I had the privilege of attending the 'The Power of Humanity Awards Gala' held by The Canadian Red Cross on May 24. It was an amazing and awe inspiring night, particularly listening to 2012 Humanitarian of the Year winner, Mr. Albert El Tassi, philanthropist and businessman, and singer songwriter Sierra Noble, speak about the passion they felt for their humanitarian work in Manitoba and around the world.
In their acceptance speeches, both award winners stressed that there is always something each of us can contribute towards helping others. El Tassie said, "Even a smile is charity." Nobel added that every act of kindness can influence change, no matter how seemingly small. Nobel received the 2012 Young Humanitarian of the Year award.
This is a good reminder whether living in communities large or small, those volunteers that make a difference in our world, in the worlds of our children, and the worlds of our vulnerable loved ones who may be aged or sick. They may not be donating millions of dollars to build a school, or banning landmines at age 10, but they are the ones whose tireless efforts make good things possible. We know some of them personally. They are ordinary people like us. They are our neighbors, friends, and coworkers. They raise money for good causes; sit at an event on a Saturday night, they help a youth stay off the streets by taking a special interest, they ease the pain of the sick and dying by knocking on doors when its pouring rain or blistering heat to ask for donations. They use their precious time and energies to care.
Every week, it seems, I have had the privilege to interview, read or write a story about people in this community, who, through sacrifice of time, have made incredible contributions to making our community a better place to live, work and play. These special people share their time and passion for a cause close to their heart, and the rest of the community benefits over and over.
Every act of kindness sends ripples and creates a continued harmony of positivity. The movie, 'Pay it Forward', is a perfect example of how we are all a part of humanity and have a responsibility towards helping to make the world a better place - even just one small ripple at a time - there is always something we can do to contribute.
El Tassi reminded everyone present at the gala of an Islamic Proverb, "If you can save one life, you save the entire humanity. If you destroy one life, you destroy the entire humanity."
In simple words, even a smile can begin to change the world. Charity can begin at home, with neighbors and friends, in our community with a helping hand or encouraging word. From here, it only grows.