Volunteer Richmond – A Lesson In Giving

Emily de Boer

Emily de Boer and her sister Audrey are two of the most inspirational people you’ll ever meet. (If you don’t believe us, just read this story.) This blog post, by volunteer writer Benjamin Yong, is about them and the Richmond Christmas Fund and how giving back to the community has no age restrictions.

In November, Emily de Boer had her own booth at the Steveston Farmers Market. That in itself isn’t much of a story. But what if I told you that Emily is only 12 years old? The story’s getting a little more interesting, right? And what if I told you that she wasn’t there to sell anything – not arts and crafts, or jewelry, or baked goods – but was there instead to support the Richmond Christmas Fund, a cause she believes in and one her and her family have been involved with since she was just a toddler? At this point, I think you’ll agree that the story just got downright awesome.

Emily’s mom, Charmis, said that every holiday season, Emily and her younger sister Audrey, 10, would accompany her on a special night of shopping at Richmond Centre or Lansdowne Centre to buy gifts to donate to families in need, something they still do today. It was this lifelong involvement that was part of Emily’s motivation to hand out Christmas Fund brochures and collect cash and toy donations at the market on November 18.

“There are less fortunate families that don’t celebrate Christmas to the full potential, so this is just to help make Christmas a bit better for them,” said Emily, who, along with Audrey and a couple of their friends, returned to the Steveston Farmers Market on December 2 to help spread the word about the Christmas Fund. “I just feel like Christmas is supposed to be family time, and if people can’t enjoy it, it upsets me.”

During her first outing, Emily said a lot of people came by her table giving everything from the loose change in their pockets to $20 bills. Even Audrey’s Lord Byng Elementary classmates stopped by to show their support.

We don’t use the term “role model” very often, or very lightly, but even at just 12 years old, Emily de Boer definitely fits the bill.
For Charmis, the Richmond Christmas Fund’s message that giving is greater than receiving really lays the foundation for what the holiday season is all about.“The simplest things mean the most. If you’re a family that’s struggling, you can be struggling in many ways. We live in a world that’s very demanding on us financially and emotionally, and the Christmas Fund takes some strain off that.”

In 2009 Charmis’ workplace, Innovation Networks, an IT company in Richmond specializing in technical support, took part in a Leadership Richmond pilot project taking old computers donated by clients and refurbishing them to give to needy families. Student and company volunteers would help, and sometimes, even her children.

“My kids, being my kids, would get involved, and they witnessed what it means to give back,” said Charmis.

Obviously, Emily and Audrey learned a lot from what they saw. And now, perhaps others can learn from them.

See the original story here: http://www.volunteerrichmond.ca/News/VRISBlog/BlogDetails/12-12-05/A_Lesson_in_Giving.aspx

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