The Aviva Community Fund is giving away a Million Dollars to communities across Canada, the mission is to empower people in their communities by giving them the funds required to make positive change. Change can happen in many ways, but the greatest gift is when the change we put into place allows for long term results and keeps on giving, and is not just a band-aid measure.
At Ogilvy, we were contacted by many people as the first round progressed, and we're so glad to be able to provide broker support. Because we have offices in Montreal and Toronto, and we also do business across Canada with certain programs, we have been open to meeting many wonderful community groups and been very proactive in trying to motivate communities to get involved. You can read about some of the organizations and our process leading into the competition on my previous post. However, today, I would like to spotlight one of the community projects we came across and will be supporting into round two via our Toronto office. The Connect Learning Center, being run by Ms. Melanie Cooper, who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday.A brilliant lady, currently entering Round two of the Aviva Community Fund, and needing your vote- her story is best told in her own words, so I have copied the text of her letter below to share with you. Taken from the Connect Learning Center Website.My name is Melanie Taddeo- Cooper. I am a visually impaired teacher who has experienced a devastating trauma. I was a healthy 21 year old university student when I suffered a massive stroke that left me completely paralyzed on the left side and legally blind. I had to interrupt my 4th year at York University to undergo extensive rehabilitation and training in order to resume a “normal life”. This included endless hours of physical and occupational therapy and training on how to live my life as a disabled individual. Through this struggle, I maintained a positive attitude and was determined to fulfill my dream to be a teacher. During my rehab I quickly realized that there were very few programs that met my needs allowing me to regain my independence and once again lead a fulfilling and independent lifestyle.I was very fortunate to attend a program through the CNIB which helped me learn basic life skills (modified to meet my disability needs). It was this program that changed my life. Sadly, as years went by, this life-changing program and others were eliminated due to lack of funding. Consequently, I along with many others was deprived of the ongoing support and services which were so vital to my rehabilitation and ongoing progress. In 1997-1998 I attended teacher’s college at York University where I was the first legally blind teacher to graduate in Ontario. This was a great accomplishment. I had endured years of discrimination as a disabled individual, but never lost hope and faith that one day I would make a difference in my own students’ lives. I vowed to one day establish a life skills training program for adults with disabilities, and that is how Connect Learning Centre (CLC) came to be.“A Dream, A Need, And The Passion To Make A Difference” – Melanie Cooper.Connect Learning centre is a Not-for- Profit organization, and as you can imagine there is great costs involved in operating such a program, and that is why I am seeking assistance in getting the word out to attract people to vote for our idea on the Aviva Community fund.I am very passionate about this cause as I know that people with disabilities can definitely lead independent lives and can make a difference, as I am living proof of this."