The importance of community

29 Apr

Friends With Benefits is less thank two weeks away on May 11.  I can’t believe how quickly time has passed and how much steam this little event train has picked up in the last few weeks.

What has impressed and surprised me most about my first foray into event planning is how members of the Ottawa community have come forward to support our event – in some cases without even being asked.  The support that local businesses have offered for our silent auction and in sponsorship dollars have been critical to making the event a reality.

The support offered by the Ottawa community reminds me of an article my mother gave me a few years ago original published in the Ottawa Citizen about stress management.  The author offered 6 simple tips for de-stressing and maintaining good mental health.   I have cherished this little clipping and it has travelled with me through 3 apartments and is always posted clearly on my fridge.  Here are the tips the author proposed:

– Listen to music – it boosts serotonin levels immediately.  If you sing along you get an immune boost of 240%;

– Say a positive affirmation “I am strong, I am in control.”  Whatever your positive affirmation is, when you repeat a positive affirmation when stressed, you actually produce less cortisol (the strong stress hormone that affects your health);

– Be grateful for something.  It is physiologically impossible to experience gratitude and stress simultaneously

– Exercise.  It lowers stress hormones and helps the body produce endorphins that relax you.  Exercise gets oxygen to the brain immediately;

– Food changes your mood.  Eat breakfast; during the day eat foods rich in Omega 3s like white fish or take Omega 3 capsules; and munch on foods rich in B6, like bananas, tuna, sunflower seeds, which help to produce serotonin, the relaxing hormone;

– Connect with friends and relatives for emotional support.

Just as the author suggests that connecting with friends and relatives for emotional support is critical in times of stress, connections within community have been critical in making the planning of Friends With Benefits such a positive experience.  I am especially thankful for the support of businesses in my neighbourhood, Hintonburg, for approaching us over Twitter asking to get involved.  Thank you Victoire, Burt Butter Italian Kitchen and Max’s Shoe Repair for their generous donations to our silent auction.  It should also be mentioned that our fabulous City Councillor, Ms. Katherine Hobbs, has agree to act as emcee for the event.   I heart you Hintonburg.  I couldn’t think of a better place to buy and make my first home.

Another way we are reaching out to the community to ask for their support for our fundraising efforts is through our local media.  I’m excited to report that I have done an interview for the Capital City News and Apartment 613 this week, as well as a radio interview with the very sweet Kimberly Sullivan of Boom 99.7 FM for her “Kim Kares” initiative.  Kim is raising awareness of charity events/initiatives in our community by posting interviews and information to to her blog.  You can check the interview here:

As we get closer to the event we’re hoping to get more coverage of the event in the local news.  Francine Charbonneau, one of the FWB organizers, will be appearing on Rogers Daytime the week of May 7th to speak with Derick Fage and Lois Lee about the event.   I’m also walking around with fingers and toes permanently crossed that I will be able to sit down with Robyn Bresnahan ( aka my week day morning idol) to chat about the event.

So to our fair city of Ottawa thanks for not only being Canada’s most beautiful, down to earth city, but also a great friend to Friends With Benefits.  In your contributions emotional, financial, and otherwise you have been  all that we could ask for.

Some of my wonderful friends and principal organizers of Friends With Benefits


One Response to “The importance of community”

  1. Francine April 30, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    You’re MY idol Ms. Hammond!!! 🙂

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