My name is Melanie, I'm 35 years old. 
I was born and raised in France and moved to Canada 6 years ago.
I've been working in the sports industry since I graduated from my business school and I now work for the Raptors organization.

Can you tell us a bit about your role with the Raptors 905 and your partnership/involvement with Smilezone Foundation?

My role with the Raptors 905 is to work closely with local community partners and charities to promote and support their causes and initiatives. I also coordinate all community appearances in the region.

Our partnership with Smilezone Foundation helped us raised over $35,000 these past two years to help create Smilezones in two locations (ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development in Mississauga and Peel Children's Aid Society). During Raptors 905 games, our volunteers sell lottery tickets, 50% of all ticket revenue goes to the winning ticket holder and 50% goes to Smilezone Foundation.

Have you ever been to a Smilezone or been personally impacted by one?

Over the past two years, I went multiple times to ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development in Mississauga where the Raptors 905 participated in a couple of events to entertain the kids.

This past month, I visited another Smilezone as I gave birth at the Cambridge Memorial Hospital!s

What kind of reactions do you/your volunteers get when you tell people about the work that Smilezone Foundation does?

Everyone is blown away by the work that Smilezone Foundation does. Volunteering for Smilezone Foundation is so rewarding. For me, it's always with pride that I talk about our partnership and the projects that we have.

In your opinion, how important are the surroundings and immediate environment for children and youth receiving medical treatment?

It's never for a good reason to be at the hospital unless you're giving birth, I guess. Therefore, being in a warm, fun and colorful environment, certainly helps the children, but also parents to feel welcome and may reduce their stress. Children don't belong in hospitals so their surroundings play an essential role for their well-being.