Rethinker Profile: Carrie Milne
Name: Carrie Milne
City: Toronto, ON
What do you do when you’re not changing the world with philanthropic gestures?
I love spending time with my friends and family and as a mom of two young kids, a lot of my time is spent running them around to their various activities. I do try my best to volunteer with causes that I am passionate about, both here in Toronto and in my adopted second home of Cape Town, South Africa – where my family spends six weeks every winter. Some causes that I am involved with here in Toronto are Camp Erin, the Dr. Jay’s Children’s Grief Centre, AIDS Committee of Toronto and Bereaved Families of Ontario. In Cape Town, I volunteer with Rise Against Hunger and Ladles of Love, two organizations that help to fight famine and hunger. I also love to read and travel – the ocean is always calling my name.
How do you find a cause you are passionate about?
I tend to support causes that I have a personal connection to. Both of my parents passed away when I was quite young and I gravitate towards causes that support individuals who are bereaved and grieving the loss of a loved one. In an effort to honour both my mom and dad, I have become particularly attached to Camp Erin, which is a weekend-long overnight bereavement camp in Muskoka for children and youth aged six to 17. Everyone has unique experiences they can leverage to find their passion. Start by picking something that is close to your heart and go from there.
What is one thing you have re-thought in your life? How did you approach it?
For more than half my life, I have suffered from depression and anxiety. As a result, I had a certain perception of how my life would turn out. I thought that happiness, comfort and stability were things that I would never be fortunate enough to attain. What helped was visualization, a powerful tool that helped me focus on simple goals and taking things one day at a time. I still struggle some days but I am very grateful for all that I have and the emotional stability that I have been able to discover through a lot of hard work and support from my loved ones.
What is the most important thing to know when it comes to donating to a cause?
It is important to know how your donation will help the individuals who are supported by the cause. I think it is also a good idea to find out what the cause is working towards and learn how you can become involved with that, independent of a financial donation as giving your time often means more than giving your money.
A person who gives back that you aspire to:
Baby abandonment is a huge issue in South Africa and I have a friend named Marilyn, who is a registered nurse, who saw a need that she could help fill. She started the charitable organization Atlantic Hope by turning her apartment into a nursery for abandoned babies. She cares for them like her own until fostered or adopted. Her hard work and complete selflessness inspires me every day.
What is innovative about the Rethink approach?
I became involved with Rethink many years ago as a volunteer. Over time I began to form a bond with the women who work at Rethink and now I’m one of them. Rethink does so much to support young women who are battling breast cancer. Things like bringing women together and creating a community through the sharing of experiences, promoting health and wellness through the Stretch, Heal, Grow initiative and of course, throwing the incredible Boobyball every year to raise much-needed funds to continue education and advocacy work. All of this is done with a sense of flair and style that is not often seen in charitable organizations.
What inspires you daily?
I am inspired every day by my family, my children, my friends. I feel so fortunate to have some pretty incredible friends who are doing some pretty incredible things all over the world. I am inspired by the powerhouse of women that I get to work with every day at Rethink. I am also inspired by anyone who does something good for someone, without expecting anything in return.
Why should people support a cause they are passionate about?
Because it feels good. I often think about the wise words of Desmond Tutu, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”. Every single person on this planet matters and can make a difference. They just have to be willing to start.
When I give back I feel…
Happy, grateful, fulfilled.