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Financial advisors do much thinking before they make decisions.  After all they want to do the best for their clients and their dollars.

So The Edmonton Sun’s Christmas gift program for under-privileged teens,  Adopt-A-Teen, was honoured when the Advocis (Edmonton Chapter) made our organization its Christmas charity of choice for the third year in a row. (Advocis is the the brand name for the Financial Advisors Association of Canada.)

Adopt-A-Teen is dedicated to ensuring no teen in Edmonton wakes up on Christmas Day without a gift. Using funds raised from the general public, Adopt-A-Teen purchases and distributes $50 Walmart gift cards for the parents or guardians of those teens to give to 8,600 kids at Christmas time.

From its Christmas luncheon at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre on Nov. 26, 2015, with 175 people present, Advocis Edmonton raised a fabulous $9,500 for Adopt-A-Teen - enough to provide 190 less-than-lucky Edmonton teens living in under-privileged families with a $50 Adopt-A-Teen Walmart gift card each!

The money was raised from individual and corporate table donations, from MC Steve Pickitt of Edge Benefits and auctioneer/financial advisor Lou Warke pitching the heck out of an Apple iWatch donated by Abex Insurance Brokers that was up for auction.

Adopt-A-Teen honourary chair Dan "The Can Man" Johnstone told his poignant story, of growing up "dirt poor" in Edmonton with his single-parent mom working around the clock to support him and his brother, how the gift card was so important to the two of them, because it meant, for once in their lives, they could buy something beyond the very basics at Walmart ... and they’d each use $20 from their gift card to buy their long-suffering mom a Christmas gift too.

More important, The Adopt-A-Teen gift cards (Dan was a recipient for four years) impressed upon Dan the spirit of giving.  He was so impressed that people he’d never met wanted to help him at Christmas, that he has gone on as a successful young man to be a tremendous one-man Food Bank collection agent outside stores, and now to give back as Honourary Chair of Adopt-A-Teen.

Following Dan,  Sun columnist Cam Tait gave a moving presentation on hope, using his own story/slide show as a kid with cerebral palsy that his family and neighbourhood would never give up on.  

Thank you to all who helped make the Advocis Christmas Luncheon a great success - including organizers Kathy Shields, Christine Cey, Ruth Linden and Dan Cathcart. And to Advocis Edmonton President Dan Dean, who bought Adopt-A-Teen to the attention of the organization in the first place.

Thank you for helping Adopt-A-Teen and the kids.  Merry Christmas!

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