Giving Back To The Community - How It Became So Much More.

Home Stager with Dezigner Digz


[Photo from Starlight Canada's website.]

When I started up my business almost three years ago, I knew at some point I would want to find an organization to support - one that was special to me.  I've been looking for quite some time for a charity that would just jump out and "speak to me".

There are SO many wonderful organizations out there so it became tough to choose one, but I finally came across a charity that just felt right for me.  That organization is Starlight Children's Foundation.  Starlight touches the lives of seriously ill children and their families by providing support and a little break from the pain and fear associated with serious illness while staying in the hospital.  As a parent myself, I can't begin to imagine what these families must go through, but I imagine that just seeing their little one smile and forget their problems for an afternoon, is of some comfort.

One of the programs that Starlight offers is Starlight-in-a-Box which provides a fun activity for kids to participate in during their hospital stay.  I recently purchased 15 Starlight-in-a-Box kits through their Teddy Bear Hugs Program.  Each child will be given a teddy bear that requires some simple sewing skills in order to put him together.  Also included in the kits are an activity book and markers.  What I also really liked about this particular program was that I could choose the hospital that would receive these kits.  That wasn't a hard decision as I wanted to support my local community, so I chose Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington, Ontario.

I'll be honest.  When I started looking for a charity to support, part of my motivation was to help promote my business, but it became so much more.  What I didn't count on was how it would make me feel in the process.  When I picture those kids having a bit of fun and forgetting their troubles for a little while, it makes me feel so good. 

The old cliche 'It's better to give than receive' couldn't be more true.  I should have done this a long time ago.  Will this help my business?  Probably not, and quite honestly, that has become irrelevant.  I just wish I could see the looks on those kids faces when they create their teddy bears.  But then again, maybe its best I don't because I'm sure I'd cry :-).


Dezigner Digz is a professional home staging and interior decorating company located in Burlington, Ontario.  The Owner, Charlene Storozuk is a member of the Real Estate Staging Association and currently serves as RESA's Regional Vice-President, Canada.  For more information on Dezigner Digz, visit our website at




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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

You will be successful thinking about THEM first....There would be something wrong with you if you did NOT wishes !

Jan 26, 2009 08:14 AM #1
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Charlene, thanks for the post.  I understand how it becomes more than just a marketing avenue.  My partner Susan Maxwell is involved with Autism Speaks as she is the mother of an Autistic child.  I started helping occasionally and now much more as it is amazing what the organization and these kids can do.  The valedictorian for last years high school graduation class at Jensen Beach High School was autistic, an amazing story!

Jan 26, 2009 08:16 AM #2
Jenn Neumann Deer
RE/MAX Southern Shores - Surfside Beach, SC
Surfside Beach Real Estate

This is a great post!  I love hearing stories about people helping those in need, and it is also a good reminder not to forget I am able to do the same.  I like giving back to the community but have yet to find my niche and so don't do it consistently like I would love to.

Jan 26, 2009 08:27 AM #3
Kathy Knight
Intracoastal Realty Corp - Wilmington, NC

How nice Charlene. I too am in the process of looking for a charity to support. I want to find a relevant one. I am going to a seminar that has all kinds of volunteer org there in a couple months - that should help. Good luck.

Jan 26, 2009 08:36 AM #4
Sylvie Conde
Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Broker, Toronto Real Estate

Charlene, that's a great charity .... go ahead and cry.  I do it all the time.  It's hard not to. :)
I give teddy bears to children in the hospital (or it's given on my behalf, through my donations); I give to the 'end cancer' walk every year; I give to World Vision (buy animals for families in Third World countries); I give to the Food Bank at least twice a year; etc...
It's never as much as I wish I could give, but I always give back, and I hope that it makes a difference.... and it doesn't compare to what I get back - even if mixed with a lot of tears sometimes. :)


Jan 26, 2009 09:01 AM #5
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

Charlene ~ That's great!  I understand what you mean about an organization that "speaks to you".  Charitable donation is a goal I have for my business as well, and I want it to be local too.  In the long run, that good feeling you have is priceless.  I'm sure the kids will love those kits!

Jan 26, 2009 09:12 AM #6
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

How wonderful!  It sounds like you learned a very valuable lesson!  It sounds like a great charity.

Jan 26, 2009 10:11 AM #7
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

What a wonderful story and lesson Charlene!  I was just talking to my daughter about volunteering or supporting a charitable group in our local community.  Something we could do together.  Not to promote my business, but to give back and hopefully share the lesson with a 13 year old that the world is so much bigger than just "their" world.  You have inspired me to stop talking about it and take action.  Thank you!  You are giving a wonderful gift to the children.

Jan 26, 2009 10:08 PM #8
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Charlene, How nice to hear that another Burlington stager is helping our local hospital. I have been involved with their garden tour since its beginning. For the past 4 years I have chaired the event. It is a wonderful feeling each year when we have accomplished another successful event.

With the charity you have chosen you get the pleasure of helping children and the hospital.

Jan 28, 2009 01:47 PM #9
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Sally & David - How nicely put - thank you.

Gabe - Thank you for sharing your story - how wonderful!

Jenn - I want to become more consistent too in giving back to the community.  This was the first step for me.

kathy - That sounds like a great seminar.  I hope you find a fit that's right for you.

You're a good person Sylvie!  By the way, thanks for the email about the teddy bear drive.  I have a couple of them here that I'll send along.

Kathy - I hope you find a charity that gives you that good feeling.  You're right, that feeling is priceless.

Melissa - It really is a great charity.  I sure learned a lot from this experience.

Michele - I'm so glad that my post has inspired you.  May you find the perfect organization for you and your daughter to volunteer at.

Janice - That's terrific that you have been supporting our local hospital.  I hope we'll have the opportunity to meet some day.  Why not come out to one of our local RESA chapter meetings?  Let me know if you're interested.

Feb 01, 2009 08:04 AM #10
Isabel Gomes
Gomes Design - London, ON
Interior Decorator, Stager - London, Ont

Hi Charlene.


It is so true what you say that when you give back you get so much more than what you intended in the first place.

Feb 01, 2009 10:32 AM #11
Sandi Gerrard
Saint Thomas, ON
It's all about colour

What a great cause.  Don't you just love that "feel good" feeling?

Feb 02, 2009 01:48 AM #12
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Isabel - You're right!

Sandi - Yes I do :-)

Feb 02, 2009 10:40 AM #13
Kimberly Uksik
Independent - Pickering, ON
Home Stager - Durham, Toronto, On.

Well done Charlene!

This is something I am looking into this year as well.


Feb 03, 2009 11:58 PM #14
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Charlene Storozuk

Home Stager - Burlington Ontario
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