Inspired Canada: Nowlan Family Matters

October 24, 2012

Words by // Photography by Nita Breibish

During our stay in Halifax this past September, after shipping our motorcycles overseas, Issa and I were lucky enough to have been taken in, both in heart and home, by a beautiful little family known as the Nowlan family.

We wanted to share with you in their own words something they shared with us just this past week, when we asked the question, ” Why/how do you reach out and what inspires you?”

Their response leaves us reminded of just how much family matters.

Jean & Kelley Nowlan:

PEOPLE TO LOVE  / Image © We Love Motogeo, Ltd.
Jean and Kelley Nowlan – Halifax, Nova Scotia. In their words.

As a family, we are blessed – we work very hard for everything we have, we take nothing for granted and we love each other like crazy – but we wanted to find a way to give back.

For a long time, we talked about donating all the “stuff” we have accumulated over the years – gadgets, appliances and tools that we no longer use, good clothing, towels and linens taking up space in our closets, books, toys, wall art – all kinds of stuff that has served its purpose – sitting lonely on shelves, under beds gathering dust…waiting for a new home.   It was time to do something about it, but we lacked the motivation to do it – just couldn’t get around to tackling this overwhelming chore.

Isn’t it funny how life has a way of giving you what you need sometimes, especially when it’s for the right reasons?  Enter Issa and Nita into our world – an extraordinary couple on a quest for good – who over a few glasses of wine one late summer evening, followed by a long breakfast conversation the next morning about life in general and their Lost for Good Project in particular, helped us to find our motivation. Our “chore” became a labour of love, of purpose and a way to give back to a world that has been kind to us.

In one short week, we purged every one of our closets, dressers, and shelves and ended up with 35 bags and boxes of great “stuff” to give away  – We smiled as our garage took on the look of a small warehouse with bags and boxes piling up everywhere and we hoped that what we were doing would make a difference. We gave clothing to women’s shelters – gently used warm winter coats, gloves hats and boots, pants, blouses skirts and dresses.  Unopened brand name toiletries and cosmetics, children’s clothing – for winter and summer – great outfits for little girls from our own daughter Maya – given with joy and with hope that other little girls would love them as much as she did.  Hand-made baby blankets for mother’s with newborns, teddy bears and other stuffed animals, books and clothing for children to play dress up were also happily parted with.

As life would have it, our neighbor mentioned that an apartment building had just been destroyed by fire earlier that week – his mother was canvassing for household items to give to families who were left with nothing – the remainder of our beloved “stuff” was on its way to new homes and families the very next day. What an amazing experience for our family – letting go of what we considered “stuff” opened our lives to greater possibilities  – helping others in crisis. Our hearts felt lighter and happier, so did our home.

Now, before we buy any new stuff, we think twice – asking ourselves if this is something we really need, whether this will add value to our lives – more often than not we decide it isn’t. We are much more conscious now of the community around us and are always on the lookout for ways to give back – we think about what our donations can do for others, we take the time to research the organizations we are giving to and make sure we are donating responsibly, and have been surprised at what we have found out.

Issa and Nita and the Lost for Good Project have changed us – for good.

Maya Nowlan:

PEOPLE TO LOVE  / Image © We Love Motogeo, Ltd.
Maya Nowlan – 12 years old – Halifax, Nova Scotia. In her words.

Our family has always been one to reach out, to do whatever is possible to help, and then, help. So I guess you could say that the reason I am who I am is because my family has raised me like that. And from a very young age to now, I feel like helping is in my blood and it’s just something I do. Most of the time, they’re just little things; once, during the summer, I invited a friend over and we decided to paint and sell rocks. We didn’t expect it to be very popular or that we would make a lot of money, but we did end up making a little more than 55$! We thought about splitting the money, but, instead, we felt like we wanted to do something better with the money, so, we did. We donated ALL of the money we had made to our local food bank “Feed Nova-Scotia”. (they were very happy:))

Another thing our family does every year around Christmas time, is ask the Principal at the elementary school if he knows of a family who is in need. So he checks and usually, there is a family who needs help. So, anonymously, we help them in any way possible. I will say, it feels great to see a little girl, new to our school from a faraway country, smiling with a new group of friends, wearing the coolest new clothes you could find her, and, knowing she has no idea it was you who made her life better.:)

After meeting and hanging out with the two most inspiring people ever!, (Nita and Issa) and learning about the Lost for Good project, our WHOLE family felt inspired to continue to help make the world a better place, so, while they were here we began to collect items to donate  – about a week after our dear friends left, we had COMPLETELY, ENTIRELY, SUPER-CLEANED THE WHOLE HOUSE!! We identified a lot of clothes and toys and books we could donate to a local women’s shelter and we delivered them one warm evening – it felt so good to help.

Coincidentally, our neighbor’s parents heard of a family who’s house had burnt down and had lost everything, so, the rest of our stuff (more than 20 boxes) went to them. So, I think the reason I am inspired in such a way to reach out to other people, is because I was raised like that:) I love to help, inspire, and, make people feel great. It’s just me.:) -Maya Nowlan :) xo

PEOPLE TO LOVE  / Image © We Love Motogeo, Ltd.
Maya and Kelley Nowlan – Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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  1. Comment by Michael Ruffstuff

    Michael Ruffstuff October 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    What a lovely inspiring story.

    • Comment by Nita

      Nita October 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

      It truly was. Thanks for reading.

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