My parents, like many others, fled a war-torn Sri Lanka in 1983 to come to Canada with the hopes of giving their children a better life.
Since then I feel like the Tamil community here, as I’ve seen it evolve, has become very philanthropic and giving. I think it’s because we’re such a nomadic people, accepted into many different countries, and the most meaningful way for us to show gratitude is through giving back.
Back to the story of my parents – they worked multiple jobs to provide for my brother and I, as well as those around them. My father always exemplified the importance of helping others through his actions. For example, he helped new Tamil immigrants and refugees find jobs, provided financial assistance to people in need, and spent time visiting and feeding the sick.
My mother raised me with solid Christian values which include giving generously. As a teenager my church youth group helped define me, teaching me the value of community and giving. My youth pastor at the time, Rick Bursey, has since moved to Mexico with his wife and two sons to open an orphanage called “Possibilities House” to serve the needs of children there.
Rick was pivotal in my growth as a young adult and it warms my heart to be able to give back to him by supporting his work with the kids. Rather than simply ask for donations, my husband and I thought it would be fun to run an annual charity poker tournament. What started out as a way to engage possible supporters has turned out even better than we’d ever imagined. Two tournaments later $7000+ has been raised for Possibilities House.
Proceeds from the first year helped Possibilities House with start-up funding and to accomplish their goal of getting kids into the house. They were also able to hire live-in parents, rather than shift-scheduled caregivers, along with support staff to ensure that the right people were in place to help guide the lives of the children.
In the tournament’s second year, the funds raised allowed for focus on extra-curricular programming like speech therapy, after-school homework help, special education programs and summer programs.
In 2017, the orphanage is developing individual life programs for each child that is designed to help them overcome past problems, set future goals and develop skills that will enable them to accomplish their life goals.
This program is led by in-house psychologist Alejandra, who will be working on a 1-on-1 basis with the children. She also works with each child's extended family during weekly visits to help heal wounds and provide training to improve family bonds. The goal this year is to raise $4,800 to help cover Alejandra’s entire annual salary (she is currently part-time), purchase therapy tools and pay for training.
Interested in helping? We’ve got 3 ways you can:
1. Play in the tournament! (50 total spots available)
Buy tickets here!
2. Make a donation—or sponsor a player if you can't play!
Charitable Donation receipts are available for any in-kind or financial donations for the event. Any amount will help.
3. Share this opportunity with friends, family and colleagues!