Friday, February 17, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

The Heart & Stroke Foundation is one of those organizations that not only helps to deal with a current problem but works on promoting awareness to help eliminate..... or substantially reduce..... the actual problem.
"Did you know that up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke, and about half of all cancers, can be prevented through healthy public policies and lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity, healthy eating, reducing high-risk alcohol consumption and eliminating tobacco use?" *Heart and Stroke - Healthiest Province
The current "Make Death Wait" campaign is a brilliant one and seems to be all over the place, and even though a bit touchy and dramatic, who wouldn't really want to live with a motto like that? Death hits quite a few people way too early in age and this wonderful organization is telling us that we do have a say, we do have power, we can overcome.
There are no promises in life, I'm sure we all know that; life can be cruel and unfair and the loss of life is sometimes (sadly) simply unavoidable. But there is hope, there is no need to lye down and accept the sad circumstances we can find surrounding us. We can choose to be happy and healthy, and by doing so we can possibly extend the beauty of the life we lead.

For the past two years now I have participated in the Big Bike ride and I love it!  I look forward to it every year; to help raise money and awareness for a great cause; to get some fun and exercise by riding that big ol' bike. I will be calling for support when the time comes, but there is also no need to wait; February is Heart month. There is a clock counting down the time left to get involved. Canvassers are hitting the streets, 85,000 strong!

To read more about this amazing foundation just click: Heart and Stroke Foundation. Fighting for life, for ourselves, and/or for others has got to be one of the most noble of things anyone of us can claim to do.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Here is the Steeple

Throughout my childhood up to the age of 13 I attended church with my family, but when I lost my dad we stopped going. We attended on special occasions like Christmas or Easter, but even then, not so much. I always had my beliefs and I carried them with me wherever I went.
In late February of 2010 things slightly changed for me and I took another step in the Evolution of Mark Koning, I went back to church. There are occasions that I do not go, but I do try to attend most Sunday's.

I was taught this neat little thing in my early years (which you may know yourselves) where I would bring my hands together, interlace my fingers, and recite the rhyme, "Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and see all the people." I think this is a pretty good way to explain one of the reasons I go church. "To see all the people." To get a sense of belonging. I like that. The feeling of community is a wonderful thing! It is very uplifting in it's own right.
I enjoy listening to the sermons that are given and being inspired or made to think about aspects of life in a whole new light. I like the singing of hymns, (some are very well done and very touching) and it is enjoyable to listen to the talented choir our church has to present. I very much like the feeling of easement and peace I get while there; and I like the idea that I can return to this place every week; or even every day if I felt compelled.

I realize church is not for everyone, people should go with what feels right for them. I also realize some people that do attend church are there for reasons that are different from mine. But for the reasons I listed above I felt that I needed to state the church as being a "Tool of Hope".
I don't think going to church has necessarily made me a better person (per se) and I never started attending because I felt that I needed God in my life. I have always felt God to be part of my life and I'd like to think I've always been a good person. But I have grown, and I do think going to church has been a part of that growth. I also get a sense of hope from going to church; hope for community and acceptance.
In some form or another, whether on level .05 or level 105, I think we all want to be included. The church offers that.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Oh My, OMOD!

"Lions & Tigers & Bears." Oh my!
Last week I wrote about the wonderful world of YDAC and mentioned their connection to OMOD. I know, all of these acronyms can be tough.
YDAC = York Durham Aphasia Centre
OMOD = Ontario March of Dimes

Once again, an organization of some truly wonderful people! This organization is a founding member of the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance. This group of people I think show the courage of a lion, the tenacity of a tiger, and the love of a big ol' bear.
Funnily enough, one of my first introductions to the Ontario March of Dimes was from an acquaintance of mine who worked for them and he ended up giving me tickets to take my mom to see the production of the stage play, "The Lion King." Though I do not recall any bears in the story, bears are part of "The Circle of Life."

Anyway, this organization offers a wealth of services from health support to employment assistance.They have Rehabilitation Workers, Employment Specialists, Outreach programs, Educational and Awareness programs. And having a spokesman like Captain Kirk, aka William Shatner, how can you dismiss the greatness!

Through my job I get to work with various Employment Service Providers at OMOD and I see the number of people they work with in trying to help individuals find employment. Not having a job can make a huge impact on a persons life, and OMOD does some great work in this area; offering a fair share of needed hope and inspiration.Then there is the more personal side of things that this organization brings to the plate.
My mom who suffered a brain injury in 2001 has a Rehabilitation Worker come in once a week to provide assistance when it comes to..... well, the basics of life. Reading, writing, shopping, baking!! (LOL!) Not only that, but she participates in various things such as holiday dances, day trips, overnight getaways, boat cruises. And it is not only my moms happiness I see, (though I pay attention to her the most) but there are so many others that are smiling because of these services and these people that offer them.

OMOD is a great service and I am so thankful for its existence! I benefit from them, my mom greatly benefits, and there are countless others who reap the rewards as well. This is my testimonial, and I hope you take my word for it, that they are a Tool of Hope. But I'm sure that I can round up a list of other affirmations if required.