The following was written by Lindsey Press, event specialist for National Events Deloitte, and Angie Draskovic, founder and CEO of ZOË Alliance Inc.
We are MPI members for many reasons. Personal and professional development, career enhancement, networking and business development, to name a few.
As an industry that is in the business of bringing people together, we are acutely aware of how we are interconnected and the fundamental importance of community.
Our latest ECOS Committee event, “MPI Build a Bike Day,” took us to the Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club (101 Spruce Street), where we helped provide five boys and five girls from Regent Park with very empowering gifts of dignity, autonomy and the opportunity to build confidence.
Sixty-nine percent of the families that use the Spruce Street location have average incomes of less than $20,000 and some even earn less than $8,000. This is staggering to consider and painful to think about how neighbors in our community are expected to excel with so much less.
On June 20, a group of 27 MPI Toronto members and their families came together and built bikes for 10 very deserving children. The morning was full of the usual up-beat atmosphere that surrounds an MPI event. We enjoyed seeing another side of our colleagues and quickly realized who in the group knew how to use a wrench!
A bike is typically regarded as a childhood staple, but to these children it is so much more.
As volunteers, many of us did not anticipate what we would learn once meeting the children who received the bikes. Many of them had never ridden a bike before and would be learning for the first time at the ages of 10 or 11. For some, this bike would become transportation to get to a part-time job and earn much needed supplementary income for their families. Of course the children’s faces were beaming when they were presented with their bike. However, we could not have anticipated the looks of heartfelt gratitude that appeared on their parent’s faces!
What was accomplished would not have been possible without the private donations of corporate sponsors and generosity of the following; Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club, AVW Telav Audio Visual Solutions, Elephant Entertainment and D.E.Solutions.
On that Saturday morning, our MPI Toronto family grew a little and 10 bikes became much more than a toy.