At a number of Science Fiction conventions, I've helped raise funds for Make-A-Wish and Cystic Fibrosis. During one fundraiser, I watched a mother deliver a speech as she held her two terminally ill children. She thanked all of us for making her children's wish a reality. Our hearts broke! Bringing magic to a child's eyes, as their wish is granted, is awe inspiring.
While working on ABC's All My Children (1991-1992), I did volunteer work for the Special Olympics. The athletes taught me about compassion and teamwork. It was an amazing, life-changing experience. During that period I helped raise funds for the families of American policemen and firemen who lost their lives rescuing and protecting others in the line of duty. It was a great privilege.
I've been involved in theatre productions that have selected specific performances to raise funds for AIDS research and support Toronto's Casey House Hospice. I felt an overwhelming gratitude from the audience as we shared our performance and offered hope.
My good friend Peter Kent (actor/stuntman/screenwriter) almost lost his life doubling Arnold Schwarzenegger on the feature film, Eraser. While Peter was hospitalized in intensive care, he decided to wander down the hospital corridors and discovered a wing filled with terminally ill children. Peter vowed to touch the lives of terminal children that day and eventually formed a group called ARK or Actors Reading for Kids.
I began reading to elementary school children in Vancouver, BC, with Peter. We played a multitude of characters and explored a range of voices and accents. As an audience, the children were honest, unguarded and at times hilarious. Months later we were performing for terminally ill children. It was a powerful experience. Hearing the children laugh was food for the soul.
One Christmas while living in Vancouver, I decided to do something for those who were homeless. I headed into Vancouver's downtown core with a friend and a large batch of homemade turkey noodle soup. We dressed in crazy Christmas hats and fed numerous hungry and grateful souls. What a gift!
I spent a year recently doing volunteer work for Toronto's Out Of The Cold Program, which is designed to feed the homeless during the cold Canadian winter. The experience was both humbling and rewarding. Feeding the homeless helps give one perspective.
I've always had a great love and connection to nature and wildlife. As a young child my parents took our family on various wilderness camping trips across Canada. Bears wandered to our tent and proceeded to sniff the canvas next to our heads; we watched two male elks bash heads from behind a nearby tree; we canoed across numerous lakes; and, cooked and devoured parts of an octopus that had been freshly caught by a team of scuba divers. One cannot place a value on Nature. I am presently looking to volunteer for a wildlife protection program or organization that is in keeping with my passion.