Mulmur resident pays it forward, With Gratitude
In 1984, Catherine Carpenko wanted to buy her first property but she only had $500 to her name.
“I shared my dream with an old farmer who offered to give me a mortgage if I put $1,000 down as a deposit. I barely knew this person and asked, ‘How I could possibly thank you for your generosity?’ He replied, ‘Simply, I will lend you this money if you agree that for the rest of your life to do the same for someone else at every opportunity that presents itself. When you have more than you need, share it.’ And so I have.”
This is what Carpenko calls her gratitude story. It is the inspiration for a life of sharing and the root of her newest endeavor to connect people in need with people who have something to give. The new non-profit social enterprise is called With Gratitude and was dreamed up in that same Mulmur home that Jack Neil helped her buy.
“With Gratitude is the most recent manifestation in which I am focusing my energy. I have been doing it for many, many years in gratitude to Jack but With Gratitude is my final hurrah in making it more available to more people by having others also step forward and be generous with the knowledge, skills and expertise that they have,” said Carpenko.
A registered psychotherapist and entrepreneur, Carpenko has set up the web based networking tool to connect people who are willing to donate professional services in the fields of health and fitness, finance, legal and accounting with those who cannot afford those services. It could be that someone is in need of help with their taxes, need legal documents, counseling, tutoring or nutritional advice. The goal is to have many professionals offering services in a range of fields so that the receivers have a lot of choice. The service will be offered across Canada, with people meeting in person, online or by phone.
When initially signing up, both givers and receivers will go through an intake process. No money exchanges hands.
Carpenko has funded the launch of With Gratitude, with the support of donors, and people will be able to contribute to the service ongoing.
“People can go to the food bank or the Salvation Army and they can get very practical things they need in their life but the things that are not affordable to those living in poverty or the working poor, you can go on a list for two years to get Legal Aid, you can go on a list with the Canadian National Mental Health Association and wait two years to have a therapist to talk to. Those very expensive professional skills are not easily accessible to the people who need it the most.”
The goal is to help those who generally don’t have an opportunity.
“People can help in small ways to make a huge difference in someone’s life. We don’t really appreciate that the small things we do – giving an hour of our time – can make a profound difference in another human being’s life. I’ve seen it time and time again and I think that it’s such a gift as a giver. We get so much back by being generous with others. I often feel in some ways we get more back than the receiver.”
To sign up as a giver or a receiver, visit withgratitude.ca. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-855-941-5522 ext. 2.
With Gratitude has office space in Orangeville, at 10 Zina St., Suite 1.