Spring has sprung and our camp trailblazers fundraising has officially begun!
At AboutFace we support those with and impacted by a facial difference. Having a facial difference is a social disability that creates barriers to opportunities and aspirations. AboutFace promotes emotional and mental well-being of individuals with facial differences through social & peer support, information and educational programs. We seek to raise public awareness and understanding of the challenges and abilities of people living with facial differences. We encourage them to embrace their difference, build confidence to face the world.
Being a small charity with no government funding, the support from people like yourself is SO important to us! Consider for a moment what life could be like raising a son or daughter with a facial difference... the moment at birth... repeated surgeries... first time at school... the teasing… the bullying… and the challenge of instilling in them the resilience needed to face societal ignorance and ridicule. Facing such challenges as a parent and as a child requires a leap of faith - faith in the knowledge that there is a strength in each of us that transcends outward appearances.
Please take a minute to watch this video and meet Katie, a long time friend of AboutFace, to fully grasp what life is like with a facial difference… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgTd8yOqtic&list=UUKiYxJM7nu5y75548L270NA
Katie has attended Camp Trailblazers a handful of times now and is really looking forward to it again this upcoming fall!
Trailblazers is a camping retreat for AboutFace youth ages 10 to 18 who have a facial difference. Together we spend a weekend participating in outdoor activities, challenging our own physical boundaries and sharing thoughts, feelings and ideas. Every year, we welcome new campers and look forward to our reunion with returning participants. Our goal is to create a network of friends who stay connected and learn from each other as an ongoing community of support. Join us for the experience of a lifetime!
I’ve also attached a our most recent magazine which has some really great stories and a few YouTube links that are certainly worth checking out!
Have a great day and please remember that every penny helps support these incredible children with facial differences!
Thank you for your time and support!
Make your gift any day in December and SAP Canada will match it dollar for dollar up to $50,000!
HOLIDAY APPEAL 2012
Emily has been a part of the AboutFace family since her birth. Now that she has grown into this beautiful, confident woman we’re proud to profile her story with you during our annual holiday appeal. We also hope it will inspire others, both young and old.
As someone who has endured so much in my life, I realize now how important it is to share my story with others, so that I may give them hope for the future. It is really hard to tell someone, “everything will turn out fine”, without them seeing proof of it for themselves.
I am proof. Ten years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today. Like most teenagers, facial difference or not, I didn’t think that someone could ever love me just the way I am. That’s because I was born with the largest birthmark I have seen on anyone to this date; it covers the lower half of my face, goes down to my chest and also covers a large portion of my head. My birthmark is the result of a collection of swollen capillaries that cause a reddish-purple discolouration – more commonly known as a Port Wine Stain.
On August 25, 2012, I married the love of my life, Wyatt. He loves me for who I am, birthmark and all. He even came to a few laser treatments with me, and asked the doctor to try the laser on his arm so he could understand what it felt like and what I was going through. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!
Let our story serve as hope! Even if you feel like no one will ever love you, like I have on numerous occasions, rest assured that people do love you no matter what you look like, because it really is what’s inside that counts! - Emily
We take great pride in getting to know our kids and being there when they need us most. Just like their parents, AboutFace is ready to make an investment over a child’s lifetime. But we cannot do this without your support!
For the most part, everything we offer is free to our clients and their families; however, in order to maintain these supportive services we require donations from individuals like you.
Your contribution has a direct impact on the lives of so many that turn to us each and every day for support.
If it were not for AboutFace giving my parents the support and tools they needed, I don’t think they would have been able to give me the well adjusted childhood I had. - Emily
You can help support parents too!
$30 provides resources like the ‘Facing it Together’ interactive DVD and workbook program to help parents address the top five challenges of raising a child with a facial difference.
$60 offers emotional support by phone or in person. Plus access to our free monthly group support calls where parents can share experiences and learn coping strategies with and from others.
I started laser treatment for my birthmark when I was in Grade 3. I remember my mother coming into my classroom afterwards and explaining to the other children what my birthmark was, and why it looked different after treatment. - Emily
You can help raise awareness.
$120 ensures one in-school presentation to help children understand facial differences and encourage acceptance.
Having a massive birthmark on your face welcomes all sorts of comments. I used to dread the days after Halloween because kids would say “Halloween is over, you can take off your makeup!” and laugh with their friends. - Emily
You can help kids with facial differences overcome taunting and bullying.
$180 provides meals for one child at Camp Trailblazers.
$250 pays for the accommodation of one child at Camp Trailblazers.
$1,000 covers the full cost of hosting one child at Camp Trailblazers in their province.
Each year, we empower our kids through Camp Trailblazers. More importantly, this life changing experience brings these kids out of isolation, connects them with other affected individuals and empowers them to reach their full potential.
AboutFace receives no government funding. We are not a United Way member agency. We rely exclusively on the support of individuals, corporations, foundations and proceeds from our special events.
We need your support now more than ever. Please give as generously as you can!
With deep appreciation,
Many of you may have heard of the best seller series “The Hunger Games”; it is also a block buster movie. The heroine of this trilogy is a 17-year old girl who with her resourcefulness, skill, determination, compassion, friendship and love brings down the “Capitol” in this new, futuristic world. It’s a fabulous series and one that I highly recommend! One of her most valuable skills is archery. She is undefeated with her bow and arrows. You can imagine how excited I was when I saw the picture of Samantha (Sam) from our Camp Trailblazers Manitoba program, I was instantly reminded of “Katniss”, the heroine.
The school years, from kindergarten to high school, can be some of the toughest years to endure. Children are all searching to understand who they are; trying to discover what they can offer; and longing to find a place where they belong. Add to that a visible difference, whatever it might be, and suddenly you stand out too much; you are too different to belong; and you are vulnerable and an easy target. Taunting, bullying and isolation are unfortunately very common experiences for children and teens with facial differences. How then can we prepare and effectively equip our youth to go out into the world and not just survive, but thrive?
As parents, educators and health care professionals working with this unique group, I believe it is our responsibility and obligation to be mindful of the messages we impart to them every day. We can help our children and youth find their inner strength, embrace courage, develop determination, and inspire them to succeed. Every child is able to achieve their full potential with the proper support. How can we accomplish this? Start with helping them to look deeper in to them selves. Help them see beyond physical appearances and differences in both themselves and others. Finding ways to tap into their heart, mind and soul to discover their talents, abilities, compassion, imagination, kindness, interest, enthusiasm, sympathy, humour, creativity, passion, friendship and love, we are able to discover our true selves. And notice the potential good in others. It is our goal to impart these on all the children who take part in our Camp Trailblazers programs.
A special thanks to all of you donors who support our program! Thank you!
Trailblazers just completed another successful camp season in 2012!
The majority of campers were returning to Trailblazers to be reunited with old friends. We also had new campers at each of our camps! There may have been a nervous faces on the trip to camp, but boats/buses/vans were full of smiles and laughter we dropped campers off after a weekend full of fun. One camper describer Trailblazers as ‘Heaven’, because its different from everywhere else. At Trailblazers we can share experiences, learn from each other, but more importantly be kids having fun at camp!
This year thanks to a generous donation we were able to fly campers from Alberta out to Vancouver to join in the British Columbia camp. We spent three lovely days at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island. Camper Rebecca was tentative to dip her toe into the ‘freezing’ ocean for the first time, but after a voyager canoe paddle could not get enough of swimming in the pacific!!
Our Ontario camp had 38 campers making it the biggest Trailblazers camp to date! Camper challenged themselves on the high ropes course and rock wall at Camp Medeba. There was also drumming, dancing and even trampolining!
Our Nova Scotia camp had lots of rain, but that didn’t stop campers from polar bear dips, nature hikes and releasing newly hatched monarch butterflies into the sky at Camp Brigadoon.
Camper Xaira in Manitoba didn’t want presents for her birthday, instead she asked for donations to Trailblazers! She and fellow campers enjoyed horseback riding, swimming outside and the rockwall at Camp Arnes.
Newfoundland campers look forward to Trailblazers all year, because they get to be reunited with friends from past camps. This year we had a camper drive 3 days to join us at Lavrock retreat centre! There were smiles, laughter, swimming, canoeing and of course epic rounds of capture the flag.
Check out photos on our website:
Thanks for all of the support.
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