As You Wood – How Old Earth Arborists Helped us Grow
The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me. Over the many years that I have been doing volunteer and community work outside of ‘It’s Mental’, I have always been impressed by how many folks are willing to participate when called upon to help make a dream come true. Disclaimer: Dreams may vary!
A Grateful Surprise
It was very surprising to us years ago when a gentleman named Ryan Painter reached out for a conversation. We were happy to meet, as always, with anyone who is willing to bring energy into our lives. What we soon discovered in the boardroom of my office is someone who had very little knowledge about us as people but had heard about ‘It’s Mental’ and the work we were doing with mental health. Bear in mind that at the time we met Ryan, the subject of mental health was still very shrouded and we were talking in what felt like a unique language and he heard what ‘It’s Mental’ had to say.
An Opportunity to Share
Ryan reached out to us to express that he had a side tangent of his arborist business, oldearth.ca, that resulted in chipping wood. Ultimately, he wanted to give some proceeds from his wood chipping activities to support ‘It’s Mental’. We said ‘thank you so much’ because we assumed it would be a nice little $50 or $100 donation, which at the time was super valuable to us as we were moving forward to help raise funds for various purposes. We had yet to zoom in on the idea of training trainers and funding knowledge which have become central to ‘It’s Mental’s’ noble motive over the years.
A Moment of Reflection and Appreciation
To look back on that meeting, which was now almost 5 years ago, and knowing that Old Earth Arborists have given thousands of dollars in customer proceeds is astonishing. Ryan could have easily put these funds in his own pocket but alas made a decision to pay it forward and to help ‘It’s Mental’ at a time when we were just gaining our footing around what we were capable of.
Continuing to Pay it Forward
As I sit in a coffee shop staring out the window and speaking these words into a blog on our new website, I am reminded of how important it is to have an open mind and an open heart. Ryan did, and the gift he has given us has allowed us to train our first trainer.
We have benefited from so many little wins that we have continued to enjoy — funding from MusicNL so we can create something of value for our musical community with access to mental health resources; training an incredible and important human named Alison Butler to be a Mental Health First Aid Instructor; and most recently, personally funding the Mental Health First Aid course for 25 people in my network to receive training from Alison. Did I mention our pending Yogathon?
Embarking on an Incredible Journey
Everyday people can come together and make important things happen for the community around us.
Ryan is a huge part of that because he came into our lives at a point where we didn’t know what was next for ‘It’s Mental’.
However, so many people like Ryan have contributed little odds and ends, and in some cases, significant contributions over time.
That’s what has made ‘It’s Mental’ such a special journey for me so far — not only what I’ve learned about mental health, community, and the power of everyday people doing important work, but also the tangible benefits of giving back and making dreams come true.
Thank you so much to Ryan and Old Earth Arborists, who are in tune with mother nature, the earth, the value of living things, and the beauty of keeping things together in his work. We strive to do the same in ours. We are all nurturing and growing together, and I think that is pretty amazing.
We appreciate and welcome everyone who comes into our lives to support ‘It’s Mental’ in doing big things that help us all at the end of the day to grow better, together.