Nicole's Volunteer Trip to Ecuador
Hi Nicole, My daughter is heading to Ecuador with Me To We in July. Any advice to give her? After reading your blog, you seem to be a clone of my daughter - same age when you travel, both interested in humaitarian & environmental causes, both "foodies", & both Nicoles (that's her middle name). She, too, is fundraising 100% of the trip. Her goal is $4918 (includes connecting flights from BC & an overnight hotel in Toronto). So far she's raised $3210. $1708 to go! Your blog will inspire her!

Hi tlstanley,

I am so glad you found my blog. Congrats on raising $3210!!! That’s amazing! I know how hard it is to get to that point. 

First of all, your daughter is going to have an incredible time! Traveling to Ecuador was by far the most life changing experience I have ever had. It has entirely changed my outlook on the world that I live in and confirmed my belief in my ability to make a difference. If we are as similar as you say then she will come home more passionate then ever! In terms of advice, I would just tell her to go in with an open mind. The trip definitely takes your out of your comfort zone but it’s an incredible experience!

A few minor tips off the top of my head:

1) Pack A LOT of warm clothing and a giant sleeping bag! It gets really cold at night in the mountains and you are definitely going to appreciate the layers.

2) I personally experienced terrible elevation sickness and I wasn’t able to eat much. I packed crackers and they helped a lot with settling my stomach. Bringing a reusable water bottle is really important for times like these and on the build site when you’re far from the water tank.

3) Bring a journal and a camera! The hardest part for me was not being able to talk to my family and tell them about my experiences! It was amazing to come home and re-read my journal to remember the little details that made my trip special.

Let me know if I can offer you any other advice! I would love to answer any of your questions.

hey! I found your blog as I am just starting to fundraise for a volunteer trip to Ecuador through Me to We. Your blog has really inspired me and I was just wondering if you have any tips for me when it comes to fundraising?

Hey! I’m so glad you found my blog and I’ll be happy to help in any way that I can. I’ve had a lot of experience planning events so that was definitely the way to go for me. I also wrote to a ton of companies asking for their help in my fundraising. Although it was disappointing to get rejection letters, it was the BEST feeling to get support from local businesses. When I started, I just really wanted to steer clear of your token chocolate bar selling/ garage sale fundraisers. Just make the fundraising your own and plan fundraisers that you’ll be excited about!

I can’t believe i’m already home from the most amazing trip of my life. The (almost) three incredible weeks in Ecuador passed so quickly and I don’t even know how to begin to describe the experience.

The pictures here are sort of a “before” and an “after” shot of my trip. The first picture is one that I actually blogged many months ago, in anticipation of my trip. The second is a picture that I took myself of the beautiful city of Quito, Ecuador.

I am actually in awe. Thinking back to when I originally posted that picture, I had absolutely no idea what to expect and I definitely had no idea what I was in for. The landscapes, the city, the shops, the people, the stories.. just everything blew my mind.


That’s all this trip has been for the last couple of years: a dream. When I officially started this journey 4 months ago with my initial call to Me to We, it was still just one big, unfathomable dream that I couldn’t even imagine following through with.  Along the way there has been so many obstacles and so many chances for me to give up, using every excuse to back out. But, 4 months later, having come out the other side with hand cramps from writing donation letters, clippings of newspaper articles from the fundraisers I’ve pulled off and coffee stained clothes from many 8 hour shifts at Tim Hortons I can now confidently say that I have worked hard to achieve my dream, and I have the proof to back me up. :) Now I am not one to brag but I figure in this blog which has pretty much no readers (except for you grandma - always so supportive), I am entitled to a little rejoicing, if for no one but myself. So here is my virtual pat on the back for accomplishing the unfathomable and raising.. wait for it… $3576!
I owe a huge thanks to my mom who let me use her kitchen for my fundraisers, took me to Me to We meetings, paid for BBQ expenses and agreed to let me go on this crazy trip, among many other things! I couldn’t have made any of this happen without her.
I also have to thank my amazing family and friends for being so supportive of me. Whether it was through donations, coming to my fundraisers or even just humouring me as I rave about my trip, it means the world, so thanks.
 Together, we made my dream a reality. THANK YOU!
P.S I LEAVE IN TWO DAYS!!

That’s all this trip has been for the last couple of years: a dream. When I officially started this journey 4 months ago with my initial call to Me to We, it was still just one big, unfathomable dream that I couldn’t even imagine following through with. 
 
Along the way there has been so many obstacles and so many chances for me to give up, using every excuse to back out. But, 4 months later, having come out the other side with hand cramps from writing donation letters, clippings of newspaper articles from the fundraisers I’ve pulled off and coffee stained clothes from many 8 hour shifts at Tim Hortons I can now confidently say that I have worked hard to achieve my dream, and I have the proof to back me up. :)
 
Now I am not one to brag but I figure in this blog which has pretty much no readers (except for you grandma - always so supportive), I am entitled to a little rejoicing, if for no one but myself. So here is my virtual pat on the back for accomplishing the unfathomable and raising.. wait for it… $3576!

I owe a huge thanks to my mom who let me use her kitchen for my fundraisers, took me to Me to We meetings, paid for BBQ expenses and agreed to let me go on this crazy trip, among many other things! I couldn’t have made any of this happen without her.

I also have to thank my amazing family and friends for being so supportive of me. Whether it was through donations, coming to my fundraisers or even just humouring me as I rave about my trip, it means the world, so thanks.

 Together, we made my dream a reality. THANK YOU!

P.S I LEAVE IN TWO DAYS!!

Thanks

I have a huge thank you to give to my friend Simmy Kaur for her awesome donation to my trip! (I hope you don’t mind that I used your name in my blog. No worries, no one reads it haha)

Thank you so much for your generosity towards my trip, I was so surprised to find that you even knew I was going and read my blog! It honestly means so much to me. To know that I have a friend who is so supportive of me and is like minded is incredible and I am so happy to know that you believe in making a difference as much as I do.  

Thank you so much and congrats on your graduation!

On Saturday June the 9th, I hosted my BBQ fundraiser to raise money for my Volunteer Trip to Ecuador this summer. My very talented friends came and played their instruments and we served barbequed hot dogs, bugers, veggie burgers and corn as well as fruit, fries and giant smarties cookies!

The food was delicious, the company was lovely and the music was awesome! A huge thank you to all my friends for coming out and supporting me and my mom for helping me throw it together. The BBQ raised almost $350 which brings me so much closer to my goal!!! I couldn’t have done it without you guys!

And for those of you who skipped out on your donation, you best be paying or i’ll send the Ecuadorians after you. Just kidding.. maybe

Photography by Ty Tonus-Burman

Donaciones Impresionantes

I know I say this a lot but I am honestly so grateful for the tremendous amount of support I have received. And the funny thing is, it’s not at all who I was expecting to be supported by. Don’t get me wrong, my closest friends and relatives have all been amazing but it has been the generosity of distant relatives, complete strangers, friends I haven’t seen in forever and friends that I have just met that is so incredible and actually astonishing.

For example: I have been working at Tim Hortons to raise money for my trip and when I explained to someone why I was working, they gave me such a generous tip, because they were “proud to support some good happening in the world”.

Again, on Saturday I had my fundraising BBQ and all my closest friends came with donations of $10. One friend in particular who I have just recently met gave me a donation of $70 because he really believed in what I was doing! I am so incredibly touched by how much people care and it gives me so much hope.

With that being said, un inmenso gracias a ( a huge thank you to)

Andrew Moody, Esther Lampert and  Eunice Stepak for their recent donations.

My grand total with all the funds raised at my BBQ is$2966 !!!

Another AMAZING donation! As we get closer and closer to the date, I am actually bursting with excitement at every single donation. I can only hope that the impact that I will have in Ecuador this summer will pay forward the awesome generosity I have been receiveing. Seriously, thank you so much to all my amazing family and friends who are so loving and supportive. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Two GIGANTIC thank yous go to
David Gee and
Naomi Tozman
THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
My grand total is $2606!!! I can’t believe how far I have come and I am so so close to my goal!

Another AMAZING donation! As we get closer and closer to the date, I am actually bursting with excitement at every single donation. I can only hope that the impact that I will have in Ecuador this summer will pay forward the awesome generosity I have been receiveing. Seriously, thank you so much to all my amazing family and friends who are so loving and supportive. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Two GIGANTIC thank yous go to

David Gee and

Naomi Tozman

THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

My grand total is $2606!!! I can’t believe how far I have come and I am so so close to my goal!

The SNAP article from my Cake Decorating Fundraiser came out this week! It is an awesome write up and the pictures are great (I promise after this, no more pictures from my cake decorating fundraiser don’t worry.)

A (last) HUGE thank you to Sue Alexander, the amazing volunteer baker and everyone who came out. Also definite props goes to Chad Charles Kirvan from SNAP for taking such great pictures.

For more information, feel free to check out the article :)
http://www.snapvaughaneast.com/index.php?option=com_sngevents&id[]=397088

EC

Hi Nicole,

I see your going through ‘Me to We’ to Ecuador this summer? Im currently looking into this as well which trip are you on? Hoping for the best for you and your fundraising goals. I am also raising 100% of my cost along side with my friend who is also traveling alot of money but i have faith you too will also accomplish your goal! goodluck to you and i will be praying for you! dont settle for what u have, we will make an impact :D

As an animal lover, I have always heavily promoted cruelty free makeup because I strongly believe that no living creature- especially a furry and cuddly one - should have to suffer for the sake of our favourite lipstick. And recently, as an environmentalist, I am just learning more about the importance of environmentally friendly and organic makeup.
 
I am always looking for ways to be able to share that with other girls and get them excited about products that not only give a beautiful result but also have a great impact on the world we live in! 
 
So with that being said, here is my newest fundraiser! 
  
Pretty Beauty and Books - a modern and environmentally friendly boutique which specializes in clean, organic makeup is hosting a makeup application class at their store at 744 Queen St. W on Friday May the 25th from 7:30pm to 9:30pm to help me fundraise for my trip!!
 
If you want to learn all the celebrity tips and tricks of how to apply the natural, everyday glow or even a more prom worthy look then this class is for you!
 
The cost of the class is $20 and all proceeds of the class go towards a Me to We trip to build a school in Ecuador!
 
The class includes: samples of all Pretty products, one make up application lesson, a face chart and tip sheet as well as delicious treats throughout the class!
 
If you have any questions or wish to register, please RSVP to toecuadorandbeyond@gmail.com as spots are limited!
 
To check out more Pretty products, go to www.shoppretty.ca.

Here are some incredibly artsy pictures from my Cake Decorating Fundraiser courtesy of my friend Larissa and her smart phone.

I thought they were definitely Tumblr worthy. What do you think? :)

Hooray for Donations! Marble Slab has generously donated a Certificate for a Large ice cream cake to help with fundraising for my trip! The retail value is over $40!!


If you’ve never been to Marble Slab, let me just tell you: you are missing out my friend. As soon as you walk in you smell this incredibly sweet freshness and you know you’ve hit the jackpot. They have so many amazing flavours and you can put whatever you want inside! Chocolate, cookies, gummy bears, fruit! The list goes on and on. My favourite flavour is Birthday Cake with cookie dough. Mmmmm :) 

  

Here are a few of their delicious cake flavours that you can get with the Certificate, just to get your tastbuds watering ;)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake- The best of both worlds unite: Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups are chopped up into Chocolate Swiss ice cream and topped with fudge and a sprinkle of Peanut Butter Cups.
 
Cookie Dough Drizzle Cake - Cookie lovers rejoice! This Oreo ® and chocolate covered cake has chunks of real cookie dough and Oreo hand-mixed into a thick layer of Birthday Cake Ice Cream.
 
Turtle Cake - A delicious new twist on the confectionary classic- a scrumptious mixture of pecans, fudge and caramel top a rich foundation of premium Praline Ice Cream.
 
Rasberry Cheesecake - A classic re-invented - raspberry puree is drizzled over Cheesecake Ice Cream and topped with fresh raspberries and crushed Graham Crackers for a timeless treat.
 
Or you can custom make your own!
I am raffling off the certificate at $2 a ticket! Click on the donate button at the side of my blog to pay and I’ll add your name into the draw! Come and get it ice cream lovers!
Nicole, it's Diana from Me to We! HI! I signed up for a Tumblr account just to tell you how AWESOME you are! And I creeped your blog this morning and I can't believe you have reached $2370!!! That is so incredible and just shows how passionate you are about making a difference. Just wanted to let you know that you will be featured in our team meeting this week so I can share your success and hard work with the whole organization! :)

Hi Diana!

Wow!!! Thank you so much! Reading that just made me dance a little at my computer haha.

Really, thank you so much for supporting me. Your words of encourgaement throughout this entire process have done wonders for me. You have been one of the most inspiring people along this journey and you really motivated me to work my hardest for this trip. I really have a lot to thank you for.

I am so excited and incredible touched that you are featuring me in your team meeting!! That’s awesome!!!

Thanks again!!

Nicole