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Little Gifts For Loved Ones

Carmen, BC


Tell us a little about yourself!

Occupation: was a server until I got laid off due to the virus, was a tutor at school but now everything has transitioned online, can no longer babysit either
Hobbies: volunteering, hanging out with friends and eating food
Interests: I want to cook more often and make the food I like to eat, playing piano, doing Zumba, talking to people, making to do lists to stay productive, I really like learning different languages so that I can communicate with more people in the world (fun fact: I am a polyglot!)

How I am being affected by the pandemic: Firstly, I had my first ever plans to travel abroad on my own to study for a month in Germany this Summer, and then potentially do a little bit of backpacking in Europe afterwards since I have never been. However, the program has decided to cancel for obvious reasons and so now I won't be going to Berlin to study German (language and culture) nor see Europe. As for right this moment, I have still been relatively busy recently because school is still happening but online, so I am not done with this semester until after exams. But I imagine that I will have a lot more free time afterwards to try to put myself to good use. In that time, I will probably be thinking a lot about the people that I would use to get to see on a regular basis but is now no longer possible because of the virus.

I miss a lot of people that I want to see and wish I could pay them a visit. For example, a little baby I have been babysitting since he was 4 days old will be a year old in a month and I won't be able to celebrate that with him. I miss him and his family (who consists of his 3 year old sister and a single mom) and hope that they are doing well. I also frequently think about my grandma who is usually very active and social in her community who is now stuck inside bored without much interaction to others.

My heart also goes out to those who are unemployed and have financial difficulties either because of the virus or were also just barely able to make ends meet from before. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for the government benefits. I also don't get along with my family the best so it is a struggle for me to stay home when I have to deal with everyone, and I can't have any privacy because I have to sleep in the living room (which is attached to the kitchen, I live in Vancouver so housing is expensive, we can't afford a room for everyone). I have thought about moving out but am still on the fence about it for very many reasons. I am also affected by the pandemic where I have to try to financially support the family because my parents are unemployed due to the virus and my little brother does not work.

It's a lot, but I know that my situation is a lot better than others because I still have choices I can make and so I am comparatively more fortunate. I complain often but deep down I am grateful for what I have and I don't reflect that enough. At the very least, I lived in a first-world developed country where water is not scarce. Oh, and then I bought Vessis to make myself feel better, while also being able to help give back to the those in the community working on the front-lines.

Tell us about your #MakeWaves project.

There are so many people on my mind right now. In this time we have to be separated from each other, I want them to know that I am thinking about them and that I still care about them.

I am thinking about buying people small gifts to tell them that I miss them and that hopefully we'll be together soon (non-contact drop-off and phone call to talk). Some of these people would be my Grandma who lives on her own, my immediate friends, and a specific family I am close to (the one fore mentioned; the single mom and the 2 little kids).

I think that if I was given a small budget, buying small gifts/food and some healthy fruits/snacks for them would hit the limit to my budget, but if I had more to "spend", I would want to also give to the community, a senior home type of community in particular. My mom works at a senior home community and sometimes tells us about how the seniors are being affected by the pandemic. The seniors are sad and they don't understand why they can't see their loved ones. Some seniors were upset and crying too because they missed their children and grandchildren so much. Ironically, living together with other seniors in the home, they probably still feel lonely.

I would want to brainstorm with my mom and maybe her manager too what I could do to bring joy to them in order to help them get through this difficult and confusing time. Whether this be organizing a small activity for them to do (buy them supplies to draw or paint, have them make cards or write letters for the ones they miss), or bringing them snacks with messages on them to enjoy. Anything that can cheer them up during these tough times.

If this were possible, perhaps I would also give my time to help make this idea happen. I would want to help facilitate my project, meaning writing the messages on the individually wrapped snacks, distribution, delivering any artwork or messages to their family members for them, or make a video to send to their family members. I would also considering asking my friends to help if they felt comfortable being outside. If that's too complicated, I would be happen to even help by buying the senior home cooks groceries to cook for the seniors. Small gifts or groceries, I want to help people get through these trying times by making them happy.

Lastly, if this project can go beyond the people around me and to the senior home community, I would also need to buy "protective gear" for myself and anyone else helping me, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer. Big or small, I would call this project "Thinking about you."

Who / What inspired you?
If I received little funding, I would impact only the people I am closest to (relationship-wise). If I received enough funding, I would want to impact the small group of people on my mind but also the senior home community that my mom works at. Reading about this opportunity from Vessi TO be able to create an initiative for a community project is what made me think about possibilities "I am open to taking suggestions for my project and/or any revisions to make it possible and more plausible.

Also, if Vessi is (still) hiring, I would love to join the team to be able to help give back the way the company is doing so. I am a big (but poor) Vessi fan... which is why I was only able to purchase my second pair of Vessis recently, (cant wait for them to arrive!)"

Your message to the community:
We are all going through a difficult time right now but if can support each other and share the love, we can get through this together. 

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  5. Set fire to the rain

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