By AMARACHI AMADIKE
The WoodGreen Foundation hosted a book reading at the Bruce Early Learning Centre in Bruce Public School on Tuesday, July 19. Author Teresa Vasilopoulos, who is also Executive Director at the Foundation, recited pages from her first offering, What Can You Do With Just One Dollar?
In collaboration with award-winning illustrator, Vic Guiza, Vasilopoulos aims to educate children on the insignificance of an individual’s background in the quest to make a difference. The book emphasizes to its young audience the idea of impacting change with just a small act of kindness.
“Throughout my career, people kept asking me about how we can get kids to start thinking about giving,” said Vasilopoulos. “So I thought to myself, ‘Maybe I’ll try to write a little book about giving’.”
It would be a difficult task to find an individual more qualified to teach the future generation about the importance of giving. Vasilopoulos has, so far, had an impressive 25-year career as a fundraising executive. In 2022, she was awarded the Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Global (AFP)–the highest honour that one of its members can receive.
According to AFP Global, Vasilopoulos has raised almost $200 million in support of local and international causes during her career.
“Vasilopoulos is passionate about mentoring and inspiring young people,” AFP said in a statement. “She has been a mentor to many young women entering the fundraising sector.”
It comes as no surprise that she has opted to further inspire the younger generation, this time through literature.
During Tuesday’s reading, Vasilopoulos’ attempts to share her own values in the children appeared to be well received. She revealed to Beach Metro Community News that these values were acquired thanks to her father’s giving nature–although he never had much. Her goal was to pass on this trait to the young kids and help them understand that “it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference”.
“With so many tragic stories in the news lately, children might feel a loss of control and sense that they don’t have the ability to make a difference or create change,” said Vasilopoulos in a press release. “This book helps to inspire and empower children to create a positive impact within their lives, their communities or the world.”
The project’s message was bolstered by colourful, vibrant imagery courtesy of Guiza who heard about Vasilopoulos’ book through a mutual acquaintance.
“We really wanted it to be inclusive and diverse and we just left the rest up to [Vic],” said Vasilopoulos.
Guiza delivered on the mission to depict diversity throughout What Can You Do With Just One Dollar? He brought a high level of expertise to the project having illustrated more than 250 children books from authors of Canada, USA, México, Malaysia, South Korea and Australia.
With more than 36 years of experience which includes collaborations with the likes of Marvel and Disney, the illustrator’s professionalism and passion for the project was evident throughout the book.
“Teresa is a person who loves to share,” said Guiza. “That was very impactful for me since our first meeting because that is something that resonates deeply with me.”
The chemistry between the co-creators spearheaded a collaborative effort that spanned over two months.
The book is available online at Chapters and Amazon in Canada. The book’s Canadian version can also be purchased online at Walmart.com (the U.S. website).
All proceeds will go to WoodGreen to help with their mission towards equity, inclusion and poverty reduction.
For more information on WoodGreen Community Services, please go to https://www.woodgreen.org