Home Bio Speaking Q&A with Sandy
Recommended Reading Underdog Stories
Sandy's Corner Contact
Underdog Movies Videos


5 weeks to go!   •   October 2016

The journey that began a year ago is now almost here. At the end of November, me and 50+ other volunteers will be travelling to Nicaragua to build homes for families living in poverty, and will transform a slum into an organized community.

How did this all come about?

Back in April of 2015, my dear friend Praveen Varshney asked me to support a project of his through a group called Change Heroes. I started following links online and watching videos of the organization's founder, Taylor Conroy - and was so inspired that I sent him a note to introduce myself and to acknowledge him for the inspired work he was doing in the world. We became Facebook friends. I knew he was onto something amazing.

last sentence in the note I sent to Taylor

I sent the note without any agenda other than to thank him and cheer him on, as I admire anybody who has the courage to put everything on the line to build something awesome.

On November 28th of 2015, I got a note from Taylor inviting me to fundraise for a family's home and join this building trip to Nicaragua - and something inside me just said… "YES!" I immediately got super excited and started talking about it to anybody who would listen, and over the span of a couple of months, raised enough money for the home. Exactly a year later, I will be there and the home will be built, and I will meet the family who is going to live in it.

To all those who contributed in any amount, you are part of this journey with me - and this family will have a home because of you. I feel so deeply honoured to have a team of 20 supporters, and I promise to take photos and share stories upon my return so you will know what we built together.

Why does any of this matter?

While a family living on a dirt floor in Latin America may seem like something a world away from where we are blessed to live in Canada - the point is, we are doing something to help. Many of us were immigrants to this country and had to ask for help from someone/anyone to be able to make our way in the world, and I see this as no different from that. Giving someone a proper roof over their head, windows, a floor and a foundation with a locking door creates a pride of ownership. Each of the families receiving a home as part of this project had to come up with 10% of the cost to build it, so this isn't a handout. They will be actively participating in the build!

My sincere hope is that your heart is warmed because you chose to support this project. While some of you may have done it simply as a favor to me, I ask you to please consider more than that and know that we are helping a family. I have been taking Spanish classes since August and hope to be able to communicate a little bit in the family's language and have some laughs along the way. We are all just human, after all, with hopes and dreams - and circumstances could have been very different if we had been dropped off on a different part of the planet.


I think there is nothing more beautiful than kindness, and being able to offer someone a hand up. We see it especially during natural disasters - people coming together to help each other. Even in tragedy, there is goodness. A surprising amount of goodness from people whose names we will never know.

Every day, we each have the power to be a force for good in whatever scope and platform we play in. And while the media chooses to focus primarily on negative news, controversy and sensationalism - I think it's important now more than ever to share GOOD things that are happening. There is a lot of good out there if we choose to look for it, and better yet - choose to create it!

Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I am so grateful for everyone's support and look forward to returning with photos, stories, and life-changing experiences to share.


PS. I encourage everyone to watch Taylor Conroy's TEDx talk from 2013 when he was starting out building schools to educate children, in partnership with Free the Children. His company has expanded now to help other charities with other projects around the world - and this joint project with TECHO in Nicaragua is one of them.

Inspiring others to live inspired lives

© 2016 Sandy Struss Enterprises. All rights reserved.