Sometimes a little effort and the smallest of gestures makes a huge difference in the lives of others.
For Nanton’s Sheena Read, wanting to celebrate her latest birthday in a different way will help a very important organization doing some needed philanthropy.
For her birthday which she celebrated earlier this month, Read decided that she wanted to help survivors of the residential school system in Canada. With her previous work in print media and her current job in the health care sector, Read knows the importance of mental health so she decided to raise some money for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society which is based in British Columbia. She decided that if any of her Facebook friends wanted to get get something for her birthday that they just make a donation through a donation system on the popular app. Once a day, the app automatically signals friends that people can make a donation in recognition of someone’s birthday, lasting a week prior and a week after. For Read, her and her friends efforts resulted in nearly $1,100 for the Society.
“I was just scrolling through Facebook a week before my birthday and it popped up “your birthday is coming, you can do a fundraiser for it. I have seen lots of other people do it for other causes,” explains Read who investigated it. “It was kind of a no brainer for me because I’ve done some work with the Blackfoot (Canadian) Cultural Society (in Lethbridge). I am just appalled at what has happened with residential school and the stories I have heard over the years and now that we’ve got the Reconciliation Day coming, I thought that this could work, but I’ve never done these fundraisers on Facebook before. It’s so simple to set up, like anybody could do it.”
She says it could custom-make what the goal was and the time frame. She says initially she set the goal limit of $250. That was surpassed in 30 minutes. She was shocked and reset the limit to $500 and went past that finishing at officially $1,145 on the final day.
“There are so many different fundraisers you can do, it’s a wonderful thing,” Reads adds who says she hadn’t seen previously a way to directly financially help a residential school survivors-type organization through social media before. There’s different social services like mental health, housing, things like that, that these groups help with, that’s what I’m looking for. For me personally, I don’t think the answer is to go up to any person for any cause and just say here here’s $10. But if you can go and say this is how it this is, this is how it is going to help you, these services are going to help you than I think that is more helpful, at least for me. If somebody can access social services, like mental health or counseling services I think if those are in line I think that might help people more in the long run.”
Those who donated to the Society saw their donation go directly there. It’s secure, there’s no intermediary and there are tax receipts issued. It was simple for Read who literally didn’t have to do any work other than the initial choice of organization and the parameters set.
She just want people to think about doing such efforts in the future and to not be worried they have created extra work for themselves. It took a few minutes and now an agency dear to hear will get a little boost.
It just happened Read’s birthday came just before an important time. On Sept. 30 will be the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation which also coincides with Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 as a way to honour and remember those who suffered under the residential school system. On Sept. 30, 2013, for the first time publicly, Phyllis Webstad told her story after suffering at the WIlliams Lake facility and how she had her new orange shirt taken away from her.
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society was one of the first to help indigenous survivors.