Young victim of Langley house fire creates outreach program for young women affected by domestic violence

Through tremendous pain there is an opportunity for changing cycles of violence for young women.


“ I want to do this because I have been through so much stuff and want to help other people in similar situation.  I always felt like I’m alone and now I know I’m not.” Cella, 14

A heart-wrenching incident took place in the early morning hours of April 2nd when my family members’ lives were turned upside down by acts of domestic violence and arson. My sister and her kids has been feeling a tremendous amount of pain on more levels than we can really speak to, but we are also very grateful for the outreach and support from everywhere.


As the founder of Passion Foundation, an organization that aims to support leadership development for young women, this situation and the associated physical abuse, emotional trauma and monetary loss really hit home hard. It has sparked me to do more. My niece has experienced deep trauma and continues to deal with the painful emotions associated with this event, but as a survivor of domestic violence she wants to create change for herself and others who may have had a similar experience. Passion Foundation’s Board of Directors has approved creating a fund for the Healing Our Hurting Hearts Club, a name my niece chose as a special space for girls to do just that.


About Healing Our Hurting Hearts Club

Healing Our Hurting Hearts Club is an outreach program for young women 11-18 years of who have been affected by domestic violence. The club aims to provide participants with a leadership coaching program to support them living to their full potential in the present and future. Through self-refection, team building, and skill development participants will complete the program by creating a community project that is meaningful to them and others.


This peer to peer program will include art, crafts, physical activity and formal leadership learning. This program will also give an opportunity for high school students to earn hours toward graduation.


A fund has been established through Passion Foundation  to support this program initiative. Individuals and organizations who would like to support my niece’s Club can make a charitable contribution through the Passion Foundation website or by connecting our coordinator at
Student Kateryna Jones, from the Epicentr at SFU, is donating her time to create a logo and others who have offered to support the club in other ways.
My niece and a group of her close peers will be creating the program details with me this summer . Our hope to have the program up and running by Fall.
Many people think these issues are not ones we face at home, they are issues others face, in other parts of the world. Violence, emotional ,verbal and physical abuse, and other forms of inhuman actions are as much of a problem here in Canada as they are overseas. The difference is we often hide them better here. We want that to change and healing to begin.
Loretta Cella, Founder

Meet Victoria Rybalka


Victoria Rybalka



Q: Who is Victoria Rybalka?
I am a Girls4Girls Charity board member where I am in charge of Public Relations and Marketing. I am also a recent UBC graduate where I studied Psychology and am now pursuing a career in the sustainability industry. I strive to live my life with a strong sense of social responsibility, and one of the ways I do this is through giving back to both my local and global community. I love to travel and experience new cultures and places, am a bit of a bookworm, and enjoy hiking. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with the people close to me. (more…)

Women Making a Difference

We are thrilled to share this post with you.

Robyn Gooding is the Founder of Girls4Girls charity and a community partner for our Global Sorority Initiative. Robyn and her team have been working hard in Vancouver, BC to create the first Global Sorority Leader2Leader opportunity.

Recently relocating to Japan, Robyn is a South African Canadian who started Girls4Girls at the age of 18. For the past 6 years they have been supporting a rape crisis center in Cape Town. In April, we will all be traveling to South Africa to share leadership development and a cultural exchange.


Here are some questions we had for Robyn and her answers.


Q) Who are you?

I am a 24 year old filled with wanderlust and passion for contributing to positivity in this world. I am also the President and Founder of Girls4Girls Charity and a community partner in the Global Sorority project, both initiatives which I have a deep love and gratitude for. I was born in South Africa and am currently based out of Tokyo, Japan where I live with my fiancée.  I will always be anchored to Vancouver Canada, the place that harbors the people I love most and the home the tides will always pull me back to. I believe in living with love, laughter and authenticity. My soul purpose is to give back to this world and ensure that in any capacity I can that I bring kindness and hope to others.




Q) How have you benefited from the leadership skills to date?

I can’t even begin to put into words how much I have already benefited from working with Loretta and the leadership skills to date. Firstly, the program created a deeper self awareness that has helped me to create healthier boundaries and to recognize the values I truly hold dear. One of my favourite experiences of the program was reconnecting with my “little me”- the little girl who viewed the world untainted by any of the media’s messages, expectations from others, or negative self beliefs and hurts from growing up experiences. This process allowed me to truly reconnect with who I am underneath all the “adult” filters, and it has allowed me to be more confident, have a deep self love, and to focus on what truly makes me happy. Furthermore, I grew in confidence to live freely, with purpose and to live most importantly with passion. I am so grateful to now be part of a community that holds me accountable yet supports me from a place of love and encouragement to live out my life of passion in serving others.


Q) What do you hope to achieve while taking this training to SA?

I am beyond excited to be creating a Global Sorority chapter in South Africa, my birth country. We will be working with Reinette, the angel that runs the Helderberg Rape Crisis Centre and her staff who tirelessly offer counseling and support to victims of sexual assault in Cape Town. The training will benefit the leaders in this community, as well as the victims who are on their journey of healing and who want to be leaders and serve other women in their communities. The training will provide participants with a support system as well as the tools to have a deeper self-awareness, to understand their role as leaders in their communities, and an understanding of how to share their passion and strengths to create a stronger community.


The (Global Sorority) film will offer a platform for women to share their stories so that others around the world will be inspired and have an opportunity to learn and grow as well. I hope that the film is able to capture the innate beauty in South Africans- the tenacity, strength and conviction that a rainbow nation living in peace can be a reality. I am optimistic that this trip will be the beginning of a long and positive relationship of building leaders in this magical country.


To donate to this project please click here now

Authentically Speaking…

Authentically speaking.


By Kevina Power Njoroge, 9th March 2014


“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”  Henry Thoreau Walden


‘My ‘authentic’ leadership journey was encouraged first by my mother, who has inspired me the most in my life so far. As a young child, I was undeniably curious about different people and places and this curiosity has since blossomed into my career in international development today. My mother inspired this passion by always relating the truth concerning the world around me without judgment, and allowing me to take decisions myself from an early age. In explaining the troubles in life, my mother would explain that if we could read the secret history of those we wished to punish, we would find enough grief and suffering to make us stop wishing anything more upon them.  She taught me to listen first; to reflect and ask questions; and to take decisions based on careful balance of opinions.

I studied Aristotle in a university philosophy course, where I was further inspired through his preposition that every human action and pursuit is thought to aim at some good.  Many may argue that my ‘faith’ in Aristotle is based upon a blind faith in the humanity of others, but I believe that this assumption allows for me to remain positive and objective in dealing with the multitude of issues I face everyday. In my opinion, a leader must remain positive and objective in order to imagine possibilities in unlikely places and to make good decisions in difficult circumstances. Inevitably, some of those decisions may fail, but even in failure, a true leader can inspire other to learn something new whatever the outcome. Indeed, becoming increasingly resilient in the face of failure is an important part of becoming more and more authentic in general, whatever the position one holds in life

Authenticity to me means daring to be your best ‘self’ today, tomorrow, and always. It means starting each day new and balancing the aspects of life that need the most attention as they come, regardless of whether those aspects are parts of your personal or professional self. I’ve learned over the 15 years or so as I’ve progressed into leadership roles that being a leader is not about demonstrating certain traits and characteristics; it is about empowering others to make good decisions. Reminding THEM to be authentic and to reflect upon and use their own experiences in making those decisions.

At any given moment in time, I can recall dozens of memories of the things I’ve done, the people I’ve met, and the places I’ve been.  These memories and experiences make up the pieces of me that make me who I am today. But what makes my actions more authentic in the future is to try and understand my experiences from different perspectives.  For example, how did my involvement or actions affect outcomes? What role did other people play and how did relationships grow as a result?


Most importantly, I want to be able to take worthwhile journeys with people in all aspects of life and the only way this is possible is when people in my life are positively motivated. If I were to accept a more traditional model of leadership I would only want to create “value” for shareholders; but what I want to create is something more true, more enduring, more resonant: evoking in people values that matter, not merely “value” which is worthless.


My life so far has brought me so many lessons that at times I feel overwhelmed by them.  While this can be stressful, it is something I would not trade since being overwhelmed by the experiences of life is far better than the opposite.  Although my contribution to society may only have the smallest fraction of impact that other notable people have, I have nevertheless made a choice to live my life with a belief that even if my actions or decisions have a positive impact on one person, then I will consider myself happy and lucky. Authentic leadership is not so much about leading the greatest number of people to a greater place — but to a different kind of destination: to better, truer selves.  Creating spaces for people to make good decisions, take risks, and thriving in the face of failure.

Walden so elegantly expresses “I wish to live deliberately… to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”. To provoke this aspiration in others is indeed the true measure of good leadership in my opinion and provocation of this scale demands a level of truthfulness. Because when you show who you really are to someone else, it often encourages them to be themselves as well. In authenticity scales, there is no greater gift you can give.’


We asked Kevina to also share what she’d like for her daughter, Isla…

‘ As for what I want for Isla… well so many things that its hard to put into words. I think the main thing I have noticed myself telling her over and over is to be brave. Being brave when things feel tough is a skill that will stand the test of time. I tell her that life has some really great moments and some not so great moments but it is our resilient spirit that will carry us through. The material things we acquire will not last, but our inner creativity will. I encourage her to make decisions by giving her options; I allow her space to think about her own consequences so that she learns from a young age that she has power to change outcomes, in good and bad ways. I want her to truly believe in herself so that no matter what, she will not only survive this life, but thrive in whatever she chooses to do. ‘


Kevina Powers is a well respected Canadian woman who has made significant changes in our world internationally. To find out more about her incredible journey click here now



Wonderful World Intl Women’s Day

It’s 2014 and we still struggle. I know. It’s sad. We struggle with how we view ourselves in the world and we struggle with how the world views us. Regardless of the communities we live in, around the world, we are challenged. In different and extreme ways, granted, but we all struggle.

Having worked now with thousands of people and hundreds of young women in six countries I see the world with the glass half full. I see possibility, opportunity, and am extremely excited about our future. More people of our world are becoming educated, open to dialogue, and starting to see the light and possibilities of equality. We have a long way to go but it is happening. When we provide authentic leadership development to young women and women alike we provide a shift in our world environmentally, socially, and economically. The investment into leadership development for young women will grow companies, increase short falls in trades, and create a healthy future for all. (When we include men in this process we create an even greater ripple effect.)

Authentic leadership to me means living to my full potential for the purpose of being of service. Service to myself, service to others, and service to our planet. Not in a place of perfection and definitely not in a place of competition but from a space of unity.


I have had the privy of working with a wonderful leader in Kampala over the years. One of the many I am in such gratitude to have shared my journey with over the years. This young woman however, Xubie, is a young woman who is a phenomenal artist and has a spirit beyond her years. In 2010 she shared with me a word that forever stays in my mind when I think of where our world is headed. UBUNTU 

‘I am what I am because of who we all are’

As we move forward with our Global Sorority initiative and reach out to hundreds of thousands of young women in communities across the global we carry ubuntu with us. The more we growth as individuals the more we have to offer. The more we have to offer  others the more we grow as a global community creating change for all.

To the development of our humanity and the unity needed to create a space for all and in deep appreciation for all the amazing people we partner with us around the globe to support our efforts of providing sustainable leadership development to enhance our world.

And to my team of unbelievable Directors … Without you this would not be possible!


Loretta A. Cella













Founder, Passion Foundation

Co-Founder, Global Sorority

A Write up by Global Sorority South Africa volunteer Sam Ellis

Q: Who are Samantha Ellis?

A: I am a fourth year English-Literature student at the University of British Columbia. More importantly, I am a daughter, a girlfriend, a friend, and a writer. I was raised in Calgary, Alberta and now call Vancouver home. Volunteering is a part of my life because I believe too much is lost in our lives if we don’t learn how to give. Humour is also of some importance to me. I think it breeds resilience.

Q: Where in South Africa are you going and why are you going there?

A: We [Girls4Girls volunteers] will be working at the Helderberg Rape Crisis Centre in Cape Town, SA. Why? We will be volunteering there with the hope that we can empower these women who have been victims of sexual assault to find meaning and strength in their lives and their futures. We want to give them a voice that has all too easily been silenced by violence and shame. When we leave SA I hope we leave those women with hope, skills, and a strong education that at the very least will allow them to create healthier, more rounded lives well into the future.

Q: What does your team hope to achieve while there working with PF in creating a SA Global Sorority chapter?

A: In SA we hope to achieve what I had mentioned above and when we leave we hope to continue to support the Helderberg Crisis Centre indefinitely. The purpose of our trip to SA is provide more than just the financial support we have provided in the past that is, while extremely needed, not the entire solution. Our presence in the centre is important for us as an organization to personally learn about the women affected by sexual assault, to re-assess their more immediate needs and concerns and to build an organization that attempts to address every need of these women as best we can. We provide them with a safe house, STD/HIV testing and care, pregnancy care, and counselling amongst other things.The only way for us to truly assess these needs is to be involved first-hand in the centre and in South African culture. Experience is knowledge. As an organization we offer these women support, education, and the promise that they are not alone in this fight. It’s important that sororities come together to help young women all over the world who have not been as blessed with the basic comforts and securities we have been blessed with in North America. Our team work is a statement and a promise that we will use our sisterhood and friendship to build new sisterhoods and new sources of comfort and protection.

Q: How many girls do you have an impact on directly/indirectly currently?

A: That is a difficult question to answer because it is impossible to answer with a distinct number. I believe we have influenced each other deeply and inspired young women that we know well and young women in the community who we have reached out to for support of our organization. Inspiration and philanthropy tends to spread. In South Africa we helped 463 rape victims last year alone in partnership with the Passion Foundation. I believe it is a belief of all of our members that that number will only grow in size in the coming years.

Q: How have you as a team benefited from the leadership skills to date?

A: I am inspired daily by the intelligence, resolve, drive, and kindness of each of the members of this organization in their attempts to help SA. They opened up their arms to me as friends and allowed me to join in the cause seamlessly. With their encouragement I have become more of a leader in my community and I have become more aware of my strengths. I can only hope that the inspiration this group has offered me transcends to our work in SA in April. Something tells me it will.

Passion Leader Liz makes monkeys for Canadian Solidiers

Social Change Monkees for Soliders

By Margot White

Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz said it best, “There’s no place like home.” But “home” isn’t always an option for the men and women who serve in our Canadian Forces. Now, a unique partnership formed between North Vancouver teen artist Liz Laboucan and IR Solutions Inc., is helping Canadian soldiers feel a little bit more connected to the comforts of home.

When a soldier becomes a client of IR Solutions Inc., a home support company created to give soldiers a home away from home, they receive a sock monkey that has been handcrafted by Liz with their favourite colours and name or initials sewn into the monkey.
Liz began making the sock monkeys just over a year ago when she started working with acclaimed North Vancouver art therapist Kat Thorsen at Keith Lynn School. At the same time, Liz was also part of a leadership program for young women led by the Passion Foundation. Founded by Executive Director Loretta Cella, the Passion Foundation works with schools and community groups to give girls and young women the skills they need to succeed in life.
The partnership blossomed last year when Cella showed one of the sock monkeys to Tonya Redekop, President of IR Solutions Inc., and her classmate in the Master of Arts Leadership Program at Royal Roads University. Redekop was motivated to work with Liz to help the soldiers adapt to returning from duty.
“This is a win for everyone,” says Cella. “Liz continues to gain confidence in herself and healing from the challenges she has faced in life, the solider receives a welcome gift, and IR Solutions Inc. is contributing to the financial independence of a local artist.”

Passion Foundation’s mission is to help young women achieve personal success in life by supporting each other. By providing opportunities for leadership development, self-exploration, positive role modeling and community building, Passion Foundation aims to decrease self-harm and help young women to connect with their life purpose while being part of a community of success oriented peers; building on leadership and mentorship skills.



For more information, contact Loretta Cella, Executive Program Director and Founder, Passion Foundation at info at passionfoundation dot org 

UBC students are taking Global Sorority to South Africa















When Robyn Gooding, Founder of Girls4Girls Charity, approached Loretta Cella about partnering efforts to support greater leadership development to young women locally we were thrilled. Even more so when Robyn stated she’d like the leadership partnership to span out to South Africa, her homeland.  This partnership ignited great enthusiasm by all involved as it falls under our Global Sorority initiative.

In early 2013, Loretta Cella, our Executive Director, provided the Elements of SUCCESS leadership coaching  program to nine UBC students. Together they lead change on a personal level and now they are taking their learnings and giving back to a crisis center for women and children in Cape Town, South Africa in April this year.

On February 27, 2-14 Girls4Girls will be hosting an incredible fashion show with all proceeds going toward the project.

Click here to learn more and purchase your ticket now!

Global Sorority Mexico Chapter

We are overly excited about an amazing new partnership for Global Sorority. Passion Foundation has partnered with Mission of Friendship in Mérida, Mexico and creating a chapter of Global Sorority. The trip will be taking place at the end of January 2014 and providing 20 girls and young women with our Elements of SUCCESS leadership training and other resources for leadership development. The group will be creating a community project as well as supporting other girls with the training in their community.


We have a fantastic group of young leaders here in Metro Vancouver who will also be contributing to this project and we will be sharing the work the girls will do in Mexico with the girls here. Our goal is to start to build these relationships and partnerships as we move into the next chapter of our work and create Global Sorority, our virtual community.



To make a contribution to support a girl in this project please make a donation here in Canada and here in the US.

100% of donations go directly to programming.

Additional information can be found here:

Passion Foundation & Mission of Friendship create Mexico’s First Global Sorority Chapter

New business partner joins us!

We are thrilled to welcome Ohkuol into our business partner community!






About OhKuol
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, OhKuol is an enchanting gemstone jewelry line that aims to give back to women. Founded by sisterpreneurs, Vi and Priscilla Phan, the pieces exude a timeless elegance. Their classic and romantic-style jewelry with an edge celebrates all things beautiful and sparkly. Their jewelry is available in select boutiques across North America and online at







Their Story
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, OhKuol is an enchanting gemstone jewelry line that aims to give back to women. Founded by sisterpreneurs, Vi and Priscilla Phan, the pieces exude a timeless elegance. Their classic and romantic-style jewelry with an edge celebrates all things beautiful and sparkly.
Founded in 2007, Vancouverite Vi Phan turned her background in the wholesale gemstone industry to the art of jewelry design. Using handmade techniques such as wire wrapping and lost wax casting, Vi marries the hottest and latest trends together with a step back in time for inspiration. The result is a timeless yet vibrant and youthful collection.

OhKuol’s collection of enchanting gemstone necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings were designed to be affordable and accessible for everyone. With pieces ranging from XX to XX, OhKuol’s gold and silver vermeil line incorporates handpicked gemstones such as agate, amethyst, moonstone and quartz. Prized for their beauty, the gemstones are also valued for their energetic and healing properties. From health and happiness to enhancing creativity and energy, gemstones reach far deeper than simply what meets the eye.

Working hand-in-hand, sisters Priscilla and Vi have built OhKoul’s international reputation attracting buyers from the coast to coast of Canada and the United States. The company initially found fame by being recognized on Etsy and featured on the Martha Stewart Show. Today, their jewelry is available online at , through Etsy, as well as in select boutiques across the country.

The mission of OhKuol extends far beyond its studio. Its mission is to make all women shine and to raise awareness and support women less fortunate. Working with national and community partners such as Vancouver’s Passion Foundation, purchasing through OhKuol is not only supporting the dreams of two aspiring sisterpreneurs, but contributing to a greater movement to inspire and improve the lives of women locally and around the world.