Hailey Eisen: Our Happy Place


Free the Children Family

Why We Support It

This guest post is written by Gavin Kennedy & Robin Strachan. They both have work and educational backgrounds in finance. Gavin is currently on a one year sabbatical from the financial industry to allow himself time to participate in the world in a different way. Robin is in year four of a six year Shamanic studies program with a tribal elder. They have seven children, (five from Gavin’s previous marriage) two of which work for Free the Children.

My children teach me every day about what is worth while and true. I am a father of seven children and each one has taught me to become greater than I ever realized possible.

This story begins 3 years ago when my son Cameron set our family on a path of personal discovery. He was working at job that had no meaning for him and was growing as depressed as any 24 year old can. He came to me telling me he felt unfulfilled, and asked what could he do with his life that would give it more meaning.

I asked him; “Do you want focus on making money or do you want to help people?” and “Do you want to work inside in front of a computer or outside?” His answer’s set his course. Within a month he found himself at a luncheon with friends. Across from him was a person who was working for Free the Children. Over lunch this individual became certain that Cameron’s naturally engaging spirit would be a good fit for the organization and suggested he apply for a job she was trying to fill.

Whether it was synchronicity, the universe unfolding as it should, or as his brother stated, a case of “the spear being ready when opportunity appeared” Cameron was on a plane to Kenya learning Swahili two weeks later.

My youngest son, Liam, had been working on fundraisers at his school for Free the Children but I did not have a lot of knowledge about this organization.

Free the Children is a Canadian charity that was started by Craig and Marc Kielberger and eleven friends. It has become the largest charity of Children helping Children in the world. It has inspired Oprah Winfrey to sponsor them. They build schools, provide water systems, health clinics and alternative incomes for people around the world.

Two years after Cameron started working in Kenya, my wife and I decided to visit as volunteers to help build a school in the Masai Mara. We arrived and met the hard working, proud people of rural Kenya. Each day we would spend half the day working on constructing buildings and then we would be given the opportunity to meet the Mammas, the villagers, and the children, who were a part of this community. The parents’ wish was that their children get a better life, go to school, be healthy, happy and lead productive lives.

There is poverty of material things, but the wealth of spirit is overwhelming. My whole family knew from that moment on we were on a journey to help where we can. A month after our return, my daughter Devon was hired by Free the Children to work in their Vancouver office. Here is a picture of the inside of the school we built with my son and the teachers of the school. Cameron is the one with the beard in the picture.

After coming back from Kenya a second time. I was inspired by a movie trailer I happened upon called “ I AM”. The director, Tom Shadyac, had also just been on the Oprah show telling the world about his journey.  Tom ( Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor, Liar Liar, and Bruce Almighty,etc) had had an accident that made him question his idyllic life . He decided his priorities were all wrong. He sold his Hollywood mansion, let his 40 employees go, and set out with a few friends and a camera to ask the question of some of the world’s leading thinkers “What’s wrong with our world and what can we do about it?” I was struck by the thought that Free the Children is an organization that is doing something about changing the world.

On September 12th my wife, Robin, and I are holding a fundraising event for Free the Children at the Ontario Place Cinesphere. It will be a cocktail and hors oeuvres party. Tom Shadyac, has given us his movie “I AM” to screen for the 1st time in Canada. Tom will also be at the party and will answer audience questions after the film. We would love it if you could join us for this fabulous party and opportunity.


Tickets are $100.00 and all net proceeds will be donated to Free the Children. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit us at: www.kennedystrachanmovieevent.com

The Yummy Mummy Club has teamed up with Gavin and Robin to give away 2 tickets to the Free the Children Movie Night Fundraiser. To enter, tell us: Why you want to attend this event.


You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. No purchase necessary. Limit of one comment per member. Open only to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec), Must be age of majority. Contest closes Tuesday, September 6, 2011. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Total approximate retail value of Prize is $200 CDN.