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All in the Family

For the Jarvis family in Toronto, supporting Dignitas International’s work through the Race for Dignity is a collective effort. Our Fundraising and Marketing Director, Anne Connelly, spoke to Judy Jarvis earlier this month about her family’s committed involvement with the organization over the past several years.

Q: How did your family first get introduced to Dignitas?

A: My husband Craig and I were first introduced through David Fleck, who was serving as Dignitas International’s Board Chair at the time. Our son Nolan learned about Dignitas five years ago through Elske Kofman, a parent volunteer at his school, Upper Canada College (UCC). He ended up co-chairing the first Race for Dignity at the school.

Q: Your family has supported the Race for Dignity for a number of years. Can you tell us about the event from your perspective?

A: We think that Dignitas is an incredible organization. We love that the fact that it’s a Canadian organization that reaches out globally. We first supported Dignitas’s efforts with a donation but when we heard about the Race for Dignity, we thought it was a fantastic event. It encourages youth to make a small donation, to learn about the organization’s work and to become ambassadors in the fight against AIDS. The event engages them in a very positive and fun way. It’s a win-win for everyone.


Q: Can you tell us about your children’s leadership in the event?

A: My kids Nolan and Somerset have always been involved in community service; both have won the Ontario Volunteer Service Award. Because of this background, they didn’t hesitate to take on leadership roles for the event. With high school students, it’s important to lead by example and inspire other kids to join.

In the first year, the logistics were a real challenge but along with Elske and the event co-chair, Nolan was able to convince UCC and other schools to come on board. The Race for Dignity is a fantastic event that kids can actually do with some guidance in logistics from parent volunteers.


Q: Proceeds from the Race for Dignity support Dignitas International’s prevention of mother-to-child transmission efforts and in trying to create an AIDS-free generation. What does this mean to you?

A: An AIDS-free generation means freedom. It means equality. It means that people have a fighting chance to be successful in life.

Q. What would you tell your friends about Dignitas?
A: Dignitas has an incredible success rate. It’s a Canadian organization working at a global level but with a grassroots approach. It smartly seeks the support of the local government to ensure that its programs are successful. Because the organization operates in a very lean way, the funds raised go directly to helping people.

Since the Race for Dignity school program began five years ago, more than $225,000 has been raised to support Dignitas’s lifesaving programs. Next year’s Race for Dignity is set for April 10, 2015 and will be hosted by Branksome Hall. To learn more about how your school can participate in the event, please contact Michelle Hayward at

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