Friday, March 16, 2007

Home sweet home

As many of you know, I have been traveling across Western Canada to meet with local charities, students, youth groups and others interested in bettering their worlds (plural because a lot of our worlds are quite different from one another).

Kamloops, Kelowna, Grand Prairie, Fort McMurray, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Brandon. Unfortunately, we couldn't fit any cities in Saskatchewan in this trip though I really want to travel to Regina to understood the poverty crisis in a certain part of the city which - according to some accounts - is now worse than that of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

I had intended to blog from every city but I have a legitimate excuse: My wife. Now before you take me to task for being so totally lacking in chivalry, please allow me to explain myself. My wife, Jessie Farrell, is a country musician who was recently signed to Universal Music. She was given the opportunity to open for Emerson Drive who are currently the top-selling country band in Canada. And of no coincidence, her tour stops were in Kamloops, Kelowna, Grand Prairie, Fort McMurray, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Brandon. Being the opening act on any tour is by no means glamorous. While Emerson has a great tour-bus and a dressing room full of food and drink, Jess has a rented minivan and sometimes a bottle of water.

So here we were leaving Kamloops at 2am leaving for Grand Prairie (about a 9 hour drive). As soon as we pulled into each town, I would begin my day of meetings and presentations and then as my regular day would come to a close, I would then start my second job as Jessie's "Roadie" which would keep me on my feet until we loaded into the Minivan headed to the next city overnight.

The Emerson tour ended in Calgary last Saturday so we drove from Calgary Sunday afternoon back to Vancouver. We arrived (thanks to daylight savings and the roads being closed due to avalanche warnings) back in Vancouver on Monday morning at 5am.'

This week has been exceptionally busy not only catching-up from being on the road but also because we're preparing for what is a whole new version of the website. I had hoped that it would be launched yesterday but the tech gods have not been smiling on us. It's now a certainty it will be sometime next week and I can't contain my excitement! We've been working on it non-stop since last September. I'm proud of what we have now and while there is plenty that was innovative about our use of technology applied to the charitable sector, this is the first time where truly innovative technology is being built and applied to the GiveMeaning site. You'll see what I'm talking about next week and hopefully agree with me!

I'm now here in Victoria bringing our "Party Pig" a massive bamboo version of our cardboard "Pig-e-Banks" for a fundraising event in support of Village of Hope a project on GiveMeaning benefiting women in Rwanda. I've been here all day for a variety of meetings today and at lunch, walked into a White Spot (for my American friends, I can tell you that White Spot beats In-&-Out burgers by miles) which I remembered from my childhood. I remembered being about 9 or 10 with my family eating a "Pirate Pack" at the exact same table as I was at today. It was an unintentional nevertheless much valued trip down memory lane.

I popped-in on the folks at Victoria Women's Sexual Assault Center, a great organization that uses GiveMeaning's personal fundraising pages for its annual "Tri-athalon of Compassion" and also met with Rumon Carter a very dynamic guy who used GiveMeaning last year quite successfully and has started a new project that is close to getting enough votes to start fund-raising.

This post is getting quite long and I haven't even talked about the highlights of the tour. I'll do that in a separate post over the weekend. It's now time to get going to the fundraiser. Please keep your radio stations tuned to your country music station and listen for "Let's Talk About Love" by Jessie Farrell!

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