Calgary

2 teens lead effort to bring happiness to Calgarians and others through card giving

In just over a year, Cards For A Cause has sent more than 5,500 cards to Calgary seniors, front-line workers, food banks and even to some front-line and essential workers internationally, including in the United States and the United Kingdom. 

Cards For A Cause has sent more than 5,500 cards to front-line workers, seniors

Cards For A Cause enlists volunteers to create one-of-a-kind cards for Calgary seniors and front-line workers for holidays, special occasions and just to create a connection. (Submitted by Cards For A Cause)

When childhood friends Dolly Liu and Jasmine Lei set out to find a way to cultivate connections with others during the COVID-19 pandemic, they had no idea their passion project would end up touching so many lives. 

The duo is behind Cards For A Cause, a non-profit that focuses on bringing happiness to Calgarians and others through card giving.

"We were seeing all the school closures, senior homes isolating themselves, a lot of double shifts for front-line workers and other essential workers, and we really saw this big impact on mental health and isolation from each other," said Liu, a Grade 12 student at Rundle College.

Co-founder Dolly Liu says the idea was to foster connections within the community during a difficult time, but they plan to keep the initiative going as long as possible. (Submitted by Dolly Liu)

"We wanted to do something that would connect everybody together through an initiative that everybody could participate in, no matter what age or if you were financially well off."

Throughout the summer of 2020, the pair, now in their final semester of Grade 12, started the card creating and giving process. They began enlisting the help of volunteers, including students from their own high schools, local artists, elementary school classes and hundreds of individuals.

"We started this card-giving process because when we were younger, we always loved to make cards and give them. I was super fun and it was really, really exciting to wait for a card to come, or to send it to someone and to put in your own personal touch and kindness and effort," said Liu.

"We thought it meant a lot and to show these people that the community is here to help them and support them, even if we aren't face-to-face, a little simple act of kindness.… We really hoped it would show that."

In just over a year, Cards For A Cause has sent more than 5,500 cards to Calgary seniors, front-line workers, food banks and even to some front-line and essential workers internationally, including in the United States and the United Kingdom. 

"Looking back at it, I think it's pretty amazing how big it's become. I think it definitely has motivated me to do more in like other aspects of my life because it shows that no matter your age, or anything like that, you are still able to contribute to the community," said Lei, who is in Grade 12 at Sir Winston Churchill.

Front-line workers with Alberta Health Services are among those who received cards from the non-profit group over the past year. (Submitted by Cards For A Cause)

Seniors at Evanston Summit Independent Retirement Residence were some of many who have received cards this past year from Cards For A Cause. 

It's something that has brought Evanston residents great joy, according to activity and volunteer co-ordinator Victoria Slany.

"When COVID first started, it was complete lockdown for our residents, and it was scary and it was sad. Our residents were unable to see their family. They were having visits through a window, which is just heartbreaking," she said. 

A couple from Evanston Summit Independent Retirement Residence took this photo to thank Cards For A Cause for the thoughtful gesture. (Submitted by Cards For A Cause)

"To be able to have groups reach out to us and say, 'Hey, we care, we know you're struggling, and we just want to bring you some, some light and some hope. It means the world to to us and to our residents. It just brings so much happiness into their life."

Liu and Lei say the reactions they've seen from those receiving a card from Cards For A Cause makes them want to continue with the initiative for as long as possible. 

"We sent cards to families who had babies in the NICU, and we got a note from the co-ordinator that said it was super heartwarming to know that people were there for these parents and supporting them through their journey," said Liu.

"We definitely do want this to carry on. Even without COVID, I think there's definitely people who just need a little bit of support."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucie Edwardson

Journalist

Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary, currently focused on bringing you stories related to safety on Calgary Transit. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson or reach her by email at lucie.edwardson@cbc.ca

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