Friday, June 5, 2009

Time to move on.......

"what appears to be the end is often just a new beginning

Since heading in a new direction, changing our focus and expanding internationally, Direct Abundance has decided to close the door at blogspot.

We are now, directing our energy into our own website,

We invite you to visit our site, keep updated with our current news, special events, services we offer and follow our blog posts there.

Pleasse remember to change your bookmarks to

See you there!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Ball is Rolling

SO many changes over the last 7 weeks, I just have to take a big breath in and figure out where to begin. I believe that Direct Abundance has the right mix of people, with the ability to envision what we are aiming for.

In seven short weeks we have managed to get a Board of Directors together, overhaul some by-laws, ran a successful vitamin drive and ship over 50 pounds of medication and clothes, which were donated to us by a variety of individuals from our Facebook page, to the children of Holy Cross.

Heather was able to set up a Sister School Program and get the kids emailing between Holy Cross and Greenholme School here in Canada. Pictures of the children using the computers in Mr. Shane's class can be seen at Direct Abundance has made another contact with the Roman Catholic School in Belize and the Board of Directors are heading down to Belize on June 18, 2009 to meet with a contact from there and make a trip to the Holy Cross.

We have been able to start some fundraising activities, and set an agenda for Volunteer Tours. Yes, there has been much activity around these parts of the world for the last 7 weeks and it doesn't stop there.

Cathy, our newest member, is setting up a buddy system between daycares in Belize and daycares in Canada.

In addition to all of this, we nearly have our website up and running and have a wonderful editor for all of our written material.

It never ceases to amaze me at how much can be accomplished when people work together. We are so excited to be taking our first trip down to Belize together, to visit with the children, hopefully taking along with us plenty of donations, attending a fundraiser for Holy Cross at Changes in Latitudes, and meeting all the wonderful people that help this school to grow and succeed.

Thanks to all for your support! The children appreciate it as much as we do!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A New Direction

DirectAbundance is steering in a different direction. The goal of course, is still to help others, but a new face has arrived, Heather Zwicker, and the goals are even bigger and better.

With Heather's expertise in the teaching field, specifically with Special Education students, and my background in Social Work, we are aiming to take things to an International level.

Our new mission:

is dedicated in assisting struggling international communities to provide relief, development and advocacy. Our focus is to promote and enhance new and existing social infrastructure and to support families and communities to attain self sufficiency, being sensitive to the diverse cultures which we assist.

Our current goal is to raise funds for the Holy Cross School in Belize. We are excited about the work that lies ahead, and grateful for all the support !

Joanne and Heather

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So Excited !!

I teamed up with my old college friend Heather Zwicker, and we are really trying to get the ball rolling to get Holy Cross Anglican School the items they need. Heather has lots of great ideas and contacts that it just seems unbelievable.

We are meeting this weekend to try to put together a list of sponsors to write letters to. We put together a great facebook group that has had lots of activity and responses. It was exciting to watch the group grow overnight. Heather is currently working on "Adopt a School" program and the "Pen Pal Program."

In addition we currently have lines out there for medical supplies, tools and school supplies. I am overwhelmed at so much happening so fast. I had to go to the library and get some books on fundraising and grants.

Congrats to my friend Laurie for winning the best image blog for Lonely Planet!



Friday, February 27, 2009

Growing a Blog

I was asked by the founder of Dream Makers, to start a blog for them. I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. Dream Makers is a great organization that helps ill and disadvantaged children all over the world.

Some of the good works that they do are helping , and sending children to Disney that would never get there, helping fund an Orphanage in Rwanda, and just assisting children that really have no other alternative.

I am excited about my new opportunity to work with such a great organization!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Holiday

As I said earlier back from Belize. I had a great time with my friends Erin, Laurie, Paul and Bronz. It was nice to see old faces from last year as well.

We sure ate a lot of seafood and drank a lot of fresh juice. A lady named Maria makes fresh juice every morning and it tasted so good.

At the beginning of the trip I stayed at Laurie and Paul's house which was beautiful, and when Bronz arrived I moved to Caribbean Villas. The villas were amazing. We had a loft, with a gorgeous view of the ocean.

Zack gave me a great recipe for Pina Coladas, and I spruced it up with fresh pineapple. We really enjoyed those!

Erin and I went on a boat ride to Captain Morgan's and then we all went back for a buffet dinner. The plantain was awesome!! We also took a tour of Reef Village. We joined a protest boat parade at 7 am, to stop the destruction of the Wetlands and Mangroves. Ironically, that is what I am currently learning about in University. Bronz and I laughed to see our faces on the front page of the paper.

I drove the cart from one end of the island to the other, and am officially the best trained and selected cart driver around. I stargazed at the end of the dock, and enjoyed watching fish.

I looked into Real Estate and Rentals for next year. It is hard to believe that I will be spending nearly 3 months there.

I was sad to come home, but was happy to see my kids and to find that the weather was mild.

Adios Amigos see you in December :) Pictures to follow.....


Back From Belize

Well back to work, and to the cold weather of Canada. I went to the Holy Cross School a few times when I was in Belize. The kids were great as always. I met a medical group that was volunteering, and a church group from the U.S.

The medical group was taking information on all the kids and doing hearing tests, height and weight, and checking for worms. They were setting up a new filing system in the school, to track the childrens medical records.

I had the opportunity to look at the new computer centre. It is amazing. All of these kids will be able to communicate online.

I sorted donations that had been brought in for the morning, and put together snack, for which the children were appreciative of. The current school Social Worker is trying to set up a soccer team with the mom's of San Mateo. An organization her ein Canada, Dream Makers, is going to try to see if they can get a donation of hats, shoes and soccer equipment.

I learned that the AIDS rate on the island is 2%, but they estimate it to be closer to 4%. Those are scary numbers when you consider the size and population. Also there is lack of any kind of social infastructure to help people in need. It seems that you just keep finding there are so many unmet needs. I was always happy to give a few of the kids a ride home on the golf cart, especially the ones that had so far to walk.

I will post pictures later tonight of the kids.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two More Days Til Paradise

I am so excited as I sit her looking out the window at the cold, bitter snow on the balcony, realizing that in 2 short days I will be back in Belize, with my sandals on.

I was able to muster up lots of donations to take down to the Holy Cross School. Dream Makers donated lots of teddy bears and t shirts, and people from work donated Vitamins and school supplies.

I will be meeting with Dr. Shackelford, from the University of Mississippi, and talking about the work I will be doing on my long term stay later this year. I will be visiting the school at least two or three times this week, so look for interesting pictures!

I am also heading over to Caye Caulker, to explore another island, and I think Erin and I will likely take a water taxi to Belize City. The only way I could convince her was to remind her that it is a long boat ride.

I can't wait to see Laurie and Paul.

This week I have been sick with blood pressure. I finally went to a Naturopath who treated me. I had acupuncture done and prescribed some Chinese Medicine. She altered my diet, and I felt very relaxed and good with her. I feel that this scare, and it was a REAL SCARE! was enough to cure me of smoking.

I must end this blog now, get back to my reading and studies.


Monday, January 5, 2009

A New Year 2009

Okay! So here it is, my annual reflection on the past year and my looking forward to the next.

2008 - Another great year for me. The first thing I can think of is that I landed a good job that I really like. I earn good money and have good co-workers and bosses and to top it all off, they granted me a three month leave of absence to begin December 2009.

My second accomplishment was that I completed 4 more university courses, and I got 2 A's and 2 B's.

I made several new friends, and two stick out in my mind the most. Bronze, my lovely beau, and Martina, a co-worker.

I took two vacations as well, one to Belize to visit my friends Laurie and Paul, and one to Cuba with the kids. I went horsebacking with my kids on the beach and jumped in the waves in the Caribbean.

I did not meet all my health goals - however, I am going into 2009 20 pounds lighter, 90% vegetarian, and dairy free.

I celebrated as my eldest daughter took flight to Italy in March 2008, and my youngest brought home 6 A's on her report card.

Thankfully this year has had very little chaos and many blessings. In the year 2009 I wish to aim for the following goals

*3 month leave of absense December 2009 to March 2010 and volunteer with the Holy Cross Anglican School, a week in Honduras, and a week in Mexico.

*2 week vacation in Belize (coming up January 27)

* fundraise for the trip to the Holy Cross and raise minimum of $1000.00 to pay for shipping of donations

*pay off bills and possiblu acquire a second property

*have my divorce finalized (it is nearly 75% done)

*finish my BA and get a few more A's

*do well on Kasamba

*continue to live healthy and think healthy

I have a feeling this might be ne of those work your ass ff years, but the final pay off seems so worth it. The end of 2009 has a lot of making my ultimate dream come true.

As I sit here at work 1 hour before midnight I once again reflect what a truly wonderful year it has been. Life is good. Life is so very, very good. What more could I ask for.

A few more Cuba Pictures

Our Wonderful Maid Doris, and our hotel......... that's the life


Hi Folks, it has been a long time since I wrote.
We went on our family vacation to Belize. The highlight was horseback riding with my children on the beach, touring Varadero on the BEACH BUS, and enjoying the sun and the friendly people.

The funniest experience which my daughter compared to Just for Laughs was out bus riding experience. Since I work for the Toronto Transit, I have a real appreciation for drivers and know how most systems operate.

We went to Varadero on the Beach Bus, and the driver stopped the bus and took some tupperware containers into a restaurant. The kids asked me what he was doing and so I explained that he was likely hungry and getting some food to go. About 5 minutes later he emerged with his food. We started to drive down the main road and the bus driver pulled the bus over again. This time he was at the grocery store. Because we were sitting on the top level of the double decker I was able to see the driver. He was pricing items, and putting them back. At this point I started to laugh and was able to understand why there is no set schedule for the BEACH BUS, just approximately every 20 mins. The driver came back onto the bus a few minutes later and again we were on our way, or so we thought!!! About a mile down the road the driver pulled the bus up to a old mansion style restaurant. To my surprise the driver took his tupperware and made himself comfortable at a table and proceeded to eat his dinner, while the bus was full of people wondering what was going on. The kids and I were laughing so hard that tears were flowing down our cheeks. I thought of how many times when I was a bus driver that I would literally run into a Tim Horton's for a coffee and people got upset. I guess it's different when everyone is on vacation.

I was a little disappointed to see how poorly the staff are paid and the fact that they have to work 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, for less than I make in a hour. The best part was giving gifts away, they were always so appreciated.

Overall, the vacation was good, but I am much more of a rugged, adventure traveller, rather than be waited on 5 star resort kind of gal. I suppose it depends on the person.

The kids loved it. I will leave you with some great photos.