Pictured above: Sarita and her children, Boaz (3) and Ellee (6).
BabyGoRound owes much of its success to the network of parents in the community, our "Community Champions", who collect items at their homes on our behalf from donors in their neighbourhoods. Our Community Champions have enabled us to greatly increase the number of donations we can accept. They continue to help us tremendously to spread our message among their social networks and to therefore assist more families each year. No doubt, the Community Champions are a very major contributor to the success of the organization.
This month we turn our attention to Sarita DeVries, our Community Champion in New Westminster. Sarita has been supporting BGR since 2014 and never ceases to amaze us with her dedication to her role. Thank you Sarita for your undying support and for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about being a Community Champion!
BGR: When and how did you first get involved with BabyGoRound?
Sarita: It was May 2014 when I first started getting involved. I was on a maternity leave after working for nearly 10 years with the same awesome employer but I felt something was still missing in my purpose. I desired to do something that made a direct social impact on the greater community. Looking back now, I feel I was led to BGR through my overwhelming heart calling to work with and give back to women and their families. More specifically, I felt a longing to help refugee families. I knew volunteering to assist refugees in some way was the direction I'd want to look in...
Not long after, I went to a wedding in Toronto and met up with an old high school friend I hadn't seen in 15 years. At some point in our reunion catch up I talked about feeling an actual "calling" to work with refugees somehow. As it turned out, she knew one other person in BC and he worked with the organization called "Journey Home" who directly supports refugees. I ended up contacting him and learning about the different ways they support refugees and in particular, their partnership with BGR. The rest was history. I studied the BGR website, got excited about the mission to give back to a wide range of organizations, including those associated with supporting refugees. I saw the need for Community Champions and put up my hand for representing the New West Community.
BGR: What's in it for you? As in, what do you "get" out of collecting gear for BGR?
Sarita: There's really only one word to encompass what I get out of working with BGR and that is--JOY. I know that I am doing the right thing by how my heart feels when I stop by the facility to drop off all the donations that have been collected in my area and to witness and be a part of the action in the space for those few moments. It's as if I can feel my heart space swelling with joy and it confirms to me every time that I am doing the right thing for my soul's purpose. I am thrilled to do my small part in this team to assist so many families in need each month.
BGR: What are some of the things you do as a Community Champion? Can you describe your role?
Sarita: As a Community Champion I liaison with generous donors who are willing to give us their gently used baby items. I coordinate pick ups/drop offs and sort/store items that need to make their way to our facility. I promote the organization in my walk of life with either personal or business connections and market the cause on various community boards throughout New West. I am part of the New West Moms Group on Facebook which has over 2000+ members and take photos of the loaded vehicles full of donations from the New West community in an attempt to shout out our gratitude to the community for helping create the impact of giving back to other families in need. This in turn creates further awareness of the mission and more donations! I have also hosted birthday party events inviting donations for BGR in lieu of gifts.
BGR: Any other stories/comments that have come out of the families you meet who donate?
Sarita: It must have been about a year ago when I met with a mother in New West who felt so compelled to collect baby carriers for the Syrian refugees who were trying to save their families from the crisis by crossing the sea. She collected over 30 carriers but eventually determined she could not send them for various reasons and then reached out to BabyGoRound to donate them. Her passion to assist refugees in this way really resonated with me and I was very moved with her initiative. By donating the collected baby carriers to BGR, her efforts were not lost as some of those carriers may very well have been given to refugee families after all.
BGR: Do you think we could benefit from another CC in New West?
Sarita: New West is ever changing and developing, bringing young families into the community all the time. The work of Community Champion comes in waves where some weeks I am meeting between 2-4 donors and other weeks go by and it is quiet. We can always use more help promoting and drawing awareness to the cause and I would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with another Champion in the area who shares in the purpose of helping women, children and families in need.
Thank you again Sarita, for all you are doing for families and children in the Lower Mainland, for giving up space in your home, and the time and energy to support our cause.
We currently have Community Champions in Point Grey, Dunbar, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Langley, Ladner, New West, Coquitlam, Surrey, White Rock, and Maple Ridge. If you are interested in becoming a Community Champion, or would like to be connected with one in your area to donate your items, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.