Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Children helping children = 43 bedkits

Submitted by Pat and Brian Tuddenham

Thought that we would let you know about something that we are really excited about. These kids have really done a great job.

The students and staff of Hillcrest Public school in Cambridge have been industriously wrapping pennies these past two weeks.

Children helping Children.

Kindergarten girls and boys bringing in sticky handfuls of pennies; older students generously providing from their piggybanks, sometimes enough to provide a whole bedkit. Working together, four hundred Canadian children have raised enough donations to provide forty-three bedkits.

The opportunity to help other children really seems to have touched a chord with these young people, their parents, and teachers. Their enthusiasm and generosity have overwhelmed us.

Christmas and Sleeping Children make an excellent match.

Hope that you have a very Merry Christmas.

All the best,
Pat and Brian

Monday, December 22, 2008

Repaid in smiles: One volunteer’s experience with 8,000 children in Bangladesh

Doug in Bangladesh.
From Bangladesh 2008 Photo Album
As published on

by Louise Chatterton Luchuk
December 22, 2008

CharityVillage founder, Doug Jamieson, and his wife Pat have donated to Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW) for several years now. SCAW donations provide bedkits to children in underdeveloped and developing countries. Bedkit items are specific to each country, but typically consist of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), new clothes, towel, footwear, and school supplies. SCAW is a volunteer-driven organization and every dollar donated goes to purchase the bedkits. All administrative costs, including salary for their one employee, are covered by an endowment set up by founder Murray Dryden (father of Ken and Dave Dryden). This October, however, Doug Jamieson took things one step further and traveled to Bangladesh to help distribute 8,000 of these bedkits.

Says Doug, "My wife and I have donated because we like the idea behind the cause - that a good night's sleep is essential for a child's health and ability to learn at school. I decided it was time to see this work up close for myself." Like all SCAW volunteers, Doug covered his own travel and accommodation expenses. In addition, he did some fundraising with his CharityVillage teammates, friends, relatives and neighbours. The response was fantastic and totalled enough money to purchase 300 bedkits.

An event of a lifetime for all

During the two weeks in Bangladesh, Doug and his five Canadian teammates worked with volunteers from the Rotary Club and Lions Club in Dhaka. After the children donned their new outfits and had their photos taken in front of sample bedkits with plaques bearing donor’s names, they moved on to where Doug was stationed. It was Doug who had the joy of handing out the bedkits to each child. He says he enjoyed the assignment immensely because he got to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they got their hands on their very own bedkit! While Doug and the team worked in a cordoned off area, hundreds of people milled around and watched intently. "This is a very big event - possibly the biggest thing in living memory in some places where the distribution happened," he explains. "It seemed to me that life stopped for a while and everyone converged on the distribution site. People wanted to know what was going on and be a part of it."

"It seemed to me that life stopped for a while and everyone converged on the distribution site. People wanted to know what was going on and be a part of it."

On the largest distribution day, 1,300 bed kits were distributed and it took seven hours and an overnight steamer trip there and back again. Doug admits that it was pretty intense and tiring work (with only one day off), plus lengthy travel that was often over rough roads. Despite the bumpy ride, travel time provided a great opportunity to chat with team members and reflect on the experiences.

How do you put it all into words?

"Unless you've seen it," remarks Doug, "it's hard to convey the pervasiveness of the poverty and the spirit of the people. To our eyes, there seems to be a kind of disconnect there. While most have virtually nothing by our standards, they make their way with determination and good humour." Everywhere Doug and the team went, the people they met were entrepreneurial, hardworking, generous and friendly. He saw a lot more smiles on the streets of Dhaka than he witnesses on the streets of Toronto. Notes Doug, "I think if most of us were dropped into that society, we would have a very difficult time surviving, let alone maintaining a positive attitude."

Doug saw the country and met the people in a way that no tourist ever could. He talks about the many, many things he learned on his trip. Particularly interesting are his observations about philanthropy and community involvement. In Bangladesh, there’s no public funding for charitable work. It’s all privately funded and service clubs are the delivery vehicles. Without those service clubs, there wouldn’t be any civil sector in the way it exists in North America. He was really impressed by the commitment of service club members: "These were people of the business and professional class who had achieved a certain level of success, representing a very small slice of the total population. But they very clearly invested back in their community, both in terms of time and money. In Canada, people usually work through an organization, but there it was much more direct. Often it involved people going back to their community of origin to do something very personal and direct for the people."

When Doug returned home, he couldn’t stop thinking about what he had seen and been a part of in Bangladesh. "It's hard to put this into words," he declares. "It was like a movie playing in my head. I think I was just trying to make sense of everything I had seen and figure out whether we made much of a difference by going there. I've talked with others who have made these trips, and they describe similar reactions." Deep down, Doug knows, though, that he and his team made a difference in the lives of 8,000 kids and their families and he feels good about that. He also has a different perspective on life in developing countries. It’s not surprising, after listening to Doug talk about his Bangladesh experience, to know that he definitely intends to do it again.

In 2009, SCAW will reach their millionth child. If you would like to help them toward this goal, visit

To hear more about the trip in Doug's own words, check out the video he put together:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Family Skate for Sleeping Children

Steven, Rita, Adam & Liana Pinnock are hosting a skating party at the Pine Point Arena in Etobicoke to support Sleeping Children Around the World.

In their announcement flyer they say:
Join us for our "Family Skate." (Bring your hockey sticks.)

You, your friends, and extended family members are invited to our 3rd Annual Christmas Skating party.

This year we will be supporting "Sleeping Children Around the World."

Click on graphic for a larger version.

Excel Funds donates to Sleeping Children

Submitted by Lynette Jenkins

In an email sent to its clients, Excel Funds notes that:
'in lieu of traditional Christmas greetings we are making a donation to "Sleeping Children Around the World" in their important endeavour of providing children around the globe the comfort of a good night's sleep.'

Click on graphic to see larger version.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Global News: Consumer SOS

INTRO: "The holiday season is a time of giving, so if you're planning on making any charitable donations this year, there are a few things you should know. In tonight's Consumer SOS, Sean O'Shea has some advice on how to make sure your donations are getting to the people who need it most."

Sleeping Children Around the World is given as an example of a 100% charity — the entire $35 donation goes to the child. Please note though that we don't ship bedkits to the child. The bedkits are assembled by Sleeping Children's overseas partners in the country where they are distributed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sleeping Children: A bit of history

A brief history of Sleeping Children Around the World's founder, Murray Dryden.

You can also watch in high quality.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sleep-over at Casa Loma for SCAW

Submitted by Lynette Jenkins

"Marc Garneau Collegiate has a Kiwanis Key Club one of the largest in the district of "Eastern Canada and the Caribbean" that is supported by my Kiwanis Club of East York - and they had a sleep-over earlier this year and raised over $3,000 for SCAW. 126 Bedkits are to be delivered and I had the opportunity of giving some of them out in Nicaragua in October."

"Dave Dryden did a presentation at their annual convention and the students convinced the rest of the Key clubs in the area to make SCAW as their charity of choice for the 2008/2009 year!"

"The students are now having a mega-sleep-over at Casa Loma this Friday and Dave has been invited to do a presentation, and I am going too."

Click on graphic to see larger version.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas in the Bag Craft Show

Submitted by Eileen Rademacher

Sunday, November 30th 2008
The John Shaver Woodsworth Homestead Foundation
450 The West Mall
(North on Burnhamthorpe)
Etobicoke, Ontario
10am - 3 pm

"I will have a table selling cards, calligraphy and small art works. All proceeds will be donated to SLEEPING CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD."

"I look forward to seeing you there."

Eileen Rademacher

Hillcrest Elementary School penny drive

Pay it forward to Sleeping Children

From the Hamilton Spectator, November 18, 2008:


(Nov 18, 2008)
In our class, we learned about something called Pay It Forward, and we have been practising it. Pay It Forward is about doing something nice for someone for no reason. You just do something kind to be nice. Maybe the person whom you are nice to will do something nice for someone else. Then that person will do something nice for someone else, and it keeps on going. If we all do it we can make the world a better place. Sometimes it is just a smile or if a family member is sick, I make them chicken soup.

-- Kayla Wood, Hillcrest Elementary School

This is all about an act of kindness. It can even save your life. When I was little (about five years old) a car almost hit me and my friend Stephanie, who was 11 years old. We were walking across the road. The car was coming, so she pushed me onto the sidewalk. The car hit her leg and broke it, but she was OK. I will always remember that she did such a good thing to help me, so I always try to be nice to other people now.

It will make the world a better place if we even help one person a day to feel good.

-- Kanisha Kuhun, Hillcrest Elementary School

Pay It Forward is all about being nice to people. Sometimes we pay people back for what they do, but now we pay it forward so even if they are not nice to us, we are nice to them. We are paying it forward to the Sleeping Children Around the World because we have had a penny drive and raised more than $800 to send to the children who do not have a nice place to sleep. Last year, we raised more than $1,000. Maybe the kids in Africa will pay it forward to other kids.

Sleeping Children's 2009 Calendar

Sleeping Children around the World has a 2009 calendar celebrating our millionth bedkit. In Canada, you can order online with our PayPal Shopping Cart. Price ($20/CAD) includes mailing costs.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Lynette Jenkins, the entire $20 goes towards buying bedkits.

If you're not in Canada, you can order a calendar from the Lulu website for $20/US. We receive $5/US for each calendar you buy from Lulu.

All photos, taken by our travelling volunteers, show some of the children receiving bedkits at our most recent distributions. Click on the photo above to see a larger version of the cover. All photos are shown in high resolution at the Lulu website.

Photo Credits:
  1. January (Kolkata): Irene Harrison
  2. February (Chennai): Tom Belton
  3. March (Mumbai): Doug MacDougald
  4. April (Philippines): Brenda Porter-Lockhart
  5. May (Togo): Loreen Cumming
  6. June (Uganda): Debbie Will-Dryden
  7. July (Kenya): Sue Orr
  8. August (Tanzania): Warren Wagstaff
  9. September (Sri Lanka): Genille Gimbel
  10. October (Honduras): Patsy Leamon
  11. November, left (Tanzania): Katie Sandiford
  12. November, right (Togo): Leslie Banner
  13. December (Bangladesh): Dave Dryden
  14. Cover photo, top right (Nicaragua): Ted Swanston

Kettleby Herb Farms helps Sleeping Children

Sue Britnell of Kettleby Herb Farms writes about giving in her November, 2008 newsletter under the heading To Give or Not to Give? .... that is the question.
"These times are certainly challenging and this has stirred a desire in me to give something back. I am thankful for my lifestyle, my health, my children’s independence and freedom to live their lives as they choose. I feel quite fortunate, I have a job/lifestyle that I love, family I can count on, great friends and I still have my sense of humour. Maybe we need to be shaken up once in awhile to appreciate what we do have and perhaps, consider what we have to give others."

"So, I have spent this past while investigating charitable possibilities. This is not to say that I have not been charitable in the past, like most, I have donated to an assortment of charities in varied ways both personally and through Kettleby Herb Farms. …United Way, Red Cross, Salvation Army, National Institute for the Blind, Community Garden Programs, etc., but in these cases I have not initiated the donation, I have only responded to a request. This is something different to me…No, I am not in a position to write a big cheque…..I want to find something to which I can give a meaningful contribution in terms of time and commitment."

You can read the rest of her article on her website ... what she's come up with will help Sleeping Children Around the World buy bedkits:

From now until Christmas our new ‘Fab Four’ gift pack (pictured at right) (the perfect gift for the all the ‘cooks’ on your list!) will be specially priced at $35.00 (regularly $38.00)-see already a deal! To entice you even more, I will also waive our standard $4.00 handling fee on all orders that include this gift pack ….And finally to ‘close’ the deal… I will donate $5.00 from each sale of this gift pack to the ‘Sleeping Children Around the World’ Charity."

Click on the photo to get all the details.

Thanks Sue, and all your online customers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: Local Veterinarian Helps Needy Children in Bangladesh

From Bangladesh 2008 Photo Album
Doug MacDougald travelled as part of a team of six Canadians to help needy children in Bangladesh by distributing bedkit items to children who have never known the comforts of a proper bed. All team members travelled at their own personal expense to ensure that 8000 of the world’s neediest children would receive bedding items, clothes, mosquito nets and some simple school supplies. The team travelled throughout northern and central Bangladesh by various conveyances including rickshaw, barge, country steamer, baby taxi and van!

Doug has made a passionate commitment to a Charity that has been supported for many years by his parents. SLEEPING CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD has been a part of his life for the past 20 years. I addition to this, his father flew for the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed in what is now Bangladesh in 1944 and 1945. In a small way, Doug feels that he is returning home!

SLEEPING CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD is an exemplary Canadian Charity which from its inception has distributed over 950,000 bedkits to needy children in 33 different developing countries. Its founders, Murray and Margaret Dryden, parents of hockey legends Dave and Ken Dryden established this Charity in such a way that 100% of all donations go directly to the child who receives the bedkit. The Toronto Star recently listed this Charity as among its top five in Canada!

The bedkit that was distributed in Bangladesh contained articles of critical importance to the children. This included such items as:
  • 1 mattress
  • 2 mosquito nets
  • 1 blanket
  • 2 sheets
  • 1 Gamcha ( all-purpose towel or scarf )
  • 1 girl’s Salwar and Kameez or 1 Boy’s shirt and pants
  • 1 pajamas
  • 1 sandals
  • 2 shawls
  • 1 school bag
  • 1 lunch box with drinking mug
  • 1 pencil, sharpener and eraser
  • 1 school notebook

Also available for download as a PDF file.

Click for high-res photo of Doug in Bangladesh.

For more information please contact Tamara Kaftalovich, Account Executive, Maverick Public Relations Inc @416-640-5525 or visit the Charity website @

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Owen Sound Display for Sleeping Children

For the 15th year in a row, St. Thomas and St. George's Anglican Churches in Owen Sound have set up their display at the Heritage Mall to promote Sleeping Children Around the World and sell bedkits.

Looking after things on Friday morning were (back row, left to right) Tom Hart and Carl Dickey, (front row, l to r) Gail Willcock and Pat Dickey.

Helen Morrison of St. Thomas reports that 16 volunteers helped this year and collected 47 bedkit orders so far. Collection jars made enough for three more bedkits. The campaign is on until Christmas. Potential donors in Owen Sound can contact the churches for more information or a donation form.

If you're not in Owen Sound, you can always download a copy of the donation form from the Sleeping Children website at this link.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Evening with Lynette and Friends

The pleasure of your company is requested at
"An Evening with Lynette and Friends"
A Benefit Concert by Artists from
The Kiwanis Music Festival and Guests
In support of
Sleeping Children Around the World

Saint James' Cathedral
65 Church Street, Toronto
Saturday, November 29th, 2008
5 - 7 pm
$10 per ticket

For further information, please email Lynette.

You will also be able to buy the SCAW 2009 calendar at this event. Lynette Jenkins has sponsored the printing of this calendar in memory of her mother, Renée Dorothy Jarman, (pictured at left) and for all mothers everywhere.

Our calendar shows children who have received bedkits from Sleeping Children Around the World in the past year and celebrates that in 2009 we will reach our millionth child.

You can click on the graphic or this link to enlarge the poster, and you can see all the pages of the calendar at the Lulu website.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mary McDonell: Celtics & Classics

Click to see larger version.
Submitted by Dave Dryden.

Mary McDonell is a teacher with the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Board. Mary, a musician and pianist was working to compile a collection of songs as a keepsake for her children. While growing up her boys would often ask Mary to play for them when they couldn't sleep.

In the midst of the recording process Mary heard about Sleeping Children from Grant Clark during one of Grant's visits to Mary's school. As Mary says in the CD's dedication: "I couldn't imagine little ones trying to sleep on the ground every night without even a blanket. As a child, the worst I ever had to worry about, with nine siblings, was that someone might steal my pillow in the middle of the night."

Click to see song listing.
Like a Celtic knot, both of Mary's wishes tied in together. 25% of the proceeds from the sale of her CD "Celtics and Classics, Mary McDonell Piano Solos" will go to Sleeping Children. The CD costs $20.

To get a copy of this CD, you can email Mary. She's looking after sales in Brantford, of course. And the CD will be available in stores in the area in time for Christmas.
Here are some locations in the Ottawa Valley and Eastern Ontario:
Auld Kirktown Craft and Gift Shop
Hwy. 2 and 401
Fassifern General Store
Hwy. 34, south of 417
Nyamis Massage Therapy and SPA
2-Bean Café
Do-Ann’s Clothing
Debbie’s Country Store
The Scottish and Irish Store
Bell’s Corners
Brush and Strokes
Remembrance Gift Shoppe
Kelly’s Flowers and Gifts.

Mary's sister, Grace Armstrong, is the "agent" in the Perth area. Their mother, Gwen Morris, is busy selling the CD in Eastern Ontario. You can get a copy from members of Mary's family if you live in those parts of the province. Mary says: "So far, the customer feedback is very favourable. My 85-year-old mom sells one every time she goes into Tim's, in the little town in Eastern Ontario, where she lives. She is pretty much captain of the selling team as we speak."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sophia gets a Bedkit Photo

Thanks, Sophia and Muggle Sam.

And click here to see the video in high quality.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Post-Race Report: Think Big!

Gary Comerford is a regular donor of Sleeping Children Around the World bedkits. Last year he raised around $10,000 and this year, he's expecting to double that. Here is a report he recently sent to his friends who helped him raise the money this year.

Columbus, Ohio:
October 19, 2008

It was a perfect morning for a run, 37 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:33:07 when I started the run and an estimated 60 degrees at the end. No wind to speak of and a perfectly clear blue sky. If I wasn't about to run 26.2 miles it would have been a very pleasant morning. Now they say that a gun went off, but I didn't hear it. In fact, the first I knew that the run had begun is when I saw the huge crowd in front of me begin to move. I hit my watch to get the GPS system working and to my great horror it couldn't find the satellite. Where is the US military when you really need them?  By the time I reached the starting line the watch was working, the MP3 player had Robbie Williams Live and my heart was pounding fast. Would this be the day that I would qualify for Boston? Seven years of marathon running, eighteen months of constant training, now came down to the next 3:59:59. Did the right Gary show up for the race?  Only time would tell.

The first mile was slow as the half marathoners and full marathoners were all running together at this point. John McCain was in town and I half expected to see him shaking hands at the starting gate, but what I really wanted was to see Sarah cheering on Johnny-six-pack from Columbus. At mile three, the Governor of Ohio was out on his front lawn waving an Obama sign in front of his mansion. Enough politics.

At mile four, I started to get serious about the run. The extra shirt came off, but the gloves stayed on. I had placed a temporary (theoretically) tattoo on my arm with the exact split time for every mile. At mile 10, I am right on the money [1:25:49] and feeling strong. Leonard Cohen's Closing Time is setting the pace and I'm visualizing the women in polka dots. But I digress. I'm beginning to realize that this is not a flat course. I wanted a flat course. I remember this as being a flat course! Where on earth did all this undulation come from? Has there been an earthquake in Ohio in the past 12 months? At the half-way mark I'm still right on time [1:52:30] and still feeling strong.

The next four miles is straight as an arrow along one of the main roads in Columbus. At mile 16, we begin to enter the area where they changed the route from last year. Yes, they changed the route, but was it for the better? I would soon find out, as the whole point of going to Columbus again this year was because I knew the course and it was a flat course.

So, off we go through Ohio State University, a beautiful campus that apparently has no students. Well, at least there are no students at 10 AM on a Sunday morning. They must all have been at church or hung over from the Buckeye victory the previous day. They sure we not out cheering us on.

Then at mile 19 the real marathon began. I have a fleeting visual of Sarah Palin giving high five's at the finish line: I must be starting to hallucinate. There was always an uphill climb in Columbus but this went on for four miles. When I got to the top and looked down on the city of Columbus, it was as if I was standing at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. OK. I'm exaggerating just a little for effect, but there were hills and we ended up with a view. At this point I'm beginning to fade and start to fall a little off my pace. I realize that if I'm going to do a sub-four hours I need to suck it up and charge on.

Thank God for Sir Isaac Newton. What goes up must come down. At 22 miles it's more or less downhill, but it seemed to me less than more. Now the crowds are beginning to get loud and boisterous. At every turn there is a group pushing you on. No Brazilian in a thong like Berlin, but lots of bands and cowbells. I prefer the Brazilian. It's now mile 24 and what, to a non-marathoner, would appear to be a sure cakewalk home, turns into the hardest part of the run. My legs are like rubber and the walking wounded are all around me. This is the point where the mind is saying one thing but the body has another point of view. It's now mile 26, with .2 of a mile to go. I'm running full throttle (it's a big downhill) and can't believe that, what was once a very distant dream, was going to become a reality.

I crossed the finish line in 3:56:13 well below the 4:00:59 required to qualify for the Boston marathon. Seven-and-a-half years earlier David Tetreault, my next door neighbor, stood in my driveway and said: "Gary we'll never be in the Olympics. We'll never play in the World Series. And we'll never play in the Stanley Cup, but we can run the Boston Marathon if we try. I thought he was certifiably nuts.

Thank you David. You were the one who first thought this was possible. On Sunday, David and I both qualified for the Boston Marathon. He for the third time and me for the first. After crossing the finishing line, there were my running buddies from Canada Fit giving high five's. What a support group. A very special thanks to coach Ed.

Thanks to your incredibly generous support, we are once again north of $20,000 raised for Sleeping Children Around the World and the cheques just keep coming. It's still not too late to contribute $35 for a bedkit and the joy you will feel when you get your picture will make your day.

Cathy says she can tolerate one more Marathon, so, Lord willing, I'll run Boston in April 2009 or 2010. It will be my last full Marathon.

So what's the lesson learned here? Think Big, no matter your age!

Gary Comerford

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ready for Bed Week: 26th October to 1st November

Ready for Bed Week has been initiated by Worlds Apart, to encourage parents to take the time to focus on establishing a good routine.

It also aims to help support the international charity Sleeping Children Around the World ( which was set up to provide bed kits for children in underdeveloped and developing countries, who are not fortunate enough to have a comfy place to sleep.

Worlds Apart has posted some useful tips and links plus a downloadable Ready for Bed Week reward chart on its website,

For every 100 unique downloads of the chart during Ready for Bed Week (26th October – 1st November), Worlds Apart will fund² a bed kit from SCAW so it’s hoping as many families as possible will get involved.

The reward chart helps parents record and acknowledge good work and behaviour when it comes to cleaning teeth, tidying toys, settling down in good time and of course, staying in bed until it’s time to get up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Junctional Rhythm: Live @ The Wave

  • Do you like music?
  • Do you like saving the lives of children around the world?
  • Are you interested in talking to medical students about admissions, interviews, and applications?
  • Do you enjoy FREE DRINKS, FREE FOOD and PRIZES?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, be there.
When: Saturday October 25, 2008 - 8pm
Where: The Wave, University of Western Ontario,
     1151 Richmond St., London, ON N6A 5B8
What: The Junctional Rhythm - Rock Band made up
     of members of UWO Meds class of 2011
Cost: $15 for tickets at the door
     include food and 1 free drink

Tickets cost $15 and every dollar will be donated to Sleeping Children Around the World, a charitable organization dedicated to providing bedkits to children in developing countries, allowing them a good night's sleep and protection from malaria.
   (Plus, each ticket is good for one free drink and free food.)

Contact Information: Elise Dalton

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tolnai Goulash Dinner in Orillia

Submitted by Dave Dryden

For the past twelve years, Jem and Anne Tolnai have been holding an annual Goulash Dinner in their backyard in support of Sleeping Children Around the World. Through their efforts and those of their children, Todd and Taryn (a SCAW travelling volunteer to Kenya in 2006) and her recent husband Doug, they have provided bedkits to hundreds of children and raised the awareness of SCAW far beyond their home area of Orillia, Ontario.

Jim cooks the goulash and bakes the bread. Anne spends months baking the pies, cookies, and cakes that fill the first floor of their home on the day of the Goulash Dinner.

Thanks to the Tolnai family for their caring and tireless efforts. They're an inspiration to all. It's through efforts such as these that Sleeping Children has been able to help almost one million children.

This year marks the last year of their annual event, but Jim and Anne say to watch out next year for their fruit and vegetable stand. Their Goulash Dinners may have ended, but their support of Sleeping Children is going to continue.

More pictures to come.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Harley owners help Sleeping Children

Sleeping Children travelling volunteer, Harry Gauthier, reports:

I bought myself a motorcycle and I have been cruising the country on it. Well, at the beginning of the month I attended the 20th Ontario HOG Rally (Harley Owners Group) in Chatham, Ontario.

On the 1st of August there was a Poker Run and one of the card stops was at a barbecue put on by the Kiwanis Club of Ridgetown. On the banner at the back of the tent was marked “Serving The Children of the World.” Upon reading that I went and asked the gentleman serving hotdogs, hamburgers, etc. where the money was going and he told me to help in the local community and also to Sleeping Children Around the World.

I told him that I was a travelling volunteer and about the trips I had been on. He also told me how his wife gave music lessons and asked a donation for the jar which was to collect funds for SCAW. I was pleased to hear of the support for Sleeping Children Around the World.

I am including a couple pictures. The gentleman’s name is Gary Wake and he is with the Ridgetown Kiwanis Club.

Harry Gauthier

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sleeping warm, sleeping well

As published in The Calgary Herald
Saturday, August 9, 2008

CHARITY - We may know the name Dryden from hockey players Dave and Ken, but two other Drydens created a legacy in 1970 that's continuing to make life better for children worldwide.

Murray and Margaret Dryden (parents to Dave and Ken) founded Sleeping Children Around the World in the belief that the comfort of a bed is a basic right of every child -- and for them, that translated into bedkits for children living in developing countries.

Today, each $30 kit contains items such as treated mosquito nets, covered foam mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, school supplies and sandals, ensuring a good night's sleep no matter where the child is.

More than $20 million has been raised and 947,850 bedkits have been given out. For information about donating or volunteering, go to

© The Calgary Herald 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sleeping Children a "worthwhile cause"

July 25, 2008:
Sleeping Children was featured as a "worthwhile cause" on

Click on the link above, or the photo at right to read the blog post.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

From Oakville to Kenya

Photo: Ron Kuzyk,
Beaver photographer

Megan Johnson, general manager of
Oakville Place, will be going on a
charity trip for Sleeping Children
Around the World, to give out
bedkits to children in Kenya.
As published in the Oakville Beaver,
June 14, 2008

Imagine yourself sleeping on hard ground every single day of your life, and then suddenly someone gives you a bed-kit -- a mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket and mosquito net -- the recipe for a comfortable sleep. How would that make you feel?
Megan Johnson has been imagining that ever since she first donated her first $30 for a bed-kit from the Sleeping Children Around the World charity.

"I gave it as a gift for my dad's 70th birthday," said the Oakville Place general manager. "The idea is actually really neat. You give the charity $30, which allows them to buy a bed-kit for a child. The child is then photographed with their new kit and a label that either has your name or a message."

Now, 10 years after her first donation, Johnson was due to leave for Kenya yesterday with five other volunteers from Sleeping Children Around the World, to witness the children's reactions herself.

"I've just always wondered how they would react. Would they know what a mattress is? How would their first sleep on a mattress feel like? I'm just really excited to see their faces. I bet it probably feels just like heaven to them."

During her two-week stay, Johnson, along with the rest of the volunteer team, will be distributing 6,500 bed kits.
"That's 6,500 children who'll be going to sleep happier," she said, smiling.

There are specific criteria however that enable certain children to be more likely to receive a bed-kit than others. According to Johnson, a child must be attending school and have at least one working parent. She also said that the Rotary Club of Kenya selects the children and the charity organizes the manner in which the bed-kits are distributed.

"They gather the children in one area and talk to them a little bit about the charity and what's going to happen. Then they give them a fresh pair of clothes, their bed-kits and take their picture."

Johnson also added, that the point of the process is to make the children as comfortable as possible, because this experience, is often, very new to them.

She recalled a story that a pervious traveller had told her about his own personal experiences with the trip.

"He was taking the pictures, and as he would take the pictures he would tell the children to smile. However, in this country, every time he said the word smile, the children would look around, confused, and walk towards him," she laughed. "He kept thinking, what the heck am I saying that's making them come. And apparently the word smile, sounds a lot like the word come here in their language. So while he wanted them to smile, they thought he was asking them to move towards him."

Because the charity has a zero overhead policy -- that is, it is completely operated by volunteers -- Johnson is paying for the trip and its expenses from her own pocket.

"I've always been a traveller. I think that traveling for the sake of travelling is great, but I think travelling for a cause is just something totally different. That's why I'm going," she explained.

Johnson applied for the volunteer trip a year-and-a-half ago. She was accepted in March.

She first heard about the charity from an announcement made at her church, and she has supported it, ever since.

"It's one of the quiet charities that I want to give my attention to, so that it won't be forgotten," said Johnson. "It's simple, no one phones you and no one knows how much money you donated."

The charity was founded by Margaret and Murray Dryden in 1970. Murray realized that a bed should be the basic right of every child, during the Great Depression, when he slept many nights without a bed. Since 1970, the charity has raised more than $20 million for bed-kits for more than 900,000 children in 32 countries.

For more information visit,

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Credit Union helps Sleeping Children

Message received June 7, 2008

The Teachers Credit Union from the Hamilton, Ancaster, and Brantford Branches donated $500 to Sleeping Children Around the World to purchase some bedkits.

Emilie Hyde, the Financial Services Representative, from the Brantford Branch presents the cheque to Mike Foster a travelling volunteer with SCAW and also a member of the Brantford Teachers Credit Union.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mid-Life Riders help Sleeping Children

Message received June 6, 2008:

Mid-Life Riders Online, a charity motorcycle group will be having a ride on June 7, 2008 and all money raised from this ride will be donated to SCAW for bedkits. Mid-Life Riders Online is a new group and we are committed to having the MLR ride for SCAW every year on a go forward basis.

We will make the donation online once the numbers are in as well as send a group photo of the riders and bikes for your records. Keep up the great work.

Mervyn House
Mid-Life Riders Online
Newfoundland and Labrador

Update July 14, 2008

Read more at the club's website.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Centre Peel Public School Raised $2100 for SCAW

Centre Peel Public School in Drayton, Ontario raises $2,100.00 for Sleeping Children Around The World.

A very successful coin drive and a well-attended community spaghetti supper, with over 250 people sitting down for dinner at the school on April 28th, resulted in Centre Peel P.S. raising enough money to purchase seventy bedkits.

Mrs. Kuchma and her Grade Six students were the organizers for these events.

Wonderful support from the community, all students and teachers resulted in a huge success in their fundraising.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: Children in Brant/Haldimand/Norfolk Catholic Elementary Schools Touch the Hearts of Needy Children

Mr. Bill Chopp, Superintendent for the Brant/Haldimand/Norfolk Catholic District School Board thought that 500 bedkits was going to be a challenging goal to reach, but he brought this objective before his thirty-seven Elementary schools. He knew that it was important that the students learn that there were needy children in developing countries who lacked very basic necessities that we take for granted in Canada. He became aware of the work of the charity called SLEEPING CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD and he became passionate about the need for the children in his schools to have the opportunity to reach out and touch the hearts of those who, through no fault of their own, lived in extreme poverty. His schools opened their hearts in a manner that far exceeded his dreams. On the evening of April 22nd, there will be a celebration at the Catholic Education Centre at 322 Fairview Dr. in Brantford to announce that the Elementary schools and Board office staff have raised over $48,000.00 in support of SLEEPING CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD.

SLEEPING CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD is an exemplary Canadian Charity that was founded in 1970 by Murray and Margaret Dryden, parents of hockey legends Ken and Dave Dryden. This Charity has been recognized by the Toronto Star as one of the five best in Canada. This is largely due to the fact that every penny of a donation is invested in a bedkit that is given to a needy child in a developing country. The bedkit contains items that will provide children with a safe and peaceful night’s sleep. Since 1970 this Charity has delivered 923,000 bedkits to the neediest children in 32 different developing countries. A bedkit, provided through a $30.00 donation typically contains a mosquito net, mattress, blanket, bed sheets, shorts, t-shirt, towel, basin and sandals.

The message of this Charity has been embraced by the children, parents and staff of the schools in this Board. A grade two student, Breanna Bird from Notre Dame School in Caledonia added her personal touch to her donation. She made twenty friendship bracelets and wrote the following message: “I made you friendship bracelets. I hope you like them. Even though you don’t know me and I don’t know you, they can still be friendship bracelets. I hope they don’t break on you because it is a friendship bracelet and you are my friend”.

The children from these communities are truly making a difference. Through their efforts over 1600 needy children in extreme poverty will experience something for the very first time – A PEACEFUL NIGHT’S SLEEP ON THEIR VERY OWN MATTRESS UNDER THE SAFETY OF A MOSQUITO NET!

Also available for download as a PDF file.

For more information please contact Tamara Kaftalovich, Account Executive, Maverick Public Relations Inc @416-640-5525 or Tracey Austin, Coordinator of Community Relations for the Brant/Haldimand/Norfolk Catholic District School Board @ 519-756-6505 x234 or visit the Charity website

Monday, April 14, 2008

Notre Dame helps Sleeping Children

As published in the
Sachem Glanbrook Gazette

February 8, 2008

Click on
to enlarge.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The cost of volunteering

As published in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Byline: Judy Lees, Special to the Sun

Volunteering does not come cheap. My fee was about $2,400 US with some discounts. This covers accommodation, meals (including the weekend you are not actually working) and ground transportation. Our home away from home was Hostal Torreblanca, a charming three-star in a safe area. We dined as a group, experiencing wonderful restaurants. The weekend allows time to sightsee; some volunteers went to Machu Picchu during those two days. We stayed on another two weeks, flying to Cuzco, taking the train to Machu Picchu, busing to Lake Titicaca and flying back to Lima. It all worked well. For information:; 1-800-487-1074.

The facts
Of the amount each volunteer pays, 15 per cent is for general administration and 86 per cent goes toward ensuring the "quality of the program." Bud Philbrook, CEO and co-founder of Global Volunteers, says this amount is directed towards everything from marketing costs to coordinating the volunteer program. "Our goal with respect to finances is to keep our costs as low as possible. The lower our costs the more people can volunteer. Some years we produce a small reserve and some years we are in the red. We play it very close." The Minnesota-based organization has a worldwide staff of 70. About three per cent of their volunteers are from Canada but they hope to increase this. They are working with Merit Travel in Toronto. (; 1-866-202-1622).

Other options for volunteering abroad:
Habitat for Humanity
Founded in 1976, there are now branches in 90 countries. Volunteers build homes for the unsheltered in Canadian communities or, under the Global Village Program, in world destinations. Trip costs are in the $1,200 to $2,000 Cdn range, plus your airfare. Charitable donation receipts are issued.

The Canadian University Service Overseas began in 1961. Its projects are Canadian and worldwide, sending technical and professional assistance for stints of up to two years. It is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) as well as donations.

Canadian Executive Service Organization
Business and professional people can share their expertise in some 600 places in 16 countries. Trips are two to six weeks duration and expenses are paid by CESO or the client or government at the location.

Sleeping Children Around the World
Founded in the 1970s by the father of Ken Dryden (MP and hockey great), this non-profit supplies bed kits to street kids in third world countries. Volunteers pay travel expenses and tax receipts are not available.

African Children's Book Box Society
This charity that supports literacy began when B.C. teacher Anne Pearson visited African schools and villages in 1990. Today, volunteers donate time and money to a program that supplies boxes of African-published books to schools. Tax receipts are available.

Volunteers work along with scientists and other experts on environmental research and educational projects.
You may count turtles, band penguins or assist in needy communities in 50 countries. Costs vary from $446 to $4,746 US. Roughly 50 per cent of it goes to field costs, 34 per cent to planning and recruitment, and 16 per cent to administration costs.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bus pull helps buy beds for needy kids

Published: March 17, 2008 -- Waterloo Record
Ryan Chen-Wing, Record Staff, Waterloo Region

Video Here

Hoping to give struggling children a better night's sleep, 40 engineering students pulled a bus about seven kilometres Saturday morning, as part of a fundraiser for Sleeping Children Around the World.

Shouldering heavy ropes looped to the Grand River Transit bus, the students made their way from the University of Waterloo, down King Street to Benton Street in Kitchener.

"It gets tiring, especially going downhill because you have to jog," said Laura Sisson, a mechanical engineering student, participating for the second time in the fundraiser called the Bus Push.

"Pretty much what they do is buy what is called a bed kit for children in developing nations," said Dave Halford, a vice-president of the society. The kits from the Toronto-based charity ( include bedding, school supplies and, depending on the region, a mosquito net.
After the event, we received the following information from Dave Halford: "I just got all of the money together from bus push and we were able to raise about $1970 for SCAW." Thanks to the students from 66 children who will receive bedkits in the coming months.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

St. Jude's welcomes special visitors

As published in The Expositor,
Brantford, Ontario: April 2, 2008

Despite the less than ideal conditions, Paul and Daphne Might, representing Sleeping Children Around the World (, visited St. Jude's Church on Sunday, Feb. 17.

SCAW provides bed kits for needy children in developing countries. Each kit contains: a small matress and pillow, a sheet, a blanket, clothing, a towel, school supplies and other locally needed items, such as mosquito nets and nail clippers.

St. Jude's Sunday School and congregation raised $1,200 plus an anonymous gift from the Brantford Community of $400 donated after seeing the previous article in The Expositor. This total of $1,600 will provide 40 kits for less fortunate children somewhere in the undeveloped countries of our world.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Seven ways to make a difference

As published in The Vancouver Sun
April 1, 2008
Byline: Darah Hansen
Judy in Bangladesh
From Bangladesh 2007 Photo Album

Judy Dryden of Victoria got her first real look at extreme poverty last October while travelling in Bangladesh.

"It was difficult to see," she admitted. "The need there is huge."

But it was poverty that brought her to the tiny South Asian country to begin with, travelling with five other Canadians on behalf of the Toronto-based charity, Sleeping Children Around the World.

Their mission was to distribute 7,500 bedkits to some of the country's neediest children. Funded through donations raised back home, each kit contained a few small comforts, including a mattress, pillow, sheets, a towel, and flip-flops. But to the children receiving the gift, nothing could be finer.

"All of a sudden you'd get this huge smile and this look of, Is this really mine?'" Dryden recalled of the response.

"Most of these children," she said, "have never received anything in their lives."

The trip to Bangladesh marked the first overseas volunteer experience for the 56-year-old retired public health nurse. It won't be her last.

"I came away with a very positive feeling, like we were making a difference, " she said.

Of course, you don't have to leave home in order to positively contribute to life in the developing world.

There are, literally, hundreds of charities and non-profit organizations operating in British Columbia, all of them in need of your support.

So, if you're interested in making a difference, here are a few ideas on what you can do:

1. Buy coffee that is fair-trade certified.

What good does it do? The fair-trade symbol, certified through TransFair Canada, means the java in your cup or the beans in your cupboard have been produced under safe work conditions and that the farmer has received a fair wage, proportionate to the profit.

Why is it important? The coffee bean is the one of the world's most-traded commodities after oil, reaping huge profits margins of between 17 and 25 per cent. Yet, with a handful of large companies controlling the world coffee market, the overwhelming majority of coffee farmers and plantation workers live in poverty and famine.

Fair-trade sales currently represent less than one per cent of the global total, said Anil Hira, political science professor at Simon Fraser University. But consumers have the opportunity to boost those statistics simply by demanding the product.

"Corporations are very sensitive to these kinds of campaigns. It's essentially why Starbucks adapted to one line of fair-trade coffee," Hira said, adding, "It's one step forward."

The hope is, said Hira, "that fair trade can raise the income of enough farmers that their kids can get enough education to move on to something else."

How do I get involved?

2. Break bread for Afghan women.

What good does it do? Supported by the Calgary-based charity, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WA), Breaking Bread for Women in Afghanistan is a volunteer fundraising project to support education for Afghan women and girls by holding potluck dinners across Canada.

The goal of each dinner is to raise $750, the approximate cost of one teacher's salary for a year in Afghanistan (based on 2002 estimates).

This organization promises that 100 per cent of funds donated will be forwarded to support teachers' salaries in Afghanistan.

Why is it important? Since the project was initiated four years ago, more than 610 breaking-bread dinners have been held in Canada, raising about $800, 000.

The money has gone to support teachers at three schools in Afghanistan, and one in Pakistan (which caters to Afghan refugee children.)

In total, the schools offer education to more than 1,200 children, some of whom are orphans living on the streets, and all live in poverty. According to Janis Rapchuk, schools supported by CW4WA strive to educate children not only in subjects of reading, writing, math, science, and computers, but also in human rights.

"It's the only way for the girls to realize they do have rights," Rapchuk said.

CW4WA has 14 chapters across Canada, including one in Vancouver and one on Saltspring Island.

How do I get involved?

3. Give a kid a good night's sleep.

What good does it do? The Toronto-based non-profit Sleeping Children Around the World hand delivers bedkits and essential personal items to the world's neediest children - many of whom would otherwise be sleeping in the dirt.

The charity promises that 100 per cent of each $30 donation goes directly to a child in need, buying him or her a mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net, clothes, towel, sandals and even school supplies.

Why is it important? Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in children in developing countries. The situation is particularly critical in sub- Saharan Africa, where the disease, carried by mosquitoes, claims about one million lives - overwhelmingly young children - every year.

Simply by providing a treated mosquito net, clothing, blankets and sheets, a sleeping child can be protected from malaria.

The child's comfort is an added bonus. Since its founding by Murray and Margaret Dryden (parents of hockey's Dave and Ken Dryden) in 1970, volunteers with Sleeping Children - paying their own way - have personally delivered 926, 350 bedkits to children in 32 countries.

How do I get involved?

4. Write a letter to end human rights abuses.

What good does it do? Thousands of men, women and children worldwide are unfairly imprisoned, kidnapped, tortured, killed or simply go missing every year because of political, cultural or religious beliefs. Amnesty International's letter-writing campaign works to put pressure on the governments, armed political groups, companies and others to prevent and stop these human rights violations, abolish the death penalty and bring to justice those responsible for the abuses.

Why is it important? According to John Tackaberry with Amnesty International Canada, the reason to get involved is simple: "You are being the living embodiment of the importance of rights for all."

In Canada, there are currently 350 "urgent action" Amnesty campaigns underway, with volunteer chapters operating across the country, including several in Vancouver and around the province. Tackaberry said Amnesty sees positive results - measured as a specific, positive change in the human rights situation - in about 33 per cent of its cases.

"There are thousands of people who have benefited from Amnesty International's ability to intervene and write on their behalf," he said. "It does work."

How do I get involved?

5. Start your own charity.

What good does it do? makes it easy to set up fundraising pages for walks, runs, head-shaving or whatever else you can dream up on behalf of charities, non-profits and grassroots projects. Founded in 2004, givemeaning. com has provided free online fundraising pages to over 1,200 different initiatives around the world, including several dedicated to causes right here in British Columbia.

Why is it important? "I think everybody cares about something," said Tom Williams, the Vancouver entrepreneur behind the website. "Whether your cause is something that is not celebrated by the masses, or something as broad as HIV, we all have something that tugs at our heartstrings. But we don't think that our small, individual contribution will make a difference."

Williams said he created in order to pool those small contributions so that they add up to be something great. To date, the website has helped to raise over $2 million on behalf of 1,500 global and local campaigns.

"This is the only organization I know of that allows for grassroots philanthrophy anywhere in the world on behalf of any benevolent issue, from saving abused donkeys to building a school in Africa," said Williams.

How do I get involved?

6. Publish a children's book.

What good does it do? With a strong fundraising chapter in Vancouver, the mission of San Francisco-based non-profit Room to Read is to raise communities in the developing world out of poverty by raising global literacy rates. Public donations allow the charity to work with local authors and illustrators around the world to create unique and culturally relevant children's stories in local languages. To date, about 1.7 million children have been impacted by the charity with books published in 16 different languages.

Why is it important? When Room to Read first went into Cambodia in the early 2000s, it found a country devoid of children's books, in any language. Government oppression in the 1970s had left schools destroyed and literally "decimated" the educated population, said Cindy Lang, Room to Read spokeswoman. Children's books, she said, "weren't even on the radar screen." Since then, the charity has rebuilt schools and libraries and published several children's titles in the local Khmer language. Lang said the payback for all the hard work comes when a child receives his or her first book. "It's like the most valuable thing these kids have ever seen," she said.

How do I get involved?

7. Make a refugee family feel at home.

What good does it do? Every year about 40,000 newcomers arrive in British Columbia. About five per cent of those new arrivals have come from refugee camps around the world, arriving in Canada with nothing but the shirts on their backs. As a Friendship Host with the Immigrant Services Society of B.C., volunteers are paired with refugee families and individuals to help ease them through the difficult and often extremely stressful task of resettling into a brand new country.

Why is it important? "Just imagine taking yourself out of refugee camp after one or two decades and landing somewhere in the Metro Vancouver area," said Chris Friesen, ISS director of settlement services.

Many people, he said, find the change completely overwhelming. Language barriers make success in work and school immediately challenging. Public transit, libraries, community centres can be unfamiliar, while rights we take for granted - such as voting - can be completely foreign. Without help, many can feel depressed, lonely and frightened. In that way, the Friendship Host program is "a life-changing experience," said Friesen. "You are lending a hand to someone who is in immediate need," he said.

Of course, it's not just the refugee families who benefit from the program. Host volunteers are also positively impacted through the connection. The impact, Friesen said, is difficult to measure in monetary terms. "But," he added, "in emotional terms, it is significant."

How do I get involved?

Cross-border caring

Grandmother goes to Africa, Asia on aid trips
Photo: Gord Waldner,
The StarPhoenix
As published in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Byline: Ned Powers, The StarPhoenix

Marlee Ritchie is continuing to learn that international care-giving can be "eye-opening, emotional and enriching."

Ritchie twice saw the ravages of a war-torn Sierra Leone in 2004 and 2005 while representing Sewing Seeds International on projects designed to help widows regain their place in society. Then later in 2005, she delivered bed kits and supplies to Bangladesh on behalf of Sleeping Children Around The World.

Just recently, Ritchie completed a three-week swing as a Canadian delegate, and member of Saskatoon's Grandmothers4Grandmothers (G4G), on a trip to Uganda, South Africa and Swaziland, sponsored by the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Marlee Ritchie keeps busy with international aid groups such as Grandmothers4GrandmothersView
Ritchie admits she was "searching for something" after retiring as a psychiatric nurse in 1994 and then caring for her husband, Peter, through an extended illness until he died in 2003.

"I was visiting in Alberta when I heard, quite accidentally, about Sewing Seeds International and I thought I could help," says Ritchie.

"A dozen of us went for six weeks to Freetown where the devastation of the war in the area was unbelievable and refugee camps were much in evidence. We worked with the widows, who lost their husbands in a civil war which lasted from 1992 to 2002. Many had no means of survival, no support systems, no money to access health care, medications or pay for their children to go to school. We'd go into a community and there'd be long lineups at the door, women looking for simple things like Tylenol, assistance for their children, everyday needs or in some cases, money to bury their dead.

"I went back a second time, trying to help women develop their own businesses. The people were settled down, calmer, and they were thankful that we from outside their country were so caring. I don't know if anyone ever fully recovers from the atrocities of war."

Then after working on the Bangladesh project, Ritchie found another source of inspiration right in Saskatoon.

"I heard about Grandmothers4Grandmothers, went to a garage sale where I met Sharon Maher, and I was hooked. It was like a window of opportunity that I knew ultimately would take me back to Africa. I can't think of a group of people who are so passionate or projects which are so satisfying. It was important to me that G4G contributes funds to the Lewis foundation which aims to ease the pain of HIV-AIDS in Africa.

"My first task was organizing the collection of supplies to assist Nutana Collegiate students in filling and packing a SaskTel container going to Tanzania. The response was overwhelming and we helped send clothes, eye glasses, medication, medical supplies, craft supplies, books, desks and bicycles."

Hearing the Lewis foundation was going to send a dozen grandmothers to Africa in 2008, she applied, along with 50 others, and was accepted. The grandmothers were required to raise funds or find aeroplan miles to cover the trip.

Ritchie's first stop was at Jinja, Uganda, where they met those involved with the Phoebe Education Fund for AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.

"The PEFO organization is led by two brothers, who lost their parents to AIDS, and they wanted to make a difference for others. We went into villages, met grandmothers, many of whom were struggling to raise up to 16 children on an old age allowance of about $14 a month. We toured a school where there were 153 students in one room and each had just one scribbler and just one pencil. The grandmothers struggle with the costs. The little children are alert, they really want to learn and they all know education is the key.

"The grandmothers put on displays of dancing, singing and drumming, shared their ceremonies, traditions and stories freely with us."

The next visit was to the Thembalethu, a home-based AIDS unit in the Nkomazi region of South Africa.

"The charge person is a dynamic nurse who has 18 orphans living with her and has lost track of how many she nurtured over the years. The grandmothers were so grateful for our presence and couldn't believe we would come from so far away just to give them a hug. "

On March 8, all the Canadians joined in an International Women's Day celebration in Manbzini, Swaziland.

She says each stop emphasized the need to get "more resources to the women, the children and the AIDS orphans, and try to bring them hope. There's a saying within the Lewis foundation that we aren't going to rest until the grandmothers in Africa can rest. We want them to have the food, water, the mattresses and the comfort they deserve."

Ritchie will now undertake a series of speaking engagements, first with the dozen G4G groups in the province and with any other organizations willing to listen.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pancake Supper Fundraiser

St. Paul's United Church in Oakville held a pancake supper at the beginning of February.

The supper was put on by the children of the Sunday School with proceeds for SCAW.

This is the fifth fundraiser they have held for SCAW and it was spearheaded by the superintendent, Sharon Holmes. Sharon, as a graduate of Grade 13, went with Murray Dryden to Ecuador and Columbia in 1986. The boy in the picture on the right is Sharon's son. (Click to see a larger version)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Saving the world one bed at a time

Photo: Christy Burton
Innisfil's Suzanne Dobinson relaxes at home with
one of the bedkits she helped distribute in Honduras.

... from The Barrie Advance &,
January 29, 2008

Author: Christy Burton

The air is filled with excitement as the visitors climb out of the two cars, leaving behind thoughts of the rut-filled mud roads that had chattered their teeth for kilometres.

About 20 makeshift shanties are scattered before them. The stone and plaster shelters are joined together under terra cotta clay roofs.

Curious adults cautiously approach the well-travelled vehicles and their emerging cargo. The hamlet’s children are much more adventurous, joyfully accepting the stickers and flags the visitors offer.

One of the visitors to this remote Honduran village sends a flurry of bubbles into the air to their raucous delight. Innisfil’s Suzanne Dobinson is no stranger to facing poverty head on. She knows what an icebreaker the bubbles and toys can be, and she smiles at the cheerful faces of the hosts who are about to be blessed by some very important gifts.

There are six visitors altogether from ‘Sleeping Children Around the World’ (SCAW).

One is Barrie’s Harry Gauthier. He is, as always, snapping pictures, recording the inspiring events.

Harry and Suzanne and the others they travelled with aren’t being paid to help distribute 4,500 bed kits to children. In fact, much of the thousands of dollars required to get to and from the remote village came from their own pockets.

SCAW Team with Hoduras First Lady
From Honduras 2007 Photo Album
The visitors are a little surprised to see armed soldiers as they round up the children to receive their bed kits. It turns out they are guarding the wife of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who wanted to see what the international aid organization was doing. First Lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya has her own program to feed and otherwise care for destitute school children. She is impressed with what she learns.

SCAW is a registered Canadian charity started by the parents of hockey legend Ken Dryden. Murray Dryden (now deceased) went without benefit of a bed himself during the Great Depression.

He knew first hand what it was like having to sleep on the ground. He believed ‘the comfort of a bed is a basic right of every child.’ He and his wife Margaret (also deceased) initially provided bedkits to 50 children in India in 1970.

The organization they began flourished, and to date has provided bedkits for more than 800,000 children in 31 countries. The organization helps destitute children get a good night’s sleep to go along with school supplies that come with their ‘bed’.

Dobinson says SCAW is a fantastic organization. Every element of each bed kit is purchased in the distribution location in order to improve the local economy, and 100 per cent of donations go towards the kits, she says. All administrative costs are covered by an investment account set up by Murray Dryden.

“SCAW connects with established service groups in countries where the income per person is $2,000 or less per year. The groups are responsible for getting the beds from the factories to the schools to be distributed.”

Each bedkit is worth about $30 Canadian. Each contains a small covered mattress, pillow and sheet rolled around a new outfit and supplies including writing and reading materials.

“It varies by country depending on what the money in that country will buy,” Dobinson explains.

“I’ve seen some kits from India that have maybe 30 things in their kit. They get maybe a pail for their family so they don’t have to bail water and use the same pail for other things. They really appreciate the books because they have to buy all those things for school.”

Back in Tegucigalpa (pronounced Teh-gooch-ee-GALP-a), the area’s Rotary Club, made up of Honduran doctors, lawyers and other professionals, helped hand out bedkits to thrilled young students. Suzanne assists, making sure to make contact with each child.

Suzanne in Honduras
From Honduras 2007 Photo Album
Dobinson is a holistic healer by trade, and she says the whole effort is physically and mentally healing for everyone involved. One boy, she says, eagerly pitched in with the SCAW volunteers.

“He was about 12 years old,” she notes. “He worked so hard. He was such a nice kid. He got to know who would want what. He would see a little girl coming along and he would grab a pink one and a teddy bear one and bring them up to the door. It was just so sweet.”

Dobinson says the money she spent on her trip gave her a great opportunity to see the difference she was making.

“In Canada we have so much more than people in developing countries. We have a welfare system, hostels, food banks, and it’s needed and well used, but the countries I go to don’t have that sort of thing. One mother told me she sells (gum) on the street for $3 a day, and she has several children. She said there was no way she was going to let her children quit school like so many others. I’m so blessed that I need to give back, be of service elsewhere. The other selfish part is that you get back way more than you give. It feels like the world is so much smaller.”

For more information or to buy a bedkit for a child go online , email or call (416) 231-1841.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Spaghetti Fundraiser = 20 Bedkits

Recently, the Social Justice Committee at Jean Vanier Catholic High School in Collingwood had a fund-raising event which raised $600 for Sleeping Children, enough money to buy 20 bedkits.

They said: "The dinner was in conjunction with our high school drama production. One of the four charities that we selected to support was SCAW."

Staff member Jeannine Murphy provided us with photos of the event.

(Click the photo to see a larger version.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Seventy Bedkits from Owen Sound

Happy students at Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute celebrated the end of a successful pre-Christmas campaign in Owen Sound, Ontario this morning.

Their campaign goal had been thirty bedkits, but this morning they presented Sleeping Children with a cheque which will buy more than seventy bedkits for children in developing countries.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ontario Volunteer Service Award Recipient

In 2007, SCAW Volunteer Harolyn Panetta received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award, nominated by the Retired Teachers of Ontario, for twenty years of volunteer service in the community, overseas, and especially in developing countries.

This was for working with teachers and school principals in Uganda, Ghana and Liberia as a volunteer and as a volunteer tour leader. Harolyn has led more than thirty groups of teachers to destinations around the globe: China, India, South Africa, South America, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, the Far East (Thailand, Hong Kong), and one tour around the world. All of this, of course, was volunteer work without one penny in remuneration. She says "It was a real pleasure and I would do it again in a heartbeat."

She and her husband celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past year. She tells us about how they celebrated: "We thought we would just send in $1500 (50 bedkits at $30 each = $1500) to SCAW. However, we remembered that we had friends who may not know about SCAW so, along with the money, we sent in fifty names with addresses and had the pictures sent to them. Several of these have since sent a bedkit contribution to SCAW to commemorate birthdays, deaths, graduations, and special occasions."

A gift that keeps on giving and giving.

A SCAW Calendar for 2009

My Mum, Renee Jarman, was an avid supporter of SCAW, and when she passed away, I wanted to do something special for our organization in her memory. So, I came up with the idea of making a SCAW calendar, with pictures from each of the distribution sites per month. Not just of the bedkits from that country, although they will be a part of it, but individual, personal, pictures of the children.

The calendar will be available for the end of this year, for 2009. The launch will be at the SCAW Christmas concert we have at Saint James Cathedral, "An Evening With Lynette and Friends," in November.

Hopefully we will be inundated with sales and this will help to "spread the word" even further. At our concert last year we raised $6,600 an incredible 220 Bedkits. Hurrah for us! Let's see how much more we can raise this year...

— submitted by SCAW Volunteer, Lynette Jenkins

Thursday, January 3, 2008

NoBS Comes to 28 Pinehurst Again

I just got back from the SCAW offices at 28 Pinehurst Crescent, the former home of the Dryden family which is now the headquarters for Sleeping Children Around the World.

Upstairs and downstairs was a beehive of activity as the team going to Kolkata was assembling labels and collecting the computer and camera equipment for the distribution later this month.

Then we had a visit from Rob Provencher and James Hodgins and their families. Rob and James (pictured above) are photographers in the Sudbury area who have a successful Web endeavour called NoBS PhotoSuccess and this year they raised money for Sleeping Children Around the World via their Web site again.

Last year they asked members of their forums to donate $5 if they so wished, ending up with donations totalling $3,750 ... and then they added $1,000 themselves. This year they asked their members for $10 to help Sleeping Children and this afternoon came to the house to hand a cheque for $7,000 to SCAW executive director, Linda Webb, and SCAW board chair, Dave Dryden.

Thanks again, guys ... and give a big hand to all the members of your forums too.