Posts By Collette Foundation

A Successful Match Campaign For Refugee Crisis

Save The Children
The Collette Foundation had a great response to our match campaign to benefit children affected by the refugee crisis in partnership with Save the Children. The Refugee Crisis is large-scale, global issue and our employees as well as our travel community stepped up to deepen our impact in our efforts to help. Initially, the global Collette Foundation donated over $22,000 (amount translated to USD) to Save the Children before announcing a 1 to 1 match of up to $5,000. The campaign elicited $4,086 from employees, travelers and travel partners. Before the campaign wrapped up, Dan Sullivan, Jr., Collette’s President and CEO, and his wife Kathy, donated $25,000 personally in support of the match campaign. This incredible gesture was overwhelming, and brought the full total of our donation to Save the Children to over $56,000! Thank you so much to everyone for sharing the story, engaging and helping those in need. We are so humbled and proud.

How does $56,000 break down:

From Save the Children:

$10 could provide 1,000 gallons of safe drinking water for families fleeing their homes.

$35 can provide a refugee child with nutritious food for a week, including milk and bread.

$60 can provide 2 families with diapers, wipes and supplies to keep children clean and healthy.

$120 is enough to provide a family with a shelter kit including sleeping bags, tents, and flashlights.

The funds provided from the Collette Foundation and our match campaign are keeping lifesaving relief supplies flowing into hard-hit communities and helping protect newly-arriving children’s rights and ensure access to services. Save the Children continues to alleviate needs in the turbulent countries from which children and families are fleeing. It is particularly focused on children who are making this perilous and often chaotic journey unaccompanied by any adult. To date, Save the Children has reached over 3.1 million people – including over 2 million children – in the countries of origin.

What Does “Back to School” Mean in South Africa?

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As Fall is speeding by and children are well into their school routines again, we wanted to share an uplifting story about our Collette Cares South Africa project. Through partnership with Knysna Education Trust (KET), we have sponsored the building of a new preschool called Happy Faces – an appropriately named school as the 67 children who attended school there this past year were incredibly happy to have a safe, new environment for learning. This is the third school we have helped to build since beginning our partnership with KET in 2007.​

After a devastating fire at the Church where school was previously held occurred, Principal Elizabeth moved the ‘school’ into her own home for the sake of the children. The dedication of Elizabeth and others to making sure this community had a school after theirs was lost was inspiring. The Community as a whole is committed to the education of their children and has been participating in rebuilding this school.  The community understands that education will help their children by providing more opportunities in their lives.  In many cases, the meal the children receive at school is their only meal that day.

KET believes that “every child deserves at least one good meal a day and the right to a reasonable pre-school care and a competitive preschool education.  All children from the disadvantaged communities will be able to compete equally against the more privileged counterparts once they start attending primary school.”  This initiative is something that Collette Cares has supported since 2007 with over $170,000 in funding used to directly impact approximately 2,250 students through the KET Adopt a Child’s Education, renovating existing schools, adding Blackboards to over 30 schools, Holiday party support, backpack program and building new schools.  Our Spectacular South Africa Tours goes into the townships that KET supports and meets with the students we have helped.  Our guests have also been tremendous in supporting this endeavor while on tour as well as doing fundraisers after the tour.  We are very proud of all that we have been able to accomplish these past eight years and are thrilled to see so many Happy Faces. 

Stories of Good Work: Ecuador

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This is Domenica, a child who was so anemic and weak that she could not go out to play with her friends, or even attend school. Her mother always thought that cooking in a healthy way was expensive, and all they could afford was a lot of junk food.  They both went to a community center run by Children International, and were enrolled in the nutrition Program. Domenica had a full checkup and evaluation, and her mother was enrolled in nutrition workshops and cooking classes. Now, their meals include plenty of vegetables, fruit, and proteins. After a month, Domenica went back for a checkup and was happy to hear that she had gained weight, and her anemia problem had gone away. She felt good enough to attend school, and her mental skills have improved and so have her grades! There are hundreds of sponsored children like Domenica who have benefited from the Nutrition Program at Children International community centers in Quito.

Global Flagship Project Launches

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The Collette Foundation has officially launched our first Global Flagship Project. The purpose of launching a flagship program is to make a deeper impact in one place through concentrated effort, funding and closer work with our international partner leading to lasting, sustainable change. As we add to our worldwide global footprint that has been established with legacy programs in places like Peru and Africa, Ecuador joins the roster as our new flagship destination for 2015! In partnership with the nonprofit Children International we are so excited to work to end malnutrition in Ecuador, one the leading causes of disease in children.

Over 27% of Ecuador’s population lives below the poverty line. Nearly 12% of this population is overweight, obese and malnourished children who live in and around Quito. Children International does inspiring work, building community centers to help those in need and offering Nutritional Rehabilitation Programs that target undernourished children ages 2-11. Our hope is that through our partnership we can change the lives of these children for the better – giving them a chance at a healthy, thriving future. Our work takes us to the Phelan-Emmett Community Center in the community of La Lucha, which, thanks to our support, can launch a nutritional clinic and comprehensive program that will impact the lives of so many children. Stay tuned for more on the story of Ecuador and its children. Later this year, the community center opens, and our work truly begins to take shape.

South Africa – Love in Numbers

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Imagine changing the lives of 6,879 people who desperately needed it? Well, that’s what we’ve done so far — and we are so excited and inspired to do more!

In the 7 years that we’ve had active projects in South Africa, we have delivered 684 hippo rollers to the village of Kgautswane to make access to clean water easy and safe which has impacted 4,700 people in that community. 

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In Knysna, we have provided 30 schools with chalk boards, built 1 preschool and impacted the lives of 1,879 children.

These projects have impacted more than 6,879 people and the numbers keep going up. These are just numbers, yes… but what counts is what these numbers really mean. And to the projects that we help in South Africa, the real impact has been life-changing. And that’s what keeps us going.

A Throwback to Peru, Where it All Started

peru 8 years ago marks the visit to Peru that sparked the beginning of our global foundation! What a journey it’s been! The Peru project has been such an inspiration for keeping the Collette Foundation rooted to its original mission of giving children everywhere — regardless of circumstance — equal access to basic rights and needs like nutrition and education.  Our work with the Hogar de Mercedes de Jesus Molina girls orphanage near Cuzco perfectly captures what the foundation is all about. Happy 8 years to a great project that makes us proud everyday!

More From Our Girls in Australia

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The girls from Drum Atweme — the Collette Foundation’s Australia program — performed recently, showcasing the great works of this orgranization, which was formed to help the needs of the aboriginal at risk youth, particularly girls. The focus of the program is to create a positive influence and healthy atmosphere through the use of traditional music. The group consists of Aboriginal girls from the ages of 6-13, who must remain in school to be part of the program.

Experiencing Kenya’s Tenderfeet Project

The Collette Foundation’s Kenya site, Tenderfeet, continues to thrive allowing children an environment to learn, develop, focus and engage. Below is an account of intereaction that recently took place between Collette Foundation volunteer, Dan Hoskins, and the children of Tenderfeet.

I had driven all over Africa and found that none of the terrain was ideal and was often covered in potholes and rocks. Out of all the roads I had driven on, the road leading to Tenderfeet was the worst. Tenderfeet students take a bus over that road twice a day in order to get to school… and they look forward to the ride.

The door to Tenderfeet was an oasis of blue in a world of burnt umber. The courtyard was green and educational artwork covered the building. The alphabet with corresponding pictograms crisscrossed the walls which were covered with numerals, geometric shapes and math equations. For budding horticulturists, there was even a painting of a flower with all the parts labeled: “stem,” “root,” “petal,” and so on.

The Tenderfeet school provides education for 125 students from one of the poorest sections of Nairobi, Kibera, who have lost either one or both of their parents to AIDs. Without Tenderfeet, these children would not be able to receive an education, despite Tenderfeet only being able to offer education from pre-school to 8th grade.  The most surprising part of the whole experience was how small the school was. Sizing up the entire compound, the school sat on barely an acre.

While I was there, I was filled with the sense that this place… Tenderfeet… is really making a difference for all of these kids. the Children performed songs and poems and I could see a level of confidence in them that they otherwise would not have.

As a gift for visiting the school, I brought the children soccer balls and the children were so excited about it.

The word kindergarten, in German, literally means “children’s garden.” I never understood how perfectly that word fit until I visited Tenderfeet.

Giving Back in Miami with Tourism Cares

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Recently, Collette Foundation volunteers spent time in Miami, FL to give back at the Tourism Cares for Miami event.  There were over 300 volunteers in total from throughout the travel industry  who took on three different projects: clearing debris from the presently closed Miami Marine Stadium, planting trees at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, and planting sea grass at North Point.

It is always a unique and rewarding experience to join together with colleagues and other tourism professionals in rejuvenating tourism sites in need.  Helping to protect the environment and wildlife along the way provides tremendous satisfaction in the work we do.  These are the projects:

Miami Marine Stadium:  The stadium opened in 1963 and was once a venue for boat races and concerts until 1992, when Hurricane Andrew caused damage.  As a result, the venue was considered condemned and has been closed ever since.  Over the 20 years of abandonment, trash and debris had accumulated. In one day, the Tourism Cares Volunteers cleared away 6 large dumpsters of trash to begin the restoration and eventual reopening of the site.

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Virginia Key Beach Park:  In 1945 Miami-Dade County opened Virginia Key Beach as its “colored only” beach.  It was closed in the early 1980’s and, after being closed for 26 years, was reopened to the public in 2008.  This historic park has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The trust that now runs the park has worked over the past several years to restore the ecosystem that was damaged over the many years of neglect. Tourism Cares Volunteers were tasked to plant over 800 trees in hopes of returning indigenous vegetation to the property to assist birds in their yearly migration.

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North Point:  This important part of the key had begun to erode. As part of the ecological efforts on the key, the beach needed stabilizing.  A dune was built, but grass needed to be planted to reinforce the sand.  Tourism Cares Volunteers planted over 10,000 sea grass plants along the dune to help secure the dune from erosion.

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This is my 10th year participating in Tourism Cares’ give back events and this one was the best one yet.  Yes, it was hard work, and seemed to be a daunting task in the morning. But it turned out to be a tremendous success in the end, and all three groups finished their tasks.

Tourism is in our hearts, and it gives us a warm feeling knowing that we have done our part to give back.  We all went home with new friends and an unmeasurable sense of accomplishment, ready to do it again.  When saying our goodbyes, we would all say to each other…“See you at the next one!”

 Author: Cassie Stetkiewicz

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Giving $17,500 to Local Canada Partner

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We are excited to donate $10,000 to the Peel Children’s Centre (PCC) and $7,500 to Peel Children and Youth Initiative (PCYI).

Our contribution to Peel Children’s Centre will aid children with behavioural and/or anxiety challenges as well as to their families that would not otherwise be able to benefit from traditional care.

Established in 1984, Peel Children’s Centre serves the mental health treatment needs of children and youth (from birth to 17 years) living in the Region of Peel. Collette’s funding is earmarked toward the nonprofit’s Strongest Families Program, which provides faster access to high quality service by offering family “help at home” using cost-effective, evidence-based interventions delivered by a team of highly trained coaches from a call-centre base.

Collette’s funding toward PCYI will help offset the costs for its second annual Peel Youth Leaders Conference. The conference, held during the summer, offers training for young people in Peel that guide them in taking meaningful leadership roles in their community.