take part in food prep/hall setup or welcoming/serving/hall cleanup. I’m not kidding, but every time I take a look at the eventbrite invitation for volunteers, both shifts are full!

If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, please be in touch with them directly through their Facebook page!

Above all else, please remember:

Every single initiative I mentioned today (and all the gazillion ones that are out there) all began from a single question: How can I make a positive difference?

One person, or one group of people, asked that question.

You can ask yourself that same question every morning, and remember that touching just one other human being is like starting a ripple that will affect more people than you know.