There Are So Many Ways To Contribute

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It is more than a week ago that schools were cancelled because of flooding in Calgary. Calgary would be in a state of emergency  for many more days to come.

It is one of those days when you will never forget where you were and what you were doing. I was staying at my friend’s house and then off to our Bishop Carroll graduation ceremonies with my grade 12 students .We were celebrating their accomplishments and yet mindful of the devastation all around us, but not completely aware of  just how Albertans would be impacted.

I knew that Calgarians would make a difference, but little did I know how amazing the role modelling would be for our students. Our students would have definitely risen to the challenge fundraising amongst other things, but it was the end of the school year. That will come in September, as I know our city will still need help then. Within the first day I received a tweet from the YMCA that one of our students was already helping … no surprise.

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During the next week I would begin to see how much the city was impacted. I felt powerless in the beginning not knowing how I could help.

I recognized that I could give money to the Red Cross , that was easy. I could register with #yychelps, but not sure if I could do the heavy work.

Then came an email from our chief superintendant, Gary Strother, asking for volunteers to help with the cleanup efforts. I don’t usually look at my e-mail after school year ends, but this year I am more connected to my computer than ever before ,so I took it as a sign that I needed to act.

For two days I was up at 4 a.m. and to work by 5:15 because of the coordinating efforts of one of the organizers Ralph Strother along with some amazing people from  Whissell Construction .

Being in the middle of a neighbourhood at East Elbow Park made everything real. I just kept imagining if this was my home and my family, how I would feel and how appreciative of the help I would be.  I know the homeowners did, by the signs and the overwhelming thank you’s and gratitude that was displayed.

As Ralph Strother says, ”it was a huge step forward from unfathomable loss to rebuilding towards recovery… everyone worked shoulder to shoulder responding with no request too small and or seemingly too big dismantling garages, structures and even roofs, carefully, skillfully and even moving all the debris.”

Whissell construction donated dump trucks, front-end loaders, skidsters, trucks, barricades tools and amazing people who worked tirelessly to coordinate our efforts. It was amazing to see all the work being done around me. I am grateful for the small part that I would play to help out.

I have to admit it was hard work. It was back breaking work that some people do everyday (obviously something I am not cut out for on a daily basis) kudos to them, but for now they were adding to their week by volunteering. It made me very happy to be a part of it.

Ways I watched people help:

  • Driving the bus to get volunteers in and out of communities
  • Baking food for families and volunteers
  • First Aid responders
  • Organizing small clean up jobs for younger people
  • Lemonade stands
  • Raking, shoveling, hauling, demolishing, lifting, cleaning

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The list goes on…

There are so many ways people can contribute . Many people cannot contribute physically, but it is just as valuable to contribute in any way you can … JUST CONTRIBUTE.  We need to be grateful for what we have and what we can do, not to feel guilty for what we can’t do. All that we do matters and for today I am so grateful to live in a city of helpers. I do not have to look for them. They are everywhere.

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Click here :

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/U1DekWUNVC/calgary-floods-2013 

and then click on the pictures to move to the next picture in the haiku deck:

Thanks to all my fellow @CCSD_edu  colleagues especially Andrew who helped out and a special thanks to Gary and Ralph for making this happen.

Here are some resources from Alberta Health Services that you may wish to check out: Flood updates and resources…

Alberta Government’s pamphlet Support for Albertan’s Affected by Flood:   http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/Advisories/ne-pha-ahs-support.pdf

Dr. Michael Trew’s Blog (Alberta’s Chief Mental Health Officer):  http://blogs.albertahealthservices.ca/floodcope/

 Mental Health

 

Calgary … Floods and A Hopeful Community 2013

Calgary … An amazing community of people willing to

make a difference.

Calgary is experiencing as @CBC says one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history. Social media has a positive part to play in helping inform and help in the days, weeks and months to come. I am so grateful. Calgarians are fantastic!

  1. The @CBCCalgary is calling this one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history. Hang in there, neighbours. @yycfloodSat, Jun 22 2013 12:07:16 
  2. RT @FarahDhalla This is what has become of downtown #Calgary #yyc #yycfloods #twn pic.twitter.com/j3lzi7fXw6
  3. Hats off! U R The Best! First Responders – The #RedCross & Canadian Troops #Alberta #Calgary #YYCFloods
    RedCrossAB
  4. Restoring Family Links call centre is ready. If you are looking for family that has been evacuated you can contact 1-866-696-6484 #yycfloods
  5. Please support our local #yyc businesses, they need our support now more than ever. #yycflood
  6. Drop-In Centre wishlist – bring items to temp. centre (former hotel) 4804 Edmonton Trail NE #yyc #yycflood pic.twitter.com/EATDADUMNS
  7. Could I just say again how PROUD I am to live in a city with a Mayor like @nenshi. YOU are an OUTSTANDING leader #yycflood
  8. A video I created for #openspokes a vlogging place for educators from across North America. A supportive online community, a place where educators reflect on a variety of topics.
  9. Beautiful and thoughtful post about social media as a support during difficult times Thx @EHordyskiLuong #abflood erinluong.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/rea…
  10. @verenanz @EHordyskiLuong thx for sharing feeling that we can help more in the days, weeks and months to come
    \
  11. Great PLN Checking in…
  12. Stay dry my friends MT @SSpellmanCann: Calgary Flooding – 2013 Flood- Calgary Video Production – BizBOXTV bizboxtv.com/calgary-floodi…
  13. @SSpellmanCann Oh good! Agree. My BIL & SIL had to evacuate Mission (they are okay). A yr ago today I was skipping stones on the Elbow. OMG.
  14. Photos from inside the Scotiabank Saddledome ~ cflam.es/12VsG0C #yycflood #yyc
  15. Most Inspiring Photos from the 2013 Calgary Flood #calgaryflood
  16. RT @nicolelisafeld: Memorial Drive #yycflood pic.twitter.com/T3C5ETu2b7 Never seen anything like it! My heart goes sout to all those affected
  17. Only high schools in non-evacuated areas will remain open for students writing diploma exams for the week of June 24. bit.ly/14lGEpE
    I know our students will show amazing strength and support…
  18. @SSpellmanCann Aiden has graciously volunteered to come back this evening for a jam session. Looking forward to it! #ABFloods #yycflood
  19. Support @RedCrossAB to help where it’s needed most right now. Together, we’ll make it through this! redcross.ca #yycflood #yyc
  20. Telus has made it even easier to donate. Text REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $5 in support of #ABfloods #yycflood
  21. I am very very proud of@nenshi @CalgaryPolice and all frontline workers and all albertans. Thanks@pmharper for deploying troops Stay strong
  22. “Hug your public servants” – @nenshi on @CBCTheNational. Nice shout out to hardworking folks putting in long hours in #Alberta. #yycflood
    Briefing with @Premier_Redford and @nenshi. ow.ly/mh29g #abflood#yycflood
  23. Mayor @nenshi announces full exemption for grade 12 students from diploma exams. The teacher, or classroom grade will be their final grade.
  24. I am so flipping proud of #yyc media, community, and city use of social media tonight. Absolutely GENIUS everyone. #yycflood
  25. Until you visit – you can’t appreciate the spirit of caring that permeates the evacuation shelters. High River will be back.
  26. Flooding outside the Scotiabank Saddledome – please stay away from the building until further notice #yycflood #yyc pic.twitter.com/l7YaHuyxfK
  27. Aerial photo of flooding around the Saddledome. #yycflood pic.twitter.com/kZlDekMfZK
  28. This pic of an awesome firefighter in Mission needs to go viral. Please share! #yycflood @redcrosscanada pic.twitter.com/3m3AiodrA5”
  29. “@ampcalgary: Who else needs to see a pic like this today? 🙂 #calgarystrong #yycflood pic.twitter.com/ZuFw2X6oZc” IT’S SO VIVID

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