Let me ask you a very important question. Who inspires you? Who is someone who motivates you to try harder, to go further, to grow stronger? I personally believe that it is very important to have inspiration in our lives – whether that is an individual, a group, or an ideal – something that impassions you!
We have begun a brand new year. While so many people are making New Year’s resolutions, I must confess it is not a practice in which I partake. I know me! :) There is one thing that I do believe in doing though. I reflect back on the things for which I am grateful – and there are many!
Almost every day, I have an individual or individuals who come into my life with stories – stories of pain, courage and determination. Each of those individuals has helped to shape my vision of the world and my place in this journey. I have learned so much.
I have so much to be grateful for! As I reflect back, not only on this past year, but also on the years before, I realize just how lucky I am. Not only for the family and friends that I have, but also for those whom I have met and those who have left their footprints on my soul. There are so many heroes that I have encountered – not only those who have attained recognition and who have been lauded for their success – but also the quiet heroes who struggle with adversity, but who have persevered with calm dignity.
There are a number of heroes who have had major impacts on my life. Terry Fox is one. At a time in his life, his unselfish desire to reach out and help others through his Marathon of Hope has had a profound effect on cancer treatment and care. Because of Terry’s belief and legacy, over $600 million has been raised for cancer research. My sister, Mary, died of a form of cancer which is now very treatable, thanks to Terry. She was also an inspiration and hero in my life.
Terry Fox believed in giving back. Terry’s quote sums this up so succinctly. “It took cancer to realize that being self-centered is not the way to live. The answer is to try and help others.”
One day, I had the opportunity to visit the Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre where patients were receiving treatments. I remarked to a nurse that it must be so difficult to work every day in this environment. Her response surprised and enlightened me. She stated that it was so rewarding, that patients who are facing cancer take nothing for granted. They seldom complain and are grateful for the help they receive. I was meant to hear that. By giving, those nurses are rewarded in ways that we can only imagine. The patients give back.
The rewards of giving back are apparent to all those who volunteer. I recently received a visit from Florence (Flo) Peach who had recently been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal for her volunteer and community service work. She was presented this award at the 35th Annual Arnold’s Cove Carol Service, where almost $22,000 had been raised for the Children’s Wish Foundation. She has been organizing the service on behalf of the Lion’s Club for the entire 34 years – 26 of which have been dedicated to the CWF. What a hero! I asked her why she does all of her volunteering, her ‘giving back’. She looked me straight in the eye and replied, “Because it feels good!”
I am relatively new to business, having spent most of my adult life teaching high school students – many of whom have also served as heroes in my life! One of the terms that I have heard a lot about is ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’. ‘Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.’ World Business Council for Sustainable Development
This concept is so important to me as an individual and as a business owner. I feel that we have a responsibility to give back – to our community, to our children, to those less fortunate than us, to those who have to deal with issues greater than failing on our New Year’s Resolutions. If we focus on giving back, we will receive so much more in the long run.
In business, I feel that we have an opportunity and a responsibility to respond in kind. It has become a mandate of my corporate policy that ‘Hope Crystals’ by Karlande Designs gives back! We have put that mandate into practice. A portion of the proceeds from our ‘Hope Crystals’ jewellery goes back to the related organization or foundation; examples include the Children’s Wish Foundation; the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador; the SPCA; the James Hornell Boys’ and Girls’ Club in Buchans – just to name a few. We have designed bracelets for and are making contact with the Newfoundland Autism Society, Daffodil Place, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Diabetes Association. This concept of ‘giving back’ is a core value in Karlande Designs and a driving force behind business decisions.
Let me finish with another question. How are you as an individual, a business owner going to give back in this coming year?
Andrea Sharpe is the President of Karlande Designs Ltd. It is a jewellery design and manufacture company located in Clarenville. They custom design jewellery for fundraising opportunities, for corporate gift giving, and for individual customers. You can contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter, and on LinkedIn. You can also check out her website www.karlandedesigns.com; her Hope Crystals Facebook Page; and her Blog posts.