A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending an evening with an astronaut. Which astronaut? How about Col. Chris Hadfield
, the former commander of the International Space Station – and a fellow Canadian!
Why was he taking the time to have dinner with me (and around 250 other people?) Well, he came to support something bigger than even himself! He came to support an amazing charity called “Canadian Humanitarian”
, which my husband happens to be the executive director of!
Yes, this was a magnificent fund raiser for Canadian Humanitarian, organized by the Regina, Saskatchewan chapter, and sponsored by K+S Potash Canada.
It is a yearly event, called “Heroes of Hope” and they always have fantastic guest speakers.
We arrived in Regina about an hour before the event to help get a few last minute preparations done. It was set up beautifully, and filled the large room at the Conexus Arts center.
Each table had these for the center pieces, which were also auctioned off. They included a variety of astronaut food (way cool) and a copy of Col. Chris Hadfield’s fantastic book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”. My daughter insisted we win so she could get her very own copy of his book signed by him.
The event had a silent auction as a part of their fundraising efforts. There were SO MANY fantastic items for absolutely anyone and everyone, including sports memorabilia, purses and jewelry, paintings, and even framed artwork created by the children in the programs run by Canadian Humanitarian (more on that later.) Some of the wonderful items they had for their silent auction:
I wanted to take this little rooster home with me – hand carved! Alas, another lucky bidder got to bring him home.
This was only half of the silent auction display. Like I said – there were SO MANY wonderful and unique items to bid on.
My daughter was ecstatic to be there to meet one of her heroes! She is huge into learning about space and has been for over a year. What a great opportunity!
There were other excited individuals in attendance who were anxious to hear from ,and meet, their hero! This fine looking group of cadets were looking sharp and happy to be there!
Lots of wonderful people came out to support the event!
Canadian Humanitarian’s Heather Woodward and her husband, Lyle, manning the child sponsorship table. There are a lot of children in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Malawi who need sponsorship so they can benefit from the wonderful programs run by Canadian Humanitarian in their communities.
There was a lot of media buzz around the event, and different tv stations there to interview Col. Chris Hadfield.
A lot of people took their time browsing through the silent auction items, placing their bids on their favorite items!
Some interested folks asking about child sponsorship:
Lots of posters displaying kids in Africa who can see their dreams realized through the help that Canadian Humanitarian offers
We had the wonderful Sheila Coles, host of the CBC Morning Edition in Saskatchewan, not only sit at our table with us, but was a wonderful emcee for the evening.
There was a great turn out for the event!
As part of the fundraiser, the Regina Public and Catholic School Districts held a rocket – designing contest where children would design, build, and launch a rocket. The four winners who built the best rockets won a limo ride to the event and sat at the same table as Chris Hadfield, who enjoyed dinner with them after his speech. These were a couple of the winning students:
Canadian Humanitarian Organization for International Relief (Canadian Humanitarian) is a non-religious, non-political, registered Canadian Charity dedicated to assisting disadvantaged children, their families and communities break free from the cycle of poverty. They have programs running in Ethiopia, Malawai and Uganda. Here is a look at who they are and what their vision is:
Our Vision: To see every child reach their full potential through innovative, sustainable community development models that empower local initiatives.
Our Mission: To break the cycle of poverty by providing orphaned and vulnerable children and their families with access to health care, education, vocational training, and the basic necessities of life such as nutrition and shelter.
Our Philosophy: Canadian Humanitarian believes in local solutions to local struggles. This leads us to partner with local individuals and local organizations overseas to create opportunity for individuals, families and communities. Adopting a community based development approach, we provide tools to community members enabling them to get themselves out of poverty.
Lyndon spoke about the wonderful work that Canadian Humanitarian is doing and garnered even more interest and support for the charity, sharing stories from his experiences during his recent trip to Ethiopia in February and March.
I will be sharing a post REALLY SOON, sharing more details about his experiences on his expedition to Ethiopia – amazing! But now, back to the fundraiser and Chris Hadfield!
It was time for Chris Hadfield to speak to us, and he did not disappoint! He shared his experiences from when, as a child, he watched the first moon landing, to his (bumpy) landing after his last mission as commander of the International Space Station – with so much in between. It was a fabulous presentation.
He was a very engaging speaker and a wonderful story teller!
His presentation also included stunning photos that he took from the space station, as well as photos that illustrated his journey as an astronaut.
He even serenaded us with his song, I.S.S.:
He is a wonderful musician! Who knew?
My daughter was thrilled to get her photo taken with one of her heroes!Col. Chris Hadfield was so accommodating with everyone who wanted their couple of minutes with him. He was even so kind as to write a personal message to Brynae in her copy of his book. The message read “YOU make your dreams come true”. LOVED IT!
Earlier in the evening, he took a few questions from the audience and chose my daughter to ask a question. She asked him how well he had to do in school to become an astronaut. His answer was a great one – and too long to include here, but the general idea he shared was that, more important than grades, was learning to LOVE learning – and that if you could learn to love to learn you would make more of yourself in your life. He mentioned how he discovered in high school that text books were actually BOOKS that someone wrote, intending for others to read! He loves to learn – always has – and hasn’t stopped learning, yet. He also mentioned how his love of learning helped him to be prepared for life’s opportunities when they presented themselves. It was a fabulous answer to her question, and it was so nice of him to answer it in such an in-depth way. All the more reason for her to love his inscription in her book!
Chris Hadfield also tirelessly made himself available to each and everyone in attendance who wanted to meet him personally. These Cadets were beside themselves with excitement to shake his hand and meet him.
We did end up winning the centerpiece, which meant the my daughter had her own copy of his book to have signed – and I had mine, too!
He personalized my copy of his book, as well as autographed my copy of his photography book called “Earth: Spirit of Place
” which showcases some of his magnificent photos he took from space. I highly recommend getting your hands on it, if you can!
It was a wonderful evening; one that I would love to be able to do again. I’m glad to know that Canadian Humanitarian has similar events in chapters all across Canada (and some starting in the States through Kids Hope Ehtiopia
) that I can get involved with any time. Please visit CanadianHumanitarian.com
to find out more information on how you can get involved in any number of ways and make a huge difference in the life of a child!
Now, it’s time to enjoy some Space Ice Cream!