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Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW)

Dryden family builds a legacy based on a good’s night sleep

By Cheryl Long

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When many Canadians hear the name Dryden, they immediately think of hockey. But the Dryden family has another legacy to add to their name — providing the essential items that underprivileged children around the world need to get a good night’s sleep and start the day on a positive note.

Business Elite Canada spoke recently with Dave Dryden, who, like his brother Ken, played as a goalie in the NHL. Murray and Margaret Dryden, parents of Dave and Ken, founded Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW) in 1970 and today the charitable organization is dedicated to transforming the lives of children by distributing bedkits in countries like India, Uganda, Honduras, Bangladesh, and many more. Dave Dryden serves as the chair of SCAW’s board.

“It started with my dad and my mother in 1970. Dad decided to make a trip overseas. He had just retired from the building supply business and he liked to travel. He spent some time in India and Pakistan,” Dryden said. “He had an experience of being out at night and tripping on something in the dark street and it turned out it was a child he tripped on. He came back home very upset about it because he had always said to my brother and sister and I that a good night’s sleep was so very important.”

“This whole business of corporate responsibility, social responsibility, I see it out there and I see organizations that are wanting to be helpful. There really is an understanding and an empathy out there.”

50 children received first kits
Murray Dryden returned to India and purchased the materials for his first bed kits, donating the supplies to 50 children living in an orphanage. After returning home, he showed photos of the children to friends, who in turn offered their support, and SCAW was born.

Today, the not-for-profit organization has supplied bedkits to 1.5 million children between the ages of six and 12 around the world, and that number continues to grow. Each kit, which is priced at $35, contains many of the essentials that most people take for granted: bedding, a mattress and pillow, clothing, a mosquito net and some school supplies. “The idea is to get the child a good night’s sleep and give them a reason to go to school in the morning and provide them with whatever can help them,” Dryden said.

“The idea is to get the child a good night’s sleep and give them a reason to go to school in the morning and provide them with whatever can help them.” 

100% of donations go to bedkits
What makes SCAW unique is the organization’s ability to allot 100 percent of donations to their bedkits. Any administrative expenses, including the salary of the only paid office position, are covered by a legacy fund left by Murray Dryden. A strong contingent of more than 2,000 volunteers, both in Canada and overseas, are crucial in helping SCAW do the kind of work that is making a difference in children’s lives each day. And then there are the dedicated donors. “Certainly we couldn’t do what we do if we didn’t have donor dollars coming in,” Dryden said.

SCAW also receives substantial support from the business community. From marketing to legal matters, businesses have donated their services and helped the organization flourish. “I’m amazed at the business response to Sleeping Children. I’m amazed and I’m gratified,” he said. “This whole business of corporate responsibility, social responsibility, I see it out there and I see organizations that are wanting to be helpful. There really is an understanding and an empathy out there.”

Working with each recipient country is also important to SCAW. The individual country is responsible for finding children to receive the bedkits and sourcing the materials. SCAW provides the funds, and then its volunteers travel to each country to help distribute the kits. It’s a true joint effort.

To learn more about Sleeping Children Around the World, explore volunteer opportunities or donate, visit www.scaw.org.