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Monday, July 30, 2012

Business (Not As Usual!)


Sometimes life’s ironies are incredible. Within the same 24 hours, I picked up a book that drastically impacted my way of thinking and received an email that showed me an example of exactly what I had been reading about.  It was fate. Let me explain:

Here in Canada, most of the general population would associate the name Richard Branson with a fledgling mobile phone company, Virgin music and possibly a crazy space flight. What most people don’t know (and now I do after reading Screw Business As Usual), is that Branson is a huge advocate of sustainable global change. What does that mean? I don’t want to act like a smarty-pants and rattle off stuff about corporate social responsibility, but in plain language: Instead of companies driving their employees to first and foremost turn a profit, the priority becomes making business decisions that will be good for the planet and good for the people, which will lead to better returns in the long run. Instead of just writing a golden cheque to charities, mobilize action that makes an impact. This means doing good for the community – whichever community around the world that happens to be.

Here on the Danforth, we have lots of examples of people who ‘do good’ for the community. Shortly after I started reading Branson’s book, I got an email from Victoria at BOMB Wellness. Victoria and her partner are invested in the Danforth both in their professional and their personal lives. They live a stone’s throw from their fitness studio at 1338 Danforth. I wrote about it here a few months ago. Victoria was writing to tell me about a new program they are involved in called the SOGO Active program, an initiative to get youth off the couch and combat the ‘inactivity crisis’.

Research and field study has proven that youth who have had the chance to exercise and/or play sports, have a better chance at a great future (building self-esteem and all that kind of good stuff), so I think BOMB is headed in the right direction – fitness is expensive and youth suffer when families can’t afford to send them to organized sports.

SOGO Active is amazing, because instead of just throwing exercise programs at youth, they actually provide the means for youth to pair up with community hosts, be creative and come up with challenges of their own. You don’t like kickboxing, but are the ‘bomb’ on the basketball court? How about a marathon game of 21!

The good news: As a SOGO community host, BOMB Wellness is offering free fitness classes to youth in the area for the month of August, with twenty 5-class cards to give out to youth between the ages of 14 and 19 so spread the word to anyone who you think might benefit. I’ve had the chance to get to know Victoria and Kevin over the past few months, and I suspect this is just the beginning of their donation to sustainable global change. They are making a difference, because profit is not their priority – they actually want to ‘do good’ for their community. Thanks guys!

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