As seen inTHE CITY VOICE [Pirint]
PUBLISHED July 23, 2019, p.1 and p.3
Halifax group provides wise acts of kindness
Prosthetics to a needy canine. Warm coats to people experiencing poverty. A flower and a chat for folks in nursing homes. All this and more, care of Wise Group.
By Sheryl Dubois
At 5:30 a.m., on July 1st, a small group of volunteers piled into the kitchen of Brunswick Street Mission. Called Wise Group, they arrived with bags of food and the intention to prepare a hot and healthy breakfast for the guests of the Mission. No charge.
This act of kindness is but one of Wise Group’s projects, according to Adam Ghazoul, who started Wise Group with Mariah Rose. In a recent telephone interview, Ghazoul filled in the details.
Ghazoul describes the beginnings of Wise Group, about five years ago, as having little more direction than the idea that, even with very little money and capacity, people can do a lot for their community – by helping others and the environment.
Rose is a yoga teacher in Halifax. She and Ghazoul organized a fundraiser around a yoga class. They successfully, and to this day, sponsored an elephant in Kenya. That was the first project.
“The second project was Flower Day at Christmas time,” says Ghazoul, “we bring a flower, a hug and [time to] talk to nursing homes.”
Project Stay Warm began in the frosty days of 2016 when Haligonians first witnessed winter coats hanging on fences with a note welcoming anyone who needed the garment to take it.
By this time, many friends, family and newcomers were on board. Ghazoul says some donated, some volunteered, and they all cheered him on.
The yoga class, bake sales, bottle drives, donations and partnerships with businesses all helped fuel the group.
The next step was to formalize the organization and set up a website. Ghazoul says he and Rose struggled to settle on a name but finally, they registered as a society called Wise Group Canada. With a nod to their first two projects, an elephant and a flower were selected to adorn the logo.
A conversation about prosthetics for dogs resulted in Ghazoul finding a clinic and offering to sponsor an animal. Sure enough, within a few months, they received the call. A dog required two front legs at a cost prohibitive for the dog’s family. Wise Group raised funds to pay the bill.
Wise Group runs Project Fresh Look by partnering with a barber to provide free haircuts to anyone who needs them, but especially targeting men who are looking to get into the workforce. This summer they hope to set up at the Halifax Commons.
The group is unique in that there are no limits to the types of causes they support – animals, human rights, kids back to school, poverty, community gardens, education, food scarcity, employability, environment, fitness and health, and the list goes on. The group is also on the workshop circuit speaking at schools, non-profits and soon, Halifax Public Library, about their short and fruitful history.
Volunteer opportunities with Wise Group are terrific for people who like tackling a variety of projects and learning new things. Ghazoul says they keep it flexible, relaxed and fun. There are other perks. For example, Ghazoul’s network extends to the Red Cross. Wise Group provides first aid courses at 50% off.
To get on the volunteer mailing list please visit website www.WiseGroupCanada.ca.