Zeke Blumenkrans has been busy. On top of taking courses at UBC, he has given over 200 hours of service to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice as a Peer Volunteer, working with children and families facing life-threatening illnesses. Now he can add fundraiser to his list of accomplishments. Zeke is one of the founding members of Generocksity, a non-profit organization that creates fundraising events with live music for people to enjoy a fun night out with friends. All proceeds raised at these social events go directly to other non-profit organizations like Canuck Place. So far Generocksity has hosted two events at local nightclubs and has raised over $6k in proceeds, which have been generously donated to Canuck Place.
We recently met up with Zeke to talk more about his efforts. He spoke on behalf of the Generocksity team.
Q: What made you want to volunteer at Canuck Place?
Zeke: As a child I suffered from a serious condition that left me pretty sick for about 7 years. Throughout that time I found I had incredible support from my family and my friends and it really helped me pull through. When I got older, I began to realize that there are a lot of other kids who aren’t as lucky as I was – to have the amount of social support that I had when I was sick. So I kind of wanted to be that person for someone who doesn’t have that.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to plan a fundraising event like Generocksity?
Zeke: Well, it all started last summer when I had inquired about my volunteer hours at Canuck Place. I was proud about those hours but I still felt as though I could be doing more for the organization. I am also a student at UBC and a big part of student life involves social events like concerts and parties. So some friends and I began to think about how great it would be if we could incorporate a little fundraising initiative into these events. When we had the first event last fall we noticed that these types of events were a great platform to spread the word about Canuck Place to people who know nothing about it so we worked hard to bring in more people for the second event. It was great because people were able to get together with friends and enjoy great live music and at the same time make a contribution to their community.
Q: What was the most memorable moment of these two successful events?
Zeke: It was really great seeing how much the event had grown the second time around. For the first event we brought in around 130 people, but for the second one we had about 400 guests attend. Everyone had a great time and we were able to raise a significant amount of funds for Canuck Place.
More personally, I had become very close with one of the kids at Canuck Place and music was a big interest of his. I had intended on having him attend the first Generocksity event that we were hosting but he sadly passed away while we were still in planning stages. It hit me pretty hard but I sort of used those feelings to work harder and make sure we threw an event that he would be proud of. I feel like we have been able to accomplish that and I am excited to keep the momentum going.
Q: What were the challenges?
Zeke: Definitely getting people to show up. You can have a fantastic product – great venue, great music – but unless you get the right influential people showing up, it’s really hard. Especially when you’re dealing with unpredictable university students (laughs).
Q: If you had to describe Canuck Place in one word, what word would that be?
Zeke: I would say that Canuck Place, to me, represents hope. I love volunteering at there because of the incredible and courageous kids I get to hang out with and the invaluable life lessons they teach me.
Thank you, Zeke, for your gifts of generosity and enthusiasm to Canuck Place! We are in awe of you!
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- Happy National Volunteer Week!