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REALTORS® Care Foundation — neighbours helping neighbours to make a difference in communities across Canada
Jun 15, 2012

 

Similar to other professionals, REALTORS® need to keep up with the demands and requirements of their job in order to remain effective and relevant. Every year, they attend mandatory education sessions to maintain their licences issued by the Manitoba Securities Commission. Through their own broker companies and WinnipegREALTORS® professional development sessions, they keep on top of emerging developments in technology and other regulatory matters.
In Winnipeg, salespersons are full-time professionals who make it their business to improve their skills and expertise so consumers of real estate are well served.
On the other hand, REALTORS® take time out of their hectic work schedules to give back to their communities. The Canadian REALTORS® Care Foundation website at realtorscare.ca provides ample evidence of what REALTORS® are doing across the country to make a difference in the lives of Canadians.
The Canadian REALTORS® Care Foundation was established to showcase the volunteer work and community involvement of REALTORS®  from coast-to-coast.
Every week of every month in every season, REALTORS® help worthwhile community causes. They shave heads on a dare, organize seniors’ Christmas light tours, hold fund-raising events and pick up a hammer to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. REALTORS® help those who need it in a multitude of ways.
Here are just a few stories worth sharing:
British Columbia — A close group of REALTORS® from three local brokerages support the Penticton Soupateria on a regular basis. Jeannie Cavallo, Geoff Cowling and Debbie Desgagne of RE/MAX Front Street Realty, Brian Cutler and Grant Klatik of Coldwell Banker Okanagan Realty, and Judy Black of Royal LePage Locations West, along with a few other members of the community, come together every third Friday of the month to prepare a special meal for anyone who is in need.
Jeannie Cavallo got the group involved three years ago after driving past the Soupateria and seeing a line up down the street. 
“All these people were waiting in line just to eat,” she remarked. “It made me realize how lucky I am to have what I have and I wanted to give back.”
Jeannie got the ball rolling by calling other REALTORS®, suggesting that they band together and give back to their community at the Soupateria. 
“We decided to take on the third Friday of every month,” she explained. “Each month, we are there and we try to make something special for these people that, in most cases, are eating this one meal a day. Each month, I buy the groceries, so we don’t take from the Soupateria’s limited budget, and we take turns deciding what we will make.”
Ontario — The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) has joined the Million Tree Challenge, which was launched last year by founding partners ReForest London and the city of London. The first goal of this initiative is for one tree to be planted for every Londoner in three years.
On June 5, 2012, four LSTAR Directors participated in a tree planting event, when a group of 25 leaders from London’s business community planted 100 trees to show their support for the Challenge. The other four organizations represented were the London Chamber of Commerce, London Development Institute, the Urban League of London, and the London Home Builders Association. 
A variety of trees were planted at Byron View Park, and will be recorded on the Million Tree Challenge website, which tracks London’s progress toward its 10-year goal of planting one million trees in the city.
Manitoba — The Manitoba Real Estate Association issued its inaugural Volunteer Award on April 17, 2012, to a woman who has dedicated her life to improving the quality of life of children in Winnipeg’s core area. MREA president Tim Melnyk presented the MREA Quality of Life Award to Doreen Wilson in front of 700 attendees, the lieutenant -governor, the premier and the mayor at the 29th annual Volunteer Manitoba Awards.
Melnyk presented the award along with a $2,500 cheque to be given to Doreen’s charity of choice — Rossbrook House. Wilson was recognized for her exceptional work with children at Wi Wabigooni, an alternative school program connected with Rossbrook House where she has been volunteering since 2001.
Wilson began volunteering with Wi Wabigooni in 2001, reading with children one-on-one. She expanded her role at the school to include making breakfast for the kids once a week, even taking individual orders. She even picks up a child who missed the school bus or takes a child to an appointment. In all but name, she is like a grandparent to the children and brings fun, joy and challenge to their lives. Wilson is warm, caring and welcoming, with a desire to ensure that no child in the community ever be left to navigate through difficult challenges in life alone, as those who nominated her testified.
“I’m really excited about the award,” said Wilson. “It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s really exciting to be able to give back because the school will receive the money, so it’s thrilling.”
The Canadian REALTORS® Care Foundation is run by a small, but very committed and experienced, board of directors. It includes Manitoba’s Ralph Fyfe, a past-president of MREA and a past-president of WinnipegREALTORS®.
“It is a real honour to serve on a board that gets to preside over so many good works across the country,” said Fyfe. “It really makes me proud to be a REALTOR® to see how many are stepping up across the country to improve the quality of life in their respective communities.”