High Park Blog
Tue 01 Aug
Cards for Charity
My parents fled a war-torn Sri Lanka in 1983 to come to Canada with the hopes of giving their children a better life. My parents worked multiple jobs to provide for my brother and I, as well as those around them. My father always exemplified the importance of helping others through his actions. For example, he helped new immigrants and refugees find jobs, provided financial assistance to people in need, and spent time visiting and feeding the sick.
My mother raised me with solid Christian values which include giving generously. As a teenager my church youth group helped define me, teaching me the value of community and giving. My youth pastor at the time, Rick Bursey, has since moved to Mexico with his wife and two sons to open an orphanage called “Possibilities House” to serve the needs of children there. Click here to learn more from Rick about Possibilities House.
Rick was pivotal in my growth as a young adult and it warms my heart to be able to give back to him by supporting his work with the kids. Rather than simply ask for donations, my husband and I thought it would be fun to run an annual charity poker tournament. What started out as a way to engage possible supporters has turned out even better than we’d ever imagined. Two tournaments later $7,000+ has been raised for Possibilities House.
Proceeds from the first year helped Possibilities House with start-up funding and to accomplish their goal of getting kids into the house. They were also able to hire live-in parents, rather than shift-scheduled caregivers, along with support staff to ensure that the right people were in place to help guide the lives of the children.
In the tournament’s second year, the funds raised allowed for focus on extra-curricular programing like speech therapy, after-school homework help, special education programs, and summer programs.
In 2017, the orphanage is developing individual life programs for each child that is designed to help them overcome past problems, set future goals and develop skills that will enable them to accomplish their life goals.
This program is led by in-house psychologist Alejandra, who will be working on a 1-on-1 basis with the children. She also works with each child’s extended family during weekly visits to help heal wounds and provide training to improve family bonds.
The goal of this year’s Cards for Charity event was to raise $4,800 to help cover Alejandra’s entire annual salary (she is currently part-time), purchase therapy tools, and pay for training. This year’s event which was held on Sunday March 5, 2017 was the most successful one yet. We cannot say thank you enough for all 47 people who participated in the charity poker tournament as well as all those (including many from our High Park site) who generously donated in support.
After 4 hours of fun, intense poker for a great cause, Michael Barr, from our High Park site actually split pot and was a co-winner of the tournament, taking home a whopping $1,200! He even donated $200 back to the Charity from his winnings. Everyone’s efforts and generosity helped raise approximately $5,500 to directly support the children residing in Casa Possibilities in Mexico! In 3 years of running this annual event, over $12,000 has been raised for Casa Possibilities and we are truly humbled. It was great to see everyone out, enjoying themselves and having a good time to support a great cause!
Here’s a thank you video from the kids at Casa Possibilities!