As you know, our logo, the boomerang is all about throwing kindness out into the world. Our guests tonight, live this. They have experienced great challenges. Yet, they have risen above these challenges and they are creating an impact because of these challenges.
Audrey Guth founded the Nanny Angel Network (now known as Nankind) back in 2009, while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She is a mother and an entrepreneur, who identified a crucial gap in our health care services.
Audrey came to Toronto in 1979 and worked as a Public Health Nutritionist for the City of Toronto, where she created “Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies,” a program for new mothers that still exists to this day. In 1989, Audrey left her career in Public Heath to create Diamond Personnel Inc., placing over 5,000 caregivers in the homes of Canadians across the country. Her company earned the title “Best Nanny Agency Award” by City Parent Magazine and A Top Choice Award from the City of Toronto. She was named a L’Oréal Paris Canada Woman of Worth honouree and was even named a CNN Hero!
Audrey shared her story and some valuable lessons that she has learned along the way. She began by telling a story about a little girl, whose father became ill when she was just 9 years old. One day, this girl overheard her teachers talking, and through them, found out that her father had cancer. It was devastating! Yet, her parents never told her, because they didn’t want to upset her and they continued to never speak about the illness. While her father went for treatments, this little girl had to take on the responsibility for her younger siblings. And then, when she was just 12, her father died. Everyone was sad, but still,no one talked about it. Nothing was normal. Her dad was gone and this girl became very lonely and isolated…This girl was Audrey.
Audrey shared this story, to highlight that not much has changed today. People still remain uncomfortable talking about illness and loss. To change that up, we need to give children a forum where they feel safe to talk about illness and ask questions. We must give kids a chance to grieve and discuss grief issues. Otherwise, there may be dire consequences affecting these children for the rest of their lives.
How can you offer support? Just be there. Don’t give advice, but be a good listener and talk without having judgement. ‘Nankind’, Audrey’s company, does this. They offer trained volunteers who are sent in to help families affected by cancer and their grieving children. Check out the website for Nankind; www.nankind.ca
We then met a mother/daughter team, Sophia and Nicolle. Together, they make up the ‘Super Sophia Project’, and they shared their inspirational story.
Sophia’s journey has basically become a movement. It all began when Sophia was two and diagnosed with Leukemia. During her hospital stay, a custodian gifted her with a pack of stickers. This kind hearted gesture made a big impact upon Sophia and her family. It inspired them to come up with the idea for ‘Love Boxes’, to comfort children during their hospital stays.
They started making Love Boxes in 2016 with a goal of making 100 boxes which quickly turned into 1000! Since then, their local community got involved and they have now gifted over 30,000 boxes to children in need!
Sadly in 2019, Sophia’s father passed away from cancer. Both she and her mother have sought comfort in the joy they have brought to others.
Helping others and sharing love has been their ‘mantra’.
If you wish to contribute to the Super Sophia Project and fill your own love boxes, please reach out to Nicolle. Currently, they are looking for basic essentials such as tooth brushes and tooth paste, socks, books, and activities to fill teen boxes.
Sophia’s message is clear. “It’s not about the toys and other items, it’s the love that fill these boxes. Be kind to each other and spread love.”
Jules Halpern has been singing and writing music for years, and she is only 14 years old. At 12, she performed the National Anthem at Madison Square Gardens. Jules continuously shares her gift with others and tonight she shared it with us, beautifully performing the song, ‘Wonderful’ by Lianne La Havas.
Thank you to all of our special guests tonight. Please share this Episode with anyone who might benefit from learning these powerful messages from our inspiring guests. As always our message to you is to be kind to one another, to embrace one another and to learn from one another. We certainly did that tonight!