Monday, May 25, 2009

My last stupid purchase

As published in the Globe and Mail, Monday, May. 25, 2009

Deirdre Kelly

Eight pook toques at $25 each. Total cost: $225, taxes included

Dave Dryden, chairman of Sleeping Children Around the World on his most recent splurge
As a former NHL goalie, hockey has always been a passion of mine. As such, in January I went to Deerhurst for its annual pond-hockey tournament where I saw someone wearing a very neat and unique winter hat.

I have always been drawn to things that are creative, which I think these hats are. They come with a sheet showing you all the ways you can wear them, from a Princess Leia style to a Donald Trump Comb-Over. I thought them too unique to pass up.

The tuques are made out of old-fashioned outdoor socks and reminded me of the days playing hockey on the pond, so there was a sentimental aspect to making the purchase as well.

Since I have six grandchildren, I bought eight.

But my enthusiasm for the tuques did not translate well with my family.

First of all, four out of six of my grandchildren live in Guatemala, and have no use for a winter hat. Another, Anaka, wore the tuque once, but never again. In the end, I never even wore mine. Shortly after I purchased the hats, I went on a Sleeping Children Around the World bedkit distribution trip with my family to Pune, India. When I returned the snow had melted.

My wife thinks I'm crazy.

These days, the hats are back in their original bag, hidden at the back of my closet beneath a pile of sweaters.

I like to think of them as a buried treasure.

I hope one day that when I reach into my closet to pull the hats out, someone else will finally share my enthusiasm, and they'll get used.
As told to Deirdre Kelly

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Spirit of Giving & Sleeping Children

East York Kiwanis &
Sleeping Children Around the World

Click on graphic to see larger version

Free Lecture Series

Dave Dryden and Lynette Jenkins will talk about the tremendous impact that Margaret and Murray Dryden have made by inspiring the delivery of over 1,000,000 bedkits to children in third world countries.

The story of SCAW (Sleeping Children Around the World)

This is a free, open meeting and the general public is very welcome.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
Time: 7:30 pm
York Reception Centre,
1100 Millwood Rd, (Corner of Millwood & Overlea Blvd.)
Thorncliffe Park Drive
Toronto, ON M4H 1K3

Free child care will be provided.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Breakout talks about Sleeping Children

Breakout is part of the Saturday Morning Children's Block on CBC-TV.

On Saturday, May 16th Theo Dryden was featured speaking about Sleeping Children Around the Wold, the charity started by his great-grandfather and great-grandmother in 1970. He appears in the final segment of the seven-minute program.

Theo's report from the Pune distribution is on the SCAW website.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Making dreams reality

As published in the Halifax Chronicle Herald
Tue. May 12, 2009

Bed kits received like Christmas presents by impoverished children around the world

By LOIS LEGGE Features Writer
Clarence Deyoung, a 20-year volunteer with Sleeping Children Around the World, stands in his Hammonds Plains home with one of the bed kits he distributes to children in developing countries. The Canadian non-profit organization provides a bed kit for every $35 donation. (INGRID BULMER / Staff)
Clarence Deyoung, a 20-year volunteer
with Sleeping Children Around the World,
stands in his Hammonds Plains home
with one of the bedkits he distributes to
children in developing countries. The
Canadian non-profit organization
provides a bed kit for every $35
donation. (INGRID BULMER / Staff)

MOST CANADIANS take their beds for granted. They can usually count on clean clothes too, school supplies for their children and not dying from mosquito bites.

But Clarence Deyoung has met families who sleep on dirt floors, face the risk of malaria and can’t afford even basic medical care.

So, for the past 20 years the Hammonds Plains man has paid his own way to places like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Honduras to deliver bed kits he says are more like cherished Christmas presents than basics for the impoverished children he meets.

Working with partner organizations in the affected countries, Deyoung and others bring much needed mattresses, pillows and blankets; clothes, school supplies and mosquito nets (when needed to ward off malaria) to children aged six to 12.

They’re all volunteers with the Canadian non-profit Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW), which provides a bed kit for every $35 donation.

Murray and Margaret Dryden, the late parents of hockey great Ken Dryden, started the charity in 1970. It has since raised millions of dollars. It delivered its one millionth bed kit to a needy child overseas earlier this year.

"In many cases (it’s) the only thing new these kids will ever get in their life and they are just so excited and they are so appreciative. It’s absolutely amazing," says the 58-year-old retiree, who figures a trip to India this coming July will be his 26th or 27th mission for the charity.

Not everyone can afford to make as many trips as Deyoung since those who travel for the organization do so at their own cost. He estimates each trip ranges from $3,000-$5,000. But even so, the organization has no shortage of volunteers. In fact, it now has a waiting list of about 200 wanting to travel abroad, Deyoung says.

He puts their enthusiasm and the success of the organization down to several factors including the fact that 100 per cent of every $35 donation goes toward the kit supplies and every one who gives receives a picture of the child who benefitted from their donation.

SCAW organizers provide the money to churches, community groups or other non-profits in the foreign countries and they in turn buy the supplies most needed. Teams of six from SCAW then travel to the countries and deliver the kits to children, who have their pictures taken next to the supplies and the name of the donor.

"They like seeing the result . . . of their donations," says Deyoung, who started volunteering with the organization in 1989 after selling his Toronto-based computer business to Apple. He returned to his native Nova Scotia six years later.

"We all, everyday, support many, many, many, very worthwhile organizations, but it’s something in our human nature that we like to see something back and . . . very often we give and give and give and it seems to go in no-man’s-land and you never know where it in fact ever ends up."

But the pictures, he says "help fill that need."

"The other thing was that, although he didn’t like the word marketing, Mr. Dryden was quite a marketer himself in that, very often, when people get pictures back it’s a reminder for them to send in another $35."

The organization doesn’t directly solicit donations, says Deyoung, noting the founder felt people should give because they wanted to give not because they were pressured to donate.

Deyoung and other volunteers often give presentations about their work at schools and to community groups. And often that’s enough to get people involved in the organization, supported by a $3-million "legacy fund" from the late founders, which helps pay for things like postage, phone bills and other administrative costs.

Deyoung says he stays involved — travelling to India, the Philippines, Ecuador, Nicaragua and other places — because he sees first hand the impact $35 can make. The father of two grown children also serves on the charity’s all-volunteer board and executive committee. And he’s in charge of overseas distribution.

"It’s phenomenally rewarding work, but you know I do it simply because I have the time to and my belief is that anybody who has two arms, two legs, a heartbeat and some time should be doing whatever they can for the less fortunate in our world," says Deyoung, acknowledging the trips are often emotionally draining.

"Rarely a day goes by when the team is not in tears over some situation that we’ve run across," he says.

Not having enough bed kits to go around is often one of the most difficult aspects of the deliveries.

"We always have people gathering in the villages hoping we will have some left over. . .

"We’ve seen so many children with medical conditions that don’t have the money to be able to get that medical fix, if you will. We’ve seen one little 11-year-old girl who had lived for the best part of a year with worms because her mom didn’t have the money for the medication and so our team jumped in and bought her the medication and she recovered fantastic.

"Another little girl . . . her mom and dad were gone out for food and she was left alone in her hut and had a little propane burner that blew up and this poor little girl was burnt from head to foot. . . . She couldn’t open her mouth to eat properly, so again we arranged to have three operations for her.

"This now is something that we as individual teams have done, this has nothing to do with Sleeping Children, but it just grabs you by (the) heart and it’s so sad to see these kinds of things go on that, if it was here in our society, could be fixed. . . . We’re very, very, very fortunate to be living in the country we are."


Go to for more information or contact Deyoung at

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In search of a good night’s sleep

From Chennai Photo Album 2009
As published in the Orleans Star: May 6, 2009

Elementary students give to global charity
by Laura Cummings

From children, to children – that was the notion at the heart of one east-end school’s latest charity fundraiser, collecting over $1,000 for an organization that ensures kids get a good night’s sleep.
Orléans’ Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha School officially handed over $1,575 to Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW) on Thursday, April 30, after weeks of gathering money for the cause, explains principal Marilyn Hanley, an especially impressive amount for “a teeny, tiny school.”

The funding, she continues, will go towards the purchase of 45 bedkits for children in developing nations, and was raised primarily through students doing at-home chores, as well as smaller initiatives like popcorn sales over the Lenten holiday between February and March.

Blessed Kateri has supported SCAW for several years, Hanley recounts, explaining they favour the charity because none of the money raised goes towards administration costs.

“Every penny goes to (the children),” she says, adding they also donated gently-used sports jerseys to kids in India this year.

With students responding “very enthusiastically” to the initiative, Blessed Kateri was able to collect enough money this year to purchase 10 more bedkits than the last, Hanley continues. Grade 6 students also created a PowerPoint presentation about SCAW at the beginning of their fundraising efforts, she explains, making the project that much more accessible.

“Having the kids take a look at where the money’s going makes it more real,” Hanley suggests.

It’s money that’s going to good use, continues SCAW overseas team leader and Orléans resident Tom Belton.

The main mandate of SCAW is the belief that “every child has the right to have a place to sleep at night,” he explains of the organization created by Murray Dryden, father of Hockey Hall of Fame star Ken Dryden, as a retirement project.

The non-denominational, almost entirely volunteer-run group funnels donations into bedkits – comprised of items like mattresses, pillows and mosquito netting, as well as some toiletries, clothing and school supplies – for children in need around the world, Belton continues, with “every penny, every cent” going to the project.

Locations are selected for support after in-depth analysis by SCAW, he recounts, with the majority of items purchased in-country by volunteers working there. Kits are handed out equally between genders and those with varying religious beliefs, Belton explains, and are also often divvied up amongst siblings or passed down in families.

“The need for bedkits is extremely important,” he says, citing the high numbers of HIV-positive or malarial children in many developing countries, in addition to other challenges like poverty and hunger. “To have a few hours of rest, a few hours of comfort, a few hours of warmth (is key). It’s a chance to be peaceful … to prepare for the next day.”

Blessed Kateri has done “a tremendous job over the four years I’ve been involved with them,” Belton continues, acknowledging the school’s ongoing efforts.

Their support is even more poignant considering the similar ages between the school’s students and those they’re helping around the world, he suggests.

“When it comes from children to children, it makes a significant impression,” Belton explains. “It’s a gift of love from the heart.”

For more information, please visit

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Keeping the Dream Alive" on the FAN 590

As heard on the FAN 590: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Michael "Pinball" Clemons and Dave Dryden speak to David Alter of the FAN 590 at the "Keeping The Dream Alive" inaugural breakfast at the Royal York Hotel.

Listen here:
Michael "Pinball" Clemons
Dave Dryden