Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Spirit of Giving Back: Caritas Day

A photo taken during the fire of '51
At the Mount, we’re justifiably proud of our commitment to making a difference in our communities. We were founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1873 to educate and provide opportunities to girls and young women, opportunities that were few and far between at the time.

Caritas Day springs from the same spirit of service. After a devastating fire in 1951, the Sisters of Charity, overwhelmed by the generosity that helped get the university back on its feet, instituted a day each year that would allow students to “give back” to the wider community.

Bachelor of Public Relations student,
Allison Sparling
Mount students, staff, and faculty are active in communities locally, nationally, and around the world. One of our current students, Allison Sparling, has helped organize opportunities for women to become more involved in political life through her collaborative Walk with Her campaign.

Meng Zhao, who came to the Mount from China and has since gone on to become an active member of the Halifax community, is about to launch the first Chinese-language magazine in the Maritimes.

And Joan Ntebohelen (Kolane), a Mount alumna now living in Pretoria, South Africa, was inspired by the values of hard work and service she learned at the Mount and is now the United Nations Chief of Nutrition and Food Security in Ethiopia.

Our communities far and wide continue to need our help. A report from Feed Nova Scotia states that in March 2012 alone, over 23,500 Nova Scotians were assisted by their local food bank. This is a nearly 40 per cent increase from only four years earlier.

Shown above: Donations
from the Caritas Day 2013
food drive.
 Across Canada, nearly 3.2 million people live in poverty. More than a third of those in our country who receive assistance from food banks are young people or children. According to the United Nations, nearly 1 in 8 people around the world goes hungry each day.

Clearly, much work needs to be done. But there are signs of hope. According to statistics provided by the Government of Nova Scotia, 453,000 Nova Scotians give back to their communities through acts of volunteering.

Perhaps most encouraging, nearly 65% of young people in our province volunteer. Organizations like Feed Nova Scotia, among countless others, continue their good work helping the most vulnerable among us.

We each of us have the chance to make a difference.  Caritas Day is an opportunity for all of us to commit ourselves to the service of others through acts of generosity, however large or small – on campus, within our home communities, and around the world.

Until next time,


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