With Project Give Back we are pretty fortunate to come across some incredible people. Whether they are our students, teachers, family members or charity liaisons, not a day goes by that someone doesn’t contribute something awe inspiring in our midst. Tom Ehrlich is one of those people. Sure, Tom’s a nice guy, but nice doesn’t begin to describe the impact that he has had on our program and the influence that he continues to provide.
Over the past few years, Tom has held the position of Chairman of the Board for the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Foundation; an admirable role in itself. He is a devoted husband, father and hockey coach. Through his many roles, Tom has learned to use these skills and talents and apply them to working with others.
A few years back at one of our annual Sponsor Appreciation evenings, one of our students presented his project on PMH. We invited Tom to come and speak on behalf of the charity. Tom was so touched by what he witnessed that night, he knew right then that he needed to become more involved. As a result, Tom generously offered to become a donor to the program the following year. But, his generosity did not stop there.
The following year, Tom wanted to get his hands dirty. He volunteered his time to help in the classroom and discover the magic first hand! So, over the past year, once a week, Tom has been in the thick of it; working with students in a diverse community and putting his coaching skills to good use. Tom says that he absolutely loves being in the classroom and providing a male role model for these students to emulate. He would watch as some of the boys tended to sit back and be somewhat standoffish at first, but with his guidance and support he has seen these boys gradually begin to open up to the possibilities that Project Give Back offers.
Tom said that one moment in particular truly captured the essence of the program for him. When a student was presenting a project on an animal related charity, the topic of putting an animal to sleep was put forth. Through the students own questions and answers, the conversation gradually evolved into a discussion on the complex issue of euthanasia. These young students began sharing very deep and personal reflections that represented their own values and moral judgements. Tom saw how they were able to empathize and show compassion; skills that weren’t necessarily taught in a formal manner. It was that “aha” moment for Tom, where he truly realized the power of these teachable moments and how they take affect upon our students.
Since then, Tom has been hooked! He continues to volunteer in the classroom again with us this year. He has even taken further strides with PGB and has now become a member of our own Board! Tom wants to invest his time in the future longevity of the program. For him, he sees the program teaching essential life skills that can be beneficial to such a wide audience. He aptly says this:
You can survive in life being poor at math because with math, you can always use a calculator. Yet, you can’t be a good humanitarian without empathy.
And it’s that statement which sums it all up!
Tom gets it.
And he does his part to share his talents, virtues and wisdom with others.
And that is exactly what Project Give Back is all about.
Thank you so much Tom Ehrlich. We are lucky to have you as one of our own. Keep doing what you’re doing!