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One Spark Celebrates its First Birthday!

Thursday, August 21, 2014 9:25 AM

It was a year ago this week - on August 23rd - that One Spark officially became a registered entity and life was breathed into a vision of ensuring that no woman faces financial barriers to living a life without violence.  As cliché as it may sound to say that time flies, One Spark's first year has come and gone in a blink, and yet has been packed with planning, activity, engagement, and excitement both about what has been accomplished and what lies just over the horizon.

Here are some of our favourite year one highlights:

  • On December 17th, 2013 the One Spark Board of Directors convened its first official meeting.  We are extremely proud of the dynamic group that has worked diligently over the past year to govern, guide, and serve as the heart and soul of the organization.  Our inaugural Board of Directors includes President, Jo-Anne Liburd; Vice-President, Flavio Volpe; Secretary, Rachel Ryan; Treasurer, Howie Paskowitz; Member Marlo Taylor; and Member Heather Lapier.  Their giving of time and talent is the reason One Spark can effectively deliver its mission.

  • On November 25th, 2013 One Spark launched its inaugural Candle Campaign.  For the 11 days between November 25th (The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and December 6th (The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women), we promoted the campaign, which asked people to place lit candles in their window on December 6th to honour, remember, and shine a light on victims of domestic violence.  We then asked people to share their pictures on the One Spark Facebook page and were so proud to see our page glow!  This year, we are raising the bar on campaign engagement and eventually hope to light up the world on December 6th.

  • We launched a drive to collect used laptops for women participating in our programs.  We had both corporate and individual donors generously give us computers for re-use.  We will continue to collect any laptops that are functional...your retiring laptop is a critical business tool for a woman escaping violence.

  • We met with potential community partners and developed opportunities for One Spark's programming to enhance the capacity of organizations already doing great work.  We were thrilled to be so warmly welcomed by the Workplace Group in Sarnia, one of the first program partners to come on board.

  • We reviewed, finalized, tested, and re-tested program components to ensure we are providing the highest and most effective levels of programming and service to women living with violence.  We were humbled by the work of Greg Zatulovsky and Leanne Ho, two accountants who so generously gave of the time to peer review our programs and make valuable recommendations for program enhancements.  We are also grateful for the amazing engagement of Lynn Bice, an entrepreneur that assisted us with beta testing and ensured we had thought of program development from every angle.

  • We laid the groundwork for the very first One Spark Golf Tournament happening on October 2nd, 2014 at Deer Creek Golf Course in Ajax, and we are thrilled to have brought on board our fabulous Fundraising Intern, Fatima Amjad, to help make it happen.  We were also thrilled and grateful that the amazing CCI Studios signed on as our title sponsor.  If you are looking for a birthday present to be treasured by One Spark, this would be it!  Come out and join us and be the spark that ensures that we continue to increase our impact on the lives of women and children living with violence.

  • On August 1st, 2014, One Spark officially became a registered charity, which means the charitable donation portion of your golf tournament fees are tax deductible!  We are thrilled about the ways in which our charitable designation will open doors for us to more effectively serve the women participating in our programs.

So, now we journey into the amazing possibilities of our second year.  We have big plans and vast work to be done.  We're excited to see you along the way in all the ways that you can be part of our mission to help women live lives free of violence.  Here's to another incredible year!!!

Honouring World Humanitarian Day

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 12:01 PM

Today is World Humanitarian Day.  We just wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on all who dedicate their lives to bringing aid, comfort, relief, and peace to so many around the globe.  In particular, we wanted to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for their commitment to relieving the struggles of others.

To put this in perspective, the year 2013 set a new record for violence against civilian aid operations, with 251 separate attacks affecting 460 aid workers. Of the 460 victims, 155 aid workers were killed, 171 were seriously wounded, and 134 were kidnapped. Overall this represents a 66 per cent increase  in the number of victims from 2012.

We, at One Spark, want to thank all who so selflessly walk into the crises and tragedies that most of us only read about or see on the news in order to provide comfort and dignity to those affected.  Here's to you, and thank you.

"To be bold, to be brave.
It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved
And the darkness can come quick
The danger's in the anger and the hanging on to it.
We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and nothing more.
Tell me what it is that you see
A world that's filled with endless possibilites?
Heroes don't look like they used to, they look like you do."
                                                         -Nothing More by the Alternate Routes

One Spark Receives Official Charitable Status

Monday, August 11, 2014 8:06 PM

We are proud to announce that the Canada Revenue Agency has approved One Spark for official charitable status.  This is an exciting development and major milestone for the organization: it will open up funding channels for the important work of the organization and allow us to issue tax receipts for the generous donations made by our supporters.  We look forward to demonstrating to our stakeholders our firm commitment to the accountability standards expected of Canadian charities. 

Most importantly, we look forward to the many ways that charitable designation will ultimately benefit the women we serve and enhance our ability to assist women to access the financial means to escape violence. Access to charitable funding will allow us to maximize our reach and to diligently seek the resources that will sustain our work to end violence.  For all of these reasons, we celebrate this important and wonderful step forward for One Spark.