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Experience of a Lifetime

Build Something Wonderful


Being a part of Live Different Builds is about changing the world and allowing yourself to be changed in the process - so why not experience it for yourself? Meet amazing people, make life long friends, and help create change through the power of hope. As we work together with families and communities, our world is changed in more ways than we could have ever imagined!

Don't know a thing about construction? That's ok, we'll teach you. Scared to step out of your comfort zone? Don't be! You will come to realize that life is about people, not stuff - and you will never be the same.

There are many problems in our world, but there is also much hope. Join us and find out how you can be a part of what hope can look like! Registration closes May 31st, 2017.

Register Now!

Big Brothers Big Sisters Live Different Builds

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada has once again teamed up with WestJet and Live Different to assemble a group of brave and generous souls to travel to the Dominican Republic in November 2017. We will build houses in an impoverished community that is gradually being transformed, house by house (and person by person).

LiveDifferent_work3Who Is Live Different?

Live Different was established in 2000 as a Canadian-based registered charity. In addition to presenting motivational assemblies that encourage students in schools across Canada to make positive choices that lead to purpose, hope, and perspective, Live Different also operates the Live Different Builds program.

Turning their inspirational messages into action, Live Different's Builds program provides year-round global humanitarian opportunities resulting in much-needed assistance and support for those living in extreme poverty in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Thailand.

Why Is Big Brothers Big Sisters Doing This?

LiveDifferent_work7Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada believes in making valuable investments in our local communities. We also know that experiencing other cultures and seeing life from another perspective can change us in the process, and we'd love to have our own mentors and mentees experience this life-changing opportunity.

Bottom line: nobody comes away from a Live Different Build without being changed for the better.

Please see the extensive information and links that follow at the end of this communication.

Who Is Eligible To Participate?

While mentors and mentees who are in a current match together may NEVER travel for any overnight(s) in a country outside of Canada, any other combination of individuals may do so.

We are targeting, in this priority order*, the following:

  • Current Littles in any program aged 16 to 19
  • Current Bigs in a teen mentoring program or equivalent
  • Former Littles (Alumni)
  • Former Bigs (Alumni)
  • Local Service Delivery Staff
  • National and Agency staff or volunteers
  • External relations (such as parents) may be permitted on a case-by-case basis

*Note: spots are limited and first priority will be given to current and former Bigs and Littles, then other staff, volunteers, external relations, etc. based on availability of space. We also ask that you to let us know which BBBS agency you are/were matched through so that we may confirm to finalize registration. 


  • Outbound from Toronto YYZ on Sunday, November 5, 2017
  • Return to Toronto YYZ on Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Because BBBS is a WestJet Cares for Kids partner, WestJet is donating return trip flights to the first 25 participants who can travel from any WestJet destination within Canada, to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, by way of Toronto International Airport (YYZ). You must register to be considered for a flight voucher, which are available on a first come first serve basis. Also we ask if you could please provide us with your date of birth and the agency you are or were affiliated with or matched through. Please note: all of the flight vouchers are spoken for at this time. Any registrants at this point will be added to a waiting list in case a flight voucher becomes available. If you still wish to take part in the build, regardless of a flight voucher, you may do so as long as you are willing to arrange your own flight. If this is the case, please let us know and please refer to the 'Who is Eligible to Participate' section above, if you've not done so already. 

Most travelers will need connecting flights in and out of Toronto, on the same or an alternate day. As long as you are traveling to and from a WestJet destination, WestJet will donate these connecting flights as well. Note: If you are traveling to/from Toronto via a non-WestJet destination, you are responsible for making your own way to/from Toronto at which point WestJet will cover your airfare from Toronto to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Note: If at any point after you register, it turns out you are unable to make it, we ask that you please let us know right away so that we can allow another individual to take your spot and make the necessary arrangements. 

How Much Does It Cost To Participate?

$2,395 is the minimum fundraising amount that each volunteer is asked to fund raise/contribute to the Live Different Build.

This amount covers the program cost for each volunteer, and their share of the materials and skilled workers’ salary needed to construct 2 to 3 houses. While some are able to save for this experience, most volunteers will need to raise funds from friends and/or family, and even from local businesses in their community. In 2013, over 1,000 high-school students from across Canada did just so for themselves quite successfully, and the staff at Live Different are always available with ideas and support for fundraising.

This amount covers:

  • All meals and accommodations for 9 nights in the Dominican Republic at the all-inclusive resort Sosua by the Sea (double occupancy)
  • All ground transportation in Dominican Republic, including airport shuttles and daily transfers to/from the work site
  • Materials and contractors 
  • Hosting staff - on the ground Canadian, Dominican and Haitian staff and interpreters
  • Furniture and groceries for the family you will be building for
The payment plan for the $2,395 fee payable to Live Different is: 
  • $300 deposit (non-refundable) due: extended to June 9th, 2017.  
  • $2,095 (non-refundable) due no later than:September 25th, 2017.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada’s leadership of this effort is revenue negative. We receive no funding, yet are proud to expend energy in the coordination of this meaningful initiative.

Are There Additional Costs?

Some participants may require additional travel days to get to/from Toronto for the confirmed Puerto Plata flights. An overnight stay in Toronto may be required between connecting flights. If so, the cost is the sole responsibility of the participant. Group rate hotel accommodations in Toronto / local parking, is available to team members.

We also recommend that participants visit their family physician or local travel clinic a minimum of 3 months prior to the departure date. The costs associated with the doctor/travel clinic visit(s), along with any subsequent vaccinations or prescriptions, are the responsibility of the participant.

Excursions, off-resort meals, entertainment, gratuities, and any shopping in the Dominican Republic are the participant's responsibility.

Participants wanting single occupancy rooms at Sosua by the Sea in the Dominican Republic will be charged an additional fee of $300 per person. This additional fee is due to Live Different no later than September 25th, 2017.

Will There Be Leisure Time?

Yes. In addition to having some evenings free, there will be one full day off to relax on the beach or to participate in an optional excursion.


Safety is always our first concern!

LiveDifferent_DR-Team-PicLive Different has been taking groups of volunteers to the Dominican Republic for over 10 years without incident, and in post-trip surveys, volunteers overwhelmingly report that they felt safe at all times while on the trip.

Live Different takes safety very seriously, and has built a number of unique on-site safeguards, including accommodations in a closed and highly secure resort, specially selected and dedicated ground transportation, tight safety on the work site itself, and also, all individuals under 19 are arm-banded to preclude their access to alcohol. Most participants share double-occupancy rooms. Strict rules are enforced, and on rare occasions, individuals have been sent home.

In August 2013, the Vice President of Development for BBBSC, inspected the operations in person, and in November 2013, the Vice President of Agency Services for BBBSC, interviewed the senior staff on all aspects of safety protocol, policies and procedures, and found them to be appropriate with the level of risk participants might experience.

LiveDifferent_work4Do I Need To Have Any Special Skills To Participate?

No construction or special skills are needed to participate in this initiative. A strong will, motivation, determination and a kind heart are all far more important assets. You will provide much-needed labour, including carrying concrete blocks, mixing mortar, painting, etc, while the skilled work will be completed by local contractors.

What Supplies Will I Need To Bring With Me?

Live Different will provide all the building supplies but participants should bring their own work gloves (2 pairs), proper close-toed and heeled footwear (such as work boots or running shoes), a hat, and water bottle. A specific packing list will be provided approximately 2 weeks before the departure date.


We know that children and youth learn about giving by seeing it in action. A passion for volunteering is a learned behaviour, and must be witnessed. However, the character development and change of perspective that comes from giving of one's time and resources can only ever come from direct experience.

We also know that through the experience of giving, our self-esteem is impacted dramatically in a positive way. Nobody is so poor that they cannot be a giving person, and so the upward cycle of self-worth begins. When we give of ourselves, we experience the value of our generosity, we feel the appreciation, and see the impact. We see that we each have value, no matter what, and a great side-effect of it all is that we feel terrific! And so the cycle repeats, and self-worth thrives. Ambition is fueled. Barriers begin to fall. Possibilities are revealed. Success is assured!

Through their experience of this cycle on a Live Different trip, youth “activate.” This first-hand experience is intensive and radical, and often has the effect of causing a permanent shift in the values of those who go through it. All youth return to Canada with very changed perspectives on what’s important, about their own place in the world, and about their own power and ability to effect positive, even dramatic change. This worldview change causes them to become compassionate givers and supporters of social justice causes – forever. Youth respond to this experience by wanting the positive results of giving and volunteering to continue, so they give back to their own communities and become local leaders. They take initiative, change their priorities and perspectives on many things, and begin to live out Live Different's motto: “Life is about people, not stuff.”

One of the most vital outcomes of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring is that our Littles grow up to do more, earn more, give more, volunteer more, and lead more. By participating with Live Different we are showing now, not later, that these outcomes are both real and true.

While this is a symbolic demonstration of one of our most vital outcomes from the mentoring of children, the effects on the ground are very real, and no participant comes away from this experience anything other than being changed for the better – forever.

How Can I Learn More About This Initiative and Where Do I Sign Up?

Please visit the Live Different website (http://www.livedifferent.com/) to learn more about the organization and their Builds program. Call 1-866-432-4464 Toll Free or email Diane Ciarallo, Programs/Office Administrator from Live Different, at jennifer.quong@livedifferent.com for more information or for more information
click here to Register Now! 
Once you click the link, simply type in 'dominican' to login and access the page, and the registration steps.