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The Giving Tree plants its roots at MNLCT

May 2019,
By David Gomes

Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, “It’s not how much you give, but how much love you put into giving.” That very quote now adorns the walls of our very own MNLCT – Keele location as part of a beautiful mural painted by volunteer placement students from Seneca at York and George Brown College in a collaborative effort.

“The Settlement Team had the idea to make 2019 the year of giving back, this is why we decided to name the project the ‘MNLCT Giving Tree’ so we can inspire others to donate as a way to giving someone the gift of meaning and also bring meaning into their own lives by their actions,” says Martha Juarez, MNLCT’s Settlement Program Manager

The settlement team received six placement students – Atem, Zilan, Oznur, Melanee, Rutendo from Seneca at York and Ruth Javier from George Brown College in September 2018. Every time MNLCT takes on new student placements, the centre creates a work plan outlining the objectives they will accomplish by the end of their placement. One of the main components for this batch of students was to develop fundraising skills in consultation with the staff by executing their ideas with the aim to engage and motivate clients to donate. After this, they asked clients how they wanted to see their contributions recognized – clients wanted to see their names posted somewhere in our office.

The challenge for Atem, Zilan, Oznur, Melanee, Rutendo and Ruth was to get all the materials for this activity donated by clients and the general public, and they delivered. They worked together to design the tree, painted and decorated it, and engaged staff to invite clients to donate.

At first, the six students were concerned about taking on the project because they did not think they had the artistic skills to execute it and see the project come to fruition. Regardless, they tackled the project head-on and they really surprised themselves when they realized how rewarding this project had become. It helped them to see the value of their work and the importance of working as a team to get the job done.

How does it work?

Clients are encouraged to make a donation, following which their names are written onto a paper leaf and stuck on the tree.

So, if you find your way to our Keele centre, ask how you could help by making a donation to the Giving Tree initiative. Every small donation goes a long way.

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Please be aware that limited in-person appointments are available on Tuesdays & Thursdays in our Keele office and on Wednesdays in the Finch office. Also, we continue to offer services via phone, email and online.