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Have brunch for charity! AIDS Benedict brunch weekend November 26, 2008

Posted by Raul in charities.
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Vancouver’s 3rd Annual AIDS Benedict brunch weekend is happening this weekend (November 29th and 30th). Participating restaurants include the following (I would have done all the linking but I’m exhausted and have a ton of work to do). Hat tips to Raincoaster who informed me of this event.

I am a very big supporter of HIV/AIDS-related charities (as I demonstrated by doing a 24 hour Blogathon in 2007 to raise funds for A Loving Spoonful). Now I’d like to draw your attention to another charitable event: The AIDS Benedict brunch weekend.

YouthCO AIDS Society and Camp Moomba, two non-profit organizations that support and empower children and youth impacted by HIV and AIDS, have teamed up for Vancouverโ€™s 3rd Annual AIDS Benedict brunch weekend. Collectively sponsored by local restaurants, this โ€œeggsellentโ€ event blends scrumptious eggs benedict with public education to help raise awareness about children and youth in BC impacted by HIV and AIDS.

Donations from participating restaurants will give children and youth impacted by HIV and AIDS access to year-long programs and supports that they might not otherwise have access to. Participation in the two-day eggs-travaganza is eggstremely simple: fill your belly with eggs benedict or other promotional items at one (or more!) of the participating establishments on November 29th and November 30th.

Abigail’s Party 1685 Yew Street http://www.abigailsparty.ca
Alibi Room 157 Alexander Street http://www.alibi.ca
Bayside Lounge 1755 Davie Street http://www.bestwesternsandshotelvancouver.com
Checker’s 1755 Davie Street http://www.bestwesternsandshotelvancouver.com
Chopper’s 3298 East 1st Avenue no website
Elixir 350 Davie Street http://www.elixirvancouver.ca
Fish House 8901 Stanley Park Drive http://www.fishhousestanleypark.com
Fountainhead 1025 Davie Street .www.thefountainheadpub.com
Hell’s Kitchen 2041 4th Avenue http://www.hells-kitchen.ca
Main Cafe 4210 Main Street http://www.themainonmain.com
Marmalade 3-1010 Beach Avenue http://www.marmaladekb.com
Nu 1661 Granville Street http://www.whatisnu.com
Ocean’s 6 Seventeen 617 Stamps Landing http://www.oceans617.com
Provence Marinaside 1177 Marinaside Crescent http://www.provencevancouver.com
Provence Mediterranean Grill 4473 West 10th Avenue http://www.provencevancouver.com
Raincity Grill 1193 Denman Street http://www.raincitygrill.com
Seb’s Market cafe 592 East Broadway http://www.hotstuffcatering.com
Slickity Jim’s 2513 Main Street http://www.findmycraving.com/icrave/slickity
So.cial at Le Magasin 332 Water Street http://www.socialatlemagasin.com
Subeez 891 Homer Street http://www.subeez.com
Twisted Fork 1147 Granville Street no website
WaaZuBee 1622 Commercial Drive http://www.waazubee.com/main.php
The Whip 209 East 6th Avenue http://www.thewhiprestaurant.com

I’ve decided that I haven’t tried The Alibi Room for brunch in like, forever. So, if you want to participate, drop me a comment, send me an email or a tweet and let me know so that I can make reservations.

WHAT – Saturday, November 29th, AIDS Benedict brunch
WHY – Because I never celebrated my birthday with the Vancouver tech/blogging community and now I want to before the year is over… Also, because I am a firm supporter of AIDS/HIV charities.
WHERE – The Alibi Room (157 Alexander)
WHEN – Saturday November 29th, 11:00am

Be there or be square. Even if you can’t attend brunch at The Alibi Room on Saturday (for example, if you’re doing DotComPho or some other event), I’d encourage you to do brunch at any other of the participating restaurants. It’s for a good cause.

Helping those in need – John Chow’s matching donations for UGM’s Thanksgiving Dinner and Rebecca Bollwitt’s Third Tuesday Food Drive October 7, 2008

Posted by Raul in Blogathon, Blogathon 2008, blogosphere, charities, friends, homelessness, Vancouver.

John Chow does know very well that I don’t blog for money, but that I’m always up for joining forces when it comes to social media for charity and social change. Thus, I was very happy when I saw that John was engaging in raising funds for the Union Gospel Mission ‘s upcoming Thanksgiving Dinner on October 13th, 2008 (which by the way is a kick-off for Homelessness Action Week). John is going to match every donation made to the UGM dollar per dollar up to $ 1,000.

As you may all recall, Rebecca and Duane Blogathoned for the UGM, and their campaign received a big boost at the end of the campaign thanks to Matt Good. Their collective all helped raise thousands of dollars for the UGM during Blogathon 2008. The UGM is a really worthy cause and it’s great that all these awesome bloggers have raised funds for them, so I’d encourage you to do the same.

And while we are at it, please also consider contributing to Rebecca’s Third Tuesday Food Drive. She is doing this for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society , and I’d like to encourage my readers to donate non-perishable items (you can bring them to Third Tuesday).

I’ve been thinking of what can I contribute (in addition to highlighting the events and contributing with as little or as much money/non-perishable goods as I can) and I thought of throwing in a little something.

I haven’t yet thought of what else I can contribute, but I am guessing I could throw in a free, beginners, 2-hr salsa lesson for the largest contributor to both fundraising efforts — how’s that? Would people be interested in learning how to salsa dance? (I’ve taught this stuff already, so trust me, you’re in good hands). Or I could enter all participants who contribute to any of the two causes in a draw for the lesson?

At any rate, I would encourage you to contribute, remember, every bit helps.

Upcoming event – Movie premiere, “The Widow Colony” September 24, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, charities.
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My friend Kulpreet (who is a WordPress wizard and has presented at both previous WordCamps, Vancouver and Fraser Valley) asked me whether I could highlight an upcoming event, the movie premiere of the movie “The Widow Colony”. The film examines the events after the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre that took place right after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

“The Widow Colony โ€” India’s Unsettled Settlement”, borrows its name from the settlement in Tilak Vihar, on the west-side of New Delhi, which is locally called the Widow Colony or Vidhva Colony. The film takes the viewer to the streets of Trilokpuri, Kalyanpuri, Himatpuri, Sultanpuri and Mongolpuri, the same localities that suffered the major brunt of the Sikh killings in November of 1984. Director Harpreet Kaur, uses the testimonies of the widows and subject experts, along with images of the killings and destruction that followed after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to convey the trauma of the widows, their battle for justice and their struggle for survival in India.
[The Widow Colony website]

The film is showing at 2,4,6:15 and 8:30pm on October 3rd and 1:30pm, 4, 7, and 9pm on October 4th at the Surrey Arts Center (Bear Creek Park). Tickets are $10 and can be ordered by phone at 778-319-1699. Further details can be found on the movie website.

I will be going to the October 4th, at 7pm showing if anyone wants to join me. This is a very worthy charitable cause and I would seriously encourage my readers to buy tickets and attend. Also, feel free to reblog, re-tweet, etc.

Social media for charity and social change roundup (Vancouver) August 27, 2008

Posted by Raul in charities, social change, social networking.
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For those of you who are looking for places where you can effect change and be charitable, here are a few causes you might want to consider:

– Via Jenn Watkiss – Riann Batch is looking to be a Superhero for a Day! The Drop Zone Vancouver is organizing a fundraising event, and Riann is going to be descending single-handedly, as she lost the use of her right arm in a skiing accident last year. Link to Riann’s page is here.

– Via Jay Grandin – Giant Ant Media and The Urban Project are partnering to create a really cool project. In their words [Giant Ant Media – Tanzania]:

Giant Ant Media will be producing a film and web series that follows a group of street youth in the pursuit of recording a hip hop album, with the hopes of breaking out on the Tanzanian music scene. Urban Project, a Vancouver-based charity, will be providing funds to ethically compensate the youth involved via a salary and school fees, while also funding recording studio time.

Their next fundraiser will be a concert at The Anza Club on Sep 10th. Sadly, I won’t be back in Vancouver yet but you’re more than welcome to attend and let me know how fun it was!

And three causes I had already highlighted, but just in case you need a reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

– Tanya Davis is joining Buzz Bishop’s Team Diabetes and will be running a half-maraton and she’s now going putting her money where her mouth is! Go check her blog entry right now and donate to her cause here.

Karen Parker is doing the Bicycle Trek for Life and Breath, and you can sponsor her here. Karen is one of the kindest-hearted persons I’ve met. One time, I was feeling down and she took me out shopping and to the Apple Store. How’s that for geek friendship? ๐Ÿ™‚

– And last, but never least, Barbara Doduk, Keira-Anne and Matt Good are all doing Paws for a Cause. You’ll find their personal donation pages in each of the posts I’ve linked here.

My friend Gus indicated that he was going to do a charity round-up, so I’ll link here and update the post when he puts his up. UPDATE – Go check Gus’ entry on charity, it’s up already!

Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty August 15, 2008

Posted by Raul in Blog Action Day, blogosphere, charities, Focus on Vancouver, food for thought, public policy issues, Vancouver, Web 2.0.
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Poverty is one of the societal illnesses that occupies my mind on a regular basis. Not because I live a rather frugal life and I’m on a budget. I’m actually talking about REAL poverty.

Photo credit: DTES.people on Flickr.

While I realize that there are many measurements and definitions of poverty, I was kind of shocked to find out that the World Bank doesn’t have specific pages to analyze poverty in North America. Is the belief that poverty does not exist in North America (USA and Canada, as Mexico is included in their Latin America dataset) so prevalent that US and Canada don’t warrant their own country pages?

Anyone who knows me even a little bit and who has taken the time to read the more serious, less fluffy posts in my blog will know that I’m a big fan and promoter of social activism, particularly in issues of homelessness, poverty alleviation, sustainability and HIV prevention/treatment. This time, I’d like to draw your attention to Blog Action Day 2008’s theme – Poverty.

What is Blog Action Day?

Global issues like poverty are extremely complex. There is no simple, clear answer. By asking thousands of different people to give their viewpoints and opinions, Blog Action Day creates an extraordinary lens through which to view these issues. Each blogger brings their own perspective and ideas. Each blogger posts relating to their own blog topic. And each blogger engages their audience differently.[Blog Action Day site, About Page]

Last year, I participated in Blog Action Day 2007, as the topic was sustainability. This year, I am even more motivated to participate given that my readership has increased, I am much more socially connected (through Twitter and many other Web 2.0 methods) and therefore, my blog may be able to make more of a difference.

So, how can you get involved? You can check the Frequently Asked Questions section of their site. In my case, I will be doing 1/4 of a Blogathon (e.g. only 12 posts) but all of them will be focused on issues of poverty. You are more than welcome to guest post if you feel like it, or link to any of my posts should you want to, but more than anything, do something. Get involved.

I don’t think I should try to coerce people into promoting Blog Action Day or doing something about it, but I am passionate about poverty alleviation, so if you could spread the word, that would be super awesome. Even better… if you can engage in doing something to alleviate poverty, that would be even more awesome.

Thank you.

North Vancouver Lower Lonsdale

Blogathon 2008 – Donations, posts, feeds, etc. July 24, 2008

Posted by Raul in Blogathon, Blogathon 2008, charities.

Given my current workload (and some personal circumstances) I decided to still do Blogathon to raise funds for the BC Cancer Agency, but instead of doing the Sunshine Shift (5:00am on Saturday to 5:00am on Sunday), I am going to be doing Friday July 25th at 10pm to Saturday July 26th at 10pm. I’ll try to juggle my work commitments with my blogging commitments. We’ll see whether I succeed or not.

The BC Cancer Agency was kind enough to include me in their Calendar of Events!

A number of local blogger friends of mine are also doing Blogathon (see Rebecca’s wonderful Blogathon page). If you want to pledge and support my efforts, you could do one of two things

1) Go to Rebecca’s page and submit the form with your pledge. Once Blogathon is over, I will email you reminding you to submit your donation to BCCA.


2) Go directly to the page that BC Cancer Agency generated for me.

Thanks in advance! Please be aware that no money goes through me, and that all your donations will have a tax receipt issued by BCCA. Also – if you follow me on Twitter or you read my RSS feeds, you should know that you’ll be flooded with 49 posts.

The power of a dream July 24, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, charities, DreamBank, Vancouver.
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When I was very little, my grandparents bought me a copy of “One Thousand and One Nights“, in a version that (at the time) seemed to me quite appropriate for my age (I must have been about 8). Among the stories that I enjoyed the most was that of Aladdin and his magic lamp. Said magic lamp housed a genie with special powers. The genie was able to grant wishes (traditionally, in Western cultures, a maximum of three). At the tender age of 8, I wished I was a genie able to grant more wishes, but I struggled to find EXACTLY which three wishes I should grant (or I should ask for, if I ever met a genie).

Well, recently I was kindly granted Genie status by the good folks of DreamBank. Along with my beautiful lamp, I was also given a $20 voucher that I can put towards a DreamBank dream. Just in the same way as I struggled when I was 8 years old on which wishes should I grant, I had been struggling for the past few days with which dreamer’s dream to support with my voucher, and even more so, which dream to go for (which is why this post is SO terribly late).

My genie lamp

When I entered my PhD, I figured that the one wish I wanted would be to help save the environment through my research. That wish has, in a way, been granted already by the Powers-That-Be, since my research projects have helped environmental non-governmental organizations design better campaigns, local municipalities have benefited from my studies on wastewater governance and policy, and I’ve sat on numerous national and international committees on environmental policy, contributing whatever little I know about these issues.

So, in a way, I figured it was time to be slightly more self-centered and focus on which wish I wanted granted. And here is where DreamBank is a great opportunity to kill two hummingbirds with one stone (hat tips to John Biehler for the phrase).

There are several features that I really like about DreamBank (read more about how DreamBank works on their Frequently Asked Questions page):
– Your dream, however selfish it may sound, helps fund charitable causes.
– The notion of communities of dreamers helps also create relationships and bonds that may last for a very long time.
– Some of the fellow dreamers in Vancouver include good friends of mine, like Beth Snow and Rebecca Bollwitt, just to mention a couple (Editor’s note – I have the feeling that my mentor and friend DaveO might have also been granted genie status, I don’t know why but I have this feeling – he should be, as he is an inspiration to us bloggers in Vancouver).
– DreamBank is very transparent about their business model [DreamBank Accountability page] (yes, they are not a non-profit, but the side effect of funding a Dreamer’s dream does bring collateral benefits). As someone who does actually do research on accountability and transparency (I have a journal article forthcoming this year on this very topic), these are two elements I always watch for.
– The fine print is actually published as The Large Print (giggles).

I recently found out that DreamBank was chosen as a finalist in the New Ventures BC competition, and I was really happy to hear this, as the business model of DreamBank is an interesting one. I am particularly pleased with elements of DreamBank that are associated with pooling the money and with the interest, funding charitable causes, as well as avoiding costs of wrapping a gift (AND the associated environmental pollution – gift-wrapping, etc.)

You can check a list of the dreamers, and yes you will find me there. I just recently (as in, within the last 24 hours) decided what my dream would be. Despite the conversations I might have had with my fellow bloggers, no, my dream is not paying my student loans (which would be nice), and it’s not going to Paris for six months for a research stay (which would also be nice).

It’s a smaller dream and one that actually I think would benefit my readers, my fellow bloggers, the local Vancouver community and the environmental research community at large. I haven’t inserted it yet on my Dreamer page, but my dream is to buy a new laptop, actually a MacBook. . And since my birthday is coming up (September 19th), I think I got enough time to achieve my dream. At least, I surely hope so!

I still don’t know who I am going to send my $20 to, but at least, I have settled on my dream. I’ll be updating my DreamBank dreamer page soon to reflect my wish ๐Ÿ™‚ If you are so inclined, feel free to donate towards the fulfillment of my dream of getting a new laptop (which I am sure will come handy for live-blogs, geeking out at coffee shops, and my own research!)

Blogathon 2008: Preparing to launch! July 19, 2008

Posted by Raul in Blogathon, Blogathon 2008, charities.

It’s amazing how soon things can change in a person’s life. I struggled with the decision whether I would participate in Blogathon or not after a meeting this Friday where I have to finish some stuff before July 31st, 2008. Therefore, I was in risk of dropping from Blogathon. However, I had a conversation with my Mom on Thursday and she reminded me that her sister is currently afflicted with metastatic cancer.

Therefore, I have decided that I’m not dropping from Blogathon 2008, and I’ll have to be extremely efficient with my time. I have also decided to implement a great suggestion that Rebecca got on her blog (hat tips to Shane Gibson) – if you are a business enterprise, you could pledge to donate $50 towards my cause (the BC Cancer Agency) and I could either write a blog post about your business or simply add a footer indicating “This post was sponsored by Company X“.

I am also trying to harness the fact that I’m currently Vancouver UrbanSpoon’s top restaurant review blogger (see my sidebar). I’m not 100% sure of how to do that, but I’m also accepting suggestions. And speaking of accepting, I’m currently wondering if people would be willing and able to write guest posts on my blog as part of Blogathon. I will also be e-mailing some close friends of mine who are also bloggers to request their help specifically (but also, feel free to drop a comment and say that you’re willing/able to write a guest post!)

This page explains pretty much everything you might want to know about my Blogathon 2008 efforts. Pleas spread the word, and thank you all in advance.

Upcoming events – Peace Girl Fundraising – Thursday Apr 10, 2008 April 8, 2008

Posted by Raul in charities, upcoming events, Vancouver.
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The Justice and Reconciliation project (headed by Dr. Erin Baines) is organizing a fundraiser for the Peace Girl grassroots project in Uganda. From their website:

Peace Girl emerged as an idea after many years of working with former child soldiers and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Uganda and Rwanda. It is an offshoot of the Justice and Reconciliation Project, northern Uganda, a joint research initiative of Gulu District NGO Forum and the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia.

Despite the fact that we have much more knowledge about the plight of girls and young women in conflict zones, and despite the fact that global policies have advanced significantly over the past decade, their situation is grave. We want to break from traditional approaches that views girls and women as victims in these circumstances and stop and listen to what they have to tell us about their survival. We seek to learn from survivors and introduce their stories to audiences who are also willing to listen. [Peace Girl Project website]

Here are the details:
Where: UBC, Liu Institute for Global Issues
When: Starts 5:00pm
Suggested donation: > $8.00
Why: To support Peace Girl, an action research community grassroot project for women in Uganda.

More details can be found here.

If you can’t make it but would like to make a donation, you can click here for more details.

Random acts of kindness in Vancouver April 3, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, charities, random thoughts, Vancouver.

Recently, the Canadian airline Westjet launched a campaign (the “Caring Comes Home” campaign) whereby their employees undertake random acts of kindness. The campaign was noticed by the media just recently (I read about it on Tuesday’s Metro Vancouver) but it seems to have had very little fanfare. That’s too bad, since numerous people I have talked to think of Vancouver as a non-caring city. It would seem to me as though this campaign could (and should) be taken up by Vancouverites.

I do appreciate random acts of kindness like putting money on people’s parking meters, carrying grocery bags for elderly people, etc. But I have to admit, (and yes, you are welcome to disagree with me on this) that I would prefer other types of random acts of kindness such as the one mentioned in a recent “What’s On Your Mind” comment. The author of the comment praised a woman who was standing in the same Timmy’s line with him. This woman was approached by a person off the street asking for money, and she bought said person a meal and a coffee.

A few months back I complained that, in one of my attempts to be kind to a woman I saw shedding tears, she had snubbed me quite adamantly (by the way, this is one of the posts that WordPress didn’t import from Blogger). Mitch commented that he had undertaken a few good deeds and each one of those was appreciated. He even wrote a full post about it. And to be honest, I was just upset at the fact that I had had one small good deed not being appreciated, when I’ve undertaken lots of other well-intentioned actions whose recipients have been extremely grateful to me.

I think that this chain of good deeds should be year-long, and I also think that Good Samaritans should focus on the local problems and local issues. So you bump into a homeless person… maybe offer to buy them a warm meal? Someone needs your help and you’re up to your eyeballs in work? Take a few minutes at least to listen to their issues. I don’t know, there are lots of things we can do.

The website HelpOthers.org offers a few suggestions:

Gift of service: donate to a cause, as a holiday gift for your best friend.
Gift of affection: be generous with hugs, kisses and pats on the back.
Gift of laughter: clip cartoons, share funny stories.
Gift of a written note: send a ‘thank you’ note, write a letter to an old friend.
Gift of a compliment: a simple ‘you look great today’, a sincere ‘thank you for a wonderful meal’.
Gift of listening: no interrupting, no daydreaming, no responding, just listening.
Gift of solitude: spend some time in silence, help others spend some time in silence.[From the HelpOthers.org website]

I just wish this city had a year-long “Random Acts of Kindness” campaign… *sigh* So, if you can, and if you want, take a minute to execute a random act of kindness. And if you feel like sharing what you did, I’d love to hear from you. My contact information is in the About page.

Dining Out for Life 2008 March 21, 2008

Posted by Raul in brunch, charities, dining out.
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As I have done in previous years, I’m planning to organize a group to go out Dining Out for Life. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows how much I support worthy causes such as programs to prevent HIV/AIDS and programs to provide food to people who are already suffering from this deadly disease. Two of these Vancouver-based programs include A Loving Spoonful and Friends for Life, both of them beneficiaries of 2008’s Dining Out for Life.

You can find here a PDF list of the 2008 participating Vancouver and Whistler restaurants. Many of my personal favorite restaurantes are participating, including The Cascade, Crave, Havana, Bistrot Bistro, Incendio West, Clove, the Sunset Grill, Quattro, Burgoo, Yaletown Brewing Company, Jules Bistro, Martini’s… wow even Public Eatery (up by 17th and Main) is participating! I have to say that I am quite happy that many East Vancouver restaurants are going to be a part of this. I have thoroughly insisted that a lot of people are unaware of the night scene on Main Street and the rest of East Vancouver, including Commercial Drive.

Holy smokes, it’s going to be a gong show trying to coordinate all my friends’ tastes to choose a participating restaurant! Well, since I’m organizing I probably should be the one deciding. I have to say that I am thoroughly tempted to try The Charlatan on Commercial Drive and/or Boneta.

Whatever the restaurant you choose, I strongly encourage you to go and Dine Out for Life. And once you do, come back to my blog and leave a comment. ๐Ÿ˜€ … By the way, if you’re on the edge about any particular restaurant on the list, shoot me an email (you can find my contact details on my About page) and I’ll try to the best of my ability to make a suggestion or provide a recommendation. Or simply check my dining out category or my Urbapoon page.

Blogging for charity March 17, 2008

Posted by Raul in Blogathon, blogosphere, Bowling for Big Brothers, charities, Vancouver.
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After just having completed our recent Bowling for Big Brothers event (where some local Vancouver bloggers -yours truly included – participated), and still feeling a bit physically weak because of my week-long illness, I didn’t really feel much like I wanted to blog. However, I figured I would start getting a feel for what will be my next (and last, for the year 2008) charity event.

Phaedra asked me about the format of Blogathon, and about my experience. If you want to read all my Blogathon posts, feel free to do so. The short story is: you blog every 30 mins for 24 hours, and it is a gruelling experience. Both Rebecca (aka Miss604) and I Blogathoned last year, and I was really out-of-whack for a solid week and a half afterwards. But it was a good experience altogether, for many reasons. Many of my friends sponsored me, a lot of people accessed my blog while doing Blogathon and it provided a worthy charity with much-needed funding. Sharing this experience with Rebecca was also extremely fun and I thank her for tipping me over the edge after I had been sitting on the fence on whether I should Blogathon or not.

This year, I am much better prepared I think. I know what I’m going to do to fill the Blogathon with enough interesting content (one of my strategies – I will recruit guest-bloggers – most likely I will be guest-blogging for others too). I also plan to advertise widely about my Blogathoning. Furthermore, I have a much stronger platform (WordPress) and thus can plant trackbacks and link back to other bloggers with much more ease. And overall, I think I’m a more resilient person than I was last year, so I am hoping it will be fun. Phaedra is thinking of doing it, I think Rebecca is planning on doing it so the question is – who else will be Blogathoning?

To read a re-cap of the bowling for Big Brothers event, read Keira-Anne’s related post.

Blogging for Big Brothers – and bowling too :) February 11, 2008

Posted by Raul in Bowling for Big Brothers, charities, Vancouver.
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So Rebecca (aka Miss604) is organizing a team of bloggers who will be bowling for Big Brothers. As most of you know, dear readers, I have a tendency to volunteer. I’ve done a lot of charity work — literacy campaigns, sex education, meals-on-wheels, etc. Since I became a blogger (and again, thanks to the positive influence of Rebecca), I found yet another avenue to give – the Blogathon. This was one of the most fun things I have done for charity.

Must confess that I was deciding whether I should Bowl for Big Brothers, and I factored a number of elements in my decision. First, it’s a charity and an important one. Second, it would give me a chance to have fun with my fellow bloggers, hang out and do a good deed. Third, it is important for a dear friend of mine (the event itself, Bowling for Big Brothers). And fourth, although I am definitely busy, I’m not as crazy busy as I’ve been in the past couple of years.

Well, I did it. I signed on. I’m not 100% sure that my page is correct, so I can’t link you to my “Sponsor Raul” page right now, but I’ll get to it. The first thing (and most important thing) is that I signed up ๐Ÿ™‚

I was considering the possibility of raising funds through carefully written posts. Yeah, kind of what I did for Blogathon. My individual goal is $ 100, so let’s say that I wanted you all to contribute. So I’d basically do a 24 hour Blogathon to raise the funds, and I’d be asking people to say, give $ 0.50 (fifty cents) per blog post (so if I did 48, that automatically would ensure a $ 24 dollar donation). I’m mulling over how to do this. Suggestions accepted.

I will of course be bugging my close friends to sponsor me, but I also kind of want to ‘earn’ the sponsorship, particularly if it comes from my readers. I mean, there must be some kind of reward or incentive for you all, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyways, suggestions taken for a fun method to raise funds for Bowling for Big Brothers. My individual goal is $ 100.00 but I’d be more than happy to surpass it.

Dining out responsibly in Vancouver November 30, 2007

Posted by Raul in charities, dining out, Vancouver.
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Two of Vancouver’s excellent brunch places (Rhizome and The Elbow Room) are featured on The Globe and Mail this week. The piece is actually quite well written, I really liked Elianna Lev’s style. This article reminded me a bit of the concept of green restaurants, but in this case, I think the keywords would be “socially responsible” restaurants.

The idea of Corporate Social Responsibility is very often associated with sustainability because caring for the environment is just one of many ways in which corporations can be responsible with society, taking into account their needs and wants [the Wikipedia entry on CSR is currently nominated to be discussed for neutrality, but overall, I think it’s ok].

I think Rhizome is at the forefront of socially responsible restaurants. Beyond the idea of the lentils where you “pay what you feel”, one of the key elements that Rhizome brings not only to the East Vancouver/Mount Pleasant community but to the larger Vancouver society is that this is a place where social justice is one of the main themes. In an growingly corporate world, Rhizome is a breath of fresh air.

As for The Elbow Room, I used to be a steady customer for many years, but since it’s downtown and I am now an East Vancouver boy, I rarely have brunch there anymore. However, this is definitely a responsible restaurant. For decades now, The Elbow Room owners have collected donations for A Loving Spoonful (a charitable organization for which I have Blogathoned in the past).

I believe that there is an increasing trend towards corporate social responsibility in the service industry. For example, some coffee shops like Lugz will only serve ethically-produced coffee. Other restaurants will serve fish that is certified with OceanWise. Green Table is an organization that helps restaurants become more green. There is a myriad of additional examples out there (I just don’t know them all).

I would be interested in hearing more stories of socially-responsible restaurants in the Metro Vancouver area, if you have any.

The forces of nature and a tragedy in Tabasco November 5, 2007

Posted by Raul in charities, Mexico, random thoughts, Vancouver.

If you’ve following the news, the state of Tabasco (in Southern Mexico) has been devastated by continuous rain and hundreds of thousands of people are now homeless. Lots of help is needed, although I really don’t know who to send it to (some bank accounts have been set up in Mexico and I think the US, but I haven’t read anything about the possibility that Canada might send some aid). I’ll inquire in the Mexican Consulate in Vancouver. Or maybe somebody in the Latino community is organizing something.

I would just encourage you to consider the possibility of donating if there’s a way. I really feel very helpless for not being able to do anything for the people in Tabasco. The worst part is the looting. I can’t believe someone would take advantage of their peers’ suffering and disgrace. It irks me to see reports of people taking stuff from abandoned stores and houses. Unbelievable. I despise them so much that I think these people should not be worthy of being called humans.

The following video is footage from people who are actually living in the area, just so that you witness the amount of desolation. I hope we can do something to help them.

Equipment, rain and charity November 4, 2007

Posted by Raul in charities, random thoughts, Vancouver.
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This year I feel so much more prepared for the rainy and cold season. Thanks to J, I have a LiteBook in case I’m depressed (seasonal affective disorder). I have several caps, rain jacket, gloves, toques, scarves, and winter jackets. I think this is important for everyone. However, I wonder – what can we do to help those in need during this winter season? Suggestions appreciated.

Upcoming event – Homelessness Action Week 2007 October 17, 2007

Posted by Raul in charities, East Vancouver, upcoming events, urbanization, Vancouver.
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The connections between urban sprawl, sustainability, extreme poverty, homelessness and unaffordability of housing are undeniable. The residential housing market in Vancouver has grwon stronger in the past few years. However, it is also undeniable that social housing is a need in the Metro Vancouver area. The Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness has designated October 15th to 21st, 2007 as Homelessness Action Week.

While there are many being organized around Metro Vancouver, you can check the Vancouver events here. There are two specific ones to which I would like to call your attention (from their website):

Friday October 19: Sandwich and Blanket Handout to Street Homeless
When: 4โ€“6 p.m.
Where: Broadway Youth Resource Centre, 691 E. Broadway

Saturday, October 20: Under One Umbrella
A community service fair for people who are homeless, street-involved, or living in poverty in Grandview Woodlands and surrounding areas. In addition to services, there will be food and entertainment. For more information, please contact the Grandview Woodlands Drug and Alcohol Coalition at:
When: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Where: Aboriginal Friendship Centre, 1607 E. Hastings St, Vancouver

I strongly believe that sustainability and social responsibility starts at home. Thus, I would like to invite you dear readers to partake in one or more of these events. Because everybody has a right to a life with dignity and a home.

Support worthy causes this and next weekend September 17, 2007

Posted by Raul in charities, Vancouver.
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I am beginning to understand the challenges of trying to stay on top of things, as I almost forgot to promote three events that I strongly support. So without further ado, here they are…

  • The AIDS Walk for Life Vancouver takes place this Sunday too, September 23rd, at Stanley Park. Registration begins at 8.30 am and the walk begins at 11 am. This is a cause I have supported since long ago, and recently I Blogathoned for A Loving Spoonful, a charity that provides meals for people living with HIV/AIDS. Please show your support! Most likely, I will be doing the walk with a group of my close friends.
  • The CIBC Run for the Cure happens on September 30th, this event is in support of the fight against breast cancer. Both Rebecca and John will be participating in the run (I’ll be cheering online! and might show up in person), so head over to their pages to sponsor them (click on the links above).

Blogathon 2007 July 27, 2007

Posted by Raul in Blogathon, charities, random thoughts.
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Well, it’s going to happen. After hearing that Miss604.com would be blogging for Surrey Food Bank and learning that I could do some good as well, I decided to join Blogathon 2007. I will be blogging for A Loving Spoonful (Vancouver) (they don’t know just yet. I haven’t yet sent them an e-mail saying I would). So, while my profile is still getting set up, I thought I’d just tell you a bit about Blogathon and give you the URL to my sponsor page.

Blogathon is an effort to make a difference through blogging. Bloggers all over the world will be blogging for a specific charity. In my case, I chose A Loving Spoonful because I believe that this charity makes a difference. They deliver meals for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Vancouver area. I remember that I learned about A Loving Spoonful at the Elbow Room, a wonderful diner located on Davie and almost Seymour. Their owners require you to make a donation if you don’t finish your (usually huge) meal.

Since I am just setting up my account, I can’t do the beautiful buttons where you can click and sponsor me, so I’ll just have to go with … if you want to sponsor me and contribute to the charity of my choice (A Loving Spoonful), click here.

BC Cancer Foundation 2007 Tour of Courage July 23, 2007

Posted by Raul in charities, random thoughts, upcoming events.
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I am always amazed at the number of events that are organized in Vancouver, particularly those that support many relevant causes (amongst those that I am passionate about are HIV prevention and treatment, poverty alleviation, sustainability and cancer treatment). I found out about the BC Cancer Foundation 2007 Tour of Courage recently and thought I’d throw in a call for support for this worthy cause.

Having lost three members of my family to cancer, and having one close family member currently afflicted by the disease, I know first-hand its devastating consequences. I blogged last year about the ‘invisibility of cancer’. In that post I wrote that sometimes, close family members of the person who is afflicted with cancer may simply not want to talk about it and ‘wish it were gone’. Cancer thus becomes a non-spoken word, stigmatized and feared.

All this brings me to the event I wanted to promote – the BC Cancer Foundation 2007 Tour of Courage. In this event, you sponsor a biker (or you bike yourself and raise money) that goes to support cancer-related research. So I’d like to ask you, dear readers, to consider the possibility of supporting this event. Full disclosure – I am in no way associated with BC Cancer Foundation, although someone I know is biking in the event. But I am also someone who has lost family members to cancer. Thus, I’d like to help, and it would be great if you could help too.