WestJet (Calgary) today (December 1) celebrates the release of the airline’s third annual holiday video, WestJet Christmas Miracle: Spirit of Giving, showing how WestJet and its now-famous Blue Santa brought a snowy Canadian Christmas to a community in the Dominican Republic.
Since 2012, WestJet and Live Different – a Canadian charity that works with volunteers on development projects abroad – have built 23 homes for families living in extreme poverty in the Puerto Plata community of Nuevo Renacer, one of four destinations WestJet serves in the Dominican Republic. The airline’s history with and commitment to Nuevo Renacer led to its decision to share the Christmas spirit with local residents in a way they will never forget.
“The WestJet holiday video has become a tradition for us, an opportunity for WestJetters to enrich lives through our fun and caring culture,” said Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Sales Marketing and Guest Experience. “Having shared the holiday spirit last year with our guests in Toronto, Hamilton and Calgary that resulted in the more than 36 million views of the video in every country around the world, we decided to celebrate Christmas this year with a community that is near and dear to our hearts. This was our chance to give the people of Nuevo Renacer a once-in-a-lifetime experience – a Canadian Christmas.”
Last month, 20 WestJetters travelled to Nuevo Renacer to work alongside Live Different and 40 local residents to secretly create the 2014 WestJet Christmas Miracle: Spirit of Giving video. Once again this year, multiple hidden cameras were used to capture the experience.
“Bringing the spirit of Christmas to this community was an extraordinary idea that took extraordinary effort,” said Charles Roberts, Executive Director of Live Different. “WestJet’s genuine desire to enrich the lives of those in the WestJet world extends to this community too. Providing a memorable and fun experience that celebrates the spirit of Christmas with no strings attached, is something that WestJet did with excellence and careful consideration. We are thrilled to have a partner who shares a deep conviction to value and care for people as their first priority.”
Live Different is a Canadian charity that exists to embrace and inspire a lifestyle that cares for people, not stuff. Live Different accomplishes this by providing experiential programs that engage lives on a personal level. These strategically linked programs include high school motivational presentations, which have impacted over 1.1 million students; international volunteer trips, which gives volunteers the opportunity to assist in development projects in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Thailand; and the Live Different Academy, a gap-year program where young adults are mentored, gain cross-cultural experience, and are transformed in their thinking, their actions, and their focus for the future.