..and I’ll cry if I want to? Naww…that’s not right! Truth be told – it was my birthday – yesterday – and we did have a party. Did I cry? I didn’t want to.

My family wanted to know what I “wanted” for my birthday. Truth is, I want for very little. I have a family, great friends, no visible roots (this week), my health and new orthotics (so my feet don’t hurt as much.) You see the situation – I have no complaints.

I decided that what I ‘wanted’ for my birthday is enough time left to be able to make a difference.

Where to start? I know I am not much of a joiner. I am also a person who prefers to target projects directly than through a national or international organization.

My younger daughter arrived back home from 2 months in Kenya, on April Fool’s day, where she volunteered at a program called the Tusemezane (“Let’s Talk” in Swahili) program. In this program, disadvantaged children have the chance to go to school. In Kenya, school from Grade 1 to Grade 8 is free – BUT- in order to get into school a child has to go through pre-school which isn’t free. In this program, run by 3 women, children of any age get the chance to go through pre-school so that they might enter “free” school in the Fall.

Before Amanda left, my oldest friend (she is much older than I) Debbie brought letters from children in 2 suburban Toronto schools to be distributed to the children in this program. At my party, Debbie collected the letters that the Kenyan children had written back. Many of the letters included carefully drawn pictures on paper Amanda bought with crayons and pencils I had sent from Canada.

I know it’s small – but for these children this school represents a chance that they wouldn’t have otherwise to enter into education, not to mention a safe place where they can spend their days. This program will close if they can’t come up with enough money to build a toilet.

Amanda told me about this program over the phone during one of our many conversations while she was away and the passion that I hear in her voice about wanting to help is my real birthday gift. I told her I wanted to write about the love and the charity of these three women in their own community. I am truly humbled by the efforts of Anne, Maggie and Lucy.

I am starting by pledging the fee from one lesson from every one of my skaters in the Spring to the Tusemezane program. I will offer my skaters’ parents the chance to match my one lesson fee donation with one of their own.

My reason for sharing this story is I want to challenge my readers to come up with one simple act of kindness or charity this week. There doesn’t need to be a tax receipt to do the right thing and I think everyone gets to choose how to make the world a better place.

I would love to hear via the comments below what one thing you were able to do in your part of the world to make it a better place and I will keep you posted about this program in Kenya.

In the meantime – people in Japan are still struggling – if you want to help – here are a couple of places to check out:




Artistry Skin Care and Cosmetics Canada has set up a link through their parent company Amway, where they are matching donations: Here is the link to check it out: