June 16, 2013 Features & Images » Feature Story

Thinking outside the Bubble 

Whistler locals reaching out beyond the valley to help change the world

click to flip through (6) A centre was built in Karmoja, Uganda to manage the program. Pat Montani with the local team in Uganda.
  • A centre was built in Karmoja, Uganda to manage the program. Pat Montani with the local team in Uganda.

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Each of these stories is a testament to what everyday people can do when their passion ignites their creativity. But does anything explain the disproportionate number of so many do-gooders in such a small town? Looking for an answer I sought counsel from Whistler's elected leader, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. With regards to giving back, she leads in the best possible way — by example. Wilhelm-Morden is one of the original founders of the Community Foundation of Whistler, an organization that facilitates matching those with the desire to give to people and organizations that could use the help, and vice-versa.

"I think part of it is because we live in such a small town, and it's part of the connectedness of each other to do good," says Wilhem-Morden.

"But it's also a beautiful town. Not everybody is affluent, but we are all relatively well off, and I think everybody appreciates just how fortunate we all are, which engenders the idea of why we all give back."

The mayor's insight leads me to an interesting hypothesis  — perhaps there is a limit on how much fortune one can receive. When our cup is full, and that may look different for each person, we feel a need to share the wealth‚ both material and immaterial.

None of these four organizations would be able to do what they do if not for the generosity of their community, which is what ties each of these stories together. It is the day-to-day contributions of time and money from the people living in Whistler that was the consistent raison d' etre for each organization. After all, these people are only the organizers, and had it been 100 per cent self-funded, you may or may not have known about their impact. Perhaps it doesn't just take a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to start a movement. All Whistlerites should pat themselves on the back for such generosity in these and many other countless pursuits spearheaded by passionate locals, for this short list is by no means a reflection of all that is going on when it comes to global giving and awareness.

When people unite to support a cause, there is no limit to how much good they can accomplish. Here in Whistler, the ability to unite has manifested real change, thanks to the inspired motivation of some passionate locals. So while many can be quick to criticize Whistler's abundant beauty, prosperity and easy-going lifestyle, the good news is there are many people turning that good fortune into a vehicle for positive change.

Maybe it's in the water.

How you can help

• Bicycles for Humanity:  Participate in the ride on June 23.  Register for the event or donate online at www.b4h-whistler.org

• Change Her World: visit changeherworldtogether.org, and subscribe to the newsletter for updates. Attend their showcase event on July 31 at Millennium Place where Stimpson and Corbett will discuss their journey to India and share their insights.

• The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation: Visit www.thekeltyfoundation.org to donate and to receive updates on the Enough is Enough ride across Canada.

• Playground Builders: Donate online at www.playground-builders.org.

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