Tag Archives: homelessness

#WRawesome Online: Jodi Sonoda

I feature an interesting website, blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page or other online destination related to Waterloo Region on CKWR with Randolph J. Johnston called #WRawesome Online, Mondays at about 12:30. Here is the Midday with RJ’s Facebook page.

I hope by doing so that I’ll help people find places online that help them to connect to their community–online and in the real world. By doing so, I hope to help people find online places that they might not find otherwise and make our community a better place to live.

For folks looking for communications advice, you can get tips from each selection featured. I’ll highlight at least one example in my weekly post.

Giving back & Paying it forward: Jodi Sonoda

Today’s selection is not a blog, a website, a twitter account, a Youtube video or anything else. It is all of the above and much more!

Jodi Sonoda is a remarkable woman who has overcome adversity and is willing to share her story to help others. She continues to experience her own struggles but at the same time she is working hard at helping others since she knows that many folks have it tougher than she and her daughter. You can follow her on Twitter @karmicevolution.

A year ago she wrote a post for Yummy Mummy Club called “The Face of Homelessness.” In it she wrote,

It’s been two years. Two years since my infant daughter and I spent Christmas in a homeless shelter. Unless you knew me, you wouldn’t have a clue.

The face of homelessness is not the face you think it might be. So please remember that the smallest gesture of generosity is the one that means the most. You never know who has been through or is going through hell.

In September, Jodi spoke at the 140 Conference Ontario and told her story to a couple hundred people in person and many more through the video feed streamed online. For Jodi being on Twitter helped her connect with people and survive the challenges that she unexpectedly faced.

Listen to her story. You might want to have tissues handy.

In a recent post on her own blog, Jodi explains why she feels it is so important to give back by paying it forward at Christmas even if it means doing without items that many of us take for granted.

Kids with nothing don’t understand why Santa doesn’t visit them. They wish harder and harder but it doesn’t change anything.

On December 25th sometimes nothing happens.

So today I’m going to skip the boots and jeans, forgo my personal toy, and hit the Black Friday sales for some donation toys. It’s the right thing for me to do. It’s not right for everyone and I’m not saying you should run out and drop your grocery money on toys, but I am asking that if you can, grab an extra Barbie, extra book or extra Beyblade and remind a kid that wishes come true if you believe they will and someone believes in you.

People have been so generous with me personally. My baby has never known not having a Christmas because people have been so kind and giving. I pray sometimes that I will be able to be that person to other families who need help one day. Until then I do what I can, and try and keep paying my blessings in life forward. Will I wear running shoes in the snow for awhile? Yup, but it won’t kill me. An extra 2 weeks in runners means a real Christmas gift for some little person and that is the best decision I can make.

Jodi is making her own efforts to give back through a personal initiative known as the 5 Dollar Project and she is a partner in an effort to provide a Christmas to 50 teens who otherwise wouldn’t experience one.

But as Jodi has demonstrated, her priority is to help people who are struggling financially in whatever way possible so that they can experience a better quality of life or even just have the chance to enjoy celebrations like Christmas.

I think I can speak on her behalf and encourage you to give to any charity, nonprofit or community project that will give people a hand up or even just make them feel valued and respected.

A lesson in social media

What Jodi also demonstrates is that social media is about building relationships and developing communities. By doing so, it can truly change lives. She also demonstrates the power of storytelling and how video can put a human face on a story.