So after my past two rants, I’ve been asked by several people what I do for my city to effect positive change. The answer is a fair amount in my opinion – I just choose not to turn my efforts into self-promotion tools because I do these things because they are the right thing to do as I have been blessed with a good career and the ability to do so.
- I work for an organization that assists injured people by providing wage protection and access to health care. In cases where injuries are permanent and life changing, we assist in retraining and upskilling where necessary. I have done this for well over twelve years after working in the tech industry.
- Through my employer I, of course, donate to the local United Way with my funds dedicated to assisting organizations within the local community. That’s the easy part there.
- I work for and at an inner city church which recently won a Hamilton Urban Core award for providing support to the city’s poor and disenfranchised, through donation of food and household goods, providing support for recent immigrants to practice their spoken English language skills in a casual, relaxed and friendly environment and providing budgeting, food management and cooking skills to families.
- I volunteer my time, energy and funds for various organizations involved with providing food and household necessities for the city’s poor. This includes helping stock and distribute holiday food hampers, supporting local organizations financially whenever possible and volunteering.
- With DH and a number of other Santa’s helpers, I have founded a charitable organization aimed at ensuring families of children with terminal illnesses have “one last Christmas” no matter what time of year.
- I have served and continue to serve on the organizing committee and board of directors of the Hamilton Gay Men’s Chorus in the hopes of forming a group that aims to bring men of all levels of musical experience together with the common goal of creating vocal music in a safe, supportive, and fun atmosphere and to reach out to the LGBTQ community and beyond, to encourage, challenge, and instruct through our performances.
- I provide counselling and support for people with weight and eating issues both on an individual basis and through a monthly support meeting. This is done in conjunction with nutritional, medical, and psychological support through a local hospital.
- Wherever possible, I try to support local small businesses over national chains and online providers. This includes purchasing goods, dining and supporting services. The past three years, I have made my holiday gift giving a local affair, purchasing directly from local artists, artisans or independent retailers.
- I support local artists and musicians through providing financial support, offering my time and energy and support through purchasing their output, attending their events, commissioning specific items and recommending their services to friends both in the Hamilton community and to people outside the community.
- I host house concerts, bringing national and international artists to our city to perform music in a relaxed environment where people interested in experiencing new and different music can be exposed to artists they may not have heard of before. These concerts also allow artists, who might have bypassed our city for Toronto, to experience what Hamilton has to offer.
- I support my neighbourhood by participating in events such as street sales, neighbourhood cleanups, helping neighbours with yard and house work, inviting folks to house concerts I arrange, supporting the efforts to spay and neuter and provide vaccinations for the feral cat colony in the area, and performing short acoustic musical sets on my front porches to “toast” evenings with beautiful sun sets.
So that’s what I do for my city. I do these because I believe in this city and that it has a lot to offer folks. I have done this since I have lived here and will continue to do this as long as I remain in Hamilton, which I expect to be for a good long time.