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Putting the FUN in fundraising to help youth ‘dodge’ a lifetime of poverty

Culture | Posted on October 12, 2012 by Andrew Fraser

[Softchoice’s Jen Wood raised $1,425.00 to help homeless youth dodge a lifetime of poverty through a  fun game of classic schoolyard dodgeball!]

Back in April, the Softchoice Cares Board gave ‘Power 2 the People’ by encouraging employees to nominate a local charity that has impacted their lives. The Softchoice Cares Board allocated a pool of $25,000 to match every dollar raised from events held by contestants or employees who wanted to support their cause. The board also announced that the host who raised the most money and created the most engagement would receive an additional $15,000 for their chosen charity, with second place receiving $7,500 and third $2,500.

Jen Wood, a Human Resources Analyst at Softchoice in Toronto, became involved with Youth Without Shelter last year and she was introduced by a friend who was volunteering with the shelter at the time. He showed her an emotionally-charged video that featured a young man who lost everything and fell victim to a life fueled by addiction. Youth Without Shelter (YWS), a homeless shelter in Etobicoke, offered him free shelter and access to professional development workshops, tools and counselling support to help him get back on his feet.

Jen was inspired by his story, and through Softchoice’s ‘Power 2 the People’ campaign – thought it was a perfect chance to help!
She felt that a program that gives youth a foundation and helps them develop the professional skills they need to make a difference in their own lives, is certainly deserving of her time and support.

Through barbeques, volleyball tournaments and raffles – Jen jumped right in to start raising funds for the cause! However, it was the classic game of schoolyard dodgeball that really caught the attention of employees at Softchoice. By stirring up some friendly competition amongst different teams within Softchoice, Jen’s simple tournament was a hit – with funds going to help homeless youth ‘dodge’ a life of danger and poverty.

“The support I received was amazing – people were contacting me to ask if I needed a hand organizing the tournament right from the first day I announced it,” said Jen. “Within two hours of the announcement going out, 6 teams signed up for the event. I ended up expanding the tournament to 12 teams – with almost 100 employees participating!” 

In the end, Jen raised $1,425.00 from the tournament. She is proud to say that “the money fundraised is going to help repair the shelter’s computer lab, which in turn will support over 600 professional development workshops each year!” These workshops are aimed at helping homeless youth develop the skills they need to succeed in the world – and stay successful throughout their lives. Not only did she encourage Softchoice employees to laugh, enjoy themselves and take time out of the day to be active – she also managed to raise a significant amount of money for a charity that holds a special place in her heart.

Jen proved that when you give your employees a chance to speak up about what they are passionate about, they are more than willing to go above and beyond to make a difference in something they believe in. The Softchoice Cares Board’s  ‘Power 2 the People’ initiative has certainly made a difference in the way employees engage themselves and give back to the community, and it demonstrates that we can have fun AND feel good knowing that our money is helping those who really need it.

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