Aiza’s Teddybear Foundation, Recipient

In 2013, grade 10 student Aiza Abid realized many children were living in extremely challenging conditions. As part of her civics class, she sought to help them. Not only was a talented activist born, but so was her nonprofit, Aiza’s Teddybear Foundation. Seven years later, as a global pandemic brought new challenges to nonprofit organizations, Abid felt she needed to help her volunteers feel connected, both with her team and the community. Using a 4imprint one by one® grant, she ordered T-shirts designed by the team to thank volunteers for their dedication. Reaching out to children and families in need Through her travels and research, Abid saw first-hand the issues facing children around the world—from working at an early age because of financial precarity to adapting to a new country as a foreign refugee. “Children all over the world are experiencing really tough living conditions, the least we can do is talk about it and raise awareness,” Abid said. “Our team works hard to connect the community with children in need and low-income families.” Aiza’s Teddybear Foundation collects teddy bears, food, backpacks and school supplies from Canadian donors. The foundation then distributes the items to children, low-income families and refugees all around the globe. All told, the foundation has distributed 300,000 items since its creation. In addition to distributing donations, the foundation also plays a role in educating the community. Informing people about the needs of these children and families is essential to creating awareness and encouraging action without passing judgment. Educating future leaders to make a change As a non-profit organization accepting only in-kind donations, no funds are allocated for marketing and branding. With the one by one grant, Abid saw the opportunity to thank volunteers of the organization’s Bear Hugs Club. This volunteer program is aimed at teaching leadership skills to kids who want to volunteer at home during the pandemic. Anyone from elementary school to their fourth year of university can participate in monthly online meetings, which feature guest speakers who share their knowledge and discuss how they implement service and volunteerism in their lives. “The volunteer T-shirts are an appreciation gift for all the members who help with our Bear Hugs Club—youth advisors, creative writers, environmental activists, content creators and more,” Abid explained. “We posted polls on social media to enable our members to choose the T-shirt’s color, font, etc. Everyone was so excited to see the final product, and we were delighted to witness the magic that results when a community comes together.”