The Mississauga News—Wednesday, January 6, 1999
When Richard Gurbin was growing up, his large family was always doing something to help the neighbors.
As the youngest of seven children, Gurbin learned about the importance of giving back to the community by following his parents’ lead.
The Mississauga resident, who's now a real estate agent with ReMax Professionals at Etobicoke, is continuing the family tradition of caring by using the internet.
Gurbin has established an internet-based letter-writing campaign to help the homeless. Letters are targeted at several levels of government, leaders of Canada’s major political parties, and national organizations representing business, educators and health care professionals.
“It is styled along the lines of Amnesty International’s letter-writing
campaigns to help political prisoners,” he said.
Since Gurbin launched the site last August, there’ve been more than 1,200 hits or visits to it. (1527 as at Jan. 05/99)
Using the internet, people can log into the Consolidation for Social Awareness and Responsibility (CSAR) website at www3.sympatico.ca/truegrowth/csar.htm and click a number of letter options.
The letters are pre-written and addressed. They can be printed, then popped into a stamped, addressed envelope and mailed. The whole process takes less than five minutes.
It’s a boon to those who want to be more socially active but just don’t have the time and money to commit.
Gurbin explained the CSAR premise is that one person, or even a large group of people, can’t do much to overcome a massive problem like homelessness.
However, they can create awareness about the issues. Hopefully, they can nudge those who have money and power into doing something about it.
It’s all about providing sustainable development programs, Gurbin believes.
“These people need a hand up, not a handout,” he said. Gurbin’s own
life experiences have led him away from believing that hard work and perserverance
are always the way to success.
“Things happen in life that sort of change the filters of how you view things.” he said.
Early last year, he attended a meeting in Toronto that dealt with plans to help the homeless, but Gurbin quickly realized his business schedule would greatly restrict what he could do for the cause. However, he left the meeting still feeling he wanted to help.
Gurbin decided that using the internet would be a great idea because it is becoming more accessible, and offers a chance for many voices to be heard without having to devote hundreds of volunteer hours.
“So many people have concerns about the issue but up until now, they’ve had no venue to express it. There’s no huge time commitment. CSAR is all about taking the time to send the letter.”
Interest is growing in the site and that gives Gurbin hope that the letters are being sent.
Simple awareness might be the first big breakthrough in getting to the root of homelessness, he added.
Short term solutions that weren’t in place just a year ago, like cold weather warnings through the winter and the opening of emergency shelters, also point to a growing will to battle the problem, said Gurbin.
Yet there’s more to be done. Gurbin hopes CSAR will help.
“We aren’t talking about getting rid of a few alligators here,” he said. “We need to drain the whole swamp.”
Visit the website or contact Gurbin by email at email@example.com,
or at (905) - 281-3399.