It Was a Rainy Night

As part of my job as a senior editor at Canadian Living, I get requests from people to attend events showcasing great people and new, exciting things.

It was a fun night of fundraising for Servestock, including food, drink and live music from some very talented artists. Photo: Courtesy Arthur Mola Photography

 

I can’t say yes to all of them, but I am so happy I said yes to the universe when an invite appeared in my inbox last week inviting me to Servestock, a fundraising event for an amazing organization called Serve, which helps at-risk youth from the inner city connect with the community through experiential education programs.

Aged 13 to 24, these kids often face personal, economic and social obstacles that make achieving success difficult. The programs are designed to help overcome these obstacles and transform their lives by developing leadership and teamwork skills. And volunteering initiatives make them active members in the community.

Anyway, back to Servestock. It’s a great event because it’s personal, it’s held at a private home in downtown Toronto and it always amazes me how people come together to make something great happen. Starting with Stacey Marson, who sent me the invite. She works in PR, but she volunteers with the charity. “It’s a wonderful cause!” she says, “It allows me to give back to the community and  gives me the opportunity to build my experience in PR.” It’s a win-win situation.

They set up food and drink outside under tents, which was a great idea as yes, it was a rainy night. As for the people who arrange the party at their home, it is pretty wonderful of them – to have hundreds of people going in and out of their place – and it was a really mucky night, as it has been raining on and off all week.

I love k-os because he is so talented and because he gets the giving back thing. Photo: Courtesy Arthur Mola Photography

 

The highlights? Getting to listen to some fabulous Canadian artists including Suzie McNeil, The Strumbellas and Emma-Lee. The headliner? k-os, a Canadian rapper/singer/songwriter and record producer.  A talented artist, k-os gets giving back. My favourite thing: In April 2009, he  began the Karma Tour across Canada, for which no advance tickets were sold and fans were asked to donate what they thought the show was worth as they left the venue.

I got to talk to Luis, whose life was changed because of Serve.

 

But the best part? I got to chat with Luis Mejicano, aka SPIN El Poeta, who had gone through the program. He was a talented but troubled kid from a single-parent home. Serve made a huge difference in his life – and helped him achieve all kinds of goals, including working in the film and movie industry.

And now, as a community worker. “I’m a youth worker in my heart,” he said, “and I want to help others and steer young people in the right direction.” He has since volunteered on the board of directors at Serve, and his wife recently graduated from the program.

It was a beautiful, intimate night that happened because people gave their service in the best way they could to help serve others.

How about you? How do you give back?