Monday, July 28, 2014


Image: Kids Play Safe Facebook
I met Spencer and Lisa Warren through Twitter and Facebook a few years ago.  When I found out they organized several events over the course of the year for the "Plan-it-Safe" - Childhood Injury Prevention Program at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), I decided it would be a good use of my time to help them out. I've been lucky enough to help out at the last 5 events held.

Their events are:
1) An annual CHEO Family BBQ at a local park with many activities for chiildren.
2) An annual Golf Tournament / Dinner / Auction
3) An annual Children's Gala / Dinner / Auction.  What makes the Gala really special though is the fact that it is FOR children.  Kids get dressed up like princes and princesses for the night.  There is entertainment and great food and CANDY!!! ;)

Over the past 1.5 years, I've volunteered at 2 BBQs, 2 Golf Tournaments and 1 Gala.  I plan on helping out at the next Gala on February 21st too.

The reason I'm writing this post is to say just how fun it is to volunteer for these events.  I've had a great time at each one and plan on helping out as long as they'll have me.

My first experience was at the BBQ in 2013.  The number of children that come to this event is insane.  There are lineups for all the activities and the kids all seem to have a fantastic time.  I was posted at the "Fish pond" the first year.  There's really not much to this game, but is it ever popular.  There were no breaks from the moment the event starts until the end.  It's so fun to watch children of all ages come by and try to catch a fish so they can get a prize.  So many of the little ones fall in the pool and there are lots of smiles all around.

My second time at the BBQ (this summer), I was stationed at the Fish Pond again and it was even more popular if that's even possible.  The day goes by so quickly.  I saw many of the same children and some friends as well come by and support the event.  How can you not have fun when surrounded by happy children?

The second event I helped out with was the Golf Tournament.  I am usually there from the beginning (set up) to the end (putting everything away). The first year was insanely hot and there was a Tornado warning during the day as well as thunder storms, but that didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm for the event.    Everyone came in from the storm dripping wet, but it was still a fantastic time.  Great food, great atmosphere, great fun all around. I was taking care of the silent auction items throughout the day so while the golfers were out, I was on my own.  Watching the storm watches on my phone and seeing the big dark clouds head our way, I was happy to be able to stay indoors.  Everyone was so generous despite probably being uncomfortable in their wet clothes.  Fun was had by all!!

This year was a little different...ok a LOT different.  I arrived to help set up and helped put things away at the end again, but everything in the middle was different.  The weather was least for the volunteers out in the sun.  It was sunny, there was a nice breeze/wind at different times and it wasn't too hot.  It was perfect.  I was stationed at the "Beat the Pro" hole and got to see all the golfers throughout the day.  Everyone seemed to have a fantastic time.  The supper and auctions were also a great success.  So much generosity in this city.  I got home exhausted, but satisfied that I was able to help out.

The final event is the Children's Gala.  Now, there's a fun event to volunteer at and it's the only one in my end of the city!! ;)  I arrived early again to help set up (see a pattern here?) and was glad to stay late to help pick everything up too.

I was stationed at one of the silent auction tables (One of the Sports themed ones of course).  Other than foot pain from standing in one place all night, it was FANTASTIC!!.  As soon as the doors open and you start seeing the children file in all dressed up, it is AMAZING.  They are all so happy to be there.  There are a lot of activities in the two rooms reserved for the event.  There's also a CANDY BAR!!!  What do you think was the most popular area?  Yep, the Candy.  So many kids running around and having a blast.  It's so wonderful that they get to experience a real Gala just for them.   I'm not sure the parents are as ecstatic to have their children on a sugar high for the next few days - but it's all worth it :)

I have to say, volunteering is helping me too.  Other than the obvious fact that it makes me feel wonderful to be able to help out, it's also helped me come out of my shell a little bit.  I'm extremely shy and this is forcing me to maybe get over it a little.

If ever you're looking for something fun and great to do, volunteering a few hours of your time is extremely fulfilling.

I'm really looking forward to the February Gala - even though I will be missing a Senators Home Game (Possibly Chris Phillips' 1200th game :( )...but it's definitely worth it!! :)

'Til next time



  1. I am totally impressed that you know where you're going to be in February. I don't even know where I'll be later this afternoon.

    As for your volunteering efforts, thank you. I thank you on behalf of not only myself but all the other people's live that you enrich even if they don't tell you so.

    I am the sole caregiver for two young kids so am unable to volunteer my time, in person but I try and use my influence on social media to support causes that are important to me and make weekly contributions to our local food bank, House of Lazarus (outside Ottawa). Each year, in memory of my son, we pick a Charity to donate new toys to. CHEO, Ottawa General and Ronald McDonald House have all been recipients.

    Please contact me if I can ever help you out with any SM promotion. I've just started a "Ottawa Events Calendar" and would love to add any events (

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo